MY INSPIRATION: Spilt Milk – Cigarettes And Fairy Lights | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Gateshead-based band Spilt Milk have been getting quite the name for themselves on the indie circuit thanks to their catchy and energetic sound which is full of youthful enthusiasm. Their new single, Cigarettes And Fairy Lights is no different, full of emphatic percussive stabs and an anthemic chorus which begs a singalong. Here, lead singer Oscar tells us about the origins of the track…

My name is Oscar Nolan, I’m 19 and I’m from Rowlands Gill in Gateshead. I’ve been writing songs with my band Spilt Milk for the past four years now. We reach a fifth milestone in our mini career as a band when we played our fifth headline show in Newcastle at the Cluny on` 18th March. We’ve got a whole range of new songs, so I thought now would be a good time to talk about my approach to songwriting and the people and things in my life that inspire me.

I feel like my best ideas will usually come to me when I’m furthest away from a musical instrument, and I find that I work better when musical ideas just jump into my head. I’ll record them on my I phone and just get on with my day and try to make something of the idea when I’m next at the piano. The way I’ll write songs is sat down at the piano overlooking my view of wintery Gateshead, the riffs and piano accompaniments that inspire me are those of artists like Ben Folds, Billy Joel and Jamie Cullum and I try and write musical ideas similar to that style, I’ll play through ideas and riffs that I’ve been working on recently and try and improvise chord progressions. If I find a progression that I’m happy with I’ll play it on a loop and try and write different melodies to it of whatever tunes that come into my head.

I think it’s important to try a range of different melodies when working on a song, I’ll find that if I’m writing different variations of melodies that I’ll get a broader range of ideas to work with whether that be a chorus line or a section of harmonies. Ill then try and match some lyrics to whatever melody lines I’m vibing with the most, I tend to write lyrics about interesting events in my life since I started university. I find that if I’m writing songs about antics on nights out that the music can have a bit of a charming and familiar quality to it, and the stories of nights out in a city as great as Newcastle can usually be fantastic building blocks for an interesting song.

However, I think it’s also important to not ever over-think a song, when I write I’m not focused on this tune being an anthemic indie hit or a perfect three-minute pop song. And I’ll never actively write a song intending for it to be Spilt Milk’s next biggest hit, but the point being is that it’s all practice for the day that the epic banger might come along. And at this time in my life I’m really proud of the stuff this band is achieving.”

The band play Stockton Calling on the NE Volume Music Bar stage on Saturday 8th April, and The Green Room in Stockton on Saturday 10th June.


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