Zoe and The Milkmen have only been hitting the stages around Melbourne for a short time. But with their mixed genres, social-defiant lyrics and loyal following, it looks as though the group will be around for a long time to come.
Having formed during their time as residents at Queen’s College, the mix-matched bunch of mates all bring their own authentic influences and sounds making the band a genre warping infusion of all things music.
“Louis was playing in the quad one day and knew I sang,” lead singer, Zoe Marshall says. “Everyone started watching him and he just pointed to me and said ‘hey you, sing’ and so I did. Noah was watching and originally thought we were so lame.”
Louis Edwards, Noah Heys and James ‘Goog’ Mountain, together with Zoe combine their diverse musical backgrounds to form Zoe and The Milkmen.
Zoe studied jazz and karaoke throughout year 12 and now studies interactive composition at VCA, which has her learning and incorporating lots of EDM elements. Goog has finished his undergraduate studies of classical guitar at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium and is completing his honours in composition. Louis is in his second year of jazz guitar at VCA but has a rebel past as a drummer for a punk rock band and so he grabs the sticks for The Milkmen. Noah is in his third year of jazz guitar at VCA and brings his chilled, funk vibes to the group.
“We were all either at VCA or the Conservatorium and our college event Quadstock came around and we thought ‘hey let’s do a song’.
“I taught them all a song I’d written called ‘Call from the Unknown’ and we did covers. Another college event came around and we just kept up the band because we really enjoyed it. Then we decided to just do it and actually be a band.
“I wrote all the old songs in Year 12 and I just kind of threw them at the boys. They changed the songs from a solo track to a band. They’re the real musicians – they turned all the songs around.”
Since their first official gig as a band at The Brunswick Hotel in October, the group took their own initiatives to move forward.
“Heaps of people came to our first gig at The Brunny. It was so bad. It was just all crazy chords and I’d gotten my friend’s band to open for us and I didn’t realise they were crazy good so we were headlining this amazing band. They even did the same cover as us. We were standing in the crowd watching them perform Redbone and we were like you’re joking. Then we had to get up there and perform the same song. It was so bad. But that’s when I’d say we became a band.”
Having performed all around the inner circle to crowds at The Tote, Howler, The Worker’s Club and RAW and opened for the likes of Alex Lahey and Touch Sensitive, the group has high hopes for their future. But for now, they are happy riding the waves from their EP release in January.
Their self-titled EP is an infusion of each of the band member’s influencing genres. With hints of soul, funk, folk, and rock, the mix of songs and sounds suits all listener’s ears.
‘Hey Girl’ is their most collaborative song to date. Talking about society’s conventions and double standards, the song is for anyone out there giving them the confidence to know it’s your life and you can do whatever you want – a topic which resonates strongly with Zoe.
“We had an amazing turnout for the launch. I was so stressed. I’m so particular with my vocals and I’d listen to the recording and think why did you do that Zoe? But the guys calm me. It’s just so fun.”
Their second single ‘Mask’ is a track Zoe wrote in Year 12 at her school which she found quite clique-y. In a meeting and playing the game ‘If You Really Knew Me’, Zoe began to realise a lot of her classmates were hiding personal struggles.
“Everyone just started crying and taking off their masks,” Zoe says.
“So the song is about showing who you are and showing it to the world because it none of it really matters.”
The true meaning behind ‘Before He Knew’ is not what everyone thinks. While some of you may imagine a boy leaving home, for Zoe it was a creative experiment.
“I was just wondering what it would be like to just quit Year 12 and what that would lead me to do. I just decided to change the perspective. I definitely write from personal experiences and what pops into my mind and what I witness in society and it’s issues. All my songs are about something I’ve experienced but exaggerated because it sounds better. Goog is writing too which is so great because he’s a really amazing writer.”
Fusing all their creativity and strengths together, Zoe & the Milkmen has already form a tight group with fierce determination and grand dreams. Their downright incredible and original talent has become a must-see musical experience.
You can catch Zoe and The Milkmen at Eat Pant Single Launch at the Gasometer Hotel on May 31st. Click here for details
Feature Image Credit: Zoe and the Milkmen