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Miles Calder

Miles Calder

Interviewed by
Natalie Finnigan
Thursday 22nd December, 2011 10:06AM

Country music enthusiast Miles Calder is a recent addition to the Wellington music scene. Having recently been dragged out of his bedroom to perform live at Happy Bar, he caught the attention of UTR contributor Natalie Finnigan who tracked him down for a quick chat...

Why country music, what compelled you start writing that stuff?

When I was about 17 or 18 I started going back and listening to all the classics: Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, Bob Dylan, and I just worked my way back.

Then I got to people like Robert Johnson, Skip James and Woody Guthrie - the classic blues and country musicians.

The point where I became really inspired was discovering Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons and Bob Dylan etc. That was when I was at uni.

What about current musicians Ė who do you love?

I guess in terms of modern musicians Iím really inspired by the likes of Josh Ritter and Ryan Adams, The Tallest Man on Earth Ė he is amazing Ė his voice just sounds like no one else on earth and he is so confident in his delivery.

Also Iron and Wine and The Felice Brothers Ė they are a great example of a raw and raggedy country/folk band.

Do you try and make similar music?

Yeah I guess. All the people I really love are those legendary country singer/song-writers whose focus was on the story they were telling. When I started writing I guess I just really wanted to tell stories.

I really love that raw sound they have, you know when the microphone distorts because someone sang into it too loud, and you can hear all the little background noises that make it feel alive Ė thatís the kind of atmosphere I want to create in my music.

I reckon some people love that and others are turned off by it Ė they just find it unprofessional or somethingÖ

Yeah, thatís funny! Iíve just always found it made the music feel more personal. When stuff is too overproduced it doesnít have the same warmth.

So when did you start playing the guitar?

I started out playing piano Ė I had lessons but I realized pretty early on I just wanted to play rockíníroll. When I was about 11 I started playing drums and played in a few bands while I was a teenager.

Then I started playing guitar when I was older but I didnít really take it seriously, and neglected it a bit until I got to university and really got into the type of music Iím playing now that inspires me to write. Once I started taking it seriously I loved it so much I couldnít put it down.

There is a bit of a jump from playing in your bedroom and performing. How are you finding it?

Iím actually really surprised by how much Iím enjoying performing. Iíve loved the writing and recording part, but Iím having heaps of fun playing shows too and I guess Iím enjoying the challenge.

Your backing band, The Rumours, is made up of some pretty talented local musicians. How are you finding playing with a band?

Theyíre amazing! Because theyíre so well trained and do it full time, if Iím ever stuck for ideas for an arrangement or something they will throw an idea down and it will be perfect.

Do you have plans to record an EP or album anytime soon?

Iím hoping to record an EP in February or March when I get back from holiday. I donít have any solid plans yet but itís definitely going to happen.

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