Ten years since their second and last record These Are The Facts, Milburn have risen from the ashes of the mid-2000s Sheffield indie scene, which featured the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Reverend in the Makers, to release an album and tour the UK. Whilst they never reached the popularity that their friends’ did, they sold out shows in their hometown, signed to Mercury Records in 2006 and released two studio albums within a year.
Individual music projects brought an end to Milburn in 2008, but a reunion at a friend’s birthday party encouraged them to return – “it was fun, so we carried on.”
So, how has it been returning a decade later to a music scene that has changed so dramatically? Frontman Joe Carnall explains: “The first time round was so exciting because we were all so young, it seemed like every week something new was happening to us or one of the other bands we knew. However, that came with its own pressures…
“There was a bit of competition between the bands and it wasn’t always healthy: because of our ages there was a lot of trying too hard to look and sound cool. The difference now is that we genuinely don’t give a shit. Maturity has bred a subtle self-confidence.”
Matured from the lyrics inspired by fights and dysfunctional relationships popular in mid-2000s indie, Milburn teamed up with Bill Ryder-Jones to create their new album TIME. With indie music not being as popular as it was a decade ago, the music scene of 2017 ultimately affected the writing process for their upcoming, third record.
“It’s about our relationships with each other, music and the transition from then to now. Initially feeling a bit dumb-founded about what it should sound like, it began to write itself after we recorded Midnight Control and teamed up with Bill.
“Essentially we write indie guitar music, but none of us actually listen to it. We were spoilt by the likes of The Strokes, The Coral and early Kings of Leon when we wrote our first record – it’s going to take something truly special to top those so I think we’ve naturally drifted away from that taste wise.
“Within the band we’ve all split into different directions – there’s a joke that I spend all my time listening to Simon and Garfunkel whilst our guitarist only wears leather and listens to Queens Of The Stone Age.”
During the last decade the band haven’t been complete strangers to music: Joe joined Reverend In The Makers in 2012 and started a band with ex-Arctic Monkeys bassist Andy Nicholson, who was also briefly in a band with Joe’s brother and fellow Milburn member Louis. Lead guitarist Tom Rowley and drummer Joe Green are in desert rock band Dead Sons, with Tom also becoming a touring member for Arctic Monkeys in 2013.
The four piece reunited in April last year for four shows in Sheffield to celebrate ten years since the release of their debut album Well Well Well and subsequently released the single Midnight Control and announced a new album, a show at the Don Valley Bowl and a UK Autumn 2017 tour.
“At one point it was incredibly unlikely – but eventually everybody was in a good place individually and had time on their hands. The decision was made after playing a couple of tunes at a friend’s birthday party.”
Sheffield’s Don Valley Bowl was filled with over 5,000 fans to witness Milburn’s biggest headline spot ever with support from friend’s RITM and Cabbage in June, completely smashing their box office predictions and providing ammunition to announce further shows…
“It was amazing. If it all ended tomorrow I’d be content. It finally felt like we were receiving the recognition we deserved. We sounded bloody good too.”
Their November 2017 tour has them playing London’s Electric Brixton, Manchester’s Academy, Glasgow’s O2 ABC, Leeds’ University Union and our very own Leicester’s O2 Academy. But what’s in store for Leicester fans?
“Though we’re not totally self indulgent, we are going to play a lot of new stuff, as we don’t want to become one of those ‘used to be famous’ bands that just do it all for the money. It will make playing the old ones a bit more special if they’re a bit less frequent.
“Even if our new record sells three copies, we know it’s good and that it’s everyone else’s loss.”
Get tickets to Milburn at Leicester’s O2 Academy on November 10th here, and pre-order new album TIME on their website.