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An Interview with Jim Mill


By Gary Wien


originally published: 01/20/2023

An Interview with Jim Mill

Singer-songwriter Jim Mill is best known for his aggressive acoustic rock and Eddie Vedder-like vocals. His latest single, "Never Meant To Be," is something of a surprise. It moves from the blistering, grunge-like sound he's known for in favor of a more 80s alt-rock feel.  New Jersey Stage reached out to Jim to learn more about the song and where he's at musically after leaving Wynward last year.

I've got to admit that when I think of your music, I usually think of grunge.  But this single reminds me more of alt-rock from the late 80s. Were you trying to capture something like that?  

In the last few months I've decided to take a break from music all together to sort of get my bearings back. I started collecting vinyl and revisiting a lot of music I loved as a kid. This song kind of came from me having a bit of a Tears for Fears kick a month ago. It was all I was listening to.

In December on social media you said, "The next single is something completely different" -- It has a really melodic feel and is very different from the previous release, "Oh Where It Takes Me".  Was that what you were hinting at?

Yeah, this song kind of came out of left field for me while I was writing it. What's interesting about this EP is that all the songs on it were written AS I recorded them. This one came right after recording and releasing "Oh Where it Takes Me". I think a lot of people come to expect something grungy and punky from me... so having an 80's sounding ballad should definitely take them for a loop.



 
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Are all of the songs on the upcoming EP as different in sound/approach?

I'd say the songs on the EP lyrically all follow a similar theme of dealing with life and loss, but each one is different in a sense that it musically grabbed from different inspiration and albums I was listening to within the time of writing them.

 

I know you love Pearl Jam.  Who are a few bands people probably wouldn't guess you liked? 

I LOVE Tears for Fears, The Cure, The Smiths, and anything Billy Joel and Phil Collins touch. I've also been dabbling into indie rock as well so bands like Alvvays, and Together PANGEA have had a huge effect on my writing lately and this EP I would say.

An Interview with Jim Mill

Tell me about the title "Unhappy Hour". Is this a statement on the ways things went for you in 2022? Do the songs go together lyrically? 

2022 was a huge hit to me mentally and emotionally. A lot of last year was met with learning a ton of life lessons and dealing with sudden losses. Whether it was family, pets, and friendship, all of those themes made for a terrible year. Lyrically the album fits together pretty well. I think it's a really good benchmark for my mental state, especially over the summer. The final song on the EP, "That's All We Are" sums it up nicely. It's about how life goes by so fast and wondering if we're enough... or if everything we did is worth it. I think that was the mindset going into recording this... and thankfully coming out on a better end of that so far.

You spent 5 years with Wynward and then did solo shows. You also decided to stop performing for a while.  What led to your break from music and what brought you back? 

Last April I decided my time in Wynward had just hit a wall. I needed to move on from it and find what I was looking for. I started doing some cover solo shows and eventually it wasn't scratching the itch, so I decided maybe a break was best. While I was taking a step back, I was still doing covers here and there on TikTok and developed a decent little following. That community reminded me how much joy it is to connect to people through music and gave me the drive to at least start writing songs again... then a whole EP kind of formed from there.

 

Do you enjoy playing solo shows now? Do you think you'll try doing dates to support the ep?



 
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I absolutely do. I played The Asbury a few weeks ago and got to try out a lot of these new songs there. I had a blast! I'll probably start booking some dates in the summer to support the EP.

 

Can you see yourself ever playing in a band again? 

Eventually, yes! I think these songs especially would sound great with a band around them, especially.

Finally, I know you were sad to see The Brighton Bar go. We all were.  Tell me about your favorite memories of the club. 

Brighton Bar was SO SO good to Wynward in our time as a band. We've had some great opportunities to play with more well known acts and have our album release there. I would say my FAVORITE memory of that place was when we opened for CJ Ramone. The crowd was absolute fire that night... which transferred to us. CJ Ramone was an absolutely awesome guy to meet and talk to as well. I'll definitely miss Brighton.



Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.






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