‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.
A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.
Today’s guest is Miles from Miles Calder & The Rumours.
Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
I’m a singer/songwriter from Wellington and I play and record with my great band The Rumours (Nick George, Steve Moodie, and Kirsten Moodie). When we started we were very much in the folk/country direction, but I think my songs and the band’s arrangements have naturally become more electric and atmospheric. So our current live show and latest album are more folk-rock or Americana: some familiar chords and classic instruments, but with swimmy layered electric guitars and organ. Loving that vibe right now.
What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
We released our debut self-titled album a few months ago, and did a national tour October to December. The response to the album has been great, and we’re hoping to be able to do an additional vinyl release of this soon. We’ve had some new additions to the line-up so over the last month or two we’ve been focussing on our show for upcoming festivals, but I’ve got a big backlog of songs waiting to be recorded, so we’ve started working on these and are looking forward to recording this year.
Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
People can follow us to keep up with tours and releases on Facebook and by joining our mailing list, as well as Instagram and Twitter. Best place to get our music for download or CD is Bandcamp. We’re also on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and in all good NZ music stores.
What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
Growing up I probably had more eclectic listening than I do now. My first musical purchase was a cassette of Will Smith’s ‘Big Willie Style’, Hahaha. As a kid, my dad would play a lot of Paul Simon’s Graceland, various Pink Floyd albums. (I remember listening to The Wall a lot).
I would say though, that my ‘musical growing-up’, in terms of things that would influence me, started more when I was about eighteen. I’ve been obsessed with Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street since first hearing it. It’s like a window into the inner works of a recording band at its most messy, raw and inspired. I remember very clearly listening to Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited in headphones on a long walk in Auckland. It was the first time I’d properly delved into Dylan, and it floored me. Also Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker was a huge influence on me starting to write songs and it is still a favourite.
Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
We’ve been really lucky to have had a lot of our favourite Wellington musicians play and record with us. On the album we had backing vocals by Lisa Tomlins (Neil Finn, Fat Freddy’s Drop), organ by Ed Zuccollo (Trinity Roots), piano by Dayle Jellyman (The Roseneath Centennial Ragtime Band), electric guitar by Finn Johansson, and a horn section with Chris Winter (Eb & Sparrow), Matthew Benton (The Black Seeds), and Lucien Johnson (The Black Seeds, Lord Echo). It was also such a pleasure to have Lee Prebble record us at The Surgery.
I’m a huge fan of The Phoenix Foundation so I’d love to one day do something with Sam Flynn Scott or Luke Buda.
What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
Playing the Opera House when we opened for Fly My Pretties was really nice to perform in. Would love to play there one day with the band. We’ve had many a great show at San Fran, and Ziggy there is so great to work with, so that is a go-to for us.
In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
With me, a song starts with a melody or chord progression, and the vibe or feeling of that usually summons some lyrics and that then takes over to inform the development of the song from there. I try to make sure that choices for where the song goes musically are following the emotional vibe of lyrics. Although sometimes the music and lyrics being at odds is a great effect. I come to the band with a raw song that has chords, lyrics and melody, and usually have some ideas of vibe for the arrangements. The band are amazing at coming up with their own parts to complement the songs and fit with the feeling of the tune and lyrics. Often we can workshop it enough that we come up with totally new sections or chords. And of course some of the melodies or drum parts those guys bring to the songs are often the bits that stick with you, and you can’t wait to hear next time.
Where/when is your next gig?
We are playing next at:
Wellington Wine, Food & Craft Beer Festival March 10-11
UPSURGE Festival in the Bay of Islands April 8
Waiheke Jazz Festival April 14-16.