Cinematic pop rockers Milo Greene wrapped up their North American tour in support of sophomore album Control last week, and are currently bringing their sunny L.A. grooves to Austin for SXSW. After featuring as part of Hype Machine’s tenth anniversary celebration, sharing a lineup with indie legends Spoon, the band (named after their fictional British manager) seem set for another year on the road. We caught up with bandmembers Marlana Sheetz and Robbie Arnett to learn how to thrive and survive on tour.
You guys are at the end of a solid two months of touring. What’s been your favorite place to perform?
Marlana: I’ve got a few favorite cities that I love. Definitely love Seattle, super happy every time we go there. Montreal has always been a favorite for everybody. Everyone had a great time there on this tour. We had a day off, went dancing and drinking and just chilled out. All the cities just start to run together at some point but those two are standouts for me.
Robbie: I love Montreal, and Glasgow in Scotland. I like Portland and San Francisco a lot.
Do the audiences begin to run together too?
Marlana: Depending on what place you’re in it completely changes. What night of the week it is, what the age demographic is, it varies all the time. Sometimes they’re super quiet and don’t really do much and other times they’re just rowdy as all hell and it’s crazy. It just ranges, totally.
What have been your essentials for surviving on tour?
Robbie: VitaminWater, a jacket, especially this tour, movies to pass the time on the bus, and gum, because I can’t have bad breath.
Marlana: Especially when you’re on the road, because you’re slightly on the verge of getting sick all the time and you never know what’s going on in your mouth. You have to have gum! When I grew up, I’d be talking to my dad and he’d be like “Ugh, you’ve got horrible breath, you must be getting sick.” That’s what I equate it with.
Robbie: We try to load up on as much veggies and water as possible. The days of rockstar partying, going out and staying up til 3am, I don’t know how they managed to survive.
Marlana: Well, drugs, and we don’t do any hard drugs. I can’t tour without my iPad. I’m always reading, and especially on this tour we’ve been doing 8 hour days on the road then performing a show, so if I didn’t have books to read I’d go crazy.
What have you been reading on tour?
Marlana: I’ve been reading this one book the entire time, 1Q84. I’m loving it, but the problem is we only get four or five hours of sleep every night, so every time we get in the van, I’ll get three or four pages in then pass out. I’ll wake up four hours later and I’ll be pissed cos it’s so good!
Throughout the tour you’ve been making on-the-road playlists for Rdio. What’s been playing on repeat during those 8 hour drives?
Marlana: So much hardcore. That and like emo-punk, only because it’s usually driver’s choice and our two helping hands have been doing the driving.
Robbie: It could anywhere from really ethereal, pretty music to heavy, Refused-style stuff. It’s really all over the place.
Marlana: I just keep my headphones on so I don’t have to listen to everybody else.
You guys have posted a ton of workout shots on social media. How important is the gym for Milo Greene?
Marlana: It’s a pretty big deal. We all like to work out, and this has definitely been the hardest tour to find that time. There’s just been so much driving. I request that every hotel we stay at has some kind of a gym. A lot of times it’s a Super 8 and there’s just a treadmill but as long as I can get up and walk for 30 minutes before we leave it makes a huge difference. We all love exercise. A few of us bring bikes on the road with us. It’s a big deal.
You guys played a lot of record stores on this tour. How important is physical media to Milo Greene as a band?
Marlana: It’s very important. It’s important to us to be there and have people see us play in a different setting. A lot of people don’t purchase physical music anymore so it’s a cool thing to be a part of. It helps you get the music out there in just another way.
Robbie: It’s about creating a whole story and a whole arc. A lot of people are just putting out singles, and with the attention span of the internet there’s a hot new band every second so when you’re really sitting down and trying to map out an album from start to finish, it’s not about the bits and pieces- it’s about a whole experience. That’s why vinyl’s so important to us, because you can’t really fast-forward. It’s a nice way to just sit down and really experience it.
You released the album, put out videos and for now you’re wrapping up this tour. How is the story going to continue for Control?
Marlana: It’ll continue with another video, hopefully, and more and more touring. We’ll probably be on the road for another year if all goes well. The hope is ultimately to just keep growing.