Five Questions with…Amy Millan

November 4th, 2009
Amy Millan

(Photo: Courtesy Arts & Crafts/Finn O’Hara)

Amy Millan is a singer and guitarist best known for her work with the bands Broken Social Scene and Stars. But she’s also plenty accomplished on her own. Her first album, the roots-rock-filled Honey from the Tombs, came out in 2006. And she released her second solo effort, the spare Masters of the Burial, in September. As is usually the case, an accompanying tour has followed, which brings her to Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. But we wanted to hear what she had to say before then, and Millan—who claims her biggest nonmusical talent is “making soup”—was nice enough to answer Five Questions for The House List.

What’s the best part of playing New York City?
The first time I came to New York many years ago, I knew its reputation as being rude. I found it to be the opposite. It’s extremely friendly compared to say, Toronto. People don’t live in fear, so it’s easy to have random chats about random topics with strangers, if you aren’t an asshole.

What’s your favorite place in New York City to hang out? And do you ever feel like you could live here?
Angel’s Share, Central Park, Babbo to name a few. If I ever become a millionaire, I will definitely get a flat and spend more time there.

Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you?
There is a current of all emotion that you can dip your fingers into at any time if you wish to. There is a world sadness that is ever-present. So no, I don’t find I need to feel depressed to write a sad song. As with the last question, love is everywhere. Even in the gutter. It’s all happening to me. Even if it’s my reaction to someone else’s story, it’s still being interpreted by my feelings.

Your after-party is at Hi-Fi, the Avenue A bar known for its endless jukebox, and The House List gives you a buck. Which three songs are you playing?
“Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, “Only You Babe” by Curtis Mayfield and “The Whole World” by OutKast.

It’s 4 a.m. and last call has come and gone. What’s your next move?
Well if for some insane, drug-related reason I was not already in bed, then out the guitars would come and we would sing until the sun came up. —R. Zizmor