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Q&A with Raven Milligan of Peacehead

Peacehead is a rock band composed of two band members, Raven Milligan and Aden Johnson. The band started in early 2019, releasing their first album, Escargot, in October 2019. The multi-instrumental duo originally came from Kokomo, Indiana, and are currently playing in the Indianapolis and Muncie areas. Band member, Raven Milligan, agreed to be interviewed about the band and its future.

Annie Bastian: How did you guys become a band?

Raven Milligan: I met my friend Aden, the other guy in the band, at our local record store. We both went there in 2019 for a punk rock night show, and I was wearing a Queens of the Stone Age jacket and [he] turned back and started talking to me about the band. We just figured out one another were musicians, and we heard each other’s music and—slowly but surely—from there started hanging out. We started having jam sessions. Really, from the beginning of the band, our creative minds just went together really well. We really didn’t know one another up until the point that we started playing music. Had it not been for the band, we wouldn’t have become friends.

Photo by Annie Bastian

AB: Has the band always just been the two of you?

RM: Yes. When we first started out and began playing shows, we had people that asked, “Can I join?” and “Can I be the bass?” We thought about it a couple of times but the more that we got close-knit with each other, and we started writing more, we really became the duo we are now. It was more of a, "We don’t want anyone else in this band, we don’t want anyone else to be involved with our process." We are open to having guests on some things and playing with other people, but as far as Peacehead goes, it is really me and Aden all the way.

AB: Can you elaborate on your creative process?

RM: It has kind of changed since we first started. When we first started in 2019, [Aden and I] wrote songs separately and we would both just write all the time. We had so many ideas rolling and we would have jam sessions and be like, “I came up with this idea and here is the structure,” and then from there, with two of us working separately, we would quickly write songs. In less than a year of being a band—we became a band in February of 2019 and by October we had our first album out—that has changed a little bit now. We have ideas that we bring to the table and we work off of each other’s ideas. It has definitely become more of an open jam session kind of thing.

Photo by Annie Bastian

AB: I noticed at the Equinox Music Festival that you both played the guitar and drums; can you tell me about your preferences or how you decide who plays what instrument for each song?

RM: I think it comes naturally. Whoever writes the songs. We both have the tendency to write songs on guitar and write all of our lyrics, so unless we write something that we don’t really want to perform and ask if the other wants to, or if somebody comes up with something better. The whole thing with us is it is a very natural thing; we don’t really try to overcomplicate any of our ideas. It is more like, “I wrote the song, I play guitar, if you write the song, you play guitar.” It always tends to change.

AB: You have a second album about to come out, correct?

RM: Yes, our second album is coming out in July.

AB: Can you tell me about the differences between your first and second studio albums? Have there been any changes for you guys?

RM: It is strange to listen to [our first album] now because both of our styles have merged very well into this “garage rock sound,” but when we first started we didn’t really know each other. We hadn’t played that much so it came across as our individual ideas that we had blended together. We didn’t really know what we wanted to do as a band, so it is more of a blend of a random funky blues song and straight after that there is a song called “Mosh Song” that people can just lose their minds to. I definitely think that after a few years now, we have really found our footing with it and are a lot more comfortable as a band and are able to blend a lot more ideas together. The second album came a lot more naturally, I would say. For the past two years we have been trying to write this album and record it, plan something out, and we always just kind of said, “This doesn’t work, we should start over.” We had had sessions where we had been in the studio for like two weeks. But then just the other month when we were recording it, we were kind of like, “Here is the outline, we know all of these songs, we have played them a ton,” and we just went in one day super early and recorded the whole thing in one day. It was definitely a lot more natural.

AB: Can you tell me a little bit about what you consider your "sound" and where you guys fall into the music scene?

RM: I think we fall into the whole garage rock sound. You know, it is a very gritty, very rough around the edges kind of sound. We have had friends refer to it as “barn rock.” *laughs* You can definitely tell it is just two 20-year-olds just making these random punk rock songs.

Photo by Annie Bastian

AB: Do you have any idea where you think your music is going in the future? Any future plans?

RM: We always just have a ton of ideas like, “What if we do this, what if we do that?” Half of it doesn’t work and it just kind of sits there for a long time. I think right now we are in kind of a stage where we are getting tired of just garage rock sounds and we are wanting to keep that, but really venture out more and try and find more genres that we are into and experiment more with our style.

AB: Is there something specifically you have produced that you think really describes you guys?

RM: Yes. There are definitely a handful of songs that we have made that are kind of like a focal point. Honestly, this album coming out in July, I think is the epitome of what we have been trying to make for years now, because it is just that. That very gritty but super tight sound, and I think for our first album we really wanted to do that, but we just weren’t comfortable enough as musicians or as a duo yet. This next album is very much a focal point for us.

AB: Do you have any other comments/thoughts/elaborations?

RM: Check us out. It is just half the story to go and see us; our albums bring a different energy. I think one of our goals is to focus our energy on our recordings. I think our next album really showcases that energy and gets the job done with it, bringing a very high energy to it. My closing thing is come and try and see us live in the Indy and Muncie areas, and listen to our second album being released on July 30th.

Find them @peacehead_band on Instagram or on their website https://peaceheadmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

Featured Image by Annie Bastian

Sources: BandCamp, BandCamp, Qotsa.com, BandCamp

Contact Annie Bastian with comments at ajbastian@bsu.edu or on Instagram @anniebastian25.