There’s a new album out from Millie Manders and The Shutup – Telling Truths, Breaking Ties – it’s a glorious punk riot with added sax and trumpets. It’s comfort food that makes you think.
Millie Manders and the Shutup recently trailed their new album with the video for Burnout, the closing track on the album and a fitting song to end a memorable debut. Millie described the song as, “a love letter to everything we do and everything we go through while we chase our dreams. It’s a celebration of the exhaustion and all the joy that it brings along the way.”
We like their style and their ethos. And their music. The pretty classy punk pop with added sax and trumpets.
To Zoom we head.
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Millie: Currently sat in my flat, having just put the heating on because the temperature has suddenly dropped from 17 degrees to about 8 and I’m drinking a massive cup of tea. This is my pint cup. [Holds cup of tea up to the screen]
P3dro: So, the big news in your land is the release of the new album.
Millie: It is, yes. It came out last Friday, 23 October.
P3dro: How has it been received?
Millie: Amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better response. As a small DIY band to have had so many positive reviews and so many streams in the past week has been absolutely mind-blowing. We can’t thank people enough for their support. It’s been great. Thank you.
P3dro: Did we read somewhere you’d planned to release the album earlier in the year. Or have we just made up that bit?
Millie: No. I think a lot of bands had moved their releases back. But I chose to stick to the plan. It was suggested perhaps we should delay because of the lockdown and all the rest of it. But I felt very strongly the fanbase had been waiting for a long time already and, actually, new music brings a little bit of light in the darkness.
I’m very much like that at the moment. I need new music. I need things to make all of this feel a little bit less negative. So, I wanted to keep releasing things for people to enjoy.
P3dro: It must be a bit frustrating not being able to get out and tour [the album] to promote it.
Millie: Yes and no. Yes, it’s been horrible not to be able to go out and see people, to unleash energy on stage. We haven’t even been able to rehearse the album in order to be ready to do that.
We were planning on doing that this month, but, of course we’ve just gone into a second lockdown, so we’ll be hoping to do that in December, if and when the doors are opened.
But, actually, what lockdown did for us as a band, it enabled me to have more time to concentrate on promoting the album, put out some really cool merchandise, raise some money for charity. So, I’ve spent that time moving positively in a different direction.
So, yes, disappointing because we know lots of people wanted to see our shows. And we love playing live. But the positive side is it gave me more time to do what I needed to do, to manage the band in that period and shift my focus.
P3dro: When was the album recorded?
Millie: Last December. Yeah, finished on 29 December.
P3dro: You mention raising money for charity. We’ve read from press releases and the like you have no plastic wrapping on any of the releases or the merch. And that some of the proceeds from merch are going to mental health and other charities.
Millie: Yes, that’s right. The vinyls have dust jackets, so they’re plastic, but that’s for the protection of the vinyl, and it’s not a throwaway item. But we didn’t do anything in shrinkwrap. The company we use for merchandise does not plastic wrap any of the merchandise, they just fold it and put it into a cardboard box for me to then distribute.
The materials I use for postage and packaging are 95% plastic free, so, yes, we’re doing everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint in terms of that kind of thing.
The mental health charities we raise money for are MIND and Papyrus. Then NHS charities Together and Survivors Trust UK.
P3dro: Was that always in the plan – to raise money for charity?
Millie: Yeah. That was my [thinking]. If we were going to release limited edition merchandise then we wanted to make it worth it for the fans, to have something really, really cool. But I also wanted to do something that was worthwhile and really close to our hearts and to do with the stuff we write about as well.
P3dro: Yeah, we were going to come onto that. A lot of your music deals with the ills of the world. Mental health, the environment, the political landscape in which we find ourselves at the minute.
Millie: Yeah. I think that’s quite a nice way of putting it – the ills of the world – I think the world is sick in many different ways. Not just the physical sickness of our planet at the moment, which is disturbing. But in a lot of ways people are getting more sick because of societal structures and the lack of help. I wanted to address a lot of that in my writing process.
We’re trying to make a statement, to come at it from all angles. We want people to understand all of that is important to us.
P3dro: You did have a tour planned for this year. There are still some gigs scheduled for December?
Millie: Hopefully, they will still go ahead. We’ve got 11, 12 and 13 December. They’re all socially distanced shows. 11th has sold out, 12th is very close to selling out and 13th has sold 50 tickets of the 70 we’re allowed. The first two are in London and the other one is in Leicester.
P3dro: Presumably, that means everyone sitting down at tables.
Millie: Yeah, everyone sat at a table, drinks by table service, one way systems and that kind of thing. In the current circumstances, its just really cool we can at least get three gigs in.
That will be really nice. And, obviously London is one of my home towns, as well as some of the band. So it’s a home show. And we have a really strong following north of London, so it’s really nice to get one show going towards that way, in the Midlands.
We’re really excited about doing those, so please let them happen.
P3dro: We can’t really imagine you’re the kind of band who would normally do a seated gig. What does a normal Millie Manders gig look like?
Millie: Oh, well, if we weren’t in Covid, it would hopefully be packed to the rafters, sweat dripping from the ceiling, people skanking and moshing, beer sloshing, lots of laughter and smiles. We’re very high energy, the music’s high energy and the shows are [the same] that’s for sure.
P3dro: Yes, we’ve been to one gig since the end of March and that was a sell out with about 20 people there.
Millie: Yes, it’s good that people are being pro-active, keeping live music alive and it’s good to see people buying socially distanced tickets and supporting the venues anyway they can.
While it’s really sad the industry is in turmoil at the moment, I think there are some real positive things that have come about. With camaraderie and community that has been built through these troubling times, we are supporting each other. I think that’s worth holding on to and remembering.
P3dro: We think that’s fair comment because there are quite a few labels [and bands] who have been putting out “lockdown compilation albums”. You’re involved in one too?
Millie: Yeah. There’s a compilation that’s coming out that Colin’s Punk Rock World are putting out that’s raising money for people of colour, in particular, women of colour who are often marginalised in lots of different ways. The majority of people on the album are either female led, or have a female presence in the band. That comes out next Friday [6 November] and will be on BandCamp, with BandCamp waiving their fees that day.
So every penny of that compilation sold on that Friday will go the cause, which is great.
P3dro: Do you have a new song on the compilation, or is it one of the album tracks?
Millie: No, it’s actually a song from our previous EP, ‘SHUTUP‘ called ‘Brave’. It’s about pursuing what you do, doggedly, regardless of society’s structures. I think it was quite relevant to the cause.
P3dro: What sort of music do you think influences your sound as a band?
Millie: Lots and lots of different things. I was brought up to be incredibly eclectic in a house that had hundreds of genres of music to listen to. Both old, modern and that only increased as music came out in the charts or wherever.
I personally love punk and new metal and ska. The band is very into pop punk as well.
James is quite a mettaler. Georgina is quite a rock person. Alex was quite into hip hop in the 90s, and so was I. So, there are all these influences that have been built on and mashed up in the album.
I think it’s very obviously punk, but it’s nice people have noticed all the diversity we have running through it as well.
P3dro: Well, the sax and the trumpet do things as well. It gives you a quite distinctive sound, but it also references back to bits of reggae and ska.
Millie: Yeah, absolutely. Also, because Dom is first and foremost a jazz musician, I think that’s really obvious in some of his solos. There’s a real jazz flavour to some of his licks. I absolutely love his sax solo in ‘Broken Record’. The reason I adore that [song] is because of his blistering sax solo in it.
P3dro: Recommend a band or an album you think we should be listening to right now.
Millie: Oh, yeah, so many. Hands Off Gretel have their debut out, Dream Nails are amazing, they’re feminist queer punk. Riskee And The Ridicule, ‘Body Bag Your Scene’ and ‘Blame Culture’, both those albums are amazing. Call Me Malcolm have two albums out, both incredible albums. Stand Atlantic’s debut is beautiful. The Interrupters, their most recent album is wonderful.
We’re in a fantastic time at the moment with regards to punk and cross genre punk.
So. All of those bands.
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