Jonathan Vandenbroeck born on 14th of July 1981 in Borgerhout, better known by his stage name Milow, is a Belgian singer-songwriter and one of the most successful musicians in Europe. Milow’s international breakthrough came with the release of the single „Ayo Technology“, a song originally written and recorded by 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, from the album Milow. The single peaked at number 1 in many countries in Europe. In April 2014, Milow released „Silver Linings“. The album was recorded live in Los Angeles at Fairfax Recordings, the studio known in music history as Sound City Studios; great albums by Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Neil Young and Nirvana were created here. On 1st of December he is giving a concert at Den Atelier and for this occasion he was granting us an interview.
Hi Milow and thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hey everyone, I’m Milow, a singer-songwriter from Belgium. Since 2009 I’ve been touring all over Europe, and sometimes also North America. Music is a way of life to me, I feel blessed and privileged that I can make a living writing and singing my songs, and traveling all over the world with my guitar.
How does „Silver Linings“ reflect your journey as a musician to date?
My new album „Silver Linings“ is representative for a personal time-out in Los Angeles in 2013. I took the time to recharge my batteries and write a lot of songs. By leaving my comfort zone, I had to reconnect with my roots, both on a personal and musical level. I went back to my roots, and started playing a lot of solo concerts all over the US, and trying out new songs every night. „Silver Linings“ was recorded live with a group of great musicians in an old studio in LA.
How do you see yourself evolving as a musician over the years?
I hope I can keep exploring new sounds and keep growing as a singer, live performer, and songwriter. The great thing about being a solo artist is that there are no boundaries for me as a musician, I can just follow my instinct which usually leads me to surprising places. I can’t wait to start working on new songs, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a lot different from anything I’ve done so far, because I’m always looking for new challenges.
How big is the difference between the songs during the writing process and the end product?
On „Silver Linings“, the difference wasn’t very big, because I love organic live recordings, and there was no studio trickery used at all, so everything you hear on this album was actually played live in the studio. I usually spend a lot of time perfecting the song structures before I go into the studio to record them. The biggest change was adding the string arrangements in the studio. It’s very powerful to hear your own songs come alive in the studio.
Do you normally compose at home or does jamming help you work out musical ideas?
I usually need to be by myself to write new songs, this can be at home, or in hotel rooms or backstage. For „Silver Linings“ I also tried jamming with other songwriters, and that was quite refreshing, and sometimes lead to cool new songs that were written in just a few hours.
Touring has become more important than ever nowadays. Has touring become the main element of becoming better known as a musician?
Yes, I really think so. The more you play live, the better you will get as a musician. It also helps your songwriting because you will realise your songs don’t exist in a vacuum but actually need to be strong enough to captivate and convince live audiences in different countries. I’m constantly thinking about how I can improve my concerts, how I can have even more fun, and when I write new songs, I keep this in mind , and try to write the “missing” songs.
We thank you a lot for this interview and wish you good luck for the future. Any last words for our readers?
I’ve always really enjoyed my concerts in Luxemburg, without exaggeration, they’re always among the highlights on any European tour, and I want to say thank you to the people that have come to my concerts so far.
(Interview by Mike Dostert)