The latest piece of musical goodness to find its way into the kennel is the new release and video by Singer/Songwriter and Ukulele player extraordinaire Millie Manders.
Having met the effervescent Millie Manders at the Ralph's Life All Day Charity gig in Proud Camden it seemed like the release of 'Little Big Mouth' was as good a time as any to ask a few questions and see how and why her music matches her outgoing personality.
Ralph: The new video is catchy, quirky and in your face...how much does that reflect your personality?
Millie: I think it reflects me well. I've never been the one to 'fit in'. Apparently I've been carving my own crazy paving path since I could walk- according to my parents any way!
Ralph: You've always got earphones on...what's the current listening and does it influence what you're writing now?
Millie: Music is a continual influence. I write reviews for The Punk Archive so I always have something new in my head. My preferences are underground hip hop and punk genres but I listen to anything. I've just reviewed an amazing nu punk band called Riskee and the Ridicule but I also recently pledged for the new K-Flay album (awesome indie/hip hop) and I am really enjoying Dan Le sac vs Scroobius Pip's latest record.
Ralph: How much does past/present experiences influence your songwriting?
Millie: Yes all the time. Being hurt is a wonderful motivation for music so a lot of my bad experiences are in my lyrics - I use it as a therapy. I also use people watching, politics and other things too though. I love to "write what I see" as well as what I feel.
Ralph: Why the ukulele?
Millie: I wanted to expand my musical experience. I started on instruments, and I often get frustrated by being able to sing a melody but not relate it back to chord sequences, so Uke was a good choice for me. I've been able to translate the skills to the guitar, it's really good for ska and calypso songs, diversifies my sound and ticks the boxes for song writing too.
Ralph: Live performance or video/studio?
Millie: Live! Live live live!! I love being on stage. Recording is great because I get to reach more of my friends and fans who can't get to gigs, but there is nothing like feeding off of and giving back energy to your band, your audience and your soul! I love bouncing around and relating the emotions of each song out into the ether. Seeing people enjoying it with you, singing along, feeling your pain/joy/frustration... Nothing beats that.
Ralph: Burger or Pizza?
Millie: Neither. Ha ha! I very rarely touch food like that. I'm a raw vegetables and fruit fiend. Sugar snap peas are one o the most awesome things on God's green earth! If I really crave naughty stuff it's usually chocolate, biscuits or crisps.
Ralph: Your shows seem to be London oriented, any plans for world domination?
Millie: I'm playing a fair amount outside of London too - I try to hit a different town once a month, so in the next few I've got Kent, Manchester, Wales and Norwich... Looking at another return to Birmingham soon too! Truth be told the place I really want to get to is America. Warped Tour is like the ultimate dream....
Ralph: Now you've put out the 'Demon' EP to critical acclaim last year, any plans for an album?
Millie: I am definitely looking at an album. Funding can be a huge problem in this game, but with careful planning I'm hoping to get an album out at the beginning of next year. Prior to that I'll be looking to get a full band demo out as a give-away/promo tool.
Ralph: Band or solo?
Millie: BAND! More fun, more energy, more ROAR!!
Ralph: Wimbledon or The World Cup?
Millie: Neither. Sorry, I'd rather pull my eyes out. Sports to me is like paint drying only the workers are over paid.
Ralph: Is keeping true to your 'Indie' roots important or would you do the X Factor?
Millie: I actually got headhunted for X Factor 2013. I followed it through to really see how it worked from the inside. It's not something i ever would have pursued without being asked but it was good to see if my suspicions were true.
I hated it before. I loathe it now. I'll never do it again. There's so many musicians, myself included, that work so hard to perfect their skills, hone their style and deliver quality, unique music.
All those shows want are quick fix, R'n'B or Pop one hit wonders to line the pockets of the creators and work the "artists" to the bone for almost minimum wage. It's an ugly price to pay for minimal amounts of time in a very dodgy, contrived spot light.... Now let me tell you how I really feel, yeah?
18th July: “Come To The Cabaret”, Orchard Spot, Maidstone, Kent
20th July: Old Queens Head, Angel, London – Ukulele solo gig
25th July: The Red Lion, Aspley, Watford
27th July: Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, The Kings Arms, Salford, Manchester
2nd August: Rhondda Rocks Festival, Wales
2nd August: The Golden Lion Hotel, Carmarthen, Wales
8th August: Boom Town Fair – Guest vocal. TBA!
6th September: The Finsbury, Manor House, London – FULL BAND