by J.D. Reager
Emerging local singer-songwriter Chris Milam officially releases his new double-sided single - "Never In Love"/"Always In Love" - today via Amazon, Itunes, and all the usual digital music retailers. The record features several noteworthy local musicians playing behind the earnest pop strains of Milam, including Jeremy Stanfill, Star & Micey's Josh Cosby and Geoff Smith, Susan Marshall, Dave Cousar, and The City Champs' Al Gamble, and also boasts excellent production from Ardent's Jeff Powell.
Milam, a native Memphian who recently returned to the city after starting his music career in Nashville and New York City, spoke to the Flyer this week about the new record, his busy tour schedule, and more.
Flyer: First off, what brought you back to Memphis?
Milam: Once the touring schedule ramped up I wanted a less expensive home-base. And, of course, I can't think of a better place to call home than Memphis.
How did you get started in music?
I played my first "show" when I was five, banging on some Fisher-Price drum kit accompanying Sgt Pepper. So I guess it was always there. It was a pretty normal progression - played in church first, then high school bands, then studied music in college and started playing out regularly, then took the plunge after graduation. I consider myself really lucky to have grown up in Memphis. It's a special place to grow up loving music - you can get an education without even trying.
What was the recording process like for your new single?
Honestly, recording at Ardent was a longtime dream of mine. I'm a huge fan of the records that have come out of there, and always wanted to record at Ardent. When Jeff and I talked about working together, I thought the timing was right. It was an awesome, surreal experience working with those musicians in that room. I can't wait to do it again.
Are you happy with the finished product?
I'm really excited about it. I wanted to write two songs as companion pieces - I'd never done that before. They have a lot in common, they're kind of two sides of the same coin. I thought the challenge in the studio would be to make them each work independent of each other, but also to highlight the things they had in common. I'm thrilled with the way both songs came out. Everybody in the studio brought their own indispensable piece to each songs. All the great performances, all the happy surprises - they all added up to something I'm proud of. I can't wait to share them with everyone.
Are you satisfied with being a solo artist/performer, or would you rather have a band?
It depends on the songs I'm singing. I played with a band in Nashville after the first two records. Then, Up was more stripped down, so it worked to tour solo. Now, I'm itching to get a band together again. The new songs have a fuller sound, and I miss the energy of playing with other musicians. I'm in the market! Know anyone?
I understand you're on the road a lot.
Yeah, I've stayed busy, thankfully! I love the road. I was gone about six weeks in the spring, mostly around the west coast and midwest. This summer I circled the south. I was gone all of September, mostly east coast. And the rest of the fall (November and December) I'll be in the midwest or the southeast. And, of course, I'm always playing around Memphis when I'm back home. I'd really love to get to the U.K. soon. I've never performed there, and I hear the crowds are awesome.
So, which is it - are you never in love, or always in love?
Ha! Can't say. Ask me again in an hour.