Monday, May 27, 2013

Q & A with Dan Miller of Mission South

DC based Mission South released their latest EP, Migration, Vol. 2 in April. The album has gotten a good deal of play here at QNYC Headquarters.  It’s one of the few albums released in the last couple of years that gets played from beginning to end without a track being skipped. It’s also the first album released this year that I’ve fallen completely in lust with.  It’s earthy. It’s bluesy.  It’s soulful.  It’s tight.  It’s beautiful.  It’s excellence.  As I sit here writing this, the track “Free” is playing.  It’s rainy out with a bit of a chill and all I can think about is grabbing a blanket, a cup of tea and going to sit on the porch with my headphones on.  It’s one of those kinds of records.

I threw some questions out and Mission South guitarist/vocalist Dan Miller threw some answers back.  And this, is the result.

Quirky NY Chick (QNYC): How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?

Dan Miller (DM): It's somewhere between bad and terrible.  As if Phil Collins had a baby with Pantera.  Haha, no.  It is all over the map though.  It's got some blues/rock grit, with pop sensibilities, and folk sensitivity.  

(QNYC): You recently released your new EP Migration Vol. 2 which has gotten a good deal of play in our office.  Tell us a bit about the record.

(DM): The new EP is the second in a series of three, and it definitely seems like a middle child of sorts.  It was written and recorded very quickly, and we didn't really nit pick over many fine details.  We laid the tracks down and let them remain pretty barebones, and speak for themselves.  I think a lot of spontaneity can be lost in the studio when you play songs over and over again, and that was something we didn't want to happen here.  We tried to capture the very visceral emotions that can be found in the first or second take, and then just stuck with those.  It came across as very honest, and gave us some room to push the boundaries a lot more with the third and final EP.

(QNYC): I hear a lot of soul in your sound as well as some blues elements.  Who are some of your musical influences?

(DM): There's a pretty wide range, and I think every member contributes something unique to the blend.  I personally dig a lot of older blues artists, Mississippi John Hurt, Junior Kimbrough, Robert Johnson, to name a few, as well as soul artists like Otis Redding and Same Cooke.  But, I'm also into a lot of world music, and modern indie artists like Vampire Weekend, and Arcade Fire. 

(QNYC): What non-musical person has been the greatest influence on your music?

(DM): That's a killer question.  I'd say Quentin Tarantino.  He's someone that takes risks, pushes boundaries, and just has unequaled vision and ability to execute in everything he does.   Never met the man, but from what I've read, he seems fearless and willing to adapt in any situation, and those are important things for performers to embody. 

(QNYC): A video for the track "Peaches" was recently unveiled; it's an excellent and intense piece of work that makes you want to know more.  Will there be a continuation?  Or will we just be left to imagine more of the story?

(DM): You'll just have to see....

(QNYC): You've just completed your first national tour.  How was life on the road?  Did it go relatively smooth or did you have some Spinal Tap moments?

(DM): Haha I love Spinal Tap.  I wish we'd had more Spinal Tap moments.  We're three best friends that have known each other since we were 8 years old, and grew up down the street from each other.  We love to fucking laugh, so I think we all joke around too much to get pissed.  Someone will be about to get angry, and then one of us will crack a dick joke, and it diffuses everything.  We did settle into the "rock star" lifestyle a bit, and there were certainly some debauchery.  Standing naked on a Dallas rooftop was a crowning moment of that.  

(QNYC): Of the songs from the new EP, which is your favorite to play live?

(DM): Saint.  It's sort of this slow burning ballad, and every time we play it, I can feel that we just all drown in it and are inside the song for every bend and turn.  I come out of that song and open my eyes and feel rejuvenated and ready to light up the rest of the set.

(QNYC): You're from the DC area.  What's the music scene there like right now?  Anything that you're enjoying that we should keep our ears open for?

(DM): Wooooo we love DC.  It's great, it's home.  Y'all should check out Young Rapids, Astra Via, and The North Country. 

(QNYC): In parting, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

(DM): We'd like ya better if you showered once in a while.  Nooo.  Thank you for making our first national tour more successful than we ever could have imagined.  As three kids finding our way, it was humbling to meet everyone on our journey.  Eat more fruit.  Have a great summer.  Good decisions go well with bad ones.

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