Milo Greene are rolling through NYC for TWO shows this week, one of which is happening tomorrow night at Bowery Ballroom, and then another is set to take place at Music Hall of Williamsburg Friday night. (And if you’re a D.C. reader, you’ll be able to catch ’em at Rock & Roll Hotel on Sunday the 15th.) Having just released sophomore album Control, I figured it was highly appropriate to go through the new record track by track with Graham Fink and ask thirteen questions based on the song titles; we covered everything from the finalization of this latest work to whether or not In-N-Out is superior to Shake Shack, and after you’ve read Graham’s responses, you’ll walk away a Jeopardy-ready contestant should a category ever read “Milo Greene”. As you internet-eavesdrop on our conversation, I’m going to suggest you listen to the album (which is currently available on iTunes for the very low price of $7.99), and I’m ALSO going to implore you to grab tickets to the shows before it’s TOO LATE! Here we go:
I’m good, just waking up to the day in Los Angeles.
I was on a date and it really wasn’t going well, and I just couldn’t fake it anymore. I made up some story that my roommate (who in real life is a very sweet, frazzled girl) had locked herself out of the apartment and needed to get in and didn’t know what to do. So that was my cue to exit for the date, and I made a run for it. That was the last white lie I told.
Definitely. I mean, the final list was about seventeen or eighteen tracks that we’d fully fleshed out, and before that we had forty or fifty ideas. There are four of us who are writers, so we were just pooling things and writing and writing and writing. It’s hard…in a four person democracy, a lot of stuff has to get cut if it doesn’t meet everyone’s approval, but especially the last four or five songs we had to cut were tough. The hope is that we’ll be able to use those songs down the line as B sides, via placement opportunities…they still exist in the world, and hopefully we’ll get to use them someday.
Well, that’s one that could go on for a long time. [Laughs] I’ve been touring for the last decade even before this band, so I’ve learned a lot about how to try to stay sane on the road. (It’s not always effective.) But I think trying to find time to yourself is important; you spend so much time not having access to your own independence that it’s important to go on a walk, go have a drink somewhere, explore…just get a chance to breathe and think. Usually if there’s time after sound check I’ll walk around the neighborhood that we’re playing to check things out and get some time to myself. So that and Vitamin C, I guess. [Laughs]
The first one that comes to mind is more of a funny one, and it was a kid attempting to torch our new sound. He said, “God, I hope the new Milo Greene isn’t as pop as it sounds.” and then the next tweet, which was directly above that one, was “Dang! I’m really loving this Imagine Dragons album!” So it was kind of like, there’s a blatant contradiction in the things you’re trying to spout right now. [Laughs] I didn’t lose much sleep over that one, because I thought the parallel in those two sentiments was so absurd. But there have been a few recently that are really entertaining; they basically say that the new sound is manipulated and created by our new record label, and that they’ve changed who we are fundamentally, and that is the silliest thing…that’s just music fans who don’t understand the music industry and make crazy assumptions.
I think my response to a lot of the criticism (if and when we get it) is that as musical consumers, fans have the option of listening to millions of different things, and all they have to do is not listen to something that doesn’t resonate with them. As a band, we’re putting out this album, and we’re going to be touring behind it for a year, two years…the rest of our LIVES if things go well, so it’s really important that we like it. And I think those criticisms that imply that we don’t believe in it are what are frustrating to me, because we’re the ones that have to live it every day. It’s the selfish aspect of it, that the fans are assuming it’s more significant for them than it is for a group of people that are literally devoting their lives to it.
I actually grew up in Los Angeles, so my family is here. But I did go home for the holidays, it was just the other side of town, and while I was there I found an acrostic that I did as a kid that’s solid gold.
G – Great at math.
R – Runs really fast.
A – A person who loves animals.
H – Houston Rockets are one of my favorite basketball teams.
A – A guy who is good at acting.
M – Maybe will be a basketball player.
On the back it says that I did this in fourth grade. Math, acting, athletics, animals…I sound like a dream guy!
I was flying home from New York recently and I had Shake Shack by myself at JFK while I waited for my plane to be ready. It was very good, but I think In-N-Out is superior. I’m an interesting perspective because I’m a vegetarian, so my weigh-in on this is probably not as strong as it would be coming from a carnivore, but that being said, the Animal Style grilled cheese (and fries) are two of the greatest things that have ever existed in the universe. Nothing compares.
I feel great! Thank you for checking!
Well, I think we’re still waiting to celebrate just because it hasn’t come out yet. The process of finishing it was so long and drawn out (it took us a long time to finish recording, and then we had to wait on mixes and remixes and getting it mastered…) so as far as a celebratory moment, I think our big celebration is probably going to be on Wednesday. Our album comes out on Tuesday, and then we’re doing Conan, so I think we’re going to do a celebratory after-party after Conan to kind of just revel in it for a minute.
I have a very tight-knit relationship with our manager; we kind of constantly are riffing and gabbing, and he keeps me up to speed on everything going on on the kind of business side of the band to the point that he’s sharing the pitfalls or opportunities we don’t get…he’s very forthcoming with those things, and sometimes I think it’d be nice if he painted a rosier picture for me. I usually get all of the info, and some of it is not as exciting as you’d hope. [Laughs]
I think the comforting feeling was that despite this being our sophomore album and being really, really important with regards to what songs we put on it and how it shaped out, we knew that there would be a third album, and we got to a place with this batch of songs that we were really happy with. Anything that we had to cut, those things aren’t gone forever (kind of like what I was saying before), so I think that was helpful in making some of those final decisions. We trusted our producer a lot to help us make some of those decisions; there were songs that he just didn’t think were coming together despite us gravitating towards them, and we listened.
Hell yeah! And my new favorite place to people-watch is gallery openings. My best friend opened a gallery in downtown Los Angeles, so I’ve been going to a lot more art openings than I was previously, and people are so funny…it’s like, the get-ups and the personas that people develop in the art world are…I’m a very simple dresser, a simple human with a simple aesthetic, so I’m just blown away by some of the creativity. It’s great, I’m a little inspired to get louder with my attire. But as far as people-watching goes, it’s great.
The cliche answers would either be blue or green given our band name and that song title, but that seems like a cop-out. I’m going to say amber, in honor of the great 311 track that we often listen to in the van to take us back. My friend Kyle does DJ sets, and he always plays “Amber” by 311 and it just makes me laugh so hard. I love it.