Music Q&A: Millie Manders and The Shutup

Known for their ferocious and joyous live shows Millie Manders and The Shutup are embarking on a UK tour and will soon be arriving in Blackpool. With grinding guitars, irresistible horns, huge amounts of pop appeal and candid lyrics, the band delve into themes of loss, betrayal, anxiety, heartbreak, environmental concerns and political unrest, all while exuding the punk attitude and the prowess that sets them apart. Millie chats to Josie Hindle ahead of the band’s set at Bootleg on 16th April.
Tell us about the new album, Wake Up, Shut Up, Work and which track on it are you most proud of?

I think we are all so proud of what we have achieved with this album. It’s difficult to say, because the one I am most proud of isn’t my favourite track, and I am deeply proud of all of the songs because they really have been a collaborative labour of love as a band. I will settle on Halloween though. I cannot tell you why, because that would give away the surprise for people when they hear it.

Honesty and authenticity are at the heart of your music and ethos. What other values do you hold close to your heart and your music and how do you stay true to this?

I am not sure what values could be higher than honesty and authenticity. This is what integrity is and, a wise person once said, there is no love without trust, and trust is dead without honesty. I was brought up to be brutally honest and to take the same given to me, but always with kindness. Niceness has no value. Kindness is honest and not always nice, so if there is one more value to uphold, it’s that.

How have you evolved as a band since your debut album and is it evident in your music?

The lineup has changed for a start. George is still on bass, but Joe has been working with me on guitars for the past three years now, and Pete has been with us nearly two years. That alone has changed the writing because it changes the melting pot of influences and styles you are working with. The evolution comes from that, from further maturity and learning in songwriting, new experiences and taking the time to immerse ourselves as a band to write the songs. We have stayed true to our sound but, yes, I think evolution is evident, too.

Who are your musical influences?

Vocally my influences are Skin (Skunk Anansie), P!nk, Aretha Franklin, Gwen Stefani. Lyrically Scroobius Pip and Rage Against The Machine definitely come in to it. Musically I would say all of the above, plus Skindred, Less Than Jake, Green Day, Stand Atlantic… the list goes on.

You’re regulars at Rebellion Festival and now you’re returning to Blackpool for a headline show. How do the two types of performance differ?

One is a cavernous stage with thousands of people, a lot of whom may be checking you out for the first time. The other is a longer set, in a more intimate room, with mostly people who know your music and have chosen to specifically buy a ticket to see you. Both are exhilarating, joy filled and wonderful.

What’s your favourite thing about Blackpool and do you have plans to do anything else while you’re here?
The beach. I am a very outdoorsy, nature loving person, so any opportunity to ground myself is taken. Salty air and sand between the toes is heaven.
You’re committed to making a positive impact on the music industry and using your voice as a force for good. How do you achieve this and why is it important to you?

I believe that there is a certain duty that comes with having a platform. I am a feminist and a vegan. Feminism, at its core, is seeking equality and rights for all, so my activism is rooted in that. Veganism seeks a better world for all creatures on a planet free from toxic systems and farming, hunting and cruelty, so my activism is rooted there too. It can be scary sometimes to put myself out there, but I firmly believe it’s the right thing to do. I try to spread as much information as possible, have difficult conversations, invite representations from organisations to our shows, and raise money for charities through exclusive merchandise.

Buy tickets to Millie Manders and The Shutup at Bootleg Social, 16th April, here.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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