Brooklyn phenomenon, Milagres, released Violent Light, a follow-up to 2011’s Glowing Mouth last week. The new album embodies the same lo-fi Brooklyn glitz of their first album, with big falsetto choruses, head-bobbing key ostinatos, and laidback synth progressions. We spoke with frontman Kyle Wilson about the album and more.
How did Violent Light happen? What was your inspiration and where did you lay it down?
When we got back from touring on our last album, Glowing Mouth, I realized that we needed to make another album and I hadn’t written a thing.
The only living I’d done since writing Glowing Mouth had been on tour with the band and you can’t really write an interesting album about that, so I had to dig deep for Violent Light. A lot of the songs have seeds in the place that I’m from in Northern New Mexico; my family moved there when my grandfather got a job working on the Manhattan Project. The landscape out there is vast and huge, and there’s an interesting confluence of cultures. If you’ve never been there, I recommend visiting.
Who can we credit with the album art?
The initial concept for the art came from the band, but it ended up being very different from what we originally imagined. Stephanie Butterworth, a very talented designer, worked with us on this album as well as our last. We love the way it came out.
Tell me about your song titles. Why “IDNYL” instead of “I Don’t Need Your Love”?
We just want to be more like Prince.
Who’s your dream collaboration?
I’m not sure I really have one, but possibly Kate Bush or Peter Gabriel? There are definitely a lot of producers I think the band would be excited to work with, but that’s something else.
What would Milagres sound like today if you all were playing the first instrument you ever learned to play or the first instrument you ever wanted to play?
When I was a kid I wanted to take Taekwondo lessons after school. My mother only allowed me to do so if I also took piano lessons, which did not make me happy.
Six months later I had quit Taekwondo and I was obsessively learning all I could about music. I got my first guitar when I was six or seven. So, I don’t think Milagres would sound all that different. I did play trombone in high school – I was horrible! I was a notoriously good student, but band was the only course in which I got anything lower than a B in in my entire academic career!
Are you all from New York originally?
No. Paul is from Queens, Fraser was born in the UK but went to high school in the same area as Chris – the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. I’m from Santa Fe, NM.
Is music full-time for all of you? What’s the strangest job you’ve had?
Fraser works on music full-time for at least part of the year, but we all have other jobs when we’re not on tour.
I work in restaurants, so that’s always weird. I used to work as an usher at the Santa Fe Opera. That was an amazing job because the opera house is outside. You get to watch these amazing productions with mountains and lightning storms in the background every night.
What’s the five-year plan?
Try to take life as it comes.
What are your fashion no-nos?
You can rock just about anything as long as you have the confidence and are consistent. Although I will say I’m getting pretty tired of fedoras.
Where in Brooklyn can we find the best sandwich?
My favorite sandwich in these parts is actually in Manhattan at Katz’ Deli. Pastrami Sayngwich. Incredible.
Milagres will be playing the Brick and Mortar Hall in San Francisco on March 21.