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Millions Talk ‘Max Relax’, Thriftiness & What Not To Shout At A Gig

Written by Marc Zanotti on November 4, 2014

Having just finished supporting Ball Park Music on tour, Millions are ready to steal the spotlight as the headliners for their own For Your Leisure & Pleasure Australian tour behind debut album Max Relax, released this August.

The Brisbane indie pop quartet are flying high at the moment, thanks to accessible, infectious single Clementine. But it wasn’t all that long ago, pre-Millions days, when members of the band were playing for less than $10 and figuring out touring-hacks for life on the road.

Now that Millions are national headliners in their own right, Music Feeds fired off some questions to guitarist Ted Tilbrook on how the band used to stretch a buck, learned the hard way about what not to say onstage, and what it takes to step up from support to the main act.

Music Feeds: In 2012 Ted and Campbell told Music Feeds that in a former band they used to play to crowds of two people, and once had to split a $10 performance fee. Any similarly nightmarish times when Millions were starting out?

Ted Tilbrook: Not really. Millions was far better thought out than our previous band. We only took decent gigs in our hometown so as to not overplay, and didn’t travel interstate until there was requests for us to do so, therefore eliminating any nightmarish sort of experiences!

MF: Such lean times probably made you very resourceful. What cost cutting tips would you share for bands that are now in the position you were a few years back?

TT: Always take the cheapest flights and drive if it’s gonna save money. Try and not eat out every meal on tour — that gets very expensive very quickly. Toast and avocado is the answer.

MF: Now that Max Relax is out and times aren’t quite as tough, have you loosened the purse strings? Or do you still find yourself being (overly) fiscally responsible?

TT: Yeah, we still try and save money at every corner. It’s what makes the band viable. It means we can travel Australia or overseas without paying for any of it ourselves. It’s also how we can afford to record and pay for our rehearsal space.

We still don’t pay ourselves from the band and just work casual work in between tours to pay for personal expenses.

MF: Do you reflect on how far you’ve come since $10 paydays and empty rooms? And most importantly, have you rubbed your relative success in anyone’s face? Say, an ex-employer or some past nonbeliever?

TT: I mean, yeah, sometimes you do think back and look at how lucky you are to be able to do this as a sort of full-time basis, but you’re always looking towards what’s next or trying to get to that next rung on the ladder or writing the next song.

There’s not really too much time for us to pause and stop to reflect because you have to be ahead of the game.

MF: As the band’s audience grows, so too does the chance of a making an onstage faux pas when conversing with the crowd. Any city shout-out mixups or failed quips you’ve learned not to repeat again?

TT: “This roof may not be our son, but we’ll raise it anyway.”

MF: You guys are currently touring in support of Ball Park Music. Have you stolen any dance moves from Sam Cromack? We have pleasant memories of him waggling his butt at the crowd at Homebake a few years back.

TT: He does have quite the bum wiggle! He has a sort of pointing arm movement he does across the whole crowd in one of their songs that the crowd seems to like. Maybe Dom can steal that in a song where he’s not playing guitar.

MF: Once you’re done with BPM, you’ll be off on your own headlining tour. Going from the opening slot to the main drawcard, do you change up your strategy onstage? Or do you think it’s kinda the same thing, just 40 minutes longer?

TT: Yeah, I think with being a support band you have to try and play your cards/songs to the headline band’s audience, so as to make the most of the tour/fan conversion.

We’ve been playing a lot of our faster, poppy songs on this tour. On our own headline tour we’ll be going into some deeper album tracks that aren’t quite as upbeat and a little bit more experimental.

Because the crowd is there to see you, you can play some of the lesser known songs because some people may want to hear them/we want to play them.

MF: Has the band discussed the appropriate amount of time to wait between the end of the set and the start of the encore?

TT: No! Either the crowd is baying for the encore and they get it, or they aren’t and they don’t get it.

MF: We’re making a beer bet right now with Millions. A six pack on Clementine making it in the top 50 of triple j’s Hottest 100. Any takers?

TT: Hahaha oooohhh, that’d be nice but i’m not gonna take any bets on it.

‘Max Relax’ by Millions is out now. Full national tour details below.

Watch: Millions – Clementine

Millions 2014 For Your Leisure & Pleasure Australian Tour Dates

Friday, 21st November 2014
Pirie Social Club, Adelaide
Tickets: via Moshtix

Saturday, 22nd November 2014
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Tickets: via Northcote Social Club

Sunday, 23rd November 2014
Gasometer, Melbourne (U18)
Tickets: via Oztix

Wednesday, 26th November 2014
Beach Road Hotel, Bondi
Free Entry

Thursday, 27th November 2014
Transit Bar, Canberra
Tickets: via Moshtix

Friday, 28th November 2014
Rad, Wollongong
Tickets: via Oztix

Saturday, 29th November 2014
Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Tickets: via Newtown Social Club

Friday, 5th December 2014
Brightside, Brisbane
Tickets: via Oztix

Saturday, 6th December 2014
Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
Tickets: via Moshtix

Sunday, 7th December 2014
Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane (U18)
Tickets: via Moshtix

Friday, 12th December 2014
Cosmic Dolphin ” Elsewhere, Gold Cost
Tickets: via Oztix

Sunday, 14th December 2014
The Lair, Sydney (U18)
Tickets: via Metro Theatre

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