Big Day Out '06: The skylarking maestro

By Scott Kara

Myles Macinnes spent his childhood jumping out of trees and blowing things up. That's apparently what you do when you grow up in a remote part of the Isle of Skye, a large, rugged island off Scotland's northwestern coast.

His wayward early days are why the now London-based musician, known as Mylo, is miffed about resting a broken ankle after a late night mishap in Athens in December.

"I wasn't doing anything bad," he insists. "I'd had a couple of drinks and I just jumped off this wall. I spent most of my childhood jumping off things so landing like that should be pretty straightforward for me, but ... I must be getting old," laughs the 26-year-old.

The injury won't stop him from playing the 9pm slot in the Boiler Room at the Big Day Out. If the one-hour set is anything like his cut'n'paste, electro-pop masterpiece, Destroy Rock & Roll, then get your arse ready for shaking.

That 2004 debut, with it's mash up of rock, pop, and electronica, was a cross-over hit echoing the success of Daft Punk's Homework in 1997.

It's hard to imagine the album being created by someone from a quiet village in Skye where the nearest cinema and record shop is a two-hour drive away.

However, his gleeful banter about blowing things up, and other shenanigans, is more like the riotous fun, attitude and chaotic abandon, found in his music.

"There are kind of beatific attempts on the album," he says, half-heartedly.

"But there's nothing specifically rural-Scotland about its sound. Pop music is a great universal really and where you come from is not really a big factor. In fact, the one main thing about living in the Isle of Skye, when I was making the record, is that it's a good place to be because there's not very much else to do."

One of the album's highlights is In My Arms - 80s music fans will love it - which blends samples of Kim Carnes' Bette Davis Eyes and Reel Life's Waiting For A Star To Fall. It is classic Mylo. He rediscovered the Carnes' song while living in Los Angeles studying psychology at UCLA.

"It was on quite heavy rotation on this soft rock station I listened to in my car. I couldn't have told you it was Kim Carnes ... I was just playing round with samples and thought it'd be funny to put them together as something slightly kitsch."

He refuses to get highbrow about Destroy Rock'n'Roll. To him it's just an "electro pop record" that is simple and unpretentious. But, he confesses, "the possibilities of what you can do with music still amaze me."

His obsession with pop music was something he kept to himself until he was 11 when he befriended some like-minded music lovers from his village.

"We were all learning guitar from the same guy. Then we all got into the Stone Roses together. We started in our first bands at about 12."

Another influence on Mylo and his gang were drug-addled Manchester band the Happy Mondays. "I do love the Happy Mondays and I remember being on a summer holiday in France in 1989 and hearing Step On for the first time.

"I just loved the attitude. Although, musically, the Stone Roses had more going on and their first album is one of these perfect 45 minutes of music."

Elton John thought something similar of Destroy Rock & Roll, proclaiming it the best album he'd bought in years. He and Mylo are now mates.

This newfound celebrity, especially in Britain, is, as you'd expect, lost on Mylo. "I'm not at the stage where people call me an arsehole out of taxi windows or anything," he hoots.

"But the change in lifestyle in terms of travel has been crazy and disorientating. It's good to finally have earned a bit of money out of it and I've bought myself a little bit of time. I can afford to not have to worry about next year, apart from my tax bill.

"But I should be able to survive and be able to get the next project - be it finishing this album, or producing someone else, or working in a band context - up and running."

He's also contemplating putting music on the back-burner at some stage and doing some writing. Don't laugh, Mylo's not some DJ/musician trying to wow us with his memoirs. Oh no. Before he decided to "destroy rock & roll", and dabble in psychology in the United States, he got a degree in English from Oxford University.

If his writing is anything like his music, it should be a good read.

LOWDOWN

WHO: Mylo (real name Myles MacInnes) from the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

WHEN: Boiler Room, 9pm _ 10pm

WHAT: Musician/DJ creates fