Millie Manders and The Shut up and 10 Questions with TotalNtertainment.
As London 5-piece Millie Manders And The Shutup revealed the video for their new single Your Story and announced details of their debut album Telling Truths, Breaking Ties, which is set for release on 23 October. We got the chance to have a chat with them.
1. Thanks for your time, how has the lockdown been treating you and the band? Have you been keeping busy?
Thanks so much for inviting me to chat! I’d say lockdown has been a rollercoaster of good and bad for the band. On the one hand we have had two block tours and multiple festivals cancelled with more possibly to go in the autumn and winter, but we’ve also had some wonderful positives. We secured funding from the Arts Council to help us with our album and we have raised half of the crowd funding we need to complete the project in the way we hope to.
I have been keeping busy – the PR campaigns for the first two singles with the merchandise and everything that comes with releasing music has kept me going, and I also do artist development and music teaching so I have continued with that, albeit online
2. The new single Your Story is written about a personal experience; what did you get from writing those lyrics?
I have always found song writing to be cathartic and this was no different. It helps me to process my thoughts and feelings about whatever subject I’m touching upon. This one was entwined with a lot of sorrow, pain, abandonment, confusion and anger and I let that weave its way into the lyrics and the song itself. I hope that comes across. For me my song writing is a release.
3. You talk about watching that person’s stories on social media. On the subject of social media, there have been good and bad sides of its usage during the lockdown. How different do you think this period would have been without social media?
I think that’s really hard to say. There would have been a lot less online streaming of music and far more real events, that’s for sure. But would the protests have happened? Probably. Would there still be divides politically, socially and racially? Definitely. There was before so that hasn’t changed.
Social media is in equal parts brilliant and evil. It can boost someone’s morale one moment and destroy them the next. It can galvanise a nation to make great changes and divide its people and cause hatred. One thing I do know for sure about socials, is that you cannot get sucked in too far. It’s dangerous on many levels.
4. It’s hard to do an interview with a punk band without talking about the other major news at the moment, the racial protests across the planet. As individuals and as a band, have you been active in any protesting?
Where I have been working, I have not got to any physical protests, which is a shame. However, as a band we have been vocal on our social media in support of equality and the BLM movement. Personally, I have been reading and watching and trying to educate myself to understand my privilege and how I can use that to help others and be an ally to POC. It has been heart breaking and exhausting to see so much hate, but I can only imagine that what I feel pales in significance to those who have had to wake up every day knowing they are likely to be treated differently just because of the skin they were born in.
5. When we come out of the lockdown and life returns to some sort of normality, what do you hope people will have learned from the protests, the lockdown, the coverage?
I hope people will value our planet more, though I have already seen evidence against that. I hope people will value each other more and remember to be grateful for all the little things we have been missing so much – our friends and families, hugs, a walk outside in the fresh air. I hope that the fight continues for equality and that the fight is won. I hope more people with bigoted views are educated through discussion to help them form new opinions that better serve everyone. I guess I hope all the lessons we are learning are not forgotten.
6. How do you think your life has changed as a person and as a band in the last few months?
As a person I have been forced to take a break. I have not had a year without touring for I think seven years now. I have not had a mental break for at least that long and lockdown has forced that too. I have re-evaluated some of my life choices. I have spoken to my sisters and my parents more over the last few months than I have in years.
My band have been able to spend time with their families, complete their studies without having to write dissertations in a van and have a break too. While we all miss touring like crazy, I think we are all able to see the positive side to having a forced break for a while. Having said that, we all agree that when we can tour again, it will be full throttle.
7. You’ve scheduled a number of gigs for later in the year and for 2021. Do you think they will go ahead? And have you been doing anything ‘virtually’ in the meantime?
I would not like to try and predict what is going to happen. It all feels so unstable at the moment, and frankly I feel our government is making, and encouraging, several poor decisions that could lead to many more deaths due to Covid-19. All we can do at this point is plan ahead as though we will be touring and go from there.
I have played several online shows for various events and it’s been fun. I have switched it up each time to try and give something different to our audience. I don’t know if I will do any more, but we’ll see.
8. The punk scene has always been very DIY; have you seen the affect the lockdown has had on friends, bands and venues?
I think it would be impossible to not see the devastation this has wreaked on pretty much everybody. Specifically, the music and entertainment industry across the board has been put into an incredibly precarious position. Music Venue Trust is predicting a 90% closure of venues and loss of festivals because of a lack of support in the sector. It’s currently lobbying the government for £50m to bolster the industry. I find it astounding that the government is blind to a £50bn industry that is struggling. The tax revenue they receive alone should be shaking them, but it’s not. It’s scary and I would say we are all deeply worried.
9. Just for fun: If you could morph two animals to make one super animal, what two animals would you choose and why?
I mean … It’s got to be a Liger, right? “It’s pretty much my favourite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed. Bred for its skills in magic” – Napoleon Dynamite
10. Finally, thanks for your time and good luck for the future. Do you have a message you want to send out to fans of the band?
First and foremost, thank you. To you for the chat, to all our fans and followers for your continued support and to everyone who is fighting for the good things right now.
Second, please go pre order our limited-edition merchandise – £5 from each sale goes to NHS Charities together: https://millie-manders.com/