Meet Milku, The Sydney Based Muso Making Melodic Moves

Gadigal Land

— July 10, 2023 —

Much like fashion, music makes the world go round. It feeds our souls, mends our hearts and makes even the most mundane moments worth it. If you’re on the hunt for a soundtrack that does all of the above and more, then meet Milku.

Now residing near an Inner West Sydney kebab shop, Miles, better known by his artist name Milku, is most definitely one to watch. We were lucky enough to catch up with the soon-to-be global sensation to chat about all things music, motivations, manoeuvring life in your 20s and voice memos.

Oh, and we, of course couldn't help ourselves to an exclusive foray into fashion. Shooting Milku in his Newtown home, surrounded by a few of his favourite things, donned in everything from Double Rainbouu and Gucci to Moncler and Louboutin. 

Where do you live now, and where do you consider home? 
I live in Inner West Sydney. Enmore. London Street. I am very close to that kebab shop, but my lawyer says I shouldn’t be any more specific. 

Does home exist in your 20s?
I feel at peace here, but I also feel like you have a home when you’re growing up and then later when you settle down and have some kids. I’m in the fuzzy bit in the middle, where everything’s up in the air. 

How do you think your upbringing helped to shape your worldview?
Lots of ways. I think my family had an emphasis on being kind. Looking after the people who maybe didn’t fit in. I remember hearing that some of my classmates would get money from their parents for every A on their report cards. My parents would kind of breeze past those letters and look at the comments to see if I was a good friend or if I was being arrogant and selfish. It was usually a mix. 

What music did you grow up listening to? Has that changed?
The Red Hot Chili Peppers were the first band I got into. I was about 8 and thought that 'Californication' was a combination of the words California and communication. I discovered guitar around then, along with real music — Hendrix, Zeppelin, that sort of thing — before falling in love with the synths of LCD Soundsystem, Cut Copy, Radiohead and M83. There’s a synth line that comes in at 0:44 in the Passion Pit song 'Little Secrets' that I had an almost chemical addiction to and would mime to my whole family when I played it on car trips.

I still think that the Chili Peppers are the best (and worst) band in the world.

If you could only listen to one genre of music for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Other people’s voice memos. 

In your opinion, who is the most important voice of our generation?  
Bo Burnham. Phoebe Waller-Bridge / Bridgers. And Will Arnett. Not because of anything he has to say. I just like his voice.

What’s your creative process like?
My best stuff tends to come sitting over a keyboard, playing some simple chords, letting myself feel something and trying out different sounds. I’m trying to bypass my brain and language faculties to just get straight to the deepest, rawest, unprocessed stuff that I’m carrying at that moment. I’ll need my brain later for the song to make sense, but I think that initial nugget is somewhat thoughtless. 

Sounds are really important to me too. The sound of the synth or the guitar doesn’t just support a lyric; it is a lyric. I try to look for sounds that have something to say. 

What subjects or themes do you find yourself returning to in your music, and why do you think this is?
Emotions, doubts, love, anger, comedy, sadness, loneliness. I think I am very full of these things, so they tend to spill out when I write. I have a deep urge to turn things into a narrative and justify myself to others. When I write lyrics, I am usually trying to get underneath that and point to the real thing. 

Do you create music with your audience in mind?
I like that old Kurt Vonnegut rule for writing: “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”
Not sure if it’s sound medical advice, but it’s a good idea. It’s counter-intuitive, but I think the way to care about your audience more than yourself is to create things you personally love rather than something that you think will make them love you. 

When do you feel most ‘you’?
Probably just in a room with my friends. Shoulders touching. Or maybe it’s when I can turn a hard moment into a sweeter moment with a joke. That’s a wonderful trick.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best way to respond to a compliment is to look someone in the eye and say, “Thank you.”

What’s the coolest or most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?
The Cannes Film Festival is not held in Cairns, QLD. Makes sense.

What books are you reading at the moment?
The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin, and Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. Loving them both. Rest in peace, Anthony Bourdain you magnificent, passionate son of a bitch.

Favourite book?
The Microkorg Owners Manual. Everything you need to know about synths, right there.

Favourite movie?
Spirited Away/The Matrix/La La Land/Eighth Grade/Synecdoche New York.

Favourite song?
'1 2 3 4' by Feist. It’s a perfect song. What that song does, structurally, sonically, lyrically, in three minutes is more than I will do in my entire life. 

Are there any social or cultural shifts you hope will happen in the next ten years?
Lots, but I am thinking a lot about phones recently. I think they are the great moral challenge of our time. We gave up a lot of ourselves in that deal we made as a species. I make dumb tiktoks but I’m scared about the effects of dumb Tiktoks on us. I think boredom is probably part of a balanced emotional diet, and it just, doesn’t exist anymore. I sound like a boomer but if you’ve hung out with a boomer lately you’ll know they’re actually as addicted as the rest of us. I hope we grab some of our humanity back. 


Features Editor: Orion Scott     Photos: Sarah Adamson     Fashion: Chloe Hill


We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which this shoot took place.


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