Even at its most melancholic, Thyla’s music pulses with a sense of defiance. The dream pop four-piece – comprised of singer Millie Duthie, bassist Dan Hole, drummer Danny Southwell, and guitarist Mitch Duce – started building up buzz in 2017 with a series of driving singles, especially in their hometown of Brighton, where they all moved for the sole purpose of pursuing a music career. Since then, they’ve managed to keep up the momentum by unleashing their ferocious yet personal debut EP, What’s on Your Mind, in February of last year, which they followed up a year later with the pop-leaning Everything at Once. The band’s latest single, ‘Fade’, finds them continuing that upward trajectory; it’s a soaring slice of alt-rock brilliance that’s among Thyla’s most potent compositions, expertly fusing the propulsive edge of their early material with the aqueous pop textures that they’ve recently been diving more into. Their sound might be shooting for the stars, but their lyrics keep looking inwards – and it’s in striking that perfect balance that Thyla’s music truly shines.
We caught up with Thyla’s Millie Duthie for this edition of our Artist Spotlight series, where we showcase up-and-coming artists and give them a chance to talk about their music.
You met all the way back in 2016 – was there a moment where you realized you were a good fit for each other?
Being at music uni in a hugely musically orientated city meant that each of us played in multiple bands simultaneously. At the start everyone throws themselves into different projects but they don’t all last. After a few failed attempts we found each other and have stuck with each other since. There was definitely a sense of chemistry early on, most importantly we have always got along really well as friends and that’s the key aspect of being in a band.
In what ways has your approach to writing and performing changed since then?
We have grown a lot more confident on stage. We were pretty shy in the early days, but as our sound grew we developed a better sense of identity, performance became less about what people think and more about expressing ourselves and what our music is about with conviction. In terms of the writing process, it’s ever-evolving and there is no specific formula. We have learnt to demo more effectively over the years, Danny has really put the hours in as a home producer and that has given us a lot more freedom to put our ideas across in their early stages.
You released your latest EP back in January. How has the response been?
The response to the campaign was crazy, we couldn’t believe how many people were listening to our music, it was an awesome feeling! When the full EP came out we played a release party at Brighton Electric, performing to a packed out crowd in your hometown is always special and it felt like a real pivotal moment for us. Unfortunately Coronavirus happened and we (along with every new band/artist) lost a lot of momentum but music prevails through the hardest of times so we have faith that the industry will pick itself up and invent new ways of dealing with the crises.
Your new single ‘Fade’ leans even further towards pop-oriented structures. How did that stylistic shift come about?
It’s our most pop sounding record so far but that’s not to say that our writing has entirely gone that way, we have never shied away from writing pop songs and think of it less as a stylistic shift and more as an expression of that side of us.
I see the song as being about the hard transition to adulthood. What were some of the thoughts and experiences that inspired it?
‘Fade’ has a pop aesthetic but the lyrics are dark. The nostalgic glossiness of the track is there to set the scene of someone longing for life to be how it was when things were simple; when you didn’t have to be responsible for anyone other than yourself. My family was going through a really tough time and I realised that no-one or nothing was gonna come round the corner and fix it.
What do you hope people get from your music?
Perspective! You can’t possibly know what someone is going through but you can look at the world with your unique lens and comment on it. Maybe that someone will find meaning in your experience and maybe it’ll help them get through theirs.
What are you most excited about in the future?
Releasing our debut album – we recorded it in January just before the pandemic happened. It’s a body of work we are immensely proud of and we can’t wait to share it with the world.