Monday, July 12, 2010

A Million Years interview

With their debut album set for release this month, A Million Years lead-singer Keith Madden talks through his foolproof rules to surviving a tour:

While your run-of-the-mill critic would perhaps explain A Million Years' sound as the fusing of the sonic elements of electronic music and guitar led indie-rock, frontman Keith Madden takes a slightly more abstract angle. "I would describe it as Godzilla and Mothra go shopping for records and skinny jeans. New York City is left in ruins. No man, woman or child is spared."

Produced by Longwave's Shannon Ferguson, not only is the self-released Mischief Maker a collection of sometimes snappy and gutsy, sometimes experimental songs that are sure to get you moving, but, Madden suggests, purchasing it is also a guaranteed way of improving the quality of one's life in general. "Your number of friends will double. Complete strangers will smile at you. Bar tenders will buy you drinks. Police officers will turn a blind eye to your speeding habits. You will finally be able to tell your boss you are quite sick of him referring to you as 'Bro,' and he will oblige."

And so, while the rest of us are testing out whether buying the long-player will actually stop our boss from being quite such a knob, the quartet will be busy touring the US to support its release. "Touring is always a learning experience," Madden says. "Lesson one: go grocery shopping before you leave home. Road food and its glossy trans-fat sheen will only cripple you in the end. Lesson two: Daily showering is not always possible, but a daily change of clothing is. Do it. Lesson three: Highway Patrol mean business. Do not give them an excuse to want to talk to you and if they do, try and figure out what kind of music they like. Are they a Lynyrd Skynyrd kind of guy or a Metallica kind of guy? Randy Newman or Boz Scaggs? Whatever it is, that's the kind of music you play."

When the four guys that make up A Million Years aren't on the road, they live in Brooklyn. A Brooklyn band that is actually from Brooklyn is a rarity in itself, but Madden suggests that, while people might think it is the place to be (and the place to say you're from if you want to appear cooler than you are), it's image is slightly misleading. "Brooklyn is much bigger than most people think it is and probably not as cool as most people think it is. Or maybe it is as cool. I don't know anymore. Being Brooklyn natives we tend to have a love-hate relationship with it. I know I take it for granted a lot and that's something I'm working on calling myself out on."

Regardless of where they live, whether their album has magical life-improving powers and how often they get to shower on the road, the important thing is that A Million Years' music is pretty damn good. However, clearly wise to the current climate of the music industry, and without the clout of a major label behind the band, Madden's knows that (while the long-term future holds ambitions of creating film scores and collaborating with musicians they admire), in the short term, it's about being able to simply survive doing the thing they love. "We hope to put out one or two releases a year, and to make enough money doing this to keep ourselves going. We just want to keep making things, keep the train moving forward."

To hear some of A Million Years' songs, and for more information about their album, visit the band's Myspace page.

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