The Miller Test is a London based rock band who has been playing together for almost a decade but yet, they released their debut album “This Funk is Political” in 2020 and their 2nd record “Dead Blue” in 2021 which had a mix of influences, today we’ll get to know them and their future plans.
● First of all, how did you guys meet? And what made you think that you’d have the chemistry to start a band together?
It feels like we’ve known each other forever. The majority of this band has played music in one combination or another for a quarter of a century, and any founding motivations or sympathies are long lost to history. At this point, the remarkable thing is that there’s any chemistry left at all.
● What’s your main influences? And what made each one of you pick his instrument?
We made a film about our influences, though of course there a loads we miss.
● What’s the story behind the band’s name “The Miller Test”?
The 1973 US Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. California held that obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment (that’s the one that, topically enough, guarantees various American freedoms).
Since that case, U.S. law has used “the Miller Test” to determine how far porn can go before becoming “obscene”. This seemed a fitting band name, for some reason.
● Since you’ve been playing together for almost a decade, what was holding you from releasing your debut all this time?
False pride, shame, money – though not necessarily in that order.
● Can you pick a song from your catalogue to recommend to someone who wants to get into The Miller Test?
Blue by Venus is a beautiful romantic post-rock duet thing if you have good downers and eight minutes to spare.
● Since your debut album was released in 2020, how did the writing and recording process go during the lockdown?
We were lucky, as the first record was almost all done by March 2020, although releasing it took a lot longer as we held off waiting (in vain) for live opportunities to promote it. The scheduling for the second album was a little more challenging, but at that point it was just life. The whole thing gave Mink plenty to write about, anyway.
● Your records have a mix of various influences and sounds, how would you describe your sound?
Reluctantly, of course. Blues-pop, artrock, country-soul, probably with some alts and neos . There’s always a singer-songwriter foundation, but hopefully nothing too obvious. The songs seem to move between genre styles more than the band’s arrangements.
Find out our review here.
● I’m curious to know what’s the story behind “Southend Vic” lyrics and music video?
Mink, the band’s songwriter, was on a date with a poet in Southend, a Victorian seaside resort on the southeast coast of England, and they challenged each other to write about the experience. Mink came up with Southend Vic. So it’s in one sense a literal record of that seedily romantic episode, almost a diary entry – although at the same time, the way Mink writes means that everything is exaggerated and grotesque.
The grotesquerie took over the video. The seaside setting immediately suggested a few references, such as the Boulting Brothers’ film of Brighton Rock, or Bowie as Pierrot in the Ashes to Ashes video on a beach with a tractor and Steve Strange doing a funny walk. After that, the Roeg-Lynchian horror thing was more or less inevitable.
● What’s your post “Dead Blue” plans?
We’re working on a new record, which might be space (nu-)country disco, that we’re hoping to record in the summer. And we haven’t played live in far too long, so we’re trying to work out what that now might look like.