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A Ripple Conversation With David Milner Of Nuada

Posted on the 13 March 2020 by Ripplemusic
A Ripple Conversation With David Milner Of Nuada
A Ripple Conversation With David Milner Of Nuada When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears. What have been your musical epiphany moments?
I feel lucky to have gone through my formative years in the 1990s. It was one of those rare moments in history when what was actually good and what was popular were oddly aligned. Real bands, real musicians, real music.
Nirvana were the reason I first picked up a guitar. Metallica were the next step – the reason I decided to actually practice the guitar. Those bands opened my mind to heavier stuff, bands like Pantera, Slayer, Machine Head, The Haunted.That then led me down the fuzzy, sludgy path towards Kyuss, Elder, Windhand, Lowrider, bands I listen to a lot today.
I think my final epiphany moment was looping back around on the grunge stuff I'd missed earlier and discovering Alice in Chains properly. The way those guys use harmony in sludge metal is unsurpassed. It's like the heaviest possible spin on Simon and Garfunkel. No band has ever better captured utter misery in their tunes. You feel it. It's real.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
95% of the time our songs are borne out of the guitar riffs. I'll generally start at home by myself. Sometimes riffs are laboured over for months; sometimes they just fall out of my hands into the world as though they were always there.
Then we all try to bash them into shape together. I've been in bands were I basically wrote the songs start to finish, but I much prefer this more collaborative approach where everyone has their input. The best thing in the world is being surprised by a tune you started writing – hearing someone take your idea and make it better in a way you never would have yourself fucking rules.
Who has influenced you the most? Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
Everyone playing stoner or sludge rock owes a debt to Kyuss, and then Black Sabbath before them. Where it becomes interesting is what other influences get thrown into that pot. I think Nuada has a tinge of metal added to the mix, so undeniably Metallica. I'm also trying to write tunes that play to Chappy's insane vocal range, which is where the Alice in Chains and Soundgarden DNA gets sprinkled in. Someone on our Facebook page described our tunes as "evil Soundgarden" which I fucking loved.
A Ripple Conversation With David Milner Of NuadaWe're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
Melbourne is a pretty large city of 5 million people. It's got a great cultural life, lots of good food and live music. It's by the water, so I always think of our brand of stoner rock as "beach rock" rather than "desert rock". Similar principles really, just tripping out on different things!
Where'd the band name come from?
Chappy, our singer, came up with that. Nuada was an old Celtic warrior god king... er, thingy? He had a metal arm and used it pretty darned efficiently while smiting enemies. It was a case of no one having anything better and it sounded extremely stoner metal. I really do need to research what it actually means a little more thoroughly! The bad guy in Hellboy 2 is called Nuada, but we didn't know that at the time.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
I'd die to be involved in a Star Wars film of any description, but even I have to admit our music wouldn't really suit.... Next best option: I'd love to write riffs that beef up those insane stunts in the Mission: Impossible films. Tom, call me!?
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
I'd take the opportunity to do a little investigative research and learn something new. Uncover a mystery plaguing humanity. I reckon I'd get to the bottom of who actually wrote "Happy Birthday" – settle it once and for all.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
The absolute worst was in my last band. The venue manager brought a bucket of hash cookies backstage and we all just ended up insanely, stupidly high. Way too high to play music in front of people with ears and opinions. We played the entire show in different tunings from each other. It took me half the set to work out was going wrong, then the weed kicked in even harder, and I decided the cacophony of noise we were making was good, actually - pure art - and just went even deeper into it. I don't think we played at that venue again.
A Ripple Conversation With David Milner Of NuadaTell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
We're honest. Just four musicians playing our tunes to the best of our abilities. I like to headbang and move around a lot, but there's no elaborate show or choreography or any of that. We allow a little room for jamming here and there, but basically it's about being as heavy and trippy and tight as we can be.
What makes a great song?
With great songs, as opposed to just very good songs, it all comes back to melody for me. If you can't help but sing or hum along to the hook - doesn't even need to be the vocal hook, perhaps it's the best section of the guitar solo - if you can't stop involuntarily doing that, then it's a great song.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
Many years ago, Alex, the bass player in Nuada, called me and said he somehow scored a free day in a recording studio. I forget how. Trouble was he didn't have a band, or songs, or, honestly, any idea what to do. So we got together, hastily formed a punk band called Prize Pig, and I wrote song called "Redneck with a Bomb". It was basically what you'd imagine from the title. It turned out kinda cool though, and we ended up winning some song-writing award for it and getting to play at an awards ceremony for a thousand people in a stadium. It was... weird. Alex and I have been playing in bands together ever since.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
From our album Beneath the Swamp, I love the main riff to Kraken. That's just huge, and always feels good to play. Gets the head banging every time. I love the trippy breakdown at the end of Monster. And I think the 5/4 section and the whole outro to Sky So Grey is really cool. I'm proud of the whole record, but those parts in particular.
For my last band Citizen I wrote a song called Bones the day after a very close aunty died. It was one of those songs that just arrived into the world fully formed. I swear I wrote it as I was playing it the first time; it's four minutes long, it took four minutes to write. I'm deeply attached to that one.
Who today writes great songs?
Lowrider's new album Refractions is blowing me away this week. The craftsmanship is just next level. This is a band that put out one album 20 years, disappeared, and then returned out of nowhere. It's incredible.
And I know I've mentioned Alice in Chains a lot this chat, but Jerry Cantrell has still got it. That band's post-Layne period has been far better than it has any right to be.
A Ripple Conversation With David Milner Of NuadaWho just kicks your ass? Why?
My son, Riley. He's just turned two and he's utterly adorable. But I went to a wedding a few weeks ago, got to sleep about 3am, then at 6am he threw two wooden trains at my head as I slept, then started using my lifeless body as the train tracks. That was it, I was up for the rest of the day, desperately hungover, getting my ass kicked by a hyperactive toddler. Because what else can you do?
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
They all have their place! I still buy CDs, but almost exclusively for the car. It just sounds better than streaming. I don't have a tonne of vinyl but I'm slowly getting into it – I like that it highlights the artwork better. And I walk a lot, so Spotify when I'm on the go. Don't make me choose!
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice.
I think you'll find that they both work extremely well in combination.
What's next for the band? Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders? 
We're gonna keep playing! We launched Beneath the Swamp officially at the end of last year, and we need to play it live to more people. It's got a lot of life in it. We need to get further afield and hit other parts of the country.
That being said, I have recently started writing for the next record. I've all of a sudden got a tonne of riffs I'm excited about showing the rest of the band real soon. I'm determined that this next record won't take us anywhere near as long as the current one did! 

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