Milyoo is something of an Enigma. A former resident of California, he now lives in Lexington Kentucky where the man known to his Mom as Tommy divides his time between climbing and writing music. After a release in 2010 on Cold Busted he came into contact with Subeena, former star of Rephlex Records and currently residing on her own label Opit. His first Opit release, entitled Dasein, was met with critical acclaim, and now he has followed that up with a full LP for the UK-based imprint. Here he talks about life in Kentucky, surviving illness and touring in the States and you can download a free track from Milyoo here.
Pulse: Hello Milyoo, how are things? Milyoo: Music is going awesome, although I feel like I'm still reaping the whirlwind from a bunch of tracks I did much earlier in the year.Secondly it's climbing season here and I'm not injured. I've been getting out climbing a lot. Things are good at the moment!
Tell me something about your background as a musician. I started making music right after going to a bunch of parties in the mid-90's. I started going to parties in the Mid-west US, deep house parties mainly. I was seeing Boo Williams play, Derrick Carter, and almost all house. Not too long after that I started buying records, then maybe a year later I started buying samplers and midi gear.
So your first release was 2010? I'd been writing for a time but I'd never got very serious, and I had friends who were saying I needed to take it to the next level but I wasn't that bothered. So many levels! Then in 2009 I got a bad diagnosis from the hospital, and I thought I was dying. I couldn't go out climbing and I was sitting around, so rather than just sit around playing video games I started writing music hard. That's all I did for about a year. The first release was around 2009 on a US label called Cold Busted. They release a lot of music, and they do an artist every few weeks so it kinda got lost. So I just started sending emails out to people I liked. Subeena really liked it, and she put out the first record in 2010.
And you're based in Kentucky? When my first record came out I played out a few times but within about a month I'd burned out all my hookups for gigs locally. There are just not enough people to sustain a repetitive gig. I'd play really good sets and it would just clear the floor, then someone would come on after me and play some wobble brostep and everyone would go nuts...so...
So what stuff were you playing? At the time I was playing stuff like future house stuff that dubstep was turning into. I was playing the harder end of that, but people around here in Kentucky weren't that into it.
I was listening to one of the tracks on the album, Windows To Love, and it had a real jungle music vibe to it, a bit like an old Bristol track from the 90's. Did that stuff come into your life at all? When you're 16 years old you identify with whatever's around. Back then I was a decidedly un-jungle guy. When I go back and listen to the tracks it makes sense but the kids who were into Jungle were into breakdancing and stuff so I'd get bumped off the floor for them. To like something you need to have something to not like when you're that age!
So talk to me about the album, Archaeology on Opit Records, it's your debut right? I've had a bunch of tracks that I've done in the last few years that I've kinda liked. I don't really ever try to bite on anything in particular, although I have always liked the 'weathered' sound you get from producers like Glenn Underground. I write so much that I take things and then group them off. I just wrote a lot. My thing is just to make a whole lot and then break it off into folders. Part of the way I write is definitely problem solving, like taking someone else's track and trying to work out how they made something sound a certain way. I don't really have a 'thing' that I'm consciously pushing, it's the sound of all the sounds around me through my own ears. I wrote a lot of the tracks while I was ill, and the ones that weren't written during that period were often ideas that I'd started at that time, so they're still part of the same aesthetic fold. The tracklist wasn't really solidified until the last instance. Subeena does an awesome job of sorting through those.
How do you work in a technical sense? Well I'm actually trying to sell most of my old hardware at the moment. I sold my Juno a while back, which I regret, but otherwise I'm happy to use Reason for almost everything. I'm one of the few people I know who still use it. Almost everybody I know from the UK are all Ableton folks so sharing projects can be a pain.
Are you touring with the album? Touring in the US is crap. Everything's really far apart and the cities have so much beef between each other! I don't think I could even get booked in Cincinatti because I'm from Lexington. It's crazy! Plus there's not enough gigs for people in Cincinatti to want to book anyone from outside. As soon as I get out of credit card debt I'm gonna come over to Europe and tour there. Everything’s closer together and the scenes are much larger.
Finally, what kind of climbing do you do? Sport climbing and bouldering mainly, and also I'm getting into high balls which is kinda high, sketchy climbing. This is kinda the reason I live in Kentucky, I'm really near the Red River Gorge and if you told that to a climber they would be jealous. There are probably 400 people from Europe and Canada staying in the fall to climb. I used to run a climbing blog, and now I work at a climbing store. I go out three days a week depending on the weather, and the rest of the time I'm working on music.