Photo by Alicia J. Rose
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – “Shake a Shot”
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson has been singing for some time, but he entered into the music world with his self-titled debut record in 2008. His second album in as many years is Summer of Fear (out on Saddle Creek), a yearning and robust affair about a particularly down summer. He sent us a dispatch over email about dealing with the press, living on the road and working with Kyp Malone.
EM: Your myspace lists you as being from Brooklyn, Oregon. Do you feel like you identify with New York now, or any place in particular?
MBAR: I tried to move back to Portland this summer…breifly being in the woods, in the mountains, or at the river there is probably the only times I feel totally peaceful or content. Unfortunately, I moved here when I was 17 and the pace and habits of New York seem to have irreversibly implanted themselves in me. I am somewhat uneasy and discontented in either environment, I desperately want to find a place I feel content and at home but for now the thing that feels best is being on the road…which is much like being nowhere.
EM: You’re about to kick off a tour that’s lasting until the end of the year. How are you getting ready?
MBAR: Rehearsing my new band. I also stopped getting drunk before shows and started running in the mornings.
EM: What are you listening to these days?
MBAR: The first Clash record. Some of the new Jay-Z. “I Am Not Willing” from Moby Grape ’68. “Rambling Man” by The Bob Seger System…also, The Queen is Dead.
EM: A few publications have been kicking around Arcade Fire comparisons in reference to you. What do you feel about that?
MBAR: Whatever. Sells records ya know?
EM: There’s certainly a sense of community to be found on your two records so far, both in the finished music and in the recording process. How has working with Kyp Malone and Chris Taylor (of Grizzly Bear) been?
MBAR: Without the encouragement and goading of those individuals, neither one of the albums they respectively collaborated with me on would have been made. Kyp probably should have been less indulgent but, you know…that being said, given that both of those albums are pretty much grandiose self-indulgent monuments to personal mythology, I find your aural perception of a sense of community somewhat surprising. It takes a village to raise a child I guess.
EM: When your first album came out, you remarked Summer of Fear had mostly been recorded and a third album was already mostly written. Do you think you’ll be able to sustain this level of production?
MBAR: Yeah…I mean, I’d like to do more. I think it’s more dependent on whether anyone else has an interest in me sustaining this level of production. I used to be much more prolific.
EM: How’s the third album coming along?
MBAR: Trying to leave it alone for awhile so I don’t start wanting the band to play those songs instead of the ones that are on the record we’re promoting. Which has been soul-crushing and life-altering, but necessary and somewhat rewarding in a tangential way. I am trying not to alienate my remaining sliver of a fan base any more. The third album is called “Purple Rain, Purple Rain”. The songs are far better than any I have recorded so far and I live in perpetual fear that Summer of
Fear will destroy any chance of me recording what are definitely the most accessible and least-stilted songs I’ve ever written. It was conceived as my “I finally have an audience album”, versus SoF which was my “fuck this no one will ever hear my music” album. I hope I get to make it before I die.