UK Rockers, Milestones, have a spark within their musical signature that is powerful and immediately engaging. In the midst of the excitement that has stemmed from the release of their debut full-length, the guys have just spread the news that they are heading out on a UK headline tour in March. I caught up with the guys to discuss the release of ‘Red Lights’, being a part of the Fearless Records family, tattoos and much more.
Congrats on your debut full-length record, ‘Red Lights’. What are some of the greatest lessons that you have learned throughout the recording process that you will take into your future experiences?
Matt Clarke: Thank you!! I think definitely as musicians you become very patient people, that’s firstly something we’ve all had to adapt to. I’m personally incredibly self-critical and I think with this record I had to learn how to channel that in a way that would just make us better. It’s hard to sometimes look at something that some people think is good, but you don’t think is good enough, the same way it’s hard to make something better you already love. So, this album was definitely a huge learning curve in being able to say, “This isn’t good enough, let’s make it better and this is how we’re going to do it” but also, “This is awesome, but how can we make it even better?”
What were your three favorite album releases in 2017?
Matt Clarke: I’m going to say…
The Maine – ‘Lovely Little Lonely’
Neck Deep – ‘The Peace And The Panic’
Stand Atlantic – ‘Sidewinder’ EP!
You guys were able to tour with some seasoned vets including Simple Plan and Hawthorne Heights. Did you listen to these bands growing up? Did you ever imagine sharing a stage with them in the long-run?
Matt Clarke: It’s definitely something that you imagine. I think that you have to in order to get it! We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to learn from such brilliant musicians, but I like to think we’ve done the opportunity justice by hustling and sleeping like dogs for most of the year too. We all listened to those bands growing up and were huge reasons we made our own band, so we had to feel worthy by doing everything we could do make the most of the chance they gave us.
Although it is massive, if any of our readers have never been to the UK, tell us some recommendations for must-see tourist attractions?!
Matt Clarke: You have to go to Yummy’s Chinese or Bootle in Liverpool – it’s boss. Other than that, make sure to come to Manchester or London. Best cities. London is busy but you’ll get the generic UK experience, Manchester is a little more homely so go check out the Northern Quarter for all your hipster gins or the Trafford Centre for some retail therapy and then finish it off by seeing the greatest football team in the world, Manchester United.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the tattoos artists that you worked with to bring them to life.
Matt Clarke: My favourite at the minute is my knee tattoo that I got tattooed by Adam Ruff at Parliament Tattoo. He was fantastic and I can’t thank him enough. It’s a tiger head that sits right on my knee. I’m getting my full arm tattooed next week though which will have a ton of rad animals that represent the archetypes. I’m really excited, it’s going to be tattooed by Dom Wiley who tattooed my raven on my leg as well. He’s really sick.
Mark Threlfall: A very good friend of mine Gareth Bannister (The Crypt, Liverpool) has tattooed pretty much everything on me and there isn’t a single piece that I don’t absolutely love. I got a piece sometime last year for my grandad who had at the time had not long passed away, I wouldn’t have trusted anybody else with that and i’m in love with that piece. Although the tattoo might not mean an awful lot to anybody else, it’s one that I can look at and smile because of the memories I associate with it. He also did both of my hands a couple of weeks back and seriously couldn’t have done a better job, he nailed it. Although they may not have a super personal meaning, it just shows how much of a great artist he is. He’s an incredibly talented guy.
Eden Leviston: Ahhh probably that terrible jigsaw piece on my elbow – just kidding! I have a few! First of all I have a tattoo of an Asian elephant (at least I think it’s asian, it never tends to reply when I ask so I’m not sure)….this was simply a walk-in piece at Sacred Electric Tattoo in Leeds and was tattooed by Sway. I’m a massive animal person so as soon as I saw the design it was a no-brainer. I’m also quite big on any sort of traditional designs so I couldn’t be happier with it!
The next two pieces I’m going to mention were both tattooed by Shaun Bailey. The first of the two pieces that I had tattooed was done when I was 19 at Cockasnook in Newcastle. The idea behind the piece was heavily influenced by the Venetian Carnevale and the plague doctors of the black death. I always took a liking to how flamboyant and beautiful all of the masks were for the annual festival in Venice. Also, my Great Aunt always promised she’d take me and still hasn’t yet. Rude!
The second piece is a design that Bailey just drew up one day and put it up to be tattooed one day and I told him I could come in a week later and get it done. This was one of the most beautiful pieces I had ever seen so I just had to get it done and it was one of the final pieces to add to my arm and safe to say I think it finished it off nicely.
If you could get any tattoo, budget free, by any tattoo artist in the world, what would you get tattooed and which tattoo artist would you choose?
Matt Clarke: Oh goodness. Either Snot Tattoo in Barcelona or Rob Borbas in Hungary. I’d get my whole other arm tattoo, not sure what, probably something that they’re really good at doing…which is probably anything!
Mark Threlfall: I’d have to go with Anrijs Straume who is based at Bold As Brass in Liverpool. I wouldn’t even know where to start with what to get, his world is absolutely incredible so I think I’d trust in him to do whatever he saw fit to do!
Eden Leviston: I would choose would be Aimee Bray as the tattoo artist. She specializes in animal tattoos and I’ve been telling myself for years that I’d get my late norwegian forest cat, Loci, sitting in a throne wearing a huge crown tattooed on my ribs and also a tattoo of my two sweetheart degus, Merry & Pippin, tattooed somewhere wearing little capes and other things that hobbits wear, you get the gist. I tend to find that.
How has being a part of the Fearless Records family helped your experience as a musician so far?
Matt Clarke: I think being on a label like this makes management, agents, other labels and fans take you more seriously. You’re more likely to land those tours you want and get that producer you like because they know you have that backing. It’s been great.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
Matt Clarke: We hope you enjoy the album. Peace & love.
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