Hey, you guys remember The Milestones, right? They played at our first-ever Block Party at 200 East all the way back in September. You came to check it out, right? Maybe? Please? No? Anyway, those dudes are coming back to town this weekend when they take the Cafe Nola stage on Saturday night along with Bishops and The B-Side Band. We recently caught up with guitarist Chris Metz to talk about how these guys got together in the first place, how long it might be until they follow up their most recent EP, “Honey,” and how pop-punk had a hand in influencing the group. The fun should begin around 10 p.m. Saturday night. Don’t be square, friends. Be there.
So, take us back to the beginning. How did you guys initially get together in the first place?
This time four years ago, Alex and I connected at a bar at the University of Maryland – College Park. We went to the same high school, but we were both playing guitar and leading different bands. At this point, we were only writing music on our own, and weren’t performing anymore. For about a year, we spent a lot of time learning each other’s songs and writing styles. Two years of this passed, when we decided to start a band. We found two others to fill in on drums and bass who played with us for the first year as The Milestones. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to continue with the band. One of my best good friends, John, has been playing drums with me since I first picked up a guitar nearly 10 years ago. I gave him the call and for the past year, the three of us have been the foundation of The Milestones, with two great guys rotating in on bass for shows.
“Honey” is your most recent release, I believe. Do you guys have plans to get back into the studio for another release anytime soon?
Correct. We spent a lot of time recording “Honey” at Mystery Ton Studios with local producer Kenny Eaton. That was over a year ago. We’re in the studio working on another batch of songs that we plan to release as singles at the moment. Additionally, we’re planning to get back to recording at Mystery Ton Studios come late-spring/early-summer. We’ve got plenty of material that could fill a full-length album, but like so many other bands, we lack the funds to support that cause.
Along those same lines, what does 2016 look like for The Milestones, for the rest of the way out?
We’ve been fortunate enough to play some of the great D.C./Baltimore venues with other great bands since the beginning of the year. Washington, D.C.’s DC9, Black Cat, and Baltimore’s Ottobar, Metro Gallery, and The Crown. We have and are going to continue playing festivals throughout the year (i.e. Johns Hopkins University Spring Fair on Saturday, April 16). Additionally, we’re waiting to announce the details regarding a fundraiser that we’re helping organize in our Charles Village neighborhood (in Baltimore) that has an insane lineup thus far, set for Saturday, May 28, at Peabody Heights Brewery. Finally, we’re working on finishing up our current recording situation on top of setting up the recording of music videos.
Who are some of your major influences and why?
I hate admitting this, but pop-punk got me really into playing music during my angsty teen years (Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, etc.). Since then, I’ve gone through periods where O.A.R., Citizen Cope, Explosions In The Sky, Kings of Leon, Minus the Bear and Manchester Orchestra have been in heavy rotation in my headphones.
Can you give us names of some bands we need to check out that we maybe haven’t seen yet? Who are you listening to the most these days?
You MUST check out: Sun Club (Baltimore), The Humble (Philly), and The Districts (PA). Sun Club’s new album is exciting the whole way through. We’ve booked a few shows already this year with The Humble, and Kings of Leon is a frequent comparison for their sound. Similar to Sun Club, The Districts are relatively huge now, but if you haven’t heard of them – go do just that! Again, speaking for myself, I’ve been listening to a lot of Rayland Baxter, PWR BTTM, Future Islands, Logic, Gary Clark Jr., Chet Faker and Animal Collective lately.
What’s your perception of the local music scene here in Frederick? You guys began in Frederick, from what I understand, but you reside in or near Baltimore now?
After college, we spent some time living at with our parents in Montgomery County, just 20 minutes from downtown Frederick. That part of “MoCo” doesn’t have much to offer in terms of night life and local/original music. We found ourselves venturing up to Frederick (Cafe Nola, Bushwaller’s, The Cellar Door, etc.) for that sort of fun on the weekends. The bars/bookers were so easy and great to work with when we were getting started. Even better, the bands based out of Frederick have so much unbelievable talent. We really dug checking out sets from Old Indian, Heavy Lights, Seaknuckle, etc. whenever they would play locally. We were lucky enough to play Frederick Playlist’s Block Party at 200 East — it was insane to see how great of a production that was, in addition to some of the events that Flying Dog and the Weinberg Center host. We plan on supporting Seaknuckle’s album release this summer. We thought it would be most advantageous move to Baltimore in order to make a name for ourselves in Charm City in the fall of 2014. Specifically, the number of larger venues and touring acts that come through — in addition to a generally larger arts community — was in our minds. I also attend school and work in the city, as John had already been prior.
Where are some of your favorite places to play in Maryland and why?
Our favorite place to play is Ottobar. We’ve only ever had great experiences there. It’s only a few blocks from where we live in Charles Village/Remington. They have great sound and create an awesome environment to see a show. It’s also nuts to think about some of the other great artists who play Ottobar when in Baltimore. Otherwise, it’s always great to play for family and local friends at Cafe Nola when we’re in Frederick.
And, of course, what can we expect from the show at Cafe Nola?
We’re actually headlining at Cafe Nola for our fourth time since forming. We’ll be bringing the tunes, so it’s on you to bring your dancin’ shoes!