Milan Ring is going on tour. In fact, it’s only been two months since she wrapped supporting Masego on his Australian jaunt. But this time, it’s a solo affair for ‘Step Back’—her first release of 2019. It’s the first time Milan has headlined a tour and on it she’ll visit Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.
Her national tour is the culmination of five years worth of work from Milan. She created her own label, MXMAY, to release music the way that she wants to release it. Her studio is self-built. Her music is entirely self-written, self-produced, and self-recorded. She styles herself.
But to say that Milan Ring is an island would be a crude assumption. She collaborates closely with her good friend Gianna Hayes on the design of her single art and tour posters. She’s worked with DRAM and SZA. It’s not that she likes to do things alone. It’s that she didn’t come to play.
Since the last time we spoke, you’ve released some more music in the same single by single format. Do you think you prefer releasing that way?
At the moment, yeah for sure. I think it’s nice to just focus attention on the one song while I keep banking up a big folder of other songs. It’s working for me for now. I’m enjoying it.
How many songs would you say are in that big folder of music?
I don’t even know! I’m trying to condense it. I just condensed it to like, 40 songs? That’s my focus at the moment.
That’s a lot of songs.
It’s a lot because, majority of them, I’m doing the production on them. Some of them are collabs as well, so there’s a lot of shit for me to do. It’s not just “finish the vocals”—it’s everything. But it’s good you know. It’s all good! Music is coming!
I find your way of releasing single by single really refreshing.
I feel like there’s no right or wrong [way] these days. Of course, eventually one day I’ll do a body of work that’s bigger and completely cohesive. It’s definitely something to think about.
Do you create music daily? Or is it in fits and starts?
It’s not necessarily everyday. Lately I’ve been doing lots of gigs. I don’t usually go to the studio around gigs, I’d rather that space and time to get in the zone rather than here and there. Unless I’m feeling really inspired. I tend to block out a few days a week in my studio for creating and then I have some rehearsal time and gigs. And then there’s life! Gotta have a life to live as well.
Can you describe your studio to me?
Well, we built it from scratch! So it’s still a work in progress in some respects. But you walk in, there’s a big window and our walls are painted this terracotta red. When you walk in, there’s a beautiful big piano and it’s really lovely to play. I have my desk there. It’s definitely loaded full of stuff. There’s lots of synths and guitars and bass. We’ve got a great interface and two sets of monitors and a big Apple screen and some amps. There’s lots of drum machines! There’s a bunch going on. There’s more we want to fit in. We might want to put in a record player… but do we want to do that because they take up so much space? It’s really cosy, chill and it’s got 24-hour access which is great.
Do you collect vinyl records?
I don’t! But I have lots of vinyl around from my mum and my brother. Someone near where I live moved out from their store, so we have lots of vinyl from them. There’s vinyl around, for sure. I want to start sampling it. It would be interesting because it’s not the way I create. [With me] everything is from scratch for the most part. I do use samples of course, but in terms of extensively sampling something, I don’t do that much. It’s something to do next.
What is some of the most quality advice you’ve received?
Don’t rush things. It’s something I think is important.
Do you have a tendency to rush?
I think this world is structured so that we all rush. I definitely rush, but I try not to. Then you’re stressing and life’s stressful and it’s not enjoyable. Then, this is going to sound so cliche, but you miss the little things.
Absolutely. Any favourite artist releases from the first snippet of this year?
I loved James Blake’s Assume Form album and Solange’s When I Get Home. Ah! I feel like we haven’t really gotten into the year yet!
Last song you saved to your Spotify?
‘I Want You Around’ by Snoh Aalegra!
Last item of clothing you bought?
I bought a suit from Vinnies. It’s currently being tailored. And I might possibly rock it on my tour… I’m really into finding your Grandpa’s suit at Salvos.
How satisfying is getting an item of clothing tailored!
Yes! My tailor’s the man. Got the man on the job! [Laughs]
Have you always been into wearing suits?
I think it’s been a recent thing. I’ve always had suit jackets and pants, but I’ve never worn them together as the whole combo. When I did it I was like, “Yes! Of course! This is the vibe!”
What is your definition of luxury in your life?
I’m all about getting massages. That is my luxury. Another one is going to the sauna. I love sitting in a steam room and doing the whole spa situation. That’s the one. And then I get back into my power suit afterwards. Like a Japanese businessman.
Duly noted! Finally, are you craving anything today?
I’m kind of hungry now… it’s all I can think about! It’s raining right now, so I’m craving a mad Japanese hot pot. My dad actually makes a really good one, so now I’m envisioning that—full vegetarian, every type of mushroom, all of the tofu and green vegetables and cabbage in that hot pot.