Mild High Club
By Mandi Kimes
It’s been quite the journey for Mild High Club founder Alexander Brettin, who grew up playing flute in the school band and majoring in jazz studies in Chicago. In 2012, a visit to Los Angeles allowed him to connect with the crew at Stones Throw Records. Within a year, after passing the early demos of what would become 2015’s Timeline onto Peanut Butter Wolf, Brettin made the move out west.
In crafting the latest album Skiptracing, Mild High Club have made an album that strikes a balance between the known and unknown aspects of art and creation. While Brettin sought to have complete control over the creation of the previous album, in opening up and allowing these creative variables in, he learned a valuable lesson that lies at the heart of Skiptracing itself: “When you wish upon the unknown, you might be surprised by the rewards.”
Skiptracing was released Friday, August 26th and you can read the album review here. I strongly suggest reading the review, listening to the album, and then coming to the show to witness it live and purchase said album from the band. Mild High Club performs Thursday, September 1st at Valley Bar in Phoenix with local psych heroes Slow Moses and mellow psych darlings Flower Festival. Click here for more show information.
MK: Who are your top 5 favorite artists of all time?
AB: The Beatles, Steely Dan, Stereolab, XTC, and…we’ll go with Stevie Wonder.
MK: The concept behind Skiptracing is cinematic in its approach to discovering the evolution of American music over the past 100 years. What was the inspiration behind that concept?
AB: It was more or less American history. It came out of pieces of art, whether it be film or music. I had moved to LA and discovered more art there. I had the first record done when I moved out west, and this one was about the art I was discovering in this new setting. I was fascinated by characters in old private eye films and used those story lines to tie together the search for a visceral truth. That visceral truth being not just why I was investigating, but why did I care so much about the search?
MK: Skiptracing is more instrumentally diverse, while your previous record Timeline is a more chilled-out psych album. What prompted the change in direction?
AB: Resources; with Timeline it was a home recording, so I had the freedom to do a lot of experimenting. With Skiptracing, we worked in a studio, which allowed more attention to detail. I was inspired by Supertramp’s Breakfast in America in its production. I basically didn’t want to be pigeon-held to a “psych slacker” anymore.
MK: When you walk off stage, what do you want the audience takes away from your set?
AB: I hope at least one person checks out our music, or at least feels inspired enough to make some crazy shit. I want them to feel a connection with the emotion in the music. I guess I just want people to see and hear the music, as opposed to just see us as an image of some psych rockers.
MK: What do you hope to discover in Phoenix?
AB: Some new food, more friends, and more greens.
MK: What are you currently listening to?
AB: Brian Auger, Wizzard, XTC, Stevie Morris, and Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band.