Georgia Condon | On 22, Aug 2014
Since crashing onto the scene in 2011, Brisbane locals Millions have been counting their victories, most recently the release of a cracking album and an international tour to Mexico.
We caught up with the four piece for beers on a quiet Monday afternoon, only a couple of days after their return from playing two shows in Mexico.
â€œI woke up far too early today,â€ confessed vocalist and guitarist Dom Haddad, with bassist Campbell Smith confirming- â€œIâ€™ve definitely been getting a few bright and early starts in, just not being able to get back to sleep.â€
These recent developments are the culmination of a timeline beginning around October 2013, when the boys headed to England to record their album Max RelaxÂ with guitarist Ted and drummer Louisâ€™ father Glenn Tilbrook.
Glenn was involved in the initial stages, but as the boys discussed, conflicts of musical taste made things a little more tricky in the latter part of the process- â€œDad was mixing it, but we couldnâ€™t get it to where we wanted it to be,â€ said Ted.
â€œHe was pretty strong on the things that he wanted when he was mixing, and we were strong too-there were just some things that we couldnâ€™t meet in the middle of,â€ added Dom, with Ted noting that it was just a case of some â€œserious Dad-style.â€
â€œThere was one song that weâ€™d tried to finish a couple of times,â€ said Dom of the process of selecting tracks for the album, â€œwe just played it to him anyway, and then that song weâ€™d kind of written off but it ended up being on the album. It used to be really slow but now itâ€™s one of the fastest songs on the album.â€
Ted agreed, â€œWhen you play and work on songs for ages, itâ€™s good to have someone with an objective view and no emotional attachment, because youâ€™re always just playing it.â€
Campbell went further, â€œespecially if someone is just like â€œno, thatâ€™s shitâ€, which is a shock, but isnâ€™t offensive especially when you respect that personâ€™s opinion.â€
After returning the Australia, the boys kept writing, before finally sending tracks to be mixed in Melbourne by Andrei Eremin. With so much back and forth, itâ€™s hard to envisage the process of creating Max Relax, but Dom explained.
â€œâ€œIt took us two years from our last EP to release the albumâ€¦ Weâ€™d been playing a lot up until the end of 2012 and at the start of last year was when we realised we were going in a different direction to our old drummer (James Wright, currently of Rolls Bayce), and thatâ€™s when we started writing properlyâ€¦â€
Ted explained further- â€œOriginally the timeline was that the album would be out in June last year (laughs). And then we had lots of little things like changing management kept pushing back writing and getting it done.â€
After finally completing the album, Millions stayed pretty quiet on the Brisbane scene that they had previously been very active in. Following one gig on Australia Day, the boys were thrown back into performing in Mexico following an entirely out-of-the-blue email.
â€œWe literally just got an email in our inbox so we thought, may as well respond and see what they say,â€ explained Ted, â€œand then we got emailing with them, and when they finally sent through flights we were likeâ€¦ this is happening.â€
â€œThey covered all our flights and accommodation so it was kinda like a little holiday,â€ added Campbell.
When we asked if there were any crazy Mexico tales a sheepish grin swept across each of their faces, but Dom merely divulged, â€œjust lots of little storiesâ€¦â€
Campbell went further-â€œ We ended up accidentally bribing a copâ€¦ Also he bribed us, mainly because of the language barrier.â€
Ted jumped in- â€œHe pulled us over and started speaking Spanish at us and all we understood was â€œpesosâ€, so we just thought â€œgive him some pesos!â€, and he just walked off.â€
â€œI reckon we gave him more money than the fine wouldâ€™ve been anyway,â€ chimed Dom.
Following a three date album launch tour mid-August, the boys are heading on tour for 14 shows with fellow Brisbane favourites Ball Park Music.
â€œIâ€™m really excited to play some of our own shows again because weâ€™ve done so many support tours that itâ€™s going to be rewarding to play in front of a crowd thatâ€™ve come to actually see us, rather than trying to win over someone elseâ€™s crowd.â€ Said Campbell.
â€œThe Ball Park tour is probably going to be the longest tour weâ€™ve ever done,â€ continued Dom.
CampbellÂ went on- â€œItâ€™s going to be interestingâ€¦ busy and full-on, I kind of donâ€™t ever want to fly again- we just did about 50 hours in transit.â€
â€œIt actually so happened that it was too foggy when we were flying into Sydney from Mexico, so the plane had to fly up to Brisbane, but they wouldnâ€™t let us outâ€¦ So we pretty much missed our flight to Brisbane because we were in Brisbane.â€
With Millions experimenting with genres on this album, Dom said â€œwe didnâ€™t want it to be a one-dimensional album, and we have a lot of different influences, weâ€™re not that restricted by what we play.â€
â€œIâ€™d say we all listen to a lot of stuff, so thereâ€™s a lot of influences on the one album,â€ added Campbell.
â€œWriting on The Wallâ€ is a soaring, hugely pleasant opening track to an album that continues in Millionsâ€™ typical strains of loose surf guitar and irregular rhythms. â€œB Chillâ€ delves more into the world of blues and broadens Haddadâ€™s vocal range more than usual.
Later in the album lies â€œHarder Than It Should Beâ€- a catchy, garage style ballad that undoubtedly encourages some singing (or at least, clapping) along, followed by the pleasing cheesiness of the first single from the album, â€œClementineâ€.
Considering the extensive process and confidence that underpins Max Relax, it isn’t hard to see why Millions are making waves here and abroad.