The Millenium, a pop rock band, recently stopped at the Miramar Theatre on their fall co-headlining tour with 4 Door Theatre. The Stolen, Bonfires, and Green Screen Kid supported them at their Halloween show here in Milwaukee. The Millenium consists of lead vocalist Matt Hasenmueller, guitarist Kyle Culver, bassist Casey Sproatt, drummer Brandon Bruyette, and guitarist/vocalist/keyboard Kyle Featherstone. After sitting in during a sound check prior to the show, the band’s manager brought my friend and I to the band’s lounge to conduct the following interview.
I know you are from Eau Claire, how do you like touring in Wisconsin and the Midwest in general?
Matt Hasenmueller: I personally really like it. I don’t really like big cities. I like vast amounts of nothingness. This is going to sound really weird, but I find it really easy to think when I can look and see forever. I love that.
Kyle Featherstone: I recently have learned to like cities more because they’re a little bit more important to me. I’m fascinated by the fact that huge cities exist and how humans have managed to just build shit on top of shit and it not explode yet. Like it’s still going?
Hasenmueller: New York City is a marvel.
Featherstone: Seriously though. It’s so big and you’re like how are there tunnels under tunnels and buildings on top of buildings for miles… and it still works.
Featherstone: Playing again.
Brandon Bruyette: Playing with buds.
Hasenmueller: I love playing with them. It’s a very bud-bud tour.
Bruyette: And they’re all new buds.
Hasenmueller: It’s day 2 and I’m loving it.
Casey Sproatt: Well 4 Door Theatre did part of the Sleepless Summer Tour.
Bruyette: Yeah, but they’re the only other ones we really know.
Sproatt: Yeah I’m stoked that they’re on it. They’re good dudes.
Bruyette: I think the shows are going to be good. I’m excited to back east. We’re playing new songs that we’re excited for people to hear.
Featherstone: We’ve made so many friends, especially on the East Coast. Think of a friend that you have at home or at school or whatever, and think of not being able to see that person for 4 plus months. It kinda bums you out.
Bruyette: It’s like when like you a pretty girl but you only see her at summer camp.
Featherstone: Yeah. That’s perfect.
Bruyette: I mean, I’ve never gone to summer camp, but I imagine that’s what it’s like.
Hasenmueller: For me, it’s like I’m going to 6 different summer camps.
How did writing and recording your second album go?
Featherstone: It went really well.
Hasenmueller: It was our first bat writing all together as a full unit. I think we did already, and I’m really excited for it.
Featherstone: We used Airbnb for the first time. It was sort of an interesting process, at least compared to things I’ve done.
Hasenmueller: Right, and we were learning to work together too. I know in a lot of our previous bands a lot of us were the primary creative people. Learning how to mix those together was at times difficult, I’m not going to lie to you, but I think it was worth it.
Featherstone: Yeah, and we didn’t stay local. We went to Cincinnati to do it. But, over the course of 3 different trips, we did it.
Bruyette: It’s not like we were there for a month and a half.
Featherstone: Yeah it was like a week at a time. We’d go, do as much as we could, as many songs as we could – without rushing. Come back home, work, and do it again. So it took forever, but it’s done now. Finally.
Do you find yourself writing a lot on the road, or is it easier to sit down as a group and write the new music in a studio?
Kyle Culver: I don’t think we’ve ever written on the road.
Hasenmueller: I think personally, I come up with lyrics and stuff sometimes.
Featherstone: I’m in the process of getting a new laptop, and I’m a very “do everything on the computer” type of guy. I’m really looking forward to trying to do that in the coming future, but for us mostly it’s when we get home, throw some ideas around and show each other. But I bet in the future, it’ll be more common. A lot of bands write whole records on the road. Like My Chem, they turn the back of their bus into a studio.
Bruyette: For The Black Parade yeah.
Hasenmueller: Yeah, the 1975 has done it. Coldplay too. I mean if you’re on a heavy schedule…
Featherstone: You literally fit in a studio day or two between shows. It baffles me.
Bruyette: That’s the other thing too. Even if we’re not on the road, we all kinda live in different places. So, we’re in theory always writing away from each other. But the internet is cool because Kyle Culver will put up something up on SoundCloud and we’ll be like “That’s sick! I have a great idea for that.” I now have the ability of tracking drums at my house. So even when we’re not on the road, we’re on the road with each other. I think that’s what makes it important when we’re all in the same room on tour together. And it’s another aspect of why we work so well, since we’re not hovering over each other 24/7. We all kind of do our own thing, but when we get together we’re like “This works.”
Hasenmueller: I think something that I’ve always wanted people to realize is that everybody is probably sad or anxious about something, but that doesn’t mean you should stop. It’s okay to feel negative things, and a lot of people take it two ways. Either they go, “Alright. Being sad is the thing to do. If you’re sad, just wallow in it.” Or other people will say “Oh just forget about it, don’t even realize it’s there.” And I think part of the whole “Stay Golden” mantra that we have is recognizing that you have something going on, and maybe it isn’t the best thing, but trying to work through it even though you realize something’s going wrong.
Featherstone: I agree one hundred percent. And on the same level, I think a lot of people put bands and band members on a pedestal. They think they’re different they and don’t have similar problems, or they’re different people and it’s not true. It’s like you said, it’s okay to be bummed out, frankly life can be pretty tough sometimes.
Hasenmueller: I would say a lot of the time
Featherstone: I hate how pessimistic it sounds, but life can suck a lot of the time. But if you’re okay with the fact that just kind of how life is, it’s not against you, you’re not going to be miserable. You just learn that working through that and those problems make you better and it’s for a reason. That’s okay.
Bruyette: We all love, and we all lose.
Hasenmueller: And we all learn.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Hasenmueller: If you’re going to do it, do it. Figure out if you want to do it first.
Culver: There’s a huge gap between learning how to write and play songs, and the time period of which you’re actually good at that. You just really have to keep up at it, and eventually you’ll start to make a product that you’re not only proud of but other people will appreciate.
Hasenmueller: Know you’re going to kind of suck for a while.
Culver: And that’s cool and you have to embrace that!
Sproatt: Definitely go in with the mindset knowing that if you want to do it seriously, how much actual work it does take. And it’s not just writing the music and going to play shows. That’s probably the smallest part of it. The day to day stuff at home is enough work for a band to feel a bit discouraged from it.
Featherstone: We were previously talking about bands we were in and why they didn’t work out, and I think that’s why so many bands come from other people from other bands. You all figure out if you want to do it, and you’re all on the same page. When you’re in a band and you’re aspiring to go out and do shows like that, it takes a lot of work. You’re only going to be successful with everybody putting in that work and everybody being on the same page. I know you want to go and play shows, and you should practice your instrument. Like Kyle Culver says, you just gotta play as much as you can. Find people that want to play as much as you can as you do.