This Is Our Culture: M1LDL1FE

Tanyel Gumushan /
Jul 21, 2017 / Music

M1LDL1FE are thinkers. They think about things that usually, don’t get thought about too much.

They take this consciousness and use it to weave subtle messages through their gentle, almost ethereal dream-pop tracks. It’s an exciting notion, that makes detail spark with the brightest of colours. Latest single, ‘How You Forget’, is dream-like. Tender vocals spill confessions of forgetting those closest and the temporary yet uncontrollable nature of our brains. Riffs jingle yet are glistening pristine, it’s as controlled as a lullaby.

Introductory track, ‘Distraction’, details the pressures of having to find time for daily life with the right dosage of madness and chaos. It’s jubilantly upbeat and deliciously juicy. Their eponymous debut EP is full of anthems made out of the tiny details, star-touched harmonies soaring into freedom, and consuming melodies that wrap and make you move your feet.

This is M1LDL1FE’s culture.

‘How You Forget’

Paddy: “It was just a thought I had one day after doing some spring cleaning in my old hard drives. With technology nowadays, everything can be archived and stored forever. But the most complex computer of all, our brains, can be surprisingly unreliable at storing memories, almost as if it chooses subconsciously what it wishes to keep. I’d be looking at old photos and not remembering names, sounds of voices, certain memories; even though I’d remember these people being very significant to me at that point in time. It made me very aware of the ephemerality of our experiences, but also made me appreciate it as a fact of life. It’s nice to have memories, but even if you lose some, it’s okay. You can make always make new ones.”

EP

Paddy: “I would say, thematically, these songs are all rather introspective. Lyrically, they explore things that stem from self-reflection. Inner observations rather than external ones. Musically, we’ve been trying different sounds and vibes, trying to go out of our comfort zones. I guess you could say, the music is quite symbolic of how we’ve been looking within ourselves to reassess what we want to do with this band, and the new sounds reflect our desire to put ourselves out there and try different things.” 

Wildlife

Jeryl: “Not exactly the outdoors, but I’ve always had very fond memories of the zoo. When I was a kid, I could remember all the various showtimes and the best route to take.”

Paddy: “I always thought it a bit pompous of the outdoors to call itself “great”. At the much humbler, plain indoors, you can have people bring pizza to where your TV is. Clear favourites.”

“PS: Actually I think we’re not very outdoor people at all. My favourite place is the library.”

Telling your teenage selves 

Jeryl: ““Get a haircut”. 13 year old me’s hairdo was not a pretty sight.”

Paddy: “You should have studied harder and gotten better grades.”

David: “Oh grow up, won’t you?”

Peng Sing: “Practice your instrument more, or you’ll have shit technique for the rest of your life.”

Smell

Jeryl: “Petrichor (the smell of rain). It really takes me back to the days of staying back after school just to play soccer regardless of rain or shine.”

Paddy: “I could never smell what The Rock was cooking but I could always remember it. I guess you could say it was non-scents?”

David: “Whenever someone opens a fresh tube of glue, I am brought back to my fond memories of… Arts & Craft.”

“Note: Smell of wet grass. It triggers the terrible memories of compulsory military service.”

Movies 

Paddy: “Manchester by the Sea was the last I watched. It was hard to watch but you couldn’t stop watching.

PS: Pulp fiction. I still can’t get over the fact that French call a quarter-pounder the ‘Royale with Cheese’.”

Singapore 

Jeryl: “Growing up in Singapore meant that there always was a greater emphasis on the paper chase, even for arts and culture, where most parents would send their children for art or music lessons to achieve the credentials. We M1LDL1FE boys have never attained such credentials for our respective instruments; rather, our passion for music drove us to further hone our individual skills, something I wish to inspire in the younger generation of Singaporeans.”

Paddy: “I feel we have to constantly remind ourselves to kick ourselves out of our comfort zones. You can get by comfortably here without ever needing to step outside of the lines. So the challenge is to keep ourselves clear of slipping into the numbing lull of the machinery. I feel this helps to keep us excited about music and thankful for the opportunities we get.”

David: “I grew up in Johor Bahru first, and Singapore thereafter. Whilst living in Johor Bahru helped me toughen up and learn to be carefree, Singapore brought order and structure into my life. I started interacting with budding musicians in Singapore and developed a drive to learn music for myself, but never forgetting to inject abit of that Johor-carefreeness into my writing. Of course, Singapore had better broadband which meant more music listening!

“For me, it was this absence of bottom-up arts culture. We’re still a pretty young migrant society despite all that economic development. A lot of the pop culture we consume is from the US and UK, but I’ve always been curious about what we sound like or who we really are. I really just want to figure this out.”

Dinner parties

Paddy: “Like I said, there are already people who can bring you pizza, that you can eat by yourself where your TV is. I’m already living the dream.”

David: “I want Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver to both be in my kitchen, throwing insults at each other. Netflix, step aside!

“Because I’m such a huge sociology nerd, my dream guests would be Theodore Adorno, Stuart Hall, Pierre Bourdieu, and Keith Negus. They’re all prominent figures in the study of popular culture, and the ensuing debate at the dinner table would quite remarkable.”

Words by Tanyel Gumushan

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