Blending neo-soul, hip-hop and Caribbean rhythms, Milan Ring serves a sophisticated artistry of duality, spirituality and personal evolution. Her music is a rendezvous point between polarities. From the sparkling city of Angels to humble outback bedroom beats, and her multi-faceted Chinese, Indian, Australian heritage, Milan Ring’s live show features some of the most energising and utterly unique sounds you’ll hear all year. Balancing live percussion with electronic drums and synths, alongside raw guitar takes, Ring’s production dances between moods and elements whilst her dynamic vocals bounce from low earthy raps to luscious harmonies. Ahead of her performance at Melbourne’s upcoming FLOW Festival, we chat with Milan Ring about her influences, touring life and divisive DJ set openers.
Hey, thanks for chatting with us! How’s life treating you?
Life is treating me very well thank you, just announced my new EU/UK booking agent signing with Primary Talent Agency and ate gluten free vegan donuts and ice cream so I can’t complain!
You were recently added to the lineup for the inaugural FLOW Festival happening this December. Are you looking forward to it? Anyone on the bill you’re particularly keen to try and catch on the day?
Definitely looking forward to it. I will be supporting Digable Planets here in Sydney also so obviously stoked about that and cannot wait to see them. And I think literally everyone else on the bill is a friend of mine and talented as fuck so I cannot wait to see them all.
You’ve been gigging about quite a bit of late, recently supporting The Rubens on their national tour as well as opening for Thundamentals and playing alongside Okenyo. How have these shows been? Any fun tales from the road/greenroom?
All the shows this year have been incredible. The Rubens tour was a really nice chance to see some more of regional NSW, it was cold too so me and my best mates jumped in my mate Harris’ Troopie and loaded it up with doonas, pillows and food, pumped music, was such a fun road trip. Also DJ’d for the first time with my bassist Liz, we thought we were just playing to like 30 VIP after party peeps, ended up being straight after the Rubens set to like 850 people at this huge winery warehouse, and we started with like ‘My Neck My Back’ or something polarising that cleared half the room haha
It must be nice to play support shows like these with a diverse spread of artists and reach such a broad audience base. Your music is so malleable and spans many different styles, so it makes perfect sense. Where does that sound come from, are you inspired by any particular eras or genres of music?
Thank you, I would say my biggest influences have come from what I grew up listening to through my mum: Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Maxwell, Meshelle Ngeocello (who I supported this year!) and then I became obsessed with Jimi Hendrix and wanted a Strat and started improving on guitar. And then became obsessed with Aaliyah, Brandy then moved into a lot of Hip Hop.
And what current artists have you been leaning into recently? Any new releases you’ve found yourself playing on repeat?
Snoh Aalegra’s new album, Mereba, Tierra Whack, Blood Orange, Burna Boy, Tame Impala. Definitely have had all of these on repeat.
You wrote about your most recent single ‘Step Back’ – “This song is about finding your internal light and resilience. Brushing off negative rhetoric and not allowing it to shake you. For anyone who has experienced any form of bullying and/or discrimination, this one’s for us.” How important a role has music played for you in dealing with things like bullying and discrimination? And what songs or artists have gotten you through these things in the past?
Music is my therapy full stop, it allows me to go through the emotions and feel understood and connected – and that is to just listen to it! So I feel so blessed to have music as a form of expression and for my own healing too. Honestly too many songs and artists to list, it all helps me get through, I cannot and do not want to imagine a world without music.
Is it true you literally do everything yourself, from writing, to recording, to mixing and mastering? Have you had any formal training or qualifications in any of these areas, or did you just start tinkering away and experimenting and it all fell into place?
I have a Diploma in Sound production and engineering which got me started and then years of experience, mentorship with others, self study and research. And now I run workshops & masterclasses in songwriting and production. I do collaborate all the time but I am able to see the process out from start to finish, so yeah, it’s not bullshit ha
Any new music on the horizon you can let us in on? What’s next for Milan Ring?
Yes I have a single out today (listen below)! And lots of exciting things in the pipeline for 2020.
Finally, what would your dream Festival lineup look like? Paint us the whole picture.
Well anything that looks the Camp Floggnaw line-up! but is an Eco festival, solar powered, 0 plastic, minimal waste etc. Vegan food and with lots of hippie dippie meditation and healing spaces too and chai tents cause chai is delicious.
Saturday 14 December 2019
Footscray Community Arts Centre, Footscray Vic
Digable Planets (US), Milan Ring, Agung Mango, KAIIT
Baro & the Baz Richie Sextet, FLEXMAMI
SO.Crates, Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Tiana Khasi
P O O K I E, Zjoso and hosted by Cazeaux O.S.L.O
All-day roller jam carpark stage ft. Prequel, Mz Rizk, Chris NG, and Pietro
Final Release tickets just $75 and on sale now via HUMANITIX
Check out Milan Ring’s new single ‘Say To Me’ here.