Millie Manders and the Shutup speak to The Star about how their Little Mix remix came to be, broken governments and the brilliance of Delilah Bon
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Almost a year later I sat down once more to speak to Millie Manders about their musical journey to date, artistic growth, accountability and so much more.
Music has been the lifeblood of Millie Manders ever since the tender age of five and if you fast forward in time to now, Millie alongside her band is creating an cross-genre infectious punk that definitely leaves its mark. We spent some time talking recently ahead of a planned performance as part of the Where Art The Women Festival in Sheffield, sadly this show did not happen but Millie spoke fondly of her time in the city and also discussed how she is hoping to return to the Steel City in the not-too-distant future.
"We were supposed to be doing the Where Art The Women Festival in Sheffield, I think that they were struggling with funding. A real shame because that particular outfit is about highlighting women within the arts, not just music but arts as a whole. It would have been really lovely but unfortunately the fates were not kind to that particular festival this time.”
Back in July, 2022, Millie Manders and the Shutup released a video for their most recent single, a cover of the popular Little Mix song Sweet Melody, which was transformed into ‘a blistering, 100mph ska-infused punk beast.’ Featuring the also rather excellent Christy Bullen – who actually suggested that they collectively reworked the song - the single is a frenetic and ebullient display of the band’s prowess when it comes to changing the entire vibe of the original song, while also retaining a charm that pays homage to the source material despite feeling like its very own thing entirely.
The video coincided with the band’s announcement of a string of UK festival dates for their Life Is A Rollercoaster tour which just so happens to be their biggest headline tour to date, as well as a string of support slots with Ferocious Dog.
Coming out of the pandemic has been a chastening time for many, but for Millie Manders and the Shutup you could say it’s been a hastening one where they endeavoured to make up for any lost time by taking their intensely enjoyable repertoire on the road. They’ve come up against many obstacles along the way, notably the cancelling of their planned Sheffield show due to ‘funding issues’ but despite all of that Millie is intent on pushing through without mincing her words.
"They’re calling it a ‘Cost of living crisis’, aren’t they? But it’s way bigger than just that, it’s the absolute demoralisation of every sector.”
“Well every sector where it’s not corporate and sort of funded by people like Shell and Coca-Cola. Basically, if you’re not the government or the 1% you’re stuffed”
And it’s really hard to argue with Millie on this point, purely because I agree… wholeheartedly. It truly is the most fraught and troubled of recent times for so many and it can be quite the cycle of despair without seeming too despondent. But that’s the great thing about speaking to someone like Millie, someone who is more than capable of eloquently putting forward her views on a number of things whatever the vessel is that she chooses to use to communicate her thoughts on things, be it conversation or within her music.
"Music can be described as a projection of oneself, in the case of Millie Manders and The Shutup it’s an exuberant demonstration, sharing and insight into her ongoing struggles with mental health. A battle she wears not only on her sleeve but continually imparts the necessity of destroying stigmas around such discussions.”
It is very clear that one year on from seeing the band perform live that this is not merely empty words but her genuinely assertive, and correctly curt, take on a multitude of things that impact the wider world, all people, as well as creatives trying to carve out an existence and notably herself. That’s a testament to Millie as a person, she truly gives a damn and the music that is released as a result is about speaking out with continual declarations as Millie emphasises the importance of discussing how we are feeling, how we may be coping and reaching out whatever stage we may be.
Nowhere is this expressed more clearly than in the band’s album, Telling Truths, Breaking Ties — we just have to be frank about how we are dealing with things at any one time. Except in this instance Millie Manders and the Shutup just so happen to deliver it in an incredibly impactful amalgamation of musical genres.
Millie also had some very positive words about the South Yorkshire artist (extraordinaire) and lyrical activist, Delilah Bon – who I spoke to not so long ago.
“I love Delilah Bon. I love the way that she’s so brutal about everything and the way that she writes. I am very candid about the way that I write and can be very explicit about the things that I’m angry about, but she has this brutality to her lyrics that I find very refreshing. I think that she’s an incredible artist in many ways. I love how she’s used Delilah Bon specifically to talk about women’s rights, niching it so that all of her songs are about women’s rights to be, I think that’s incredible.”
"Delilah Bon is empowering really young girls to go to her shows, sing these lyrics and understand that they have power and space in the world. That’s the crux of Delilah Bon, yes it’s about inclusivity and it’s also about the drive to empower women and take their space in the world. We’re talking women, femmes, thems, all women. It’s such a beautiful thing to see happen in the music industry.”
Apt words indeed. It is so heartening to see people supporting one another but also seeing and hearing the messages therein, championing one another.
Thankfully it won’t be too long until we hear more from this rather interesting collective, Millie also revealed that the band is working on new material.
"Basically from December, we’ve got three months off until the middle of March and we’re using that to try and write remotely. We really want to get a second album done, we’ve got a single that we’d like to release preferably by the end of the year if not early next year. It may be a January blues, ‘Hello we’re back’. We don’t want to rush it and want to deliver something that’s of the standard that our listeners have come to expect”
So… in a nutshell, Sheffield watch this space and stay tuned because Millie Manders and the Shutup have no intention of going away quietly any time soon.
You can listen to the interview in full on the Chris Talks Music with Millie Manders podcast, either on this page or subscribe here: Chris Talks Music
Telling Truths, Breaking Ties is available now on all streaming platforms or for purchase on Bandcamp. Their recent single Sweet Melody feat. Christy Bullen is out now.
For more information on Millie Manders and the Shutup, check out their website: