There’s something really refreshing about London’s Millie Manders, who fuses infectious, socially-infused pop punk with all manner of musical influences – from classical and big band to ska and hip-hop.
It’s an eclectic mix, but she – and her band The Shutup – pull it off perfectly. We had a chat with Millie to find out more, and asked her for an overview of her musical influences. She said: “I’ve always loved the underground scenes: metal, punk, grunge… My dad played a lot of ska, mod, punk and other really new sounds like Cypress Hill and Prodigy when they first appeared in the early 90’s, so it’s always been a huge part of my love for music.
“But in terms of our sound, we call it cross genre punk. It’s catchy, influenced by ska, hiphop, pop and rock music and has socially connected lyrics a fair amount of the time. We are bouncy, with bite!”
It’s clear from the music that it’s formed by social influences and personal issues. Millie explains: “It comes from loads of stuff. Anger is a big influence. Be it about something going on in the world, or something personal. Pain too. Personal trauma is a great source of inspiration – wow, I like sound the happiest human… Song writing is great therapy though, and a great way of getting thoughts across about subjects you are passionate about.”
Last year’s EP Obsession Transgression is a fun collection of pop-punk meets ska and rock. It kicks off with the awesome Obsession Transgression, which kicks off with an upbeat drum intro followed by a quick burst of trumpets then guitars imitating that tune through a quick verse. There’s a big chorus with fast-paced cymbals, horns and guitars, followed by a cool little brass interlude. This is a really cool, high-energy track with loads of fun instrumental stuff going on.
It’s followed by the very different Teddy, which starts off with a cool little riff and almost spoken lyrics from Manders, before going all ska on us with some really cool vocals and brass – which comes into its own with a really cool muted trumpet solo.
Next up is the effortlessly cool Bacchus, opening up with a cool little riff and opening verse, followed by the delicious chorus of: “Your feet hurt so you have another drink, too scared to talk you have another drink.” There’s then a cool fast-paced verse that drops into the chorus, followed by a laid back interlude with Millie’s vocals floating over the top before the funky guitars kick back into life.
The EP closes out with the excellent Long Gone, which shows Millie and co at their finest. It opens up with a burst of brass then funky riffs in support of Millie’s vocals, followed by a big burst of horns and guitar chords as Millie’s huge rocky vocals kick in. The track builds with a big ascending guitar chords, then drops out completely for a funky little riff and funky little interludes of random guitar noise.
Millie Manders and her band are a really fun bunch with bags of energy and keep you on your toes from song to song with their unique blend of rock, ska and punkiness. Millie’s voice is awesome, the mix of guitars and brass is really engaging and it’s impossible not to get into their music.
And the good news is there’s plenty more to come this year. Millie told us: “From April onwards we are already super busy with tour dates. We also have a load of new songs brewing. We’d really like to get a new release out by late summer, finance depending!”