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Interview: Misty Miller


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“I’m just a bit of a space cadet really!” exclaims Misty Miller, after telling me that she recently added to her ever growing tattoo collection: a DIY alien.

“My favourite thing is sort of the moon and planets and space and the universe. The size of it all and the mystery. How small we are in comparison to everything. It's just so cool that we're part of this massive thing, we don't even know what it is.”

The 21 year old is however on the route to stardom, while keeping her music making ethos tightly to her chest. To be self-expressive and have fun, releasing emotions cathartically.

Of course she’s doing things her own way. Effortlessly cool.

The past year has seen the release of pop punk anthem ‘Happy’, a frantic dance floor puncher with a hook so infectious it could hospitalise.

Tones go from seductive to growling ‘I’ve been sleeping with your friends’ against a fast paced, biting riff.

The punk angst bleaches the crooning of ‘Best Friend’ a raw and emotive tale: ‘I’m so scared of losing my best friend’; backed by striking, minimalist chords.

Latest release ‘Next To You’ features pulsing surf guitars in a rock n roll fashion; positively sweet, chic vocals lush about washing her hair and making the bed for the guy.

With a razor sharp sense of irony and a tongue in cheek tone, it’s one that finds a fun outlet to being severely pissed off.

“I mean Next To You in particular is about the feeling of having to do all of these things for a guy," she says.

“It's just like a general comment on the way that women are meant to be so sort of like OH, what's the word when you're all kind of like... trimmed.

“They expect you to shave your legs, shave your armpits. To be really pretty? You know what I mean?

“There's like this expectation to sort of impress. You can't really get away with being sort of shabby and natural. Especially in the industry. So that song is a comment on that.

“We just did a video for example; it's difficult for girls because they expect you to be styled. But I got to wear what I wanted, and I did that on purpose.”

Misty’s frankness in her song writing is something that can make every girl feel human. Like, we all get it’s a pain in the ass shaving.

Her strong minded, and even stronger willed attitude kicks into her music as it slinks with moods.

Bittersweet lyricism spins tales of antics in the back of taxi cabs, sleeping with a lover’s friends and drinking the best tea in China.

Having signed a record deal aged only 17, armed with a ukulele and a collection of folk songs, Burberry snapped her up.

Her simple yet poignant approach to song writing managed to knuckle to the core with romantic odes. 

“I've been signed for a long time. It was four years ago. I've kind of gotten over those battles and those fears of being with a major label. It's what I'm used to, having to fight for everything.

“But it's okay, because I'm about to release the music I want.

“All the songs on the album are ones that I'm happy with and there's never music that goes out that I haven't approved. We have a good working relationship."

Misty is currently signed to independently thinking Relentless Records, alongside Fono and Joey Bada$$.

“It's difficult, but I think it's difficult for everyone. All musicians say it's hard because it just is, but it's so rewarding at the same time. We get to do what we love.

“It's yin and yang.”

Her jump from stripped back, ukulele strumming to sludgy garage punk with electric guitar and boisterous band, however, wasn’t as drastic as it seems.

“The thing is I was playing this kind of music for a long time.

“I recorded that first album that was out when I was 15 and I didn't really know what I was doing.

“I can't think of any 15-year-old who knows exactly what they're going to do.

“I was just playing around with music. Then one of the songs 'Remember' became sort of relatively big in that scene, so I kind of got pigeon holed into folk music."

Continuing by explaining “But actually I was listening to Iggy Pop and Patti Smith and The Velvet Underground. I was really inspired by all of that and very much in the South London music scene.

“It was very frustrating because I was being perceived as something that I really wasn't.

“I guess what I've been doing in the past four years is redefining who I am as a musician in the public eye. I've always known who I am as a musician but the outer world hasn't. Now I think they're getting it.

“Obviously I've had Next To You out, Happy out, Best Friend out. Those songs are all very much representing who I am, so we're getting there.”

She explains that the recent releases are a good indicator of what to expect from the forthcoming album, which is set for release in spring next year.

It's promising to be grungy and splattered with roaring guitars, though also kissed with a bit of vibrant, upbeat pop.

Representative in her artist visuals, Misty explains that she loves being part of the creative process. Her poster for the upcoming tour is a bright pink cut and stick masterpiece.

With an obvious use of those spikey teeth scissors, photos of the band are stuck up and written next to in black Sharpie.

“That tour poster in particular, we had these pictures of me from a photoshoot that we printed out and we were just going to put the dates on it. It didn't look great but I was just kind of going with it.

“Then my guitarist, Tom, as a joke printed out this picture of him that I thought was really cute, so I put it on the tour poster. I was like ‘wow this looks great’ so I decided to just do pictures of the whole band.

“Like the album cover for example, I'm going to be doing myself and then we scan it in. The Next To You cover I did myself, I enjoy it. I like arts and crafts. My label let me, so I'm gonna do it.”

Quickly discussing the upcoming tour, Misty is deadly serious with a love for her badge maker. Having made a few to sell on tour, designs include skulls and lyrics.

Then the conversation takes a turn when it comes to merch desk antics.

“I'll bring my tattoo gun! I used to just use a needle and ink but I ordered a proper gun.

“Actually it was a fan of mine. I was like seeing her on Instagram and I started following her and I saw that she had a gun.

“I arranged for her to come to London and give me a tattoo, and she came with her friend. She was quite nervous but she did it. It inspired me to get my own gun, which is awful ‘cause now I'm just gonna be covered.

“I think I've crossed the line already, so I'll just carry on.”

With 25+ tattoos, mostly done by friends with stick and poke ink, Misty means business.

“This is amazing” she gushes “This is happening.”

It seems as though a little craziness on tour is to be expected. Having started originally touring as a solo musician, with slots with the likes of Jake Bugg and Tom Odell,  adjusting to the band life, was pretty rock n roll.

“I've got a few memories from like when I first started touring," she says, “Though they're not necessarily good memories.

“Like my drummer got arrested on like the first tour we did! It was just a nightmare because we had a big fight in a Travelodge.” She laughs at the memory. “It was kind of like that for the first like two years of my band life.

“I used to just tour on my own, now the band that I have are a lot more sensible. I mean, it was fun but it was just traumatic at times. It is tamer now, and I'm saner.”

One of the reasons for this new-found sanity appears to be Misty’s part time guitarist/full time boyfriend - of whom she promises the next album will be all about.

“Tom is my favourite thing in the world,” she says. “I remember my label saying 'Misty, your Instagram is just full of pictures of you and Tom at the moment...' he's on there quite a lot.” 

She continues: “I'm looking forward to this tour because he'll be there. Tours can be quite difficult, especially the way we're doing it; we're not doing it in order going up the country. We're doing it sort of dotting around, there are going to be long drives.”

With these shows being the last before next year’s second album, audiences at the intimate venues are in for a treat.

She may only be 21, but Misty Miller is rapidly making ears prick and heads lift up and take notice.

Her no-shit attitude and fearless determination will be stay with a generation, through the initial sadness of heartbreak to the bouncing-back-better afterwards.

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