Meet The Million, the NSW band making dance-y alt-pop with their newie, Last Call
The Central Coast four-piece unite with Nothing But Thieves' Dom Craik for a spectacular burst of pop brilliance.
Header image by Jess Gleeson.
Anyone with their finger on the musical pulse would be quick to tell you that The Million are a group they've been watching for the last few years. Initially, the Central Coast-based group made an entrance as a trio with their debut EP Hydration Station, a slick five tracks of pacing alt-pop that felt plucked from the same umbrella as heavyweights like Two Door Cinema Club, albeit with a more pop-centric twist; bringing together influences ranging across pop, indie, electronica and beyond and distilling it into one distinct sound that seemed to capture the highlights of it all.
They were a little bit quiet following that, however, taking the time to double down on their craft and really work out the roots of their vision before returning back with more - something that we eventually found with their return in late-2019 with Somebody Better. That song - and everything put out since then - has showcased this newfound vision with all its charm; 2020's Check Up moving at a pace that's simultaneously subtle and anthemic, while a 'chill version' of the song stripped it right back to its songwriting core, while also paying tribute to acts that inspire them through a string of covers.
Now, we see another facet of their sound and how they've grown over the last few years, with a new single - titled Last Call - being an adventurous leap into yet another side of their indie-pop charm and everything that comes from that. This time, they unearth the more electronic-like shadings of their debut EP, bringing it forward to 2021 as they mould pacing melodies and driving percussion rhythms together with their consistent pop shine. It's far more energetic and lively than anything they've put out thus far, but does so in a way that doesn't take away from the root of their sound, and the songwriting that has underpinned every The Million song thus far regardless of how it sounds.
"Last Call is a fictitious song built from genuine emotions, it was written when I was still in the early stages of dating my still current girlfriend," says lead vocalist Jacob Thomas on the single. "I thought to myself what if I really messed this good thing up?" You can hear that emotive touch through the song, as it moulds itself into the rich production that - in a big move for a group - was assisted by Nothing But Thieves founder/member Dom Craik, who in addition to local songwriters Lucy Taylor and Chris Collins, really help push the song to the next level.
Last Call also comes with the news that the group have expanded to a four-piece, with touring member McKinley Payne joining the crew after working alongside the band for much of their last few years. "He’s always there. He’s always on time. He’s always providing feedback," the band say. There's also an official music video too, featuring all four of the members - new-joining McKinley included - in the spotlight, as they capture the heart of a single through visuals worked on alongside director/producer Ash Lim.
In other words, there's a lot going for The Million at the moment, and if you're not paying attention, you're going to fall behind.
You can take a dive into the video clip for Last Call below, and underneath that, read a bit of a catch up we had with The Million to chat about all the changes going on, and what's in store for the future.
Tell us about yourself?
We’re a 4 piece alternative pop band and we can all fit on 1 Ripstik.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
We go through varying stages of what we sound like, we really like experimenting and writing too much of the same thing never seems to satisfy. But a lot of the themes are about making light of the bad stuff, self-reflection or it can also sound like we’ve been messing around on Garageband with our good friend Elvis Presley all day.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
It depends but we’ve had success a number of times with the whole band writing with our good friend Dylan Nash, or we’ve been enjoying the at-home production route more, exploring new ideas in just the hybrid home-produced/written environment
Can you tell us a bit about this new single, Last Call, and its video clip?
Last Call is one of those singles that always put me in a place and I can vividly see the picture being painted, the song is located more in the sad boy gut-wrencher postcode and I think it’s something that translates well in the upcoming clip as it really drives home that gut-wrenching feeling of when you’ve truly fucked up.
This song was produced by Nothing But Thieves’ Dom Craik, which is huge - their record Moral Panic last year was incredible. Can you tell us a bit about how you guys linked up with Dom, and what he brought to the single?
We’re lucky enough to share management, Richard & Stefanie Reines. We tried a few different versions of Last Call but it wasn’t in a place where we thought it was done. They set up the session and we brought the original demo to Dom who found a great way to stay true to our original intentions but still elevate the track.
There’s also the news that you’re a four-piece now, with McKinley joining the band as a recording member rather than just a touring member. Can you tell us about how this has shifted the dynamics within the band or changed how you work?
McKinley’s a cool guy, he lets us stay up as late as we want and eat lots of junk food! But, really, having him onboard has been nothing but a positive addition to the band, it’s really nice to have a great guitarist to bounce ideas off of and it’s refreshing not to have to be the most handsome member anymore.
What do you have planned for 2021?
Lots of new music, new shows, new flips, new tricks. Also did I mention new music?
Last year was a write-off so we plan to make this one as strong as possible, even some cool online related content planned (on the hush).
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I’d like people to take away some form of comfort. A lot of the songs we’re writing lately cover darker, imperfect feelings. At the end of the day if you walk away just experiencing some form of emotion then we’ve done our job.