Sheffield over the past year has lost out on four tradesmen but gained yet another new name to add to their increasing list of bands that are discharging out of the city and becoming national, if not global names. No longer will it be know for its steel industry, but for its abundance of long haired, converse wearing, real life talking bands.
Milburn are one group who have celebrated this success and are embarking on a UK wide tour and have just released their debut album "Well, Well, Well". I caught up with guitar player Louis and drummer Greeny.
The boys from Milburn enjoy Leeds - only being about an hour away from their home town they feel they know it well. "Leeds is exactly the same as Sheffield - the crowd are always right up for it." This band has a huge underground fan base, with fans coming from all over the country to embark in the youthful and vibrant feel of Milburn. "It wasn't intentional," explains Greeny. "We seem to have that; proper fans that cling to us from day one and stick with us. They don't like us just because it's a fad and then will go off to other tangents on music soon after." Louis adds, "There was this one kid who had come all the way from Norway to see us in Wales... and he had a Sheffield Wednesday top on. What's the chance of that happening?!"
With Sheffield being such a hot spot for music, how are the band trying to be different? "It's really easy to be ourselves, we not trying to be different - just individual. We don't listen to a band and think 'I want to write music different to that', we just see how [the music] comes out. Milburn are four different people from different backgrounds so that shows in the songs."
At the last Milburn gig I observed in Leeds Joe made a comment at a fan, "you stingy bastard... that weren't even on our album!" He was referring that a fan knew all the words to a song that could only have possibly be listened to through illegal downloading. So I wonder what do the boys make of illegal music sharing? "I don't mind 'cos I used to do it. I were talking to my granddad today about it actually; I look at it in two ways; I bet there are fans who listened to the album on the internet who are fans now and have went out and bought it, but others who have thought 'nah, they're shit' and didn't buy it." But surely if it goes on Milburn will end up losing out on money? "Nah, we won't. I think it's alright if you listen [to a song/album] and go out and buy it. 'Cos I understand when you've gotten a demo you feel like you're in it from the start with the band, so if they get big you feel like you're part of it. That's why MySpace is so good, cos you can listen to five songs and then make your mind up there and then."
Milburn nevertheless are a band that have only recently created a MySpace account. And put their whole album on for a week before release so fans could decided if they wanted to buy it or not - what lovely chaps.
How have the band's financial situation differed recently? Louis quickly answers, "I'm worse off now than when I was an electrician. You're earning less but you're spending a shit load more and in so much debt. But doing this, you're on a holiday twenty four hours a day. But, it's just no comparison to our former lives."
So living a holiday lifestyle, what's the best part of a gig? "After every song. When the crowd erupts and cheers, it's such a great feeling. The other night in Wrexham, the gig weren't sold out and we were like 'oh, it won't be too mad, it's only Wrexham - it were the complete opposite, everyone went apeshit!"
Is touring everything they expected? "Erm, yeah I suppose. We are all the same people but just on a tourbus. It's just us lads but performing. We don't act any differently as anybody else. If you take any four normal girls or boys and give them a crate of beer every night- what are they gunna do? They're gunna drink it. It's great."
Have Milburn's friends treated them any differently? "No, not really. I mean more people who we just know from our local pub come up and talk to us. It's a bit weird 'cos I know they're only talking to me 'cos I'm in a band - but why didn't they talk to me before when I were working as a tradesman? But we haven't lost any mates since getting bigger; some are jealous but happy for us. It's 'cos they all want the drinking, gigging and partying side of it but they don't see the hard side of it - touring and stuff."
Yes, it must be hard getting free alcohol, playing to an adoring audience every other night and travelling around the UK - a wonder that more electricians haven't formed bands.
Milburn's debut album "Well Well Well" is out now. The band's latest single, "What You Could've Won", is out on Monday 30th October.