BY JAIME BRACKEEN | Jonk Music
"I'm happily exhausted," says Graham Fink, member and one-fifth of the rising, harmony-driven indie folk band Milo Greene.
The band — a star of Summer Jams '11 — has been high in demand around the release of their debut self-titled album, likely making all its members quite pleased the ensemble is not actually fronted by just one guy. After a brief lunch break, Fink takes a few minutes to chat with Jonk Music on the debut of Milo Greene's first record release and just days before the start of their U.S. tour.
First things first: How does a five-person band cramped in the confines of a van stay occupied during long hours on the road?
Mind you, Fink has never studied French before.
"It's totally a whim; I studied Spanish in school and I figured trying French out would be, you know, a good, productive way to spend 10 hours a day in a van."
Which song has you most excited for listeners to hear on Milo Greene?
"I think 'What's the Matter,' which is the first song on the album. It's the only song that we haven't really been playing live for the past, you know like, year of touring that we've been doing, and uh, it's definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. So now that it's out, you know, it's nice that people will be able to hear it and we'll start playing it at shows. That's kind of like a christening of it as one of our songs."
Rumor has it most of the members of Milo Greene were the lead singers of their former musical endeavors, so how did you all decide what role to play in this band?
"Yeah, four of us were [lead singers in other bands before Milo Greene] and then we kind of came together.
"That's what's kind of been fun for us in this band is we switch instruments pretty much every song. Um, like when we were putting the songs together it was kind of like, 'you know, I'll try playing bass on this one' or 'I'll play guitar' and we kind of just move around, so there were never any set assignments when we were getting things going. Um, it's fun. It allows us to move around and not get bored on one instrument. We all kind of do everything. "It's funny; we were all guitar players, mainly. And now we've all—over the past couple of years — gotten our feet wet with you know, bass and keyboard and percussion and different things. We all started out as guitarists and we've evolved into people that dabble in other things to expand the sound and make the band."
Where does the band draw inspiration for your haunting harmonies and road-trip-worthy singles?
"Inspiration is all over the place, I mean musically there's five of us and we're everything from David Bowie to Ryan Adams to Skrillex — our drummer has..." ("Did you say Skrillex?") "...I did say Skrillex. But there's you know, a wide array each of us have. That's kind of the cool thing, each of us have different musical backgrounds — you know, what we're listening to before we come to the band and the kind of bands that we were in before this one. So you know, Milo Greene is kind of a hybrid of different things."
Does the band have any secret quirks or stories yet to be divulged to the media junket?
"That’s a good question; that puts me on the spot.
"Um... something that you don't know: Powder is our collective favorite movie. Naw, I'm just kidding.
"Let's see. Robbie uh, never play baseball with Robbie [Arnett] because he'll throw his shoulder out on his first swing at bat. Never have any of your leftovers on the table with Andrew [Heringer] because he will eat them. Never, uh, compete with Marlana [Sheetz] to get the last elliptical machine at the gym because she will fight you for it, and she will take it. And uh, yeah, never try to get Curtis [Marrero] to do any strenuous activity without a full meal beforehand, because he will be very grumpy. And then never challenge me to a basketball game because I will [slam] dunk on you."
There you have it. With a diverse musical background and influences in everything from the French language to Skrillex, Milo Greene is a band for the eclectic, and they've apparently got mad hops, too. Be sure to hear their newly christened song "What's the Matter" and other skillfully crafted tunes when they come to The Frequency on Tuesday, August 7. Tickets are only $8 in advance and the house is sure to be packed. Even Milo Greene can't wait to play for you.
"We're looking forward to coming to Wisconsin and hanging out in Madison for a day or two."