Charles Brownstein of Northern Trasmissions chats with Kyle Wilson of the band Milagres.
Northern Transmissions: What were some of the inspirations for this album?
Kyle Wilson: It’s funny that you’re calling from British Columbia because I went on a really long expedition up there in a remote part of the coast called the Waddington Range. It’s so beautiful up there. We left from Vancouver Island and took a float plane into a tiny little lake, and walked 60 or so miles through this really remote range. You can’t see these glaciers from anywhere else because they’re so high up, they are amazing places. I think that the experience of being up there had a huge impact on this album, just the vastness of it all. The part that had the most influence of me was the positive part, because when you’re a climber you’re going to get hurt, but luckily it wasn’t a super serious injury.
NT: What were the influences on the lyrics of the album?
KW: A lot of the lyrics on this album were stream of consciousness. I think that the line and the chorus sort of sum the songs up. The title of the album was sort of an image that was loosely tied to some of the ideas of the songs, it didn’t really have any specific meaning.
NT: How did you get involved with the label “Kill Rock Stars”?
KW: Basically they heard our record and wanted to sign us. It’s very uncommon for a label these days, especially an indie artist-friendly label like Kill Rock Stars, to sign a band before seeing them live. We were really fortunate that they really liked our record enough. Of course the first time they saw us live was very nerve racking, as we thought that they had made a mistake, but I think they’ve been very pleased with our live performance.
NT: What was it like having one of your band mates Fraser McCulloch record the album?
KW: The progression of having Fraser produce and record the album came really naturally. He had recorded and mixed the previous record that we worked on which was before he was actually in the band, but some changes happened and we brought him in, so it just made sense that he recorded it. He’s really skilled and has lots of equipment, and he’s an amazing producer to work with. We would like potentially in the future to have someone else mix the record I think though. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m pretty content to keep working with Fraser, because he’s got a lot of good ideas. Fraser and I have different perspectives which I think makes for a better final product. I thought we’d come from a little bit of a low-fi-leave-your-mistakes-in kind of mindset, while he’s got a more refined, polished, big round wall of sound kind of mentality.
NT: You were pretty close to quitting and giving up music at one point. Are you glad you’re still writing and touring?
KW: Yeah absolutely. I think I’ll always be writing, it’s sort of what comes naturally to me. It’s sort of what I do with myself when I have nothing else to do, which I guess becomes rarer and rarer as you, get older. Believe it or not, but I love climbing, I definitely have been so busy with the band that I certainly miss it. I’m definitely glad with what we’re doing right now. During the period of time that I was writing songs for this album, I wasn’t really thinking about anyone listening to them, I was just writing them to write them. Fraser was really a driving force behind the creation of the album, he really pushed it forward and turned it into something cohesive and presentable, and kind of helped us put it out into the world.
NT: Are you a little blown away by all the positive reviews?
KW: It’s crazy how you can get great reviews but you’re also getting great reviews from people that you read. More so than reviews, what matters to me is that we can get on the road and do shows, and there are people there who either like the record or become a fan of the band after seeing us play live. It’s that personal connection that really drives me in the end rather than good reviews or good press.
NT: I heard one review where they compared you to Prince. What’s your opinion on that one?
KW: That’s one of the few comparisons that I actually like. I love Prince. I’m not super familiar with his work, but I love his style. I especially like his vocal style, he’s an amazing vocalist. I think that that’s a great comparison to hear.
NT: Can you tell me about the Sleepover shows and the concept behind it?
KW: There are a couple people that do it in Boston. We were playing there and they wanted to film us, so spur of the moment we decided to do it on top of a parking garage, because we were walking around looking for a quiet place to pull it off. We saw this parking garage and we asked the attendant if we could film it on top of the roof, and he said you can but there’s this retirement home just adjacent, so he said “do it quickly and be quiet, because if they wake up, they may call the police”. So we got on top of the parking garage, and as we started to perform, people starting coming out onto their balconies and I think they started to actually enjoy it, they were waving down, and nobody called the cops. It was a perfect place to record because it was above the noise of the city, it was really nice.