A day lost within the high glassy plains and towering sculptured rocks. Everywhere you look there is a different landscape backdrop, a different place to tell a story and most importantly a place that allows our creative team to capture three free spirited women. They are full of abundant energy that we not only capture on film but witness firsthand behind the scenes with these three friends.
Amongst the trio is Milan Ring, the multi-talented musician with a voice that mesmerises and a sound that transports you to another place. This singer, songwriter, producer and sound engineer (yes, Milan encompasses all of these talents) talks to us about how these transitioning roles influence her music, and the importance of friendship.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Inner West of Sydney and am still living and working out of my little inner west bubble of Marrickville.
What is your background?
I have Chinese, Indian & Anglo-Celtic heritage.
When did you realise you saw a future in music and were there any key influences?
I think I only really saw a future in music at around 20, when I was asked to play guitar in a few bands, and began recording and writing my own music for the first time, which led to my first EP. A really pivotal time for me though was deciding to get my Diploma in Sound Engineering and Production at Tafe in my early 20s.
How would you describe your unique sound?
My sound is just me, a combination of all of my influences, and it is forever evolving and adapting and changing, the only prerequisite is that I vibe it and it makes me feel something.
You mention that the concept of duality is a source of inspiration for your music. Could you take us a little deeper on this?
I suppose it’s more of a philosophical outlook in general that makes its way into my music. That everything is dual, has an opposite, another polarity. That one can’t exist without the other and that often balance is key, so with my music I love manipulating and playing with the elements, dancing between; electronic sounds and acoustic, clean and dirty, rough and smooth, light and dark and so on.
Could you tell us a little bit about the narrative of “Spring” (chosen track for SOE) and what were the key influences?
Spring was a beat I had made earlier this year - I had a voice memo from Cuba in 2017 - from a street vendor calling out, I loved the way it was echoing around the rundown apartment block I was staying in. Usually I was excited by the Street vendors calls if they were selling tamales or something edible, turns out he was selling brooms that day haha but I recorded a bit of it anyway - and although you can’t really hear it in the track now, it is really embedded in there as a subtle texture, it took me through this memory space - so I feel the song is a day dream to that apartment in Cuba in a way.
Being a Producer and sound engineer while also being a multi talent in vocals and as a guitarist…how do these layers influence your music?
It is really fun to be able to transition through the different roles, and when I am collaborating with others being able to speak the same language from the music to the lyrics to the technical recording aspects. I think it enables me to zoom out and look at the bigger picture sometimes and not get too fixated on the one thing all the time. And I also love that I can go into my studio one day by myself and potentially end the day with a ready to be released song.
What are some key messages you want your listeners to receive when listening to your music?
I think music is personal and subjective and I wouldn’t wish for anyone to receive anything in particular. Plus, every song is so different, and lyrically touches on different themes. But I suppose if I were to really think about it, I guess I would just love the listener to be present in the music and to feel connected.
Watching you on set with two of your friends Jamila and Glo, there was such a lovely energy between you all. Where did you meet these two?
I met them both through music at different stages - Jamila many years ago, we would always see each other out and about at gigs and things, and our boyfriends at the time were friends too. And Glo I met backstage when I supported Sampa The Great in Sydney. We actually reminisced on this at the shoot, how I was given a bunch of sunflowers after my performance and I ended up giving her a single sunflower that night, and the friendship was born via sunflowers! ha
What are your fondest memories of Jamila and Glo when hanging out?
Jamila was just a few weeks ago relaxing on a picnic blanket in the sun at the park, having beautiful, deep and important conversations. She had just come from teaching a meditation class, and brought her centred, tranquil energy with her which instantly transferred onto me.
Glo would have to be Splendour last year, we were both invited to perform by Red Bull Music and one of the funniest memories was celebrating Glo’s birthday at the stroke of midnight in a backstage artist trailer full of artists all dancing and singing and clapping to an afro beat HBD rendition. It was a whirlwind of a week, but Glo is just the warmest and grounding energy to be around.
What’s your favourite time passer when with your friends?
Food for sure! Eating delicious vegan food together, or really anything in nature, even if it’s just the park or the beach.
Do your friendships inspire your lyrics at all?
For sure, ’Are Your Friends Alright?’ Was my last release totally dedicated to my friends, letting them know I have their back and am there for them. It also talks about checking the company that we keep.
How do you ensure you have quality friendship time with such a busy schedule?
It is difficult, and I like a lot of time alone also, so that mixed with being busy makes catching up few and far in between sometimes. But checking in, like sending random voice memo’s, face timing friends is what I do to keep in touch in between IRL time. And obviously a lot of this year we couldn’t see one another face to face so that has been really important.
All images captured stills from film by Jack Birtles
Listen to our on set playlist with Milan here
Watch the film here