Sheffield’s Milburn on the reunion, Spotify and the height of Alex Turner
After splitting in 2008, Sheffield’s very own indie band Milburn have reunited by selling out the O2 twice and performing an ‘insane’ surprise set at Leadmill. I caught up with lead singer Joe Carnall, who described the reunion as quite simply ‘great’.
Joe insists there were no hard feeling over the break up, mostly down to the fact they have known each other ‘since they were six or seven years old’ and their return to the Sheffield scene has not gone unnoticed. Their ‘Sheffield identity’ spurs from being ‘all they really knew’ and ‘just being proud of the place’. The Milburn boys started the band when they were fourteen and have grown up going to and performing at iconic venues such as a personal favourite of Joe’s, Leadmill. Further afar from Sheffield, Joe ‘has been shocked the most’ by the reception Milburn have received. ‘We kind of expected it in Sheffield but we’ve also been selling out rooms in places like London and Glasgow. We thought Sheffield would be it but we’ve had a couple of crackers elsewhere. It seems the fans are devout wherever they are.’ The ‘dream’, Joe admits, coming from his ‘love of festivals’, is ‘to one day play Glastonbury’. Milburn are familiar with festivals after playing at Why Not? Festival…which happens to be just up the road from Sheffield. ‘I highly recommend this to students, it’s picturesque and not too big either which I like.’
Milburn rose with the rest of the ‘Sheffield music scene’, in particular, the Sheffield’s beloved Arctic Monkeys, who Milburn performed several gigs with in 2005. Joe describes Milburn’s relationship with the Arctic Monkey’s as ‘quite normal.’ He explains, ‘I know that’s strange to say but we all grew up together and we were close friends anyway. You’ve got to think about it in context, we’re all just mates and performing with each other was the natural thing to do’. What is Alex Turner like you may wonder…’He’s not very tall and he needs to put some weight on.’
Apart from the crazy gigs and sell out shows, Milburn have also established a presence on the streaming service Spotify, with roughly 2 million streams overall and their hit song ‘Send in the Boys’ on 475,000 streams. Amidst the controversy of artist’s relationships with streaming services, Joe insists he is not going to be ‘some sort of Luddite that refuses to move and evolve with the times and I think Spotifty is an amazing thing. But I’m also on the other side on the coin, from those half a million stream we’ve seen about 15 quid.’
Asking whether Milburn fans can expect more songs and possibly an album, Joe replies ‘I don’t want to make too many commitments or promises. We’re going to do this tour and see how we get on but I think we’d be stupid to not try and get a couple more tunes down.’ So Milburn fans can keep their hopes up.
In a city with rich music history and many aspiring musicians, I asked Joe for any advice he may have for upcoming talent. ‘Practice. There is no quick fix. The history of bands out of uni is high so stay patient and don’t try too hard to find likeminded people [to perform with].’ With further praises of Sheffield, Joe also encourages students to ‘just enjoy the city. It’s a great place for music and a great place to be a student.’