Thinking about whys and hows, there are many wildly varied answers to consider about people escaping or leaving their lives behind; kidnapping, alien abduction, problems with the law, monies being owed... Some of these answers could be considered outlandish. Some are more serious and real. One such reason could be an abusive partner or family member.
Most people probably don't know this about me, but, I lived through an abusive relationship. It lasted more than 5 years.
It was mostly psychological and emotional abuse, but sometimes things would turn physical. I am not a violent person. I hate violence.
My upbringing was fantastic. My parents are both amazing people who gave me the best childhood.
to find myself living with an abusive partner was a bizarre, disturbing
and shocking experience, the long-term effects of which I am still
living with some 25 years on.
a lot of accounts about what it all means to live through such
traumatic experiences so I don't feel the need to recount my particular
story, but recently I have come to realise that, still living with the
consequences of that time have shaped, not only my personality and my
personal life, but it also seems to be the fodder with which I find
inspiration in my music and career.
Writing about the inspiration for my music is not something I've done before, so it has been enlightening for me to realise that my work seems to be born from the life changing trauma that I lived through.
It was life changing in literally every way - notably, it was when I first picked up a guitar and learned to play and write songs.
I am intrigued by the mysteries of the human condition; our individual experiences, our own personal perceptions towards ourselves, to each other and to the events & experiences that we all have.
My music is mostly instrumental (with some rare exceptions which I have collected together on the E.P. Animus/Anima which you can hear here), so without the benefit of expression through words I have to find other ways to get my musical message across.
On "The Night Moving Company", the main theme throughout being "escape", I have included subtle hints at various reasons and ways to disappear;
There are the sounds of boats creaking, conjuring images of ghost ships adrift... (Parrhesia)
There are interpretations of aliens and spacecraft, making me think of abductions or a disappearance that wasn't planned... (Vril)
There's the a suggestion of aircraft taking off (or landing), making one feel the beginning of a long journey... (Hypersanity)
Loss Of Simultaneityis explained byThe Andromeda Paradox,(the idea complimenting The Rashomon Effect.) I am very motivated by the concept of differing perceptions. (Right and wrong can be quite changeable depending.).
Hypersanity: Hypersane people are calm, contained and constructive.RD Laing presented madness as a voyage of discovery that could open out onto a free state of higher consciousness, or hypersanity. But if there is such a thing as hypersanity, then mere sanity is not all it's cracked up to be, a state of dormancy and dullness with less vital potential even than madness.
I am still coming to terms with some things from my past and how it has changed me, but, I am happy to have lived through this. It has given me new perspectives, new ideas, personal strength and inspiration.
Maybe I shouldn't tell this story. Maybe I should.
I'm going to anyway...
They say that luck plays a big part in the success of many musicians. It's otherwise known as "being in the right place at the right time"...
We've heard these stories many times.
I consider myself a hard-working musician. I've been professional for over 20 years now. And, at times, I've been close, (very close), to achieving noticeable achievements.
I mean, I'm happy with everything I've done. This isn't a post about complaining how "things didn't go my way", or that "I was unlucky". I've worked hard. I continue to work hard. And I'm proud of all the success I've had and continue to have, and all the achievements in my professional career.
I've got a lot of stories like this one, but, a few people have asked me to tell this particular yarn, so, here ya go:
He has no idea who I am.
But, twice now he has stolen my [potentially] "lucky break" away from me.
Back in 2004/2005, before "belarus" were belarus and we went by the name "Spacehopper", and back in the early days of the internet when the music business became like the wild west with outlaws like Napster and other file sharing sites ruining thousands of hard-working musicians earnings, my band at the time (Spacehopper) were doing pretty well...
We had a pretty big following and were gigging hard and creating a buzz in "the industry".
Around that time there was a website, (and this is the only "fact" I am not 100% sure about), but I am pretty sure it was "MP3.com". The site hosted [unsigned] bands music and fans could vote for their favourite tracks. The more votes a track got, the higher it reached in the MP3.com charts.
In '04/'05 Spacehopper decided that we would upload all our songs and see what happened.
To our surprise, not long after, 9 of our songs were in the top 10!
It was quite unbelievable...
This, incredibly, lead to a string of emails and contact from music business moguls from around the world. One of which turned out to be the manager of a producer team in L.A. called "The Neptunes".
