Interview with Shambles Miller

Posted on June 21, 2010

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Shambles Miller is a singer-songwriter from Glasgow who takes a deeply introspective approach to his songwriting. The music is stripped down folk-punk and this DIY approach has a sterling effect. Each tail comes from an original outlook on life, and as his Scottish accent leads you through a plethora of situations and emotions the humour shines through leaving you with a smile on your face. The lyrics are delivered in the way you would expect a friend to tell a story over a beer and it is likely you will want to invite Shambles out for a pint and indeed be his buddy. You really will come away from listening to Shambles Miller feeling that you know him a bit, but luckily he answered some questions for the blog so you can find out a bit more. Have a listen to the brilliant Robots below while we see what he had to say.

Glasgow and Scotland is brimming with talented singer-songwriters, how have you gone about standing out from the field?

Hmm, if I’ve stood out it’s probably got something to do with the fact that i’m not afraid to incorporate humour into my music. A good gig for me is one where people have had a laugh or two as well as hopefully enjoying the music.

Some of your lyrics are quite personal, does it take a bit of courage to sing them to new audiences?

Depending on the audience, I might occasionally be tentative about certain subjects, but that tends to be with the songs that are more liable to offend, on the offchance someone in the crowd who might consider some of my material a wee bit profane. There’s no point in holding back though. I’ve always said that I wear my heart on my sleeve in my music, even if my heart occasionally wants to make dirty jokes. Hopefully that’s part of what people enjoy.

You have several comedy moments in your music, have you ever thought about doing a set of comedy tracks in the vein of Flight of the Conchords?

Haha, I don’t think so. I never really set out to write a song thinking “okay, this is going to be a funny one” or anything like that. It just works out that sometimes that’s how I express myself. I think the juxtaposition of the humour and the darkness can actually highlight the serious parts, rather than watering down the sentiment.

Do you have plans to get a band together?

I’m sure I will sooner or later, if I met the right folk who were into what i’m doing and really wanted to be a part of it, that’d be great. For the moment though, I’m happy being a solo folky-man. I do miss the fun bits of being in a band – having people to write with and share your excitement with at gigs, but I don’t miss the hassle. I wouldn’t go actively seeking band members again at this point, I think that can end up taking up more time than the actual music, but if the right people came along, you never know.

You write a blog, would you care to tell folk a bit about that?

Ahh, my wee blog! Well, sometimes I’ll have rough demos I don’t want to put on myspace and I can stick them on the blog, or I do the odd video and I tend to get more views for it when I write a wee post about it. I also write the occasional column for Stereokill.net about my musical adventures, so it gives me an extra wee place to publish it. It’s definitely a blog that depends more on the quality of its readers than quantity however, haha. It’s a nice outlet for my ramblings and shamblings.

What is the songwriting process for you?

It differs, but usually I’ll just happen to come up with a chord progression I really like and that sparks me off. At that point, I make myself stick with it until I have the lyrics in place. Writers block can be a real scunner sometimes, but I get there in the end.

Have there been any particular highlights in your musical career so far?

Well, playing Oxjam was great fun last year and it was a real honour to share a stage and a festival with so many other amazing bands. To be honest though, one of the highlights for me was actually just the other night in Sloans Ballroom. I got to share the bill with most of my favourite acts in Glasgow at the moment, who happen to be some of my best friends. It’s a really great venue and it was a special night indeed.

What are your plans in music for the next year?

I’m hoping to start recording my next E.P as soon as possible, I’m just in the process of rehearsing with some of the other musicians at the moment. I’ll also hopefully be doing a mini-tour around Scotland, so if anyone has any venue/gig suggestions, they’re more than welcome. Apart from that, just keep gigging and taking this as far as I can.

If you could steal a song from an act on the Scottish unsigned circuit and have it as your own, what song would you take?

Ooooh, good question…I think it would probably be Creeping Home by Florynce and Lauryn. It’s just so catchy and interesting and I just bloody love it.

If your music was to be the soundtrack to a film or TV programme which one do you think it would suit best?

Probably Countdown. Mainly because I’m a bit in love with Susie Dent.

And finally, a random question from Debutant: Who would win in a bare knuckle fight between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson?

Definitely Peter Griffin. I don’t think The Simpsons ever actually kill anyone, but Peter Griffin on the other hand, could do some serious damage.

A big thanks to Shambles for taking the time to answer some questions and here’s how you can hear/ see more of him:

buy the Shambles Vs. The Dragonwizard EP + badges

Shambles Miller website

Shambles Miller blog

24th June – La Cheeetah Club, Glasgow

27th June – The Failford Inn, Failford

28th June – 13th Note, Glasgow


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Posted in: Interviews