Hailing from Southampton, Burning House is comprised of front man and guitarist Aaron Mills, drummer Dominic Taylor and bassist Patrick White. Mills, the band’s sole songwriter has refined the art of recording music over the past decade, in parallel with his technical skill as a guitar player. Their music rides the soft/loud dynamic well, producing music ranging from beautiful melancholy to loud feedback-driven post rock.
We asked Aaron Mills twenty questions about music, art, life, and travel, and he provided us with these very well thought out responses.
What are you listening to right now?
At the moment I type this, Oneohtrix Point Never – “Nobody Here”. A seemingly endless loop of Chris De Burgh singing “There’s nobody here”. It’s incredibly calming and zen. This brings to mind the Baudrillard quote: “There is nothing more mysterious than a TV set left on in an empty room. It is even stranger than a man talking to himself or a woman standing dreaming at her stove. It is as if another planet is communicating with you.” One can imagine this music used for quelling anxiety.
What was the first LP/tape/CD you remember owning?
The first utterable one I can think of is Bros – When Will I Be Famous though that may have been the machinations of my mother who, incidentally, also named me after Elvis. The first with my own money might be Blur’s Parklife. Damon Albarn was a brilliant songwriter. No question.
What are your favourite bands?
Undoubtedly My Bloody Valentine’s heavenly malevolence impacted me significantly. I am endlessly fascinated by synesthetic guitar textures in no small part thanks to Kevin Shields. The other worldliness of Billy Corgan’s fuzz-arsenal on Siamese Dream blew me away, and I’ve been collecting pedals ever since. Sonically, Glenn Branca is up there too. My favourite songwriters include: Elliott Smith, Mark Kozelek & Robert Pollard. The cinematic experience of latter-day Swans has definitely informed the idea of ‘live performance’ to me, that is, theatre at a knife’s edge. The Necks are also an incredible live prospect I would urge anyone to see. I love improvisational music in general and I believe it integral in creating broad, far-reaching compositions. On heavy rotation always is the sublime musique concrete/ Neo-nostalgia of bands like Broadcast and Stereolab. I also really enjoy Deerhunter and the majestic voice and guitar of Robbie Basho.
Why do you live where you do?
Convenience, also I’ve made friends here that I would miss terribly if we were sundered.
What is your favourite journey?
The journey of the mind, or “soul” that resolves some entrenched confusion.
What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Watching milquetoasts on Sunday’s brunch while eating toast.
What essentials do you take on a plane or tour bus?
Gravol and a gavel.
What is your dream vacation if money was no object?
Space. But watching Kubrick’s 2001 recently, I could just as well conclude I’m more interested in human imagination in relation to the unknown – what we project out and upon the void.
What do you do with 4 hours to yourself in a new city?
Imbibe the culture and attempt to fraternize with its citizens.
What inspired you to take up music?
Music is transcendent. It exists beyond the measure of what we understand. It can hypnotize, move us to tears, fill in the blanks where words and actions fail. There is nothing like it. For example, cinema is transformed by the music that accompanies it. A nondescript moment can take on meaning that reaches within us and draws something to the surface with the introduction of music of unquantifiable vibrations.
What was your most memorable day job?
Designing armatures for Salvador Allende.
What advice should you have taken but didn’t?
Well I think that “advice” alone is not enough. You have to burrow beneath, almost to a substrate level, to engender change. If you go to the gym, you might be initially buoyed by something that inspires you to go, but to continue with it you have to go deeper. The body is just one part of the puzzle. But in making this journey you will realize just how strange your consciousness is, and how unknowable you ultimately are.
What should everyone shut up about?
Trump. I absolutely detest the guy but I also think that he’s emblematic of the mass confusion of late-stage capitalism. The system is disintegrating around us and we’re just concentrating on this ego maniacal buffoon. It’s like going to a sporting event, baseball or whatever, and focusing all your attention on the mascot – he of course revels in this.
Who’s your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would the menu be?
The painter Francis Bacon. I would probably misconstrue the affair and make something unnecessarily elaborate when he’d only really care about the wine on offer. I think he liked bacon sandwiches and eggs anyway.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
What was the best live gig or music festival you attended (as a fan or artist)?
I really enjoy the OFF festival in Poland. They’ve done it very well. I hope we can play it some day!
What are your “must” read magazines, news, websites, blogs?
Primal Music Blog/ Drowned in Sound/ Atwood Magazine/ Big Takeover
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art.
I loved the film ‘Under The Skin absolutely incredible. I think the greatest art in many ways is that which doesn’t easily “volunteer” its meaning. The uncanny writ-large.
(Editor: We love it too!)
What does the next 6 months look like for you?
The band! I’m extremely ambitious with this project and intend to make it the central focus of my life. Rome is indeed burning, but to invoke Werner Herzog, we must make images or we go extinct – and I believe that to be the case, spiritually as well as literally.
Which musician rule do you agree with? Always meet your heroes or never meet your heroes?
The latter seems more accurate. As anyone who had the privilege or misfortune of meeting Mark E Smith can attest!
Check out Burning House on their Bandcamp page HERE.