INTERVIEW: Milestones' Matt Clarke Talks 'Red Lights', Future Plans & Looking Up To Brendon Urie
16 March 2018, 12:12
We chat to the pop punk frontman about the UK scene and the admirable drive that led to him landing a major label deal at just 17 years old.
The UK-based pop punk scene continues to thrive with the arrival of Red Lights, the sensational debut album from Milestones.
Having spent the last few years relentlessly touring, including playing shows with the likes of Taking Back Sunday, Waterparks, Simple Plan and Mayday Parade, the four-piece eventually signed to Fearless Records. Working with producer Phil Gornell, an on-the-road veteran who has toured and mixed sound for All Time Low and Bring Me The Horizon among others, the band have produced a cohesive and catchy collection of pop punk worthy of their heroes.
We caught up for a quick chat with frontman Matt Clarke about their start on the scene and what the future holds for the band.
PopBuzz: What was it like playing the Manchester scene as an up and coming band?
Matt: Well our first ever gig wasn't even in Manchester. We're like the most non-hometown band. We've not really got a hometown if I'm honest. We were on tour as our first ever gigs. I used to book tours for bands and stuff, I was just a kid that booked loads of shows. And I just kind of made, I think six shows in a row. Edinburgh, Manchester, Derby...oh sorry, our first EVER gig was in Liverpool. We played with Roam. I forgot about that (laughs). And then we did a tour after that. Yeah I can't remember where else we went - that's really bad isn't it? (laughs). But in all honesty I don't there is really a scene for this kind of music in Manchester. I think in Manchester specifically it's very indie-based because of Oasis and Stone Roses and all those kind of bands. Even nowadays you've got Pale Waves and Cabbage who are more indie-rock. There's a big metal scene in Manchester as well and quite a lot of hardcore bands in Sheffield and the surrounding areas. So I think quite a lot of bands go to Manchester to play who are heavier but it's predominantly indie. Plus, it's only really me from Manchester, the rest of the guys are all from Liverpool and St Helens and stuff. So we practice in Manchester and do most of our shit in Manchester but we're not really a Manchester band.
PB: How did you guys end up getting signed to Fearless Records?
M: We had a plan from the very start about what we wanted to acheive in six months - we want to be signed to a big label in six months from the band's inception. We want to have done this, this and this, here's how we'll do it, this is how much money it's gonna cost - and we pretty much followed the plan to a T. And we got signed on the fifth month. It was really just the case that we knew we needed to turn heads and we needed to be the vocal point of the scene. We were touring before we had a single out, we had an EP on the way. So it was kind of like 'who the fuck are these seventeen year old kids and why do people care so much?' (laughs). It was really cool. We sold like 2000 copies on our own which is crazy good. I think the fact that we were only 16/17 years old made Fearless go 'what have these kids got that's making people talk when all the other bands are signing at 26?'.
PB: Even though it's a bigger operation now, have you still got that drive? Are you still planning ahead?
M: Literally, I just don't sleep. I always want to be working, always want to be progressing. So it's definitely something that has grown. I didn't go to University, I didn't do anything else, I'm just in the music industry constantly doing things. That hunger is more...I'm the kind of person where as he gets fed more, he needs more.
PB: You guys put together a playlist for us recently and gave a special shoutout to Panic! At The Disco. Were they one of your big influences growing up?
M: I think I didn't follow the right bands when I was younger, looking back on it now. I definitely listen to Brendon a lot more than I used to and I wish he was the vocalist I had been really looking up to. That most recent album is just incredible. Every single album they've released is just so good. I really like that band.