Anyway, the email we got from their manager basically said that The Neptunes were searching for an up-and-coming British artist to remix/produce, and that they were interested in us and one other young act!
It was down to a choice of two!
After some months of emails, deliberating, waiting and excitement, The Neptunes chose the other way.
Damn you Williams! You could have picked us... This was the first time he stole my luck.
Moving on 8 years to 2013...
(brief recap of the intervening years: Spacehopper had become belarus. belarus had recorded an album, which, unfortunately never got an official release as the record label we signed to went bust. belarus were courted by Universal Records. belarus ultimately split up in 2007.
I was devastated.
I continued to teach and play in other bands, but eventually, new challenges presented themselves and I relocated to Berlin, Germany.)
In 2012 I started to build my recording studio here in Berlin. The idea was to do remote recording sessions by email, meaning I could provide drum recordings for anyone in the world.
Over the course of a 20 year professional career, I have met some amazing fellow musicians, some of which may be considered famous or influential, (or any other impressive sounding word we might attach to successful arteests).
I emailed a few of these ladies and gentlemen to introduce my new studio and ask for any opportunities they had for recording. I was basically trying to get some decent credits to increase my status.
Anyway, one of these lovely chaps, a producer friend of mine in L.A., writes back to me with this question:
"Hey Rich! Can you get a 70's sound?"
I was hella surprised! This guy was writing and producing, (and continues to write & produce), some of the worlds biggest R&B and soul records. Seriously, we're talking #1 billboard albums. So, of course, I wet myself a little bit and replied immediately asking: "Sure! No problem man! What do you want exactly?"
(Then, I immediately emailed a few other producer friends of mine asking how the hell to get a 70's sound... I was pretty new to all of this and had maybe oversold slightly... I mean, I knew I could play, but the recording bit... anyway, I digress...) I didn't get a reply I was patient I don't want to bug people or upset opportunities I waited A week A second week I couldn't wait anymore, so I wrote again:
"Hey mate! How's it going? Just wondering when you need these drums for? Let me know!
No reply. I wait again... Now, I could drag this out more and more, but long story short, after about 2 months of waiting and being excited and disappointed and hopeful and then excited all over again, my friend replies and, with massive apologies, he informs me that, the day he initially wrote to me to ask about the drum recording, who should "happen to pop into the studio"... you guessed it:
So, twice, this guy, who has no idea I even exist, has stolen my lucky break.
Moral of the story: Don't worry about the things that didn't happen, or the things that could have been. Just keep doing what you're doing. Keep enjoying the things that you do achieve.
And enjoy all the success's of all the times that you do have, which make all the stories, like this one, that you get to tell...
Or, something like that. And maybe, Mr Williams, just maybe, if you do ever happen to read this, get in touch and finally give me the lucky break I've been waiting for. Or, maybe not. You don't actually need a drummer. You're pretty damn good yourself. As this track (that I didn't play on!) goes to show.
If you want to hear any other silly stories, comment below and I'll try to think of something just as interesting :-)
Anyway, there it is. I am writing again to share more news about stuff I am doing:
After a successful few shows with Losers in the summer, I had impressed enough to grab the notice of another band, whom, short a drummer, asked if I could jump on board for a couple of shows.
The incredibly good Bullet Height (Sony), with who Losers played in May in Berlin, contacted me a couple of weeks back. Their drummer Michael was on tour with another of his bands, and so I ended up traveling 20 hours in a van over 3 days to the Czech border and then across to Holland.
The shows, the music and the band themselves were (and are) very very cool. I had some amazing fun and am extremely happy they asked me to join for this mini tour :-) Thanks guys!
People reading: If you don't know Bullet Height, you should definitely check them out and immediately make a purchase of their debut album "No Atonement". It's GREAT!
Next up is a new album due for release on playdead sometime before the end of the year.
Mr Dog The Bear's 2nd album features a host of guest musicians and vocalists, making it something a little different from the first record.
2017 is turning out to be another "Rich Millin™" year...
1st 2017 and I was feeling fairly sure it was to be a quiet year for me
musically. I was concentrating - (and still am, although now time
is definitely an issue) - mostly on my teaching work. Dr Paradiddles Wonderdrumporium boasts two (three, including me), excellent teachers, one of which is the terminator of drums - Alessandro Guida.
back to my story; I was concentrating mainly on the school and working
hard to get us teachers all super busy, but slowly and surely, a whole
bunch of other projects started to creep in...
