Pōneke's Miles Calder Announces Debut Solo Album, Out March 5th, Shares New Single/Video
“Miles Calder takes us back, back in time to days when rock sounded like everything and we didn’t get tongue tied by genre gyrations. It’s both familiar and timeless. Outstanding songs. Outstanding band.” - Radio 13
Pōneke-based singer-songwriter Miles Calder announces his debut solo album, Autopilot Life, out March 5th, alongside a new single and video 'Bad for Me'. The release follows his 2020 singles ‘Take Be Back to How It Was’ and ‘Lake Geneva’.
On 'Bad for Me', a driving rhythm carries hypnotic chords as Miles scorns an adult bully, and himself for putting up with it. When the shimmering guitar solo hits near the track's end, we get a moment of release and agency to break through the built-up narrative of social anxiety.
“Most of the songs on Autopilot Life are about living an unexamined life,” explains Miles. “‘Bad for Me’ was written after a weird situation I had at a cafe - being humiliated, as if we were back in primary school, but at 30 years old. And finally having the realisation of why the hell had I been trying to fit in with people that ultimately made me feel like s**t.”
The accompanying video for 'Bad for Me' was directed, shot and edited by drummer/photographer Nick George in Wellington and features Miles in an aimless day-in-the-life, as his own procrastinating worst enemy.
Four years on since his last outings with former backing band The Rumours and time spent living and writing overseas, Miles has emerged with a revived sound and new band. His debut solo album Autopilot Life proclaims a clear shift towards psychedelic folk-rock, evoking early 70s Lennon and late-era Beatles as much as contemporaries like Kevin Morby and Father John Misty.
Conceived and written mostly during the ending of a long-term relationship, the songwriter turns what could’ve been just a ‘break-up album’ to something more universal: “I realised that I was in a relationship, job, and daily routine that I didn’t want to be in, because I never stuck my head up to check. Turns out I could’ve just read the lyrics of these songs I was writing.”
Autopilot Life sees Miles crafting lyrics that are self-reflective, deeply honest, and “finally speaking and writing in my own conversational voice".
Together with long-time collaborators Nick George (drums) and Steve Moodie (bass), Miles brought to life ten new songs starting with the core elements. Newly acquainted with writing and playing on both piano and electric guitar, the previously acoustic-guitar bound songwriter found new avenues of expression and as Miles puts it, “effective raw ideas that come from riding the edge of your comfort zone”. Recruiting Chris Armour (electric guitar) and Dayle Jellyman (synths, electric piano) opened up a new palette for Miles' spellbinding vocals, with cascading synths, atmospheric noise, and searing guitar solos.
The album was self-recorded in many different homes around Pōneke and mixed by Tui-award winning engineer/producer “Doctor” Lee Prebble (The Phoenix Foundation, The Black Seeds) at Surgery Studios.