A few years ago, a band called Small Objects changed its name to Blue Million Miles. Inspired by a new lineup and a slightly modified sound, the core songwriting team of guitarists Sam McNitt and Jeff Shapiro issued Of Building Walls, a dreamy yet forceful album of emotionally charged, cathartic melodies.
A live version of "Explosions," recorded in March 2009, appears on the KVDU in-studio compilation alongside other notable local bands. We had a chance to talk briefly with the group about its upcoming EP, which is due out this fall.
Westword: How long was your tour last summer and where did you go?
Blue Million Miles, with Mike Marchant's Outer-Space Party Unit and Old Radio, 9 p.m. Friday, May 7, hi-dive, 7 South Broadway, $6, 720-570-4500.
Jeff Shapiro: Pretty much every city between here and the West Coast. Our best show was at the Comet in Seattle. We were lucky enough to play with Arthur & Yu. It was a packed house, and Seattle rocks for music, because people walking down the street wander in when they hear something good, which is very different from Denver.
You're playing mostly new songs for this show. Has your songwriting process changed at all since your last album came out?
Sam McNitt: It's been a little more focused. Back in the fall, Jeff and I brought ideas together and hashed them out before bringing them to the band to change into Blue Million songs. We still jammed some stuff out, but our last album came about from the four of us in a room playing until we came up with something we liked.
JS: Now we're stepping back and looking at the songwriting process.
Ethan Ward: When I got in the band, I said, "I don't really want to jam; I just want you to show me cool songs so I can make bass parts for them." Mainly because I was still trying to learn how to play bass, and that's easier when you have a song instead of trying to jam in a room.
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Are there any themes emerging with the new group of songs, as they did on Of Building Walls?
SM: I think we've all been pretty knee-deep in Twin Peaks, and that kind of imagery has been influential. Some of the new material is a little darker.
EW: Some of the new songs aren't more complex so much, but they do have more parts and movements. We're more conscious of trying to have unusual sounds and dynamics intertwined in what we've done before.
We're working with more developed ideas, and there's more room for nuance and subtlety as the songs get fleshed out, as opposed to jamming out and throwing an idea in wherever it'll fit.