Changing Scenery | An Interview With Brendan Dyer Of Milly

In his rural hometown located in Connecticut, Brendan Dyer grew up absorbing the tutelage of his uncle with guitar and drums. Having little to no interest in participating in the local sporting groups and other societal norms deeply ingrained within the city limits, Dyer firmly implanted his niche for music to where it is today.

Dyer’s alternate route has paid off as once a bedroom project has flourished into the music venture, Milly. Now residing in Los Angeles and having collaborated with several individuals, Milly has toured extensively around the United States and released the acclaimed EP Wish Goes On last year. This past September, Milly released Eternal Ring via Dangerbird Records. From the beginning, listeners will catch a band that has flourished over time. Where the band’s old songs were dazed and gorgeously laconic, Eternal Ring is muscular, punchy, and almost alarmingly direct. Elements of shoegaze, ‘90s rock, and woozy vocals calls back to those initial days of Dyer holing himself up and piecing together lyrics.

Moving from Los Angeles to Connecticut, do you find it to be an excellent refresher for you as an artist?

Moving to Los Angeles has sparked so much creativity in my life. I enjoy Connecticut and what it gave to me. I loved the isolation I was able to tap into while living there. The thing about moving to LA is that once I got here, I had a lot of time to experiment and discover music I’d never heard before that, in turn, I found inspiring. Also, I fell into a great group of friends and I always feel like there’s some sort of that comradery in my writing…I feel proud of where my life is at.

Touring with bands such as Swervedriver and DIIV had to be some bucket list accomplishment being fulfilled. What were some of the moments that you will never forget?

Seeing Swervedriver every night was cool. I’ll never forget how good their guitars sounded. Those guys truly have it dialed in. We followed suit by also turning our amps up. They made it seem reasonable to show up to a venue and to make your own decisions rather than having a sound person who doesn’t know what you are going for dictate that for you. I guess you can say they showcased a lot of confidence which I found inspiring.

You began to see the emo music phase growing up and it started to come back into your writing today. What about bands such as Hawthrone Heights led you to go back and feel inspired?

It sounds dumb, but I needed to broaden my guitar horizons. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about bands like Failure, Hum, Seam, Etc. Those bands were fundamental for the blueprint of this group. But revisiting those early Hawthorne Heights records made me realize they had their own thing going on too. It’s not that far away from something like Failure…these bands like Thursday, Armor For Sleep, etc., had to be influenced by them. So it felt cool to put two and two together.

You mentioned that Wish Goes On EP was the blueprint for Eternal Ring primarily due to being more focused. What are some other examples that you feel led to feeling this way?

Take a song like ‘Star Spangled Banner’ off the Wish Goes On EP. It’s all there, but it almost feels half-baked as to what a song like ‘Illuminate’ came out like. It just feels expanded to me. I think across the board on Eternal Ring, the sonic textures are a lot richer and the songwriting is even tighter.

It’s hard not to feel that when listening to singles such as “Nullify,” the grunge era weighs heavily on the instrumentals for the new album. What were some bands/albums that you found to be your favorites?

I ingest a lot of music…like A LOT. Especially when Eternal Ring was written over a year or so’s time. There are a bunch of different bands/records across the album that inspired me when writing it, so it’s hard to pinpoint. I’ll tell you some here and then I’ll probably remember a couple more later…I guess like: Idaho – “This Way Out,” Title Fight – “Floral Green,” Hawthorne Heights – “Silence in Black and White,” Bark Psychosis – “Codename: Dustsucker,” and Polvo – “Exploded Drawing” are a few. But there’s more…I swear.

I read that the early stages of the pandemic weighed heavily on the new album’s lyrics. What were you feeling at that time?

I was mainly missing home and my parents. Dealing with a lot of existential anxiety and trying to really lean into the meaningful aspects of life.

Working with Gleemer’s Corey Coffman on Eternal Ring, what did you feel was something you hadn’t done in previous works?

This time around with Corey, we had a lot more time. We worked on the record for twenty-five days or so, whereas we’re used to ten days. We just took our time crafting each song. Letting takes be takes instead of working on something all day. We had a cool setup where we could work on guitars for a couple of hours, then do vocals, and then go back to guitars if we wanted rather than doing one thing in one sitting. It felt kind of like a big workshop with all day. We had a cool setup where we could work on guitars for a couple hours then do vocals then go back to guitars if we wanted rather than doing one thing only in one sitting. It felt kinda like a big workshop with all the toys we wanted.

Eternal Ring is out now via Dangerbird Records.