Special Interview: This Coast Bias

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up indie bedroom pop project Clay Milford – This Coast Bias. He’s a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I have always loved music and grew up with parents that were avid listeners of all genres, but the first time I decided I wanted to make music was in my dad’s truck when I was about 8 years old. He told me he wanted to show me his favorite band from his childhood, and he put a KISS CD on. The opening riff of their song “Detroit Rock City” started playing. I felt like I got sucked into the radio Jumanji style. I was entranced. The music was fast, loud, and cocky. It gave me butterflies. I instantly decided I had to learn how to do whatever it was they were doing.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

I’m inspired by the work ethic of the musicians I listen to. I love the dedication to writing that artists have. I love when artists let the music decide where it wants to go, instead of trying to write a song that is “trendy” or “cool.” I’m also inspired by other types of creatives and entrepreneurs. I think if you have a talent, you have a responsibility to use it to bring good feelings to others. So many other artists have done that for me, and it inspires me to try and do the same.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

I want to be a full-time musician, tour, and write for other artists.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

I plan on releasing as much music as I possibly can in the next several months. I write most days, so I always have something ready to go. I would love to tour, but no such plans currently!

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

“alright” is the most anthemic type of song I have ever written. I am not saying it is an anthem, just that it has that vibe. It is very conducive to a windows-down, hands-up type of feeling. I love when songs have chants in them. I always wanted to work a chant into one of my songs, but never wanted to force it. This one was just begging for a chant, so I got to throw some “na na’s” in there. 

I guess you could describe my music as bedroom pop, simply because I write and record in my spare room, and you could glaze over everything and refer to it as indie pop. I usually like to call it breakup pop, simply because a lot of my earlier songs referred to past relationships, but my more recent songs have been much happier, so let’s call it vibey pop.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

So many things make me want to write songs. If I go to a show, I usually write a song after getting home. If I see a great movie, I usually have some sort of idea spring up from the soundtrack or the overall feel of the film. Sometimes I will be listening to a song and an idea going along with that particular chord progression might spring up. Sometimes an idea will come from a random song I will improvise to entertain myself while I am cleaning my house. Most of all, plopping myself down with my guitar or in front of my computer gets me going. Often, an hour will go by, and I have a fully planned outline of a song.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?

If there is, I didn’t plan on it. I feel like my lyrics are very much “what you see is what you get.” Sometimes I may toy with analogies, simply because I enjoy the occasional wordplay, but for the most part you don’t need to be the Riddler to figure out what I am singing about.

Success, what is the secret to it?

I think success is just trying really hard for a really long time with the right intentions, mindset and talent.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Last year a song of mine was featured in an episode of a show called “Good Trouble” and I was so proud of that. I am such a huge fan of music and TV, so to have my music be apart of both worlds colliding was so cool.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Max Martin, John Frusciante, Kevin Parker and Barry Gibb. I just love great writers.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

I have a song called “call anyway” that comes out on January 5th, 2023, but I always have songs waiting to be released. I think I have about 3 right now that I want to release as soon as possible. I also love garage rock and blues and put songs out under the name Ada Myriad. That’s a way to get the rock ideas out for me.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

I’d like to be able to support me and my wife on music alone. To be able to focus solely on that would be so amazing.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

My favorite parts are the relationships and the victories. It is very hard to get even small wins in this industry, but once you do it is so fun to celebrate with the people that have helped you make it happen. My least favorite part is the effort some put into being “cool.” I think being yourself is the coolest you could possibly be, but unfortunately it is easy to listen to the noise telling you to make yourself a carbon copy of this band or this artist. That is the road to burnout, I think.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

A lot of my favorites are Australian! I referenced before that I love Tame Impala and Bee Gees, but I am also a huge King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard fan, I love Wolfmother and Savage Garden, and Natalie Imbruglia sang one of my all-time favorite songs, “Torn.” That song gets me juiced up. 

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

I started putting music out into the world when MySpace started hitting, and I have seen the changes that started there, into Spotify and TikTok and the like. I don’t know any different, but I love it. It has never been easier to get your music into people’s ears. I mean look at this – I am writing to a publication in Australia. I would not be doing this in my position if it were 1975. I know people have their qualms about streaming, but for artists like me, it creates opportunity and as a listener it’s a blast!

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

I’ll continue to try and write songs that make you want to bebop around and vibe out. I think all humans can relate to that. We just want to listen to good songs, no matter what language we speak or where we’re from.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

I often write with others on other projects, and even had a friend feature on one of my songs. My dream collaboration is included in my favorite artists; Kevin Parker, John Frusciante and Max Martin. I’d pay to even be a fly on the wall in that writing session.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Play in front of people as much as you can, listen to as much music as you can in all genres, and write as much as you can. Don’t steer yourself into or away from any genre at first.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

I do my best to answer every message or comment on all platforms, but I am frequently on Instagram and TikTok! Email me too at thiscoastbias@gmail.com. I check that everyday!

Any last words?

I’m having a blast making music. I hope you have a blast listening to it. Everybody be nice to each other out there! 

Website: thiscoastbias.com

Facebook: facebook.com/ThisCoastBias/

Twitter: @ThisCoastBias

Instagram: @ThisCoastBias

TikTok: @ThisCoastBias

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