Mildlife is a band whose story begins, as many good stories do, with a cheesy T-shirt. The shirt had ‘Australian Wildlife’ written on it, so all it took was one masterful stroke of visual editing.
“I guess we just flipped the ‘W’ into an ‘M’ and removed the ‘Australian’ part.”
And the rest is history.
Listening to Melbourne band Mildlife feels like you’re floating weightlessly through the galaxy, hovering over desolate alien landscapes, playing Nintendo 64 with Carl Sagan.
The band is comprised of Melbourne locals James Donald, Adam Halliwll, Kevin Mcdowell, and Tom Shanahan. Their sound is a mix of dreamy vocals and, wistful melodies, a unique atmosphere of rhythmic funk, house, and psychedelic rock.
These guys go way back. They are all childhood friends, plus two band members have dads who played in the same band in the 70s.
Through some tight-knit collaboration and their own high expectations of themselves, these musical risk takers have mindfully crafted a style that’s uniquely their own. They’re pretty specific about how they want their music to be mixed, and hence it took some time before they could entrust their work to a fresh set of ears.
“We produced and recorded most of this record ourselves (with help from our friend Jim Reinfleish) so I suppose it’s been difficult to hand over the tracks and be really open to a mixing engineers take on it. We churned through a couple of people from around the globe before settling on local Aussie hero Steve Schram.”
The music of Mildlife is greatly inspired by all things sci-fi and universe-y.
“We all share a love for astronomy and old sci-fi novels so I guess it’s leaked into the music.”
While their music can be seen as an all-encompassing soundtrack for the universe itself, the band has something more particular in mind.
“Quentin Tarantino is supposed to be doing a Star Trek movie. Would love to see one of our tracks played in it because even if it’s a dud we’d be quite rich from it.”
The track Magnificent Moon with its whimsical melodies conjures up thoughts about cultural icon and space-person extraordinaire Carl Sagan. As it turns out, they are massive fans of his.
“He’s one of the most inspiring astronomers in history so you’d have to be a lump of coal not to be inspired by that man in some way.”
When quizzed further about Sagan’s mini-masterpiece ‘Pale Blue Dot’ and what it means to them, the conversation turned into one of those beautiful existential moments in life.
“It means everything. But it also means nothing because we’re all just pieces of carbon living on a moat of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
And if you don’t get that reference then you’re clearly a lump of coal!
Catch Mildlife live:
17th March at Manning Bar, Sydney
Boogie Festival 30 March – 1st April