November 1, 2012 - 4:42pm
BY HARRISON LOTT
When you first hear the name “Milo Greene,” your mind may jump to several conclusions as to what it refers to. A famous novelist? An artsy singer-songwriter who broods with every lyric? An Al Green cover band? A Cee-Lo meets Al Green cover band? But, amid all these possible definitions, it is highly unlikely that your mind would think of the quintet of everyday SoCal indie folkers who have adopted the name. And the odd name is no accident …
“We were still in college and just being goofy,” said co-founder of Milo Greene Andrew Herringer, discussing the formation of the band in an interview with the Daily.
At the time, Herringer and bandmate Robbie Arnett were having trouble getting gigs as a new band, so they sent out emails on behalf of fake publicist Milo Greene. Their response rate increased substantially.
“We created this character named Milo Greene, and I think that was seven years ago,” Herringer said. “So it was always a joke that we would have a band named Milo Greene. And then when it happened, there was never a question what this band name was going to be.”
After two years of writing, collaborating and touring, however, the band doesn’t need the help of the imaginary Milo Greene as much. Having appeared on late night shows and big time festivals all in a few months time, it would seem that Milo Greene have had overnight success, but Herringer thinks that people tend to jump to that conclusion too soon.
“It’s been a slow ride,” he said. “Before this, we were all in other bands. It’s funny sometimes when people say to you ‘oh it’s happening so fast’. But we’ve all been working with this band for two and a half years, so it’s been kind of a slow, calculated ride for us.”
When asked to describe what makes Milo Greene so different than his other bands, Herringer’s passion shone through.
“We just started creating music that … was unlike any things we had done in other bands, and there was an emotional undertone to it all that really caught all of us,” he said. “We all left other bands to pursue this because there was something we felt with this music that we never felt before. And I think that’s the core of what music should be.”
To Herringer, Milo Greene’s music speaks to the collaborative nature of the group.
“It’s one thing to make music and one thing to be emotionally moved by your music,” he explained. “In this band there are so many great ideas and songwriters and just great minds that come together to figure things out. When I listen to this record, I don’t feel like I’m listening to my own music — I feel like I’m listening to a collective of people that came together.”
Milo Greene really is a collective. With no designated lead singer and band members that frequently switch instruments, there is a distinctly different quality to every song on their freshman, self-titled album. Herringer believes the band’s lack of standard structure is crucial to its inspiration.
“(Inspiration) comes from everywhere,” he said. “Sometimes one person will be fundamental to a song, sometimes it will be other people. But I think the beauty of this group is that it doesn’t just come from one source or one person. That’s a lot of weight to take on. So (we) can play with the different combinations and collaborations and constantly be kept on (our) toes.”
Milo Greene’s next tour stop will be Ann Arbor — at The Blind Pig on Nov. 1. And despite a year of non-stop touring, Herringer doesn’t seem to be jaded.
“I love the travelling aspect,” he said. “Especially when we’re travelling from town to town and playing to full rooms of people. It’s a hard life when you show up and there’s 15 people.”
When asked if the venue makes a difference, Herringer spoke fondly of some local spaces.
“Last year we toured with The Civil Wars, and that was our first time in Ann Arbor. I think we played at (The Michigan Theater), and playing those kinds of theaters that’s just kind of a dream.”
But the most important goal for Milo Greene is to connect with the audience.
“There’s a certain quality to those theaters, both for the performers and the audience that … is really special. It allows for that special connection to occur.”
Hopefully, that special connection will be present tonight, when Milo Greene returns to Ann Arbor.