Artist Spotlight: Milkers Wanted
Columns / August 24, 2017
The hard-hitting garage rock group that’s broken out of Maple Ridge
Alyssa Laube, Coordinating Editor
Off the rails and explosive, Milkers Wanted shows are guaranteed to leave your head spinning.
The Maple Ridge-made band fits most snugly into the darker and dingier venues of East Vancouver, where young members of the underground music scene come to drink, smoke, and socialize. There, through a mass of squirming, sweaty bodies, frontmen Ezra Tamminga and Colten Secord can often be seen toting their guitars with drummer Jack Feherty and bassist Mitch Kozlik bopping behind them. Their crowds are always ready for a good time, and that’s exactly the energy that the band exerts.
There’s a lightness to their stage presence, certainly, but a noticeable darkness behind their songwriting as well. Inspired by outspoken bands like FIDLAR, Milkers Wanted uses their music to express the struggles associated with being stuck in the cycle of working, partying, and regretting inebriated mistakes. As compared to their first record, the recently released Squirtgun EP is full of guitar-driven chaos and Tamminga’s voice screaming out lines about celebration, remorse, and self-reflection.
Squirtgun EP is also diverse in its sound, ranging from the delicate sing-songy “Moon Rock” to the raging punk jam “Rat Mose”. There are Spanish influences, surf influences, and plenty of punk influences, but good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll prevails above all else. Despite their sometimes-heavy lyrical content, Milkers Wanted has managed to keep their sound fun and lighthearted for their audience.
Tamminga describes Squirtgun EP as “louder, heavier, and more aggressive,” with more work and darker tones underlying its creation. At its core, the record is about “it fucked my day up, it fucked my week up, it fucked my life up” situations that the band members confront in their everyday lives.
“The first EP was more fun. It just happened by itself, pretty much. With this one, we had to try. The songs were a little bit more complex and had a little more to them than, ‘Yeah, let’s get drunk or drive around,’” says Tamminga. “It’s so easy to get caught up in the humdrum of getting off work and knowing that the bars are open until 3:00 downtown. You go home or go to the bar and get drunk and make some bad choices. It’s easy to get caught up in that.”
A recently released video showcases the song “Bunk Waves”, which veils commentary about abusing cocaine behind the metaphor of adopting and mistreating a child—a symbol of innocence designed to represent the drug as an unused substance. Although it seems abysmal, writing music about such experiences is healthy for the members of the band.
“Listening to FIDLAR, loving FIDLAR, helped us not want to hide it as much—not like it’s something to be proud of,” says Tamminga. “I feel I need to get it out, because it’s not a happy thing. It’s not encouraging like, ‘Let’s get fucked up!’ It’s like, ‘Man, I got fucked up and the consequences suck.’”
“It’s almost, in a way, an anti-teen smoking and alcohol ad,” he laughs.
The band’s next record will explore new concepts separate from growing older both with and without drugs and alcohol. With the upcoming records, the goal is “taking actual ideas and writing songs about them instead of writing about that crazy time I had when I didn’t sleep for two days and ended up in a stranger’s apartment,” says Tamminga.
Two new songs coming from the band—one colloquially known as “The Back Song” which is about Tamminga’s herniated disks in his back, and the other called “Jose Cuervo” after the brand of tequila—will be coming out within the next few months. Although the band has been struggling to come up with a concept for their next album, fans can expect a music video and short EP to be released before the year’s end. They may even release a version of “Jose Cuervo” played with a full mariachi band sometime in the future.