Alex Mills: From Grime to House, a Talent Taking the World By Storm
Today, I am honored to introduce you all to Alex Mills. I had the random opportunity to meet Alex at a house party in Brooklyn while she was visiting. We got locked into conversation most of the night about life, art and a world of other interesting details and exchanged contacts. At the time, I was blissfully unaware that she was an incredibly talented artist with quite the extensive catalog. I knew I had to get her featured on Stay Vibrant and alas, the time has come.
Alex Mills is from Leeds and is a singer and producer based in London. Her most recent release is Stamina and that finished off her 2020 releases. Stamina is a beat that takes you back to sweaty warehouse raves, filled with lustful imagination and a beat that is impossible not to move your booty to. This newest single, plus her top tacks, will be linked at the end along with all of her socials. Check out the interview and make sure to stream her tunes down below:
Alex, welcome to Stay Vibrant! I am excited to chat with you a bit about your new single Stamina and trek into some other topics. I was reading an artist bio for you and it said you started singing at the young age of 8. When did your venture into the electronic sphere begin?
Thanks for having me! Much like most little girls I have been singing my heart out from a tender age but I first veered towards making electronic music while at university. My first official release was a drum and bass track that was feature on an Andy C compilation. I got totally jacked and didn’t really earn a penny from it but I earnt my stripes and some lessons and kept it moving. In terms of house music, which is what I predominantly do now, I first started writing with a collective my sister was in called Blowin East around 2005. It was with a group of friends from Brick Lane in London and I felt a sense of home creating to a sound that I was already very familiar with via my sister (a seasoned dj) and growing up in the 80s/90s.
You have quite the collaborator list: Basement Jaxx, Hot Since 82, Sonny Fedora, Wiley, Lee Foss and there's more! What goes through your mind when working with these artists, being named "producer's choice" of vocalist by mixmag and signing to big name labels like Ultra Records and Ministry of Sound?
I guess each scenario is different. In terms of working with Wiley & Roll Deep it was great but Grime was still relatively new at the time so I wasn’t really that phased. They were from a similar background as me and it was just a cool energy to be around. I learnt a lot from the years of working closely with them in terms of being myself and the whole recording and releasing process. Certainly working with Bassment Jaxx was a trip because they are a national treasure. I was nervous at first but they made me feel so at ease very early. Im still friends with Felix who is a great musician and character. Both Sonny & Hot Since 82 were friendships and collaborations that developed over time and were very organic. This is probably the reason we have continued to work with each other over the years. Now, Stamina, this track is everything you could want in a house track. The title alone leaves me remembering times of being on the dance floor of some warehouse party. What was your inspiration for the track and what led you to the overall sound of the track?
The song is about sex. I usually don’t tend to be so risky with my lyrics when writing for myself but I originally wrote it for someone else and so it was literally just what came out and what the track made me feel at the time. I just go where the page takes me and clearly there was a lustful version of myself that was trying to escape through my pen. Having said that I’m happy for people to interpret it as they wish.
From what I have read, you seem to have quite the packed schedule, constantly creating. How do you take time for yourself and take care of your mental health?
I don’t force myself. I had done in the past and its just not enjoyable for me. Obvious when you manage your own time you have to have a degree of motivation but the most enjoyable time to create is when the desire overwhelms you. Then it doesn’t feel like work and more of a gift the cosmos has just offered you. If you find a pen quickly enough to get the idea down it truly does feel like you’re speaking to the universe. I take care of my mental health by taking the jobs I enjoy or that I know will bring be closer to my goals. Also exercise helps to keep a clear mind.
This industry is constantly moving, in more ways than one. How, in your opinion, do you think that the workload of touring, producing, writing, etc weighs and affects artists?
I think it has the capacity to weigh greatly but that all depends on the expectations you place on yourself, the world and where you place your value as a human being. I love my job but I have more value than just what I do or create. I just do my best and let the chips fall where they may. As long as I impress myself and try my best I’m good with that.
As stated, you have collaborated with some big names. What is a piece of advice you have received from someone in the industry that you've kept with you?
Be Brave. When I resigned with Ultra in the summer it is what Felix from Bassment Jaxx said to me and it has stuck with me. I know how I feel when I see artists that excite me but putting yourself out there can be a vulnerable thing to do. Understanding that you may not be for everyone but believing you have a place and right to be yourself and to be heard allows you to try things that you might not if you cared too much about pleasing everyone.
What is a song that you think captures an essence of what 2020 has been?
I of course would have to shamelessly plug and say a song I wrote in 2020 called 2020: here. It’s collaboration with Seb Zito and is about being able to see through something or someone. I also think Womans Touch by Bushbaby is a dope record.
Thank you for chatting, Alex! It has been a pleasure, is there anything you'd like to plug and leave the readers with?
I think I’ve already shamelessly plugged enough but thank you for having me and I’m looking forward to releasing more music in 2021. You can keep up with my upcoming releases at @blamealexmills
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