- Words Notion Staff
As he prepares for his debut tour and upcoming EP, we caught up with Miller Blue to talk about musical inspiration, the separation of art from the artist, and his excitement for future projects.
In 2019, Miller Blue released his debut EP ‘Cotton’, introducing the world to his jazzy R&B instrumentation and poetic lyricism. Over four years later, he marks a fourth project with the release of his upcoming EP ‘4 Degrees of Separation’. Experimenting with different genres, Miller Blue has mastered the art of writing and producing music which not only connects with audiences but also provides the up-beat synth tracks we all love as summer and festival seasons approach.
But Miller Blue’s projects aren’t focused solely on the music – they’re a creative project in their own right. Whether it be experimenting with AI for a series of music videos, or releasing freestyle rap videos on TikTok with his roommates, he is constantly pushing the boundaries of creativity. This new project is no different, marking the end of an era for an artist whose future possibilities seem endless.
This new EP is his most exciting yet, exploring the journey of a relationship from the excitement of the honeymoon period, to the sadness of heartbreak. As with all of his projects, Miller approaches the music from his own unique perspective, redefining what a love song should sound like. Yet, Miller doesn’t want his enduring message to be one of pessimism. Instead, his music serves as an uplifting antidote to the emotional rollercoaster that relationships can be; a message he captures through relaxing instrumentation and dreamy vocals.
As he prepares for his debut headline tour around the UK and the release of ‘4 Degrees of Separation’ we caught up with Miller Blue to discuss his latest EP, the complexities of identity and relationships, and what is next for him now that such a big chapter of his musical journey is over.
Your newest EP, ‘4 Degrees of Separation’ is due to be released on the 19th of May – how’re you feeling about its release?
Very excited. I’ve been sitting on this music for a little while now so I’m looking forward to it being out in the world. It’s different from my previous work so I’m looking forward to people hearing something new from me.
Your latest EP is a departure from the previous trilogy you released. Can you talk about what inspired this change in direction, and what were some of the challenges you faced while working on this project?
Sure. The trilogy felt like it had come to a natural end. It ultimately acted like a diary for me, moving through my life with me as it happened, whereas with 4 Degrees Of Separation it was definitely more intentional. I wanted to create a path through the stages of a relationship that didn’t work out. Moving through the ups and downs and showing the often ignored difficulties that relationships can bring. It took me a while to get the right world sonically. Initially it was going to be a 4 track EP with each tune focusing on a completely different emotion / feeling and having the colours and sonics correspond to that, but it just didn’t feel coherent as a project. So I spent a lot of time navigating and working that out.
This EP explores the progression of a relationship, from the initial euphoria to the pain of loneliness – how do you balance such a range of emotions across your music?
I try to just let what wants to come out, come out then reflect and refine. The songs were written over a period that spanned pretty much the whole progression of my last relationship. From the very high highs, to the extremely difficult lows. It’s not always easy being vulnerable, but music definitely helps me with that. I love hearing the different parts of myself being expressed as the tape develops. I wanted to make sure I didn’t only show one side of myself here. We all have so many parts at play.
Are there certain musical styles you find yourself drawn to to express these?
For this project I definitely leant into R&B. I’d been listening to a lot of Brent Faiyaz and SiR going in to the recording stage of this project. I feel sonically this felt like a good bed to build the songs on top of. This also allowed me to try some more delicate vocal performances which was nice.
What would you like listeners to take away from this newest album?
Maybe a reminder that things come in waves and in cycles. Everything moves and everything passes. Listening back definitely helps me remember how each chapter of the journey felt like it was gonna last forever, both the ups and downs. Everything has its place.
To accompany the music, you’ve released AI generated music videos inspired by anime. Beyond music, in what ways do you enjoy challenging your creativity? Do you think AI is the future?
Aha yes. I love the videos. It was fun being able to draw inspiration visually from something outside of music that I also have a love for. Cowboy Bebop & Akira were the main two references for the videos. I like to cook (sometimes) and when I do, I find the same love as in music in which I have the freedom to mix and blend elements in ways that feel like they go together based on my personal taste. This can be really engaging. Plus you get to eat a dank meal at the end of it (If it goes well that is). So cooking for sure.
I like to draw, this is another place I find I can get into a flow state. I don’t really have any technical skills so I guess it’s a challenge in the way of accepting I don’t really know what i’m doing and just feeling it out.
In regards to AI… I mean, I do believe it will be a revolution to how we all live our lives. It really is just a baby right now and It’s hard to comprehend its potential. I think a new era is inevitable, for the better or for worse is harder to determine. I believe it has the potential to change the world for the better. It could free up people’s time to pursue the passions they truly align with but I mean that in itself comes with a bag load of problems and difficulties. It’s so so complex, I honestly couldn’t say. On the flip side, there could be a singularity in which AI becomes self-aware and we get left behind. A natural progression of evolution? Who knows. Regardless of the outcome, I’m quite excited to be alive for the unveiling of what’s to come. I try and often fail to not think so deeply about such matters as It can really take me away from what’s right in front of me.
Your music is described as ‘alt-R&B’ and uses a lot of jazz-style inspiration. Who are some musicians you find yourself drawn to and who would you love to collaborate with?
In this current moment in time, it’d be Dijon, Kaytranada, Madlib, Kenny Beats, and Monte Booker. But if it was back in the day, put me in a room with the Soulquarians. I think that’s where I would shine most bright.
You’ve got a UK tour starting in June – what do you enjoy most about live performance?
The indescribable relationship between me and the crowd energetically. It’s such an interesting experience to immerse yourself in both as an artist and an audience member. I’ve always found it interesting watching energies meld, so yeah when it hits right it’s so special. Also if I’m honest it reinforces my own journey to overcoming my fears. I always had such a big fear of speaking/performing in front of crowds of people so it’s also quite a reaffirming experience often to see my progression.
The EP’s closing song ‘Eye to Eye’, evokes a sense of optimism among the heartbreak. Was there a particular reason you wanted to close the album on a more uplifting song?
Great question, 100%. The song is actually about interaction with spirit and coming back to source after a period of suffering and healing. Finding strength from within and realising that we’re all on our own journeys and that it’s all part of something much bigger than us. I like to tell myself that at-least… But it really does feel like the truth. The song marks the start of a new cycle. Onwards and upwards to more growth.
Your lyricism works perfectly with the instrumentation of your music. When you’re writing new music, what does that process look like?
Thank you. I do try to match the spirit that the words are trying to convey with the instrumentation. Honestly it’s always changing. Recently though I’ve been sitting with a guitar or at the piano just letting ideas come. I’ve been really enjoying just crafting full songs in their rawest form before moving them into any particular sonic space. It seems to help me get to the bare bones of what I’m trying to express.
What can we expect to see from you next?
I’m touring this record in the UK in June, then going to do a NYC show in July and then looking to play some European shows later in the year. Then it’s album time baaaaby. I’ve written like 25/30 songs that I’m shaving down to become the album. I’m being patient, and am getting the right time together to help bring my vision to life. New music, new sounds, new alias? I guess we’ll find out.