Manchester’s young talent paving her own lane, Pip Millett, joined us for a discussion on her career up til now. Across the interview, her Northern charm shines through in both her friendliness as well as her direct manner of speaking. There was no beating around the bush at all, and everything Pip says, she means wholeheartedly. This charm made the experience more enjoyable but also feel like she is an artist who really strives to be an open book, not just in her music but in everything that comes with that territory.
Who is Pip Millett outside of the music?
Yeah, I don’t know. Who is Pip Millett? Oh god, probably someone quite basic. Not basic in the way of boring but I’m pretty chill and live a chilled lifestyle. It feels basic because it seems like I should have this really extravagant life but I don’t, because I don’t really want that. I don’t vibe with it, it’s just not for me I don’t think. Yeah, I like being calm eating nice things.
That’s a good life to be having to be fair. So you’re obviously originally from Manchester, so how did living in Manchester kind of influence your music?
I’m not sure because I grew up in Stockport it’s a bit out of Manchester. I’m from Marple which is, Marple’s a step out from Stockport and it is just a bit more countryside. So the music around there wasn’t really…It wasn’t that soulful. It was quite guitary and in high school, everyone’s just like, “oh acoustic guitar” and “choir”. But not a soulful choir, [chuckles] a pretty shit choir. Truth be told I didn’t really fit in. I did like the guitar aspect of it and the sort of Rockier influences and Folky influences, which is probably why I started playing guitar. I think that has influenced me lyrically too.
Okay outside of Manchester what were your musical influences beyond that kind of Rocky stuff?
I’ve said Rocky now and I feel like I should take that back. It’s basically just like Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, it doesn’t really count. I feel like they’re a bit fake, I feel like a fraud. Anyone that was actually into Rock would be like “Yeah, okay”[sarcastically]. Outside of that it’s just older stuff like Bobby Womack, Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, The Fugees. Yeah, John Martin. It was real mix it’s basically just whatever my mum and dad listened to.
So then going from that give like a brief account of going from there to recording your first track.
I don’t know. I feel like I stumbled into it because for ages I thought I would probably go to uni and do fashion, not music. I used to sow all the time, I had like five sowing machines. I knit and crochet…
But I think I just did that because I was too shy to properly slide into music and then I got over myself and…I don’t know. I wanted to be, I think I really wanted to be musical and so I started playing bass guitar and then normal guitar and then the singing sort of came after that, like in public. Then recorded on something, what was the first thing I recorded? ‘Make Me Cry’ was my first proper proper recording like in a cool studio.
Before that, I was in college. I just recorded in college with a girl I was friends with and we did three songs and then one of them just wound up being heard by quite a few people. That’s how I got on ‘Goodbye Kisses’ with Joe Hertz and it’s just sort of rolled from there.
Do you enjoy being in the studio?
Not for too long. My ideal session is 3 hours long. I like them short and sweet and just like in and out. I write outside of it a fair amount actually because I play guitar. I write on the guitar and then I have something to go in with and then I can make the session 2 or 3 hours long…and be in and out.
So when did you kind of know that music could be a career for you?
I’m still asking myself if it is. We shall see. I want to do it, but it’s a hard thing to get into. You can get to any level and still be a bit like “Ooh god am I there?” it’s not a secure thing is it? I’m not sure it ever will be.
Okay, so then what would you do if you weren’t doing music then?
I think I would. I would open a gluten-free bakery. I’m gluten-free. I want a gluten-free croissant it’s really difficult out here. If I didn’t have a bakery I’d have a pub.
Yeah I like that one.
What, you don’t like the bakery?
There’s not enough of that and most people have a gluten intolerance, you know. I’m just helping out. And you know the stuff in the shop is really shit, it’s really dusty. It’s not tasty, it’s not fresh.
You mentioned fashion as well and you said initially you wanted to get into it.
Yeah, I mean, I don’t even think anyone would ever even know that. I don’t feel like I dress up very much but it’s still a thing, I like making things. I like sowing. I think everyone should learn how to sow.
So you just dropped ‘Deeper Dark’ tell me a little bit about what got you to write that track and what it means to you?
Um, so writing that track I just wanted something that I’d done by myself because everything in music started out on my own writing songs and I made the music. Whereas, since moving down [to London] I’ve just gone and written with producers. I write all the words and the melodies and things like that, but they write all the music and then do the recording. At college I did music, music tech, and I know how to record myself and this one was just one I wanted to do on my own. So it’s recorded and played by me, the whole thing is me which is nice. I want to do more of that.
Alright so if you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Probably just be kind to myself.
Why be kinder to yourself? Do you think you were harsh on yourself?
Yeah, for sure. I always thought I had to just, get up and get over it. I just think if I’d taken a bit of time back then I’d probably just be in a better place. Well just further along than where I am in terms of…I don’t even know, just feeling good in myself and happy with everything I’m doing.
Your songs are kind of like quite personal quite emotional sometimes. Do you ever feel like you’re giving away too much or chipping away at yourself?
No I don’t feel like I’m giving out too much, like I don’t really care what I give out. I think I’m pretty chilled about that one, you can have it all. It doesn’t take anything away from me, but it is hard you are just tapping into that feeling sometimes when you don’t want to or kind of when you want to ignore it a bit. And when you tap into it you’ve got to fucking deal with it again which is a bit annoying and can ruin your week, but you can get really sick song out of it, so that’s good.
Would you say that it’s worth it to get a good song out of it?
Yeah! Definitely. Also like it does help your head. If you just keep ignoring shit like it’s not really gonna help you at all. But you know dealing with stuff is annoying but you do kind of have to do it. At least I’m getting something out it.
What’s your favourite lyric of all time?
Favourite lyric of all time? I think it’s probably a Joni Mitchell lyric, I’m trying to properly think it through without singing it. That’s hard…
No go on sing it, it’s fine.
Naa, the lyric is:
“It’s life’s illusions I recall, I really don’t know life at all”
I think, it feels straight to the point and sort of cuts through the bullshit. I like that, it’s not too too glam, it’s just sort of what it is. Says it how it is.
If you’re lucky and already have tickets you can catch Pip Millett at her headline show at the Jazz Cafe on April 23rd. If not she is at a whole host of festivals across the summer including The Great Escape, Electronic Picnic, Across The Track and more. Beyond that, you can expect a stream of music coming throughout the year. Stream ‘Deeper Dark’ and more Pip Millett tracks here.