Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez
It’s been a little more than two years since Brooklyn-based Milagres put out Glowing Mouth, the keyboard-drenched, metronomic, proggy sounding record that got them recognized in just about every music publication across the country. Their new record, Violent Light, sounds bigger, more propulsive, a little funkier, and has stadium-sized arrangements to complement singer Kyle Wilson’s soaring falsetto. He checked in with the Dig in advance of their Feb. 25 show at Great Scott in Allston.
It’s been a long time since Glowing Mouth, really. What’s the reason for that?
When Glowing Mouth came out, or rather, when we made Glowing Mouth, we were totally independent and we hadn’t been signed to a label. Kill Rock Stars signed the band after the record was completely finished and then it came out and we started touring. I just, I didn’t really think about the fact that I should have been writing songs when we were on tour. Touring was such a new experience for me and writing is really, for me, a very obsessive and solitary thing. I don’t really know how to do it unless I have a really private space and a lot of time to sink into my own world and stop thinking about anything else going on around me. And that’s difficult to do on tour. The reason it took us so to put out another record was because I hadn’t written songs until we finished touring. And I got back here and realized I hadn’t written songs for a year and a half. And it was laborious getting back into the process.
Your lyrics sound, to me, introspective, but the music is enormous. How does that work? How do you decide to do that?
I think a lot of the music that I naturally write has an epic feel to it. That’s something I have, at times, tried to not embrace. But on this record I think we all decided to embrace it and make an epic, big-sounding record, something that was massive and anthemic. That’s not the only thing we’re interested in doing in the future, but it was really fun. The drums were recorded in some really big rooms. Fraser’s really good with that style, a higher-fi sort of feeling. I actually come from a punk rock lo-fi background, so there’s a little of that in the way I write and you’re probably picking that up in the lyrics. But he comes from a background of making things sound really good. [Laughs]. So I think those things come together in an interesting way on this new record.
On Glowing Mouth you use a lot of falsetto. And there’s falsetto on Violent Light, too, though not as much. And you have a naturally deep speaking and singing voice. So how does one develop a falsetto like yours?
The main reason I’ve ended up singing in falsetto is because my natural full voice simply doesn’t go as high as I’d like it to. So there’s that, and when I sit down to write, I write music in my head before I work it out on an instrument. So if I have a melody running through my head [that] I can’t sing in full voice I try singing in falsetto, and as times have gone on I got better at singing in falsetto. And then it turned into writing with the falsetto in mind.
Do you have to work at it or does it come naturally?
I’ve had to work at it. I’ve played in bands since I was a teenager and the first bands I was in we were yelping or screaming. I don’t even understand how I’ve done it. It was never a goal, but I’ve gotten better and better at singing. I’d like to think I’m a good singer at this point. [Laughs]
One of things I thought was interesting when I read reviews of Glowing Mouth [was journalists] would—and maybe it’s because this is the only person they can think of—they’d write, “Kyle Wilson’s Price-like falsetto.” And I like Prince’s falsetto and I like yours, too, but you don’t sound like Prince to me.
No, I wish.
What do you think of comparisons like that? Do they make sense to you?
The comparison thing in journalism is a bit of a mystery to me. You have to be compared to something to have a frame of reference. Music is so abstract and trying to talk about it with language is difficult. I understand why people make the comparisons, but I think it should all be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone’s unique. Well, sometimes you do hear artists that are derivative.
[MILAGRES WITH YDIMITU AND EKSI EKSO. GREAT SCOTT, 1222 COMMONWEALTH AVE., ALLSTON. TUE 2.25. 9 P.M./18+/$10. GREATSCOTTBOSTON.COM]