Name: BERT MILLER AND THE ANIMAL FOLK
Mission: FAME AND FORTUNE WITH HOLLYWOOD TEETH
Working at festivals is such a fantastic way to meet people and discover new music. I first heard Bert Miller and The Animal Folk perform at Sunrise festival in 2012 after being told that they were well worth staying awake to see. They were one of the best festival bands I had seen in a long time. With a performance full of fun, musical genius and charisma. It wasn’t until the next year that we actually met at Maker in Cornwall and then again at Glastonbury. I’ve kept in touch with Bert on Facebook and it’s great to have him on The Spiralling.
Growing up in Devon Bert had always wanted to be an actor, but his Dad encouraged him to “get a real job” so he became a musician! As well as playing music he also works at the zoo and it was this combination of careers that led to the birth of the band.
It wasn’t until his older brother’s best mate Oscar heard the “weird little songs I was writing about the animals at the zoo,” that Bert got into writing music. “He liked them and then helped me make them better!” Most of the other members of the band met studying at Dartington College of Arts. “Those guys are amazing musicians and I was like this odd kid that would come round singing about saving animals!” They had stumbled on something that worked and the band started gigging from there.
Currently Bert is involved in three different projects; a six-piece, a three-piece, and a solo project. The six-piece is comprised of Bert Miller – Vocals and Guitar, Oscar Rowe – Vocals, Guitar and Organ, Conrad Singh – Vocals, Electric Guitar and Clarinet, Leon Boydon – Bass Guitar, Dan Truen – Drums, and Daniel Inzani – Vocals, Keys, and Accordion. The condensed version is just Bert, Oscar and Conrad “but it is a different sort of show all together. The three-piece is my chilled set, unlike the crazy full band.” The other members of the band play music as their full time jobs but Bert is still working at the zoo. “In the future the plan is to do music full time. The chilled show is new to this year and means now I can gig as much as I want without having to get 5 other guys together.”
Bert takes his musical inspirations from Roger Miller (the cockerel in Disney’s Robin Hood), his dad, Devendra Banhart, Herman Dune, The Beatles and Leonard Cohen. “Playing music used to be a way of externalising my inner dilemmas. Self exploration. The answers to life’s great questions…these days it’s just about girls.”
As a band they haven’t really had to overcome anything. “We are all pretty chilled about the band but we need to be a little more business minded! We need someone to manage us because at the moment I’m doing it so we only ever play gigs we are invited to. But we are lucky that we get invited to play at lots of beautiful gigs.” As festival season is almost upon us the band have been getting bookings for festivals and gigs over the summer.
For the time being Bert is “just happy having a nice time!” He has been busy working on an album that is due to come out this summer. “I’m very excited about it and I’m proud of some of the new songs. It’s just me, Oscar and Conrad. Oscar has been producing this album in his studio. It’s all about girls. The first album was about animals, the second was all about my ex and this is all about my crazy single life.”
To find out where Bert Miller and The Animal Folk are going to be performing this summer keep an eye on their Facebook page listed below. “I’m not sure exactly what we have on, but it’s normally busy. I’ll have to find out with my manager!”