Music

Millar Jukes chats with brother duo, Saint PHNX, about all things music

Indie-soul artist, Millar Jukes, talks all things music and influences with brothers, Steve and Alan, forming Glasgows alt-pop duo, Saint PHNX.

Millar Jukes (aka Dave Jukes), with music running through his veins, chats with brothers Alan and Steve (Saint PHNX) about his endeavours making music in Australia with a Scottish heritage.

The trio are nothing short of electric, effortlessly streaming through conversation as Jukes unveils the challenges of the current Aussie music scene and what led to the colourful success of his self-titled soul album.

Millar Jukes

STEVE: What’s Happening Dave-O? Aka Millar Jukes! First off, are you nervous about being interviewed by your brothers?

MILLAR: Yes.

STEVE: You’re nervous. Why because we know all your secrets?

MILLAR: [laughs] nah because you’ll be a dick about it man.

STEVE: Ok question number one! Are you or are you not a real-life cowboy? Just kidding! [laughs] Why did you write “just kidding” into the question?

ALAN: I didn’t know it was gonna be on zoom!

STEVE: Such an idiot

MILLAR: Erm nah…I’m not. I’m scared of horses. You know that man.

STEVE: We tell everyone that you are a cowboy when we show a picture of you. Because you do look like a cowboy

ALAN: Or a Shetland pony

STEVE: Or we say that you are a student double for Gandalf from Lord of the Rings from
behind. I’ve just noticed what Al’s written into the questions man. He’s wrote a script! [laughs]! let’s get right into it. What sparked your interest in music and how did you start playing?

MILLAR: I started playing music late. I started in my 20’s when I was travelling after Uni.

STEVE: What kind of music were you influenced by?

MILLAR: First stuff I started listening to was Rage Against The Machine because of you [Steve]. You downloaded tons of stuff from Napster.

ALAN: Steve’s a cheat! He’s a thief!

STEVE: I’m a dirty downloader.

MILLAR: You had Ray LaMontagne, Rage Against the Machine and Deftones…what other
stuff?

STEVE: Basically I’m responsible for your music taste early on…you’re welcome.  So what is it like coming from Scotland, an alien as we say, and breaking into the music scene in Australia? How does it differ from the music scene back home?

MILLAR: It’s a wee bit difficult to be honest with you man. They [Australia] looks after local talent first.

STEVE: Do you think you get shunned because you’re not Australian?

MILLAR: I wouldn’t say shunned. It’s just because I say I’m Scottish and people don’t see that as local talent straight away. I’d say that you have to work harder.

STEVE: Why don’t you change your name to Joe Mango or Harold Bishop or something?

MILLAR: Erm…[laughs] nah. It’s been hard but it’s been good. Since the singles and the
album have came out, people have got right behind us.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Millar Jukes (@millarjukes)

STEVE: Do you think growing up in Scotland has an impact on not only your sound but on
anything you do? Or are you more universal?

MILLAR: I’d say I’m more universal. A big Scottish influence for me is Paolo Nutini and how his voice is and how he structures songs. He’s really influenced by soul and a lot of American music.

STEVE: You’ve recently released your self titled album Self Titled [laughs]. What’s it like releasing music during a pandemic? Obviously, we had to release our album during the pandemic and we found that challenging because you want to go out and get in front of people. How did you find it?

MILLAR: It was really really hard. I mean we were supposed to release the album last year and then the pandemic kicked in and we were going to release before Christmas so I released Home as a standalone single and then it was going to come out in March but everything that happen with Dad I decided it wasn’t the right time.

I just decided that I’ll release when I’m ready. Australia was different in handling the pandemic than Scotland. Australia was alright at the time so I thought I’d take chance but we’ve had five lockdowns – with 3 lockdowns this year so it’s been hard to go out and play gigs and promote the album.

STEVE: Aye it’s kind of uncertain.

MILLAR: Yeah because you want to go out and do gigs but you just can’t so it’s pretty shit to be honest, but online everyone’s been pretty good. I think we’re on 180k streams for the album.

STEVE: Those kind of numbers are pretty insane because you’ve literally got no backing or pitching or play-listing and we’re lucky that we’ve had labels that have relationships and their job is to pitch a song to play-listers at Spotify or whatever.

You got someone actively lobbying on your behalf but when you’re independent and you’re asking people on your social media to listen and getting those kind of numbers is amazing so it’s something you should be proud of.

MILLAR: I am yeah. I think it helps when your brothers are Saint PHNX to be honest.

STEVE: I didn’t want to say that…but you know [laughs], what can you say….[laughs]…but
that’s what it’s all about. The numbers are amazing and we are very proud of you
because it’s tough getting your music out there.

Talking about the pandemic. Obviously, you’ve been isolated to all of us. You’ve been going through the same experience as me and Al with my Dad being ill and then passing away. You’ve had it a bit tougher because you’re in Australia and you can’t get home to your family so you’ve got all these factors pushing against you. How did you find the writing process?

MILLAR: I didn’t find it that difficult because I had most of it sorted anyway. It was really just timing and getting things organised.

STEVE: So you just sat about and didn’t do any songwriting?

MILLAR: Ha! Nah the new stuff that we’ve done was hard because you sit waiting on everyone getting back to you rather than sitting with someone and showing them how you want the song to go. We just did what everyone else did. Zoom calls and sending voice memos to each other.

STEVE: It sucks man. It’s not how music should be. It’s not how it should be written or communicated or shown. Music is a face to face thing especially when you’re writing it. That’s it in it’s purest form. Which song are you most proud of on your album?

MILLAR: I’d say Don’t Worry

STEVE: Don’t you worry about a thaaang! That one?

MILLAR: Aye that one….you’re wasting it man.

STEVE: No one could tell if that was me or you singing. It was so close. Why is Don’t Worry
your favourite?

MILLAR: It’s because my mum gave me the line when I was back home and she broke her
hip.

STEVE: Did you put my mum on publishing?

MILLAR: Naw I didn’t.

ALAN: Shocking man.

MILLAR: I did dedicate the album to my mum and my dad though.

STEVE: Big shawow…so did we [laughs]. A lot of people don’t see how much work goes into something like this. How long did it take you to write, record and finish?

MILLAR: It was about 18 months man maybe longer with the pandemic and the stuff with dad so it took almost 2 years.

STEVE: It is a labour of love and a drawn-out process that people don’t think about. If someone asks “what does Millar Jukes sound like?”. How would you describe it in
four words?

MILLAR: Indie, Soul, Blues, Groove.

STEVE: Ok……that’s good. What would your dream tour support act be? Anyone, Anywhere? Like if you said “you know what? That would be ideal for me?” The band, the fans, the size of tour. Who would it be?

MILLAR: Is that excluding you?

ALAN: You can include us. It can be anyone.

MILLAR: I’d say right now it would be awesome if I could support you guys. I think that would be brilliant man. Just to go on tour and get to hang out with my brothers for a bit
would be a dream come true.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Millar Jukes (@millarjukes)

STEVE: Go bigger. Take us out of the equation. Dream as big as you can be. In an ideal
world…

MILLAR: Nathaniel Rateliff. I think that would be a laugh because he’s got the same size band as us or…Oh and I’d say Leon Bridges as well.

ALAN: PICK ONE! What about Ray LaMontagne and Deftones?

MILLAR: I wouldn’t want to play with my heroes.

STEVE: Why do you wanna play with us for then eh? [laughs].

MILLAR: Aye ok then I’d say Nathaniel Rateliff or Leon Bridges.

ALAN: If you could play any show anywhere in the world. where would it be? Your own
headline show and sold out where would it be?

MILLAR: I’d love to play either the Barrowlands in Glasgow or the Ryman Auditorium in
Nashville.

STEVE: Good answer. Ok so that brings us to the end of the interview. So we know your album is doing great with over 180k streams so far and you also just played a sold-out headline show. Kicking ass! Everything is looking good. What’s next for Millar Jukes?

MILLAR: Playing a couple shows in August…

STEVE: (Steve Interrupts) So that’s all we have time for ladies and gentlemen…[laughs]…Nah you knew this was gonna happen when you asked us to interview you man. You are doing awesome so what’s next for Millar Jukes?

MILLAR: Just play as many shows as we can and try and play some festivals. There’s a soul night I want to play here. I want to keep recording. Need to start recording the new EP. Hopefully, try and record it for the end of the year and bring it out in March next
year.

It will be a bit more rockier so we’ve been listening to Rival Sons and Audioslave, so that kind of groove with horns. I want that big dirty guitar and big choruses. Hopefully, play Sydney in October and keep going.

ALAN: One last question…Obviously things are starting to open up again like bars,
restaurants, hotels. Are the barbers still shut?

STEVE: Obviously

MILLAR: I like my hair man.

STEVE: So this is the end of the interview…We are Saint PHNX and we have a new song out [laughs]….Nah we enjoyed this man…Cheers!

MILLAR: Aye cheers.