INTERVIEW: The Mild West Talks (And Premieres) New Material

Hailing from Chicago, The Mild West have a knack for writing insanely catchy, stadium-sized, pop-rock anthems. Their newest EP “It’s Been A Good Run”, out today, is the next step forward for this young and promising band, just beginning to reach the heights of their potential. 

From the opening moment on lead off track “Your Love Is Killing Me”, The Mild West establish that they are the real deal. Layered and winding atmospheres are set as a backdrop for the band to show off just the perfect amount of metronome tightness and raw, live energy. Bands like Walk The Moon come to mind on their vocal delivery and ability to write earworm hooks, but without the cheese that you’d associate with a big radio band; they still have that underground, young and hungry, something-to-prove attitude. This is especially evident on “I Don’t Mind”, a more bold and blistering stomp rock hook with soaring 80’s guitars, for The Mild West it’s almost as if genre is secondary, as long as it serves the hook. The guys sound genuine as stylistic chameleons, not an easy feat, and each moment and change up from track to track proves they have staying power as a premiere band. This is summed up best on EP closer “Better Than Myself” with it’s twinkling pianos, smokey guitars, and absolutely ferocious chorus. Their ability to mix the delicacy of pop with the visceral edge of rock is near one of a kind, especially in a musical climate where bands by in large stick to only one, very specific sound. It’s a refreshing listen.
Overall, “It’s Been A Good Run” is one of the better power pop records to come out the underground this year, and The Mild West is very much deserving of repeated listens and your undivided attention. Before covid hit they were making a name for themselves in the local Chicago rock circuit, it’s easy to see why and we are sure they will continue to do so once concerts resume (hopefully in 2021). Below is our interview with the band, stream their record and get to know them a little bit better:

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’re great! Excited to introduce this music to the world. This year has been a wild ride, but we feel proud of the lemonade we made out of the 2020 lemons we were given.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Your Love Is Killing Me”?

Your Love Is Killing Me was our show opener for the only show we got to play in 2020, so it seemed like the most fitting song to open the EP with. It felt like the most down-the-center song of the EP with its core rock elements that still used a generous sprinkle of electronic elements that we’ve experimented with over the last year. Definitely one of our favorite songs to play live and we can’t wait to play it in front of people now that it’s been out in the world for a bit.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I (Kylie) remember thinking of the chorus melody in a coffee shop over a year ago. It was just in my head, but I wrote down some lyrics in my phone that had a nice rhyme scheme to it. I didn’t want to lose the idea so I ran to the bathroom and quietly sang it into my phone and recorded a voice memo. The song felt like it wanted to be an 80s/power-pop song and somehow turned into a tongue-in-cheek lyric about wanting to make something work even if it takes a lot out of you.

The single comes off your new album Its Been A Good One – what’s the story behind the title? (The EP is called It’s Been A Good Run not It’s Been A Good One FYI)

Two main reasons. There was a venue in town that unfortunately shuttered before the pandemic even hit. They were a longtime staple in the local Chicago scene, giving lots of bands their first chance to even get on stage. We only played there twice, but they were the first venue to put our name on a marquee as a headliner. After they closed, they had a sign outside that said “It’s Been A Good Run”. Secondly, we just thought it would be funny to name a debut EP like it’s a last hoorah. So it’s kind of a bit, but also not?

How was the recording and writing process?

We had over 15 songs written to choose from for the track list. Some have been around for over a year while others were created as recent as May. 2020 forced us to adapt our writing style to stay productive and create new ideas or build on existing material, but we feel proud of how we handled the challenge and learned a ton from the experience. We decided early on that we wanted to self-produce the entire EP to push our arranging, songwriting, and recording skills. We recorded most of it at a house in the suburbs over a couple weekends in the fall, waking up early and going to bed late to bring these songs to life. Living together even for a few days maximized our collective creativity in new and unexpected ways, and we think that comes through on the record. We also owe a lot to our mixing engineer, Nick Radovanovic, for helping elevate these songs the way he did.

What role does Chicago play in your music?

Chicago embraced this band and allowed us to build everything we have so far. The five of us are all from very different backgrounds and parts of the country, but different Chicago attractions brought each of us to the same city and ultimately connected us. In that sense, we owe everything to the city of Chicago.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I usually write melodies before adding in words to them. If the melody isn’t good, it doesn’t matter what I’m saying. Once I start adding lyrics, I usually start at what I feel is the hook of the melody to craft a narrative around. From there I can start piecing together what words fit into the rhythmic and emotive structure I’ve loosely established for myself. It’s like building a puzzle without knowing what the final picture looks like.

What else is happening next in The Mild West’s world?

Stay tuned for more content coming to support this EP, as well as new music before too long.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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