• SALUTE: Did you have a good summer Louie? 

All good thank you! Just getting back into the chaos of being a full-time musician again. I spent most of the summer writing and performing but when September comes around it’s time to start making a living again and I do that through lots of teaching and session work.

  • SALUTE: Where did you grow up? What was it like musically?
I was born in Manchester and spent my teenage years in Derbyshire in the middle of nowhere, well, Tideswell and Litton to be precise. I don’t remember very much musical interaction as a child in Manchester other than my parents playing a lot of Opera, Genesis, Mike Oldfield and Marillion. I was very lucky to have some excellent music teachers when we moved to Derbyshire which meant that music became a huge part of my life.
  • SALUTE: What was the music scene like in the village?  
The great thing about living in a village is that the community works hard to put events on. The buses were pretty lame so you were lucky to get out to Sheffield to see any live music so everything was pretty local. I joined the local amateur dramatic group and choir just as something to do! My school, Lady Manners, was a melting pot for making music and collaboration. Music was well funded and supported and the department always gave us the space to rehearse and borrow equipment for events outside of school.
  • SALUTE: How did you get started making music? 
My first performance of my own music was when I was around 15 in front of around 2000 people at this BBC Music event that was happening across the country. My band were called On the Edge and we were an all-girl band. I played a very out of tune guitar and sang. I had only been playing guitar for a couple of years! I was so ridiculously nervous! People really enjoyed our songs and we did a few gigs off the back of it but then GCSE’s and A Levels came along, University and the general turmoil of life happened. I only started writing again a few years ago and have got a band of musicians who love music as much as I do!
  • SALUTE: What was it like fronting an all-girl band at 15 years old? Were you a group of friends or did you get together to start the band?

It was pretty terrifying fronting the band as I didn’t feel like I knew enough about guitar or singing really but it just seemed to develop organically. We all were going through the same sort of teenage issues and instead of wallowing in it or hiding from it, we wrote songs about it. We were a group of friends and we worked on the songs all together.

  • SALUTE: What did you study at uni?

I studied Music and Drama at Bath Spa University. The music course was great as we were given quite a lot of flexibility and opportunity to explore and study what we wanted. Looking back, I wish I had taken a module in commercial music though it was very much in the early stages of recording and production techniques that we have today. However, I did end up developing my vocal technique to operatic soprano standard and directed an opera which has enabled me to work across a wide range of genres and styles in a professional capacity.

  • SALUTE: What gear do you use for recording and production?

I started off with using Audacity and a lapel mic (which actually works rather nicely on a classical guitar !) to get my ideas down and now I use my iPhone to record my ideas. I’ll then do a rough demo of the song with whatever layers I feel are appropriate, usually quite a lot of vocal effects and use my Fender American Elite Telecaster through my Fender Mustang iii amp to get the sound I want.

My songwriting is quite varied so the recording and production process is different depending on the style of song. I still haven’t found the recording software that suits me so I do a bit in Logic, a bit in Cubase and a bit in Garageband! My dream is to have an engineer who can do the programming and I can just do the playing! Once I’ve got my basic demo down, I then send it out to my awesome band who then add their ideas and expertise for our live shows. I really love what they bring to the mix and our creativity makes the live shows different and fabulous every time. It really is all about the music.

  • SALUTE: What was your latest release/music to come out?
I decided to write a rock song for some of the summer festivals we were doing that had a rock vibe about them. You can check out a live version of the song on my website www.louiemiller.co.uk that was recently recorded on a radio show called Soundcheck by Visual Radio Arts at the beginning of September. It’s definitely a rock song but with a few jazz chords thrown in for good measure – ha! I love harmony!
You can check out the whole radio session and mini interview from their website.
  • SALUTE: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and how has it helped you out?
I think the process has been inspiring and it has a personal feel to it which makes it stand out from other competitions and promotions. I liked the structure of getting tracks ready by a set date and it has certainly helped as a promotional tool. The Facebook community page has been supportive and useful for sharing ideas and information on the ever-changing music industry too!
I am looking forward to seeing how Salute develops over the next few years and I’m pleased to have been part of the initial idea. I think next time it would be cool to have all of the tracks go to the public listening stage to see what songs go into a top 100. Then it will truly be about the music rather than somebody’s opinion on the selling of the music. To a lot of people, music isn’t a product. I’m looking forward to putting songs forward again next year but in the meantime, it’s time to write, play, sing, perform and share!
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