Lee Mills – Hands Together
Near the end of last January Lee Mills sent me a demo. I was walking through the University of Illinois campus when I noticed the email. His message started, “Hi Mazi, I’m Lee, a musician in England.” His short letter had a directness and honesty to it that urged me to check out his music. I’m happy that I did as each of the three tracks had fire in them! I wrote him back the same day and shortly after we signed the tracks to Fresh Meat. Below, you can listen to Lee’s EP for Fresh Meat via a Soundcloud player, you can support his music through the shops linked to, and you can read a short interview I did with him when the release came out earlier this year.
Interview with Lee Mills.
FMR: Why do you make music?
Lee Mills: I make music because I love doing it. It’s the thing I feel most comfortable doing and it makes me happy. My life revolves around it. It’s a bit of an obsession really.
FMR: What kinds of music do you make?
Lee Mills: I would say at present I make music within the boundaries of House. Although a lot of my stuff is fairly musical so I guess electronic may be a better description. In the past I’ve written guitar/piano based stuff which could be loosely termed folk.
FMR: How long have you been creating music and DJing?
Lee Mills: I’ve been playing instruments since I was a young child. I started on the Piano and moved onto the guitar, trumpet, tenor horn and drums. I got interested in electronic music around the age of 15 so mid to late 90s when the UK super clubs were at their peak. I got my first set of decks around 10 years ago and I’ve been writing music for around 8 years.
FMR: What kinds of music you like outside of dance?
Lee Mills: Outside of dance music I say my favourite genres are swing, jazz, blues, folk and indie. Current albums on my IPod include Frank Zappa-Joes Garage, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds-Dig Lazarus Dig!!! and Paul Simon-Still Crazy After All These Years.
FMR: What instruments and equipment do you use to write?
Lee Mills: At present I’m using a Korg digital piano, E-MU Proteus Keys, Arturia Minibrute, Logic Pro, Fender USA Strat, and a Fender USA Precision bass.
FMR: Who influences you?
Lee Mills: Music wise I’m pretty much influenced by everyone I listen to or go to see. I recently saw Luke Solomon play an amazing set. Full of energy and great moments. That really inspired me to get back on the synths. I’ve began the process of taking my piano exams a couple of years ago (I’ve always been self taught). My piano teacher is an amazing player and watching him bash out a tune with such precision is very inspiring.
FMR: Tell us a bit about the process of writing this EP for Fresh Meat.
Lee Mills: So I’d recently returned from a European trip which involved a lot of clubbing. My last track, Fall, was very musical and I wanted to create something a little bit more club focused (I’ll leave it up to you to decide if I succeeded in this!). I’d also been listening to a lot of older house music, Josh Wink, A Guy Called Gerald, Orbital etc. I wanted to create a sound that wasn’t a replica of these styles but that borrowed bits and pieces from them. I love those old acid sounds so I tried to use that as a base.
FMR: What should people look for from Lee Mills in the future?
Lee Mills: Lots more music and hopefully you can catch me DJing somewhere on my travels. At the moment I’m in the middle of a remix for Tini Tun’s new label. After that I’ll be doing another 3 or 4 track EP (I’m not sure how that will sound yet) and I’ve been working on lots of non dance music for the past couple of years. I’ll be trying to work on the production of those songs and pull them together into some sort of weird and wonderful album.