Now this one feels a bit weird because these features are usually an introductory feature to a band on our site. However, some of you may have noticed that over the last year or so, that we have covered Millie Manders and the Shut Up quite a lot in reviews, interviews and previews. Just over a week ago we also announced ska and punk crossover act to headline our first ever live event, Broken Arrow’s Palace Takeover. With that in mind, we felt it was a must to put Millie Manders and the Shut Up in our “Have You Heard?” catalogue, and we caught up with Millie herself to give us some insight into her background.
From a young age, the singer was destined to be a performer, having learned various instruments from the age of five and also singing in her high chair through food when she was just a little one. “Professionally it was just an inevitable choice; I haven’t ever really wanted to do anything else,” Manders said, before adding. “All I have ever wanted to achieve is playing the music I write to people who enjoy it and earning enough money from my own music to pay my rent and bills. I don’t think my goals have really changed. That’s still my ultimate goal. I’m hugely blessed that I earn all my money through music, but to earn it all from my own music would be success enough for me.”
Millie Manders started out in bands before taking off on a solo project, which over the years evolved into Millie Manders and The Shut up. “Once I had done a year of touring and writing as a solo artist I started to find session musicians to back me on my tours for another year. Finding the right musicians to be permanent members of the band took time but it was worth it, and most of them came through random meetings or music network connections,” the singer added.
Musically, the band fits very well in the ska and punk scenes, having played the likes of Boomtown, Rebellion, Pie Race Festival and Wotsit Called Fest in 2017 alone, along with just a solo acoustic performance from Millie Manders at Level Up Festival‘s inaugural year. They provide a sound that will make you want to skank and rock out, providing lots of groovy upstroke rhythms, balanced out by some pure hard-hitting riffage. Check out the video for ‘Teddy’ here.
In terms of influences, Millie explained that the likes of Aretha Franklin, Skin (Skunk Anansie) Delores O’Riordan (Cranberries) and Gwen Stefani are key inspirations for her vocally, and that the music from Skunk Anansie, No Doubt, Enter Shikari, Scroobius Pip, The King Blues, Sex Pistols, The Specials and Rage Against The Machine is what drives her songwriting along with topics on personal experience, anger, social dissent, pain and observations.
Some career highlights for Millie Manders includes: Opening for Bad Manners on an acoustic set to 600 people and having the full attention of a crowd, also playing a show in Canterbury at Lady Luck as part of a tour where: “It was packed. We decided to do Hole In Your Chest as an encore and a large number of the audience started singing the song with us. I genuinely thought I was going to cry. Never in my wildest did I expect that.”
On a personal level, getting to know the fans too, “Just before Rebellion last year I was contacted by a couple who’s daughter (8 years old I think) was a fan and wanted to ask me some questions about how I got in to the industry and any hints and tips I could give her because she wanted to be a singer and songwriter too. I set up a meeting and chatted with her for 45 minutes. The whole family were lovely and she was so switched on. Having a young girl want advice from me?? I was so moved.”
As mentioned earlier, Millie Manders and the Shut Up will headline our first ever live event, on the opening night on March 23rd at Palace in Hastings, with support from Just Say Nay and Spoilers, with more to be added soon. Nova Twins will also provide a DJ set after party on the night. Popes of Chillitown will headline the following night with Counting Coins, Eat Defeat, The Barracks, Plot 32 and announced so far. Full details on the poster below, although you can check out the event page here, and get tickets here.