Los Angeles has always struck me as a starry-eyed metropolis where everyone pretends to be something other than what they really are, so it came as no surprise when I heard that self-described cinematic pop startup Milo Greene was sown from the requisite seeds of deception.
Like myriad aspiring musicians before them, Marlana Sheetz, Robbie Arnett, Andrew Heringer and Graham Fink were forced to assume an alternate persona in order to share their musical vision with the world.
Alas, Milo Greene might not be real, but the intoxicating melodies and lush harmonization each of them conjures up certainly are.
The fact that many of their songs unfurl as if they’ll be featured in a trailer for the next tween-oriented indie flick could either be a blessing or a curse depending on one’s taste, but, if you’re a fan of bands such as The Head and the Heart or Of Monsters and Men, Milo Greene’s style should land directly in your wheelhouse.
I spoke with singer Andrew Heringer via telephone in preparation for the band’s opening slot at Canalside, and, after careful consideration, I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring to Buffalo tonight.
MNOD: The band’s style has often been referred to as “cinematic-pop.” How did that term come about?
Heringer: We’ve always been fond of sounds that take you somewhere or create a landscape in your mind, so the idea of making music that could easily be featured in a movie or connected with images appealed to us when we first started out.
MNOD: Where did the name Milo Greene originate from?
Heringer: We all went to college together and struggled to find gigs at the beginning, so we concocted a fictitious booking agent with professional credentials to help us get noticed by promoters. It started working for us right away and we kept rolling with it the moment that we realized the band was going to be a full-time thing.
MNOD: Who were some of the groups that shaped the band’s sound during the development stage?
Heringer: Well, our sound has changed quite a bit since the first record, but early on we were influenced by bands such as Arcade Fire, The Eagles, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Because we’re four singer/songwriters with different tastes, we tried to find a middle ground on the second record by incorporating a beat-centered sound drawn from artists like Talking Heads, Michael Jackson, and David Bowie. We all contribute equally throughout the entire process, because honesty and communication are critical elements to making this partnership work. The way in which we express our feelings to one another will continue to be perfected as time goes on.
MNOD: How did your expectations for “Control” differ from those attached to the first album?
Heringer: We spent a couple years playing live and decided that we wanted the records to match the fullness of what we bring to the stage. We had such emotionality with those first songs, but, on “Control,” we experimented with different sounds to produce a bigger effect.
MNOD: How did the culture of Los Angeles impact the band’s musical direction?
Heringer: We actually retreated to cabins in the mountains of California while putting the first record together, because we wanted to get away from all that. That’s why the difference between the two records is so noticeable. For “Control,” we were much more immersed in the city and the sound reflects the change in scenery.
MNOD: What can fans expect during the live show?
Heringer: We cover a dynamic range of music between the four of us, so people get to see who sings which part and how much energy we bring to the performance. Hearing us on record is one thing, but anyone who is new to it will hopefully be drawn in by the visual aspect, as well.
MNOD: What does the band hope to accomplish moving forward?
Heringer: We’re all in this for the long haul, because we love music and want to reach as many audiences as possible. It’s what we do. Thanks again for taking the time and we look forward to coming to Buffalo.
Milo Greene will perform a free show alongside Arkells and Robert DeLong tonight at Canalside.
Showtime is 6 p.m.