Hi Chris, how are you today and how is the latest U.S tour going?
CM: The U. S. tour is going great! I’m out here with a couple of
amazing players – Ryan Hembrey, whose been with me for almost 15
years, on bass and my friend Dave Bryson (of Son Volt) on drums. We’re
making new friends and seeing old friends and just having a really
nice time. The shows are going well too!
Ten years? Well I guess you have been out there a lot longer, still smiling?
CM: Absolutely! I feel really lucky to still be making records and
playing shows after such a long time.
Heavy Years does not seem to be available in the UK yet physically, so if someone wanted a staring point; which songs do you think that you've written, best reflects your style, one from early song writing days, middle and most recent?
CM: I think ‘Signal/Noise’ was the first song I wrote where I was able
to write and execute something on a grand scale from beginning to end and have it come out the way it was in my head originally. So I’m
really proud of that one from the early days. ‘Farwell to Arms’ is one
of my favourite songs from The Wall to Wall Sessions and I think marked a transition in the way I was writing. And ‘Atom Smashers’ from Living in the Aftermath is one of my favourite straight up rock numbers from the entire catalogue. I also think that one’s pretty fun lyrically, if I do say so myself.
Does issuing a retrospective collection of songs mean looking back over your shoulder or, shutting the door and a new beginning?
CM: A little bit of both, I think. It was a nice trip down memory lane,
I guess. But putting out something like this definitely makes me
anxious to find out what’s next.
How do you go about your song writing? In solitude, on the road, bouncing ideas off others?
CM: I almost always write alone. I don’t’ think I’ve ever been a very
good collaborator on the writing side of things. As for the process, I
usually start with a lyrical idea or image and then build the song
around that. And those ideas come from anywhere – real life, books,
movies, pets, other songs I’m stealing things from.
If you could choose a movie to write a score for, what would it be?
CM: Hmmm, probably something be Orson Welles or Werner Herzog. But that may just be the ex-film student in me talking.
Obviously different art work for every album over the years, how do you go about selecting art work for an album?
CM: I generally try and find an artist or a friend I like to work with
and then let them run with it. I trust artists to come up with
something that they think will work first, and then flesh it out with
them once the general idea is in place. I’m pretty hands-off though. I
like to work with good people and then just let them do what they do.
That’s how I lie to work musically as well.
Have you any idea whether you sell more songs through downloads or on CD (or even vinyl!) and do you care?
CM: I have no idea. As long as it gets out there, I’m happy.
Any U.K. dates on the horizon?
CM: September 7th- 16th! Dates and venues will be posted here
Brooklyn songwriter Chris Mills has once again teamed up with Blurt-Online.com to premiere the second in a series of acoustic live videos for the song "Atom Smashers" off Heavy Years: 2000-2010.
Heavy Years captures songs from Chris' past four full-length albums plus two new, previously unreleased songs recorded last year.