Suffolk-based songwriter Amy Milner has been attracting an array of support recently with her incredibly cinematic tunes. Releasing her debut album spell_hope, Amy’s elegant alt-pop background showcases itself wrapped in a variety of electronic, modern and classic realms. Discussing themes of heartbreak, mental stability and reality, Amy’s music is a demonstration in unstoppable ambition. We spoke to Amy ahead of the big release to chat about her inspiration and releasing via her own independent label.
Hey Amy, how’s the start of the year been for you?
Hello! It’s been going pretty well thank you. Prep for the album has been keeping me busy, but then we were totally asking for that by deciding to release it and doing most things ourselves. It has generally been a very rewarding learning curve. And to have the promise of restrictions lifting and degrees of normality returning (gigs!) simultaneously has been nice. I’m relishing the tangible sense of optimism that’s in the air.
Your debut album “spell_hope” is released today – what was the creative process like putting the album together?
It looked like waves and pebbles. Smelt like cake and coffee. Sounded like producer Tim Larcombe and I discussing our desires to be Nick Cave’s BFF or the sixth member of The National, whilst jinxing references and turning unlikely items into percussion… I put the whole album together with Tim mainly at his studio in Brighton and I adored spending the best part of a year there. I started and ended days walking and running along the seafront, witnessing the changing colours and conditions as the seasons rotated. It was really the most inspiring time. We had a lot of fun experimenting, honing organic sounds while investigating more modern and electronic elements. Our creative energies clicked right from day one, and I’ve felt grateful every day since to have found somebody I work together with so effortlessly and successfully.
There’s a lot of cinematic sounds running throughout the album, what inspires you to create these incredible soundscapes?
I appreciate that a lot, thank you! Cinematic soundscapes have always appealed to me, and Tim was on the same wavelength, with all the tools to help me create the sounds I was after, while also introducing me to new ideas and techniques. Our ambitions for the songs were lofty. We constructed worlds for them, with detail enough that you could step inside and know you were in a particular place, what it sounded, looked and felt like. We did also happen to spend studio breaks watching through Twin Peaks, so ended up feeling heavily inspired by that paragon of atmosphere, sound and aesthetic along the way…
All the tracks on the album are so emotive and moving that we may have shed a tear or two during listen to the album in its entirety. Do you use songwriting to channel your own experiences?
Well usually I write from a kind of subconscious place, and often things make more sense to me when I look back over them. So I guess yes, when I’m writing it is uncontrived and honest, and sometimes I think I divulge more about myself than I might like to… but I also think my imagination is quite active and I wonder a lot. So I think sometimes I end up drawing on that too, sometimes interpreting what I might do, how it might feel, sometimes putting myself in another person’s shoes.
How do you think you’ve changed as an artist since you released your first ever single?
In general I just feel a lot more clued up, forward-looking, and a lot more comfortable with myself and what I am doing. I know more about what I prefer sound-wise, I know how I write best, things like that. But I also feel far more confident in expressing myself and staying true to what I am passionate about and how I want things to turn out. Since setting up the label with Tim, I also know what is actually involved with releasing the music! It has been a privilege to be in direct contact with the various people that are pivotal in making it happen.
The album has been released via your indie label EKT Records, how important is it for you as an artist to have full control over your musical output?
I am only interested in releasing music I am passionate about and believe in. I also think it’s my only shot. The competition in this industry is dizzying, I genuinely don’t think I stand a chance if I’m not offering up something different.
What’s the most personal track on the album?
I just want them to be yours now!
What’s your plans for the rest of the year?
We’re always looking ahead, and already have new things in the pipeline. There’s been a lot of admin lately and I can’t wait to submerge myself back into a stretch of creativity. But I’m also so excited to be rehearsing for live shows, and simply cannot wait to make the most of that experience again.
Thanks for speaking to us Amy, and for making us cry in a very good way.
Thank you so much for listening.
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