As you may (or may
not) know, I was already, (and still am), playing for a few bands:
FlyCatFly, Marakesh, The Deja Nova Trio... The occasional gig here and
there and some recording new ideas. I was happy with that, especially
with the pressure of running a school. (And also playdead music - but more about that later too...) Then, later on in January this year I got some requests for recording;
week I was in Bremen to be a part of Zeki Min's new album.
the same old-school "live" style as Zeki's first two albums, it was a
fun week playing with some true talent and super top nice people, and
experimenting with loads of different sounds and instruments,
culminating in me playing the football... no, really.
I can't wait to hear the finished record.
also played a show while I was there, at this amazing venue right on
the water. A Maritime museum and art gallery with moveable walls and
the nicest hosts ever.
It was a slapdash affair as we didn't actually
rehearse - just turned up, set-up and played. Amazing funny fun.
Christian Bendel was also on board in Bremen, taking some wonderful photo's and
documenting the whole thing.
And, we also managed to fit in recording a
folk/trance track... Zeki, where's the video?! I didn't hear that
I am in the midst of recording drums for an album
for a band through my good friend Idan Altman. He's vacated
Berlin in favour of the Dutch wilderness - I hope to visit him soon...
like I said, I have also been working on new material with FlyCatFly
and Marakesh, and have done a few rather amazing shows for both Marakesh
and The Deja Nova Trio, including a slot at this years Berlinale, a silent concert(!), a lakeside show and being joined by a special guest
at one gig...
Late spring saw a session at my studio in Berlin
for the upcoming album from Israeli singer/songwriter Asaf Meir. He and
his Brother, Nadav, came over to the studio and we recorded some drums
for Asaf's new album which should be out later this year. Beautiful
Now, the craziest bit of the story so far this year:
About 3 weeks ago I got an email from this guy Paul.
I met him and his band in a studio last year whilst on set making a music video for Marakesh.
His band were recording an album in the same complex.
me and the drummer got chatting over a cup of tea in the kitchen.
These guys are also English. We were talking about drums and England
and tea, and it turns out (to keep the story short), that, these guys
are from a teeny tiny town up north, about 7 hours drive from my
home town. This mini little place, so far away from Swindon that they
were sure I'd never heard of it...
But, I do! I know this family from there and, I in fact stayed with them about 25 years ago!
Turns out the band know this girl I was staying with and her family! Crazy coincidence!
I guess Paul remembered that story and remembered I play drums, so
recently, when his drummer was unfortunately unable to make some shows,
Paul emails me and asks if I can step in last minute.
Now, this all in itself isn't so crazy - apart from them knowing this girl and her folks back home...
There's another coincidence: Tom, it turns out, having been the drummer in White Belt, Yellow
Tag, was actually booked, by me, to play a show in Swindon about 10 years
ago... where my old band supported him... and he used my drums... but
neither of us can remember meeting before last Friday!
"Losers" are an utterly incredible band made up of some of my favourite
musicians, and I am totally and utterly stoked to have the chance to
play with them.
With one show in Berlin already chalked off, we have an
XFM session in London this coming Friday and then will be playing
Camden Rocks festival on Saturday.
So, that's it so far, and it's barely June.
Tomorrow I head to the UK.
am running a masterclass, booked in for June 9th at 7pm, at the brand
spanking new Western Audio Recording Studio. Which, if you don't know
about and are a musician in Swindon, or within driving distance of
there, you should definitely check out. An amazing place... Very very excited to be spending some time there next month.
upon my return, what next... who knows... Maybe I'll get some more of
my absolute favourite all time artists and musicians emailing me asking
if I can join them for some project or another... I should be so lucky.
There are two record release shows also imminent. The first from Vincent Bella for his upcoming album and the second from Rockn Rollf!. Both shows will be in Berlin and I intend to make sure I am at both parties!
Incidentally, both records were recorded at Legato Sound Studios in Berlin, with my good friends Giulio and Nadav behind the desk. I love working there :-)
So, if you're around in Berlin on either (or both) the following dates, make sure to come and drink and party with some great music!