M1LDL1FE are definitely here to stay! Based on the raucous EP launch last Saturday where a crowd of millennials packed into a room at an industrial park along Henderson Road, it appears that life is going to be wild rather than mild for this very popular indie pop quartet.
What’s the story behind that band name?
It was a combination of a few things, some of which were practical (Take Two is a name for so many things other than bands) but also, in our individual personal lives as well as within the band, we had experienced quite a few changes. Some of us got married and bought houses, John decided not to carry on with the band, some of us came out of long-term relationships and we have grown up in different ways. So naturally the music changed as well, the sounds in our heads and the things we wanted to say had changed. We had changed but at the same time felt more comfortable in our own skin than ever before, so we needed a name that reflected that.
Was it initially a unanimous decision to ditch Take Two for a new moniker? Or did it involve fisticuffs to come to a consensus.
Truth be told, a name change was actually thought about even before the first EP, PAIRS was launched in 2015. So it was always something on the horizon for us. We had changed singers then, so it seemed like something that could have happened, but for some reason we didn’t really discuss it in depth at that point. But when we finally did decide to change the name this time, it was the usual painful process of finding the one which made us cringe the least. But when we finally settled on the new name, there was an odd sense of familiarity about it. No grand stories or deep meanings about why we chose it, but when it came up, it just felt like it fit.
What was your biggest concern about the whole new band concept?
Actually, we were concerned people would care more about the name change than the music. That’s why we made a conscious effort to make sure we had songs ready to be released and music to be put out there before announcing the name change. It was like moving house. The occupants are pretty much the same but the interior is slightly different. So we wanted to make sure we got our house in order before we gave everyone the new address.
The new EP certainly sounds like a conscious departure from Take Two – how was that achieved?
A lot of it was borne out of necessity. We did not realise losing John would ruffle our feathers as much as it did. The dynamics of the band when we were a quintet were already established in certain ways, so we had to readjust and recalibrate when it was just the four of us. Our sonic input had to be changed, so did the ways we served the music as individuals. We could not think of ourselves solely as “guitarist”, “drummer”, “singer” and “bassist” anymore. So, we wouldn’t say much of the new material was consciously made to sound different. We were really just improvising.
How was the songwriting and recording process different from PAIRS?
As Take Two, it was literally 5 guys in a room with bad acoustics, fiddling around on instruments until a smidgen of what could be a song came out. We didn’t really have jobs or anything at the time, so we could afford the time to do something like that. Now, with all of us working, we had to manage our time a bit better and write songs “project work” style. Writing bits on our own and sending it to each other, layering and compositing things a la doing a project on Google docs; only meeting to try out something when it is more concrete. So most of what you hear on the EP did not change much from the crappy demo versions we recorded on our home computers.
It looks like M1LDL1FE is a hit – eight times more listeners on Spotify than Take Two – how do you feel about that?
We are thankful and humbled that more people are listening to our music. But we are also acutely aware that listeners are not necessarily fans. Listeners could be people who follow playlists that just so happen to have our music on them. Numbers on a stream count does not equate to numbers at a gig. That’s why we aim to play more live shows in and around the region, to meet and play for more people live. Sure, getting more streaming hits helps. But we still feel that playing gigs is the best way to gain new fans, no matter how much the music industry has changed.
Take Two was very active in playing overseas – can we expect that to continue in the immediate future for M1LDL1FE?
Oh, yes definitely. We love playing shows and meeting new people. Playing overseas is also the only time when it doesn’t feel like “work”. More like a holiday where you get to play music, hang out and make new friends.
The debut M1LDL1FE EP is out now.
… still there’s more …