If you’re a fan of angular, melodically charged indie rock and you’re not yet familiar with the name Pure Milk, to steal a line, ‘do yourself a favour’. Over the course of the past few years, the Palm Beach five piece have been ploughing their own distinctly catchy take on the genre, driven by the idiosyncratic world view of the band’s front man and songwriter, Lewis Nitschinsk.
The band recently dropped a cracking new single, ‘Expectations’, (reviewed last month in our New Music column) and mid October sees the arrival of a new EP, ‘Self-Improvement’, which, explains Nitschinsk, consist of a range of tracks recorded across the bands lifespan; “Self-Improvement is an amalgamation of all our favourite songs we’ve written in the past two years. For ages we didn’t even want to call it an EP, it’s more of a time capsule for the band from when we started to where we are now. Some of the songs, like ‘Don’t Drive West’, are super old – pretty much the first songs we ever wrote. The title comes not only from the improvement of the band but also improvement within myself. It’s about trying not to be so critical of everything I do and opening up more, being excited and proud of what I write. Everything on the EP was written and recorded in my garage at home. We’re about to go into a proper studio for our next release so it’s kind of the end of an era in a way.”
In addition to their sonic oeuvre, the bands dynamic and line up has also subtly morphed across the journey so far, as Lewis enlightens; ”Pure Milk started as a three piece consisting of Dylan Lindquist, Nathan Asquith and myself. I was drumming and singing for a while – it was wild, we were terrible. We found our drummer Brayden not too long after, he’s a metal drummer at heart but we love him, he’s so good at what he does. Joel, our guitarist is the newest member. I just wanted to sing and dance and not play guitar, so he was the perfect fit. Joel’s own project, Label, is like this amazing blend of RnB and Pop, I love it. Dylan also has his own electronic project called Soft Nylon and produces for a bunch of bands on the Gold Coast. I love the diversity we have; it’d be boring if we were all just indie rock kids who listen to Pavement and Television.”
Pure Milk are a band clearly in thrall of their immediate surroundings and unafraid to portray a distinctive local identity, with top notch tunes such as ‘Elephant Rock’, ‘M1 Southbound’ and recent single, ‘Palm Beach’ very specific in referencing THEIR town. Says Nitschinsk of his oft Gold Coast centric lyrical propensity: “I love the Gold Coast, like genuinely. It’s so distinct and is an important aspect of becoming the band we are, I could never talk poorly about it! I find myself more and more creating these characters in my songs who come from completely different facets of life, but nearly always have some basis on the Gold Coast.”
The songs of Pure Milk also typically display a strong sense of personal reflection and a questioning of the world and one’s ability to navigate it. With Nitschinsk clearly holding the lyrical aspect of the song writing process dearly (he mentions Kevin Morby, David Berman, Andrew Savage, Father John Misty and Courtney Barnett as a few of his favourite lyricists), I put it to him as to how he approaches his craft, and which comes first, the music or the words.
“I’ve always been lyrics first, I write a lot of stuff into my phone, my notes section is just like a jumbled mess of one liners and little ideas that pop into my head. From there I can usually start forming ideas and creating a distinct story for the song. I’ve never really started with a topic and gone ‘yeah, lets write a song about this’. Sometimes I’ll immediately know what the song should sound like and I just chuck chords on and we’re good to go. Recently though, Dylan’s been sending me a lot of instrumentals and I try and write a song from that, which is good, I think it makes us write stronger, catchier songs.”
As to what’s next on the horizon in the world of Pure Milk, Lewis is upbeat as to where things are heading.
“Well! We’re supporting San Mei at the end of September before we have our own run of shows in October (the 19th at Greaser Bar in Brisbane and the 20th at Kommune in Coolangatta.) We’ve never headlined before so it’s going to be heaps of fun. After that we’re going into the studio and recording a new EP that’s coming out next year. We’re keeping busy – it’s great!”
Be sure to catch local indie rock purveyors par excellence, Pure Milk, on one of their upcoming shows around the traps. Here’s the final word from Lewis as to what’s been their on-stage musical highlight to date.
“It has to be playing with DZ Deathrays for the last Shark Bar show, it’s still kind of crazy to think about. I bought their first album when I was 16 and couldn’t even play guitar, it’s wild. Other than that, anytime I see someone singing the words of a song back to me I’m amazed, I’ll never get tired of seeing that happen!”
IMAGE (c) Bridie Oxspring