When Milo Greene was just starting out, he was a fictional booking agent created to help land Milo Greene (the band) live shows. The cinematic indie-pop group has come a long way since then: releasing two studio albums, recording with producer Jesse Shatkin (Sia, Foster the People, Ellie Goulding), and headlining their own tour. The Los Angeles band is known for its unusual creative team — four members who all double as singers and songwriters. Next Tuesday, Milo Greene returns to the road for the band’s first headlining tour in support of its brand-new album, Control. Stop one: SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Tuesday, February 10. In anticipation, I talked with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Heringer about Control, collaboration, and makeup.
For show info and tickets, call (805) 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.
Is there an overarching vision for Control? The word “control” is a pretty good image for what we’re trying to do. We have four songwriters, so figuring out who is in control of what is important. You know, somebody in the band is better at lyrics, someone’s better at guitar, someone is better at the business side of things, or setting up the stage. For all of us — four singers, four songwriters, four people who are businessmen and women in a lot of ways — we seek control to utilize everybody’s abilities in the best way we can.
How do you deal with four songwriters without stepping on each other’s toes? Well, there’s a lot of inspiration, and there is never any shortage of ideas. It takes a lot of communication — just talking about what people are inspired by and excited about, and what people’s visions are. The music has been more upbeat on this record than on the last, but the lyrics have been more depressing, more angsty.
Would you say you all have different stylistic emphases? Definitely. Robbie [Arnett, vocals and various instruments] and Marlana [Sheetz, vocals and various instruments], for instance, have their heads in a lot of ‘90s R&B records, which is a genre I completely missed. In the ‘90s, I was into grunge and rock, alternative stuff. I had no experience with hip-hop in the early ‘90s, and that was something I got to experience through them during the last [record] cycle. We were all listening to a lot of Talking Heads, David Bowie, and Michael Jackson together in the studio. We were trying to grow and make something people didn’t expect from a second record for us. This album was also really heavily based on percussive elements. We experimented a lot with rhythms and beats.
Would you say the energy is different between your last album and this one? Yeah! We really wanted to do something different, and we talked a lot about how much change was appropriate. We brought some David Bowie documentaries along on our last tour. He’s ridiculous in the best of ways. He just owns it. Grant and I were actually in London when there was a David Bowie art exhibit there. It was spectacular. We’ve been trying to make our shows more of a spectacle — adding character, wearing more costumes.
Bowie was into extravagance. What’s the craziest thing you’ve worn onstage? Probably in a musical I did when I was younger, Seussical. I was some sort of dominatrix bird dressed in all leather. I never wore makeup, but I might bring it into the live show now!