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Q&A: Robbie Miller

Brisbane singer-songwriter and indigenous mentor Robbie Miller has had a stunning 2015 spurred on by winning the Triple J NIMA award, with the release of his debut EP The Faster the Blood Slows” and it’s hit single The Pain.

How did winning the Triple J Unearthed/National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) competition in 2013 affect/help your career? 

Winning actually kick started my career, as prior to winning I wasn’t even playing music live. It gave me the self-belief that I have a voice and songs that people would enjoy. It also helped to enable myself to gain important contacts like management and a booking agent.

How are you feeling about your first tour along the East Coast in October?

I am excited and nervous at the same time.  I have been working on a lot of new stuff and it will be great to take that outside of Brisbane and see how people feel about the music.

How did you score supporting Mike Waters? Did you approach him or is he a fan of yours?

I scored the support spot in the most unromantic way possible: we have the same booking agent! Although I have been listening to his music at an almost unhealthy level for the past few weeks he has a really angelic voice and I’m looking forward to meeting him. I walked past him at BIGSOUND and gave him those awkward I know you eyes but he didn’t recognise me. Oh, well. Hopefully he notices me when I show up at the first show.

What has been the reception like to your latest release The Pain? How do you feel the song sounds compared to your older material such as 2013’s Sunday and Don’t Go Walking Away?

I think the reception has been good. Sometimes it is hard to know how people really feel because most won’t openly tell you unless it really has an impact on them. Compared to my two previous tracks I felt like I wanted to show a different side dynamically. I’m not just all slow emotive love songs, I’m also fast emotive love songs!

The Pain has a similar character to tunes by Angus & Julia Stone. Are they an influence? And which artists have had a major influence upon your music?

It’s funny you should reference Angus Stone. About five years ago I was all brute when I sung, but with a bit of direction from my fiancée I used Angus’ soft airy tones to model my softer dynamics. Over the years I feel that the control over singing soft and falsetto has gotten a lot better. These days I don’t really find a particular artist that I use as inspiration but the genre of chill-step and folktronica are pretty prominent on my Spotify playlist. Artists like Low Roar, Volcano Choir, Jarryd James, Active Child, Odezsa etc.

Your upcoming debut EP is titled “The Faster the Blood Slows”. How did you come to that name and what’s the lyrical inspiration behind the songs on the EP?

It comes from a line in the song The Pain: “Faster and faster the blood starts to slow”. I kind of like the line, it’s a bit abstract, a bit weird. It represents those moments when you hear bad news and you heart starts beating fast but yet your mood slows and seems to be in slow motion, or at least that’s what happens to me.

Are the other songs on the EP similar to The Pain or are there a few wildcards awaiting listeners?

All the tunes are all around the likes of The Pain, Don’t Go Walking Away and Sunday. The tracks were thought out and placed where they are for a reason. Hopefully for people who haven’t heard much of me get taken on a journey. I’m a huge fan of listening to whole albums and I always feel uncomfortable when I’m listening to an artist and someone skips a song. I get flustered and change it back. I guess this goes back to my earlier days of listening to Cat Stevens and Neil Young records.

You sounded pretty busy at this year’s BIGSOUND (three appearances), how did you find the atmosphere? Who impressed you the most?

Yeah, I felt pretty busy but better to be busy than not and the atmosphere was amazing, well for what I experienced anyway. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch many of the shows, which I felt guilty about. I had chest infection leading up to and during BIGSOUND and spent the days and afternoons in bed. So if any bands played Black Bear Lodge got a chest infection after BIGSOUND I am happy to take the blame and I apologise profusely.

Who are your favourite Australian artists at the moment?

Gordi, Valis Alps, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, MTNS, Asta, Matt Corby, Dustin Tebbutt. I honestly could name a lot more but this will do.

 Robbie Miller Brisbane EP Launch

Tuesday 27th November

 Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

Get Tickets HERE

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