John Milk was born in 1985 in a non particular music versed family. He firstly got introduced to music and especially black music through his father discotheque mainly composed of country and Chicago blues.
“If I had to describe what music was for me at the age of 10, I think that John Lee Hooker would be the word” Especially a song called “Rainy Day” extracted from an album called “Don’t Look Back”. The atmosphere of this blues, the carma of John Lee Hooker hooked me! To my young ear, untrained to complicated music, this sound was great, it came to my ear, straight to my guts. It was not sophisticated. Looking back on that experience I think that I always kept this way of making music a cornerstone of what I would later compose. Music for the people, groove first!”
At the age of 12 John Milk got more into what was still an intuition: singing. Taking music lesson at school like most of the kids of his age he had the chance to meet a pretty unusual teacher that confirmed his thoughts.
“His name was Mr. Kasimo, a tall black guy very respected by all the pupils. I was studying in a pretty ruff school where a lot of us wouldn’t care about learning. In France we usually learn the flute to get into music. But this guy wouldn’t care. He was sitting at his piano and taught us how to sing songs like “Ready or not”, “You say yes”, Yesterday”. I remember that in order to pass the exam, we had to stand right in front of him facing the piano and pick up a song. How stressful this could be, I loved it. At the end of the day, he told me I had to do something with my voice. I was happy about it but didn’t really no what to do with it yet”
John Milk grew up In the Paris suburb where music at that time was all about Hip Hop. Listening to all the Wu Tang productions based on analog samples of 60 Rhythm and Blues, he decided at the age of 18 to build his own studio with analog gears. Real to Real tape recorder, 70’s microphones, live recording.
His idea was to create a raw, groovy sound of his no matter what the other producers were doing. That’s when he met a new crew of musician nuts about 70’s reggae music. Getting deep into the Jamaican sound of Studio One and Channel One studios, he decided to found his own record label : KA Records. Recording live, pressing 10 inch and 7inches, he also performed live, opening for famous Jamaican bands such as The Abyssinians, The Congos or Horace Andy. His records of deep 70’s Jamaican soul were sold in the UK, Japan, and most European countries.
John Milk first shot
While he was still producing Reggae, John Milk was contacted by Patchworks (Mr President, Uptown Funk Empire…) a French soul producer willing to give him a try on one of his productions.
“ I knew Patchworks was crazy about Curtis Mayfield, especially about his falsetto voice. I really wanted him to hire me for a record so I gave him some falsetto of mine. He actually dug my song and that’s how I had my first 45 released under the john Milk’s name. It was called “Choose your friend” on Big Single Label. “
After 5 years of producing deep roots music, John Milk moved into what was actually the source of the Jamaican soul he was making: American soul music. He made a demo of what would later be part of the album “Treat Me right”. He went back to see Patchworks to get a feedback on that work.
“I was still willing to compose and produce this music myself because I was convinced that we could find our own sound through the whole process of composing and recording our way. I did not want to copy and paste the classic patterns of soul but let my feeling guide the composition. But I really needed to get somebody else’s point of view on this new musical experimentation. That is why I went back to see one of the best soul producer in the country: Patchworks “
Very enthusiast about this new project Patchworks proposed mixing the tracks and motivated John Milk to compose and records more tracks.
“He has been really good to me; He always respected and never tried to influence me on the choice I was making musically. What he was doing was giving me advices on how to arrange and mix tracks. In exchange, I was singing for him for different labels like Big Single or Favorite Records”
At the age of 26 John Milk who was living at that time in Lyon, moved to Paris. That’s where he met other producers eager to work with him. Blundetto, famous Parisian producer leading the national NOVA radio, the Soul Sugar label led by Doctor Lonnie Smith’s road manager Guillaume Mettenier recorded John Milk on tracks for upcoming singles and albums. In 2014 Underdog Records heard about John Milk and his demo. Few months later, they decided to release it.
“ I am very happy about all these opportunities that I had lately. We have a good album coming, gigs all over France to promote it. I also have different songs released on other producers’ albums and I am currently working on soundtracks for cinema! Let’s hope the groove won’t end!”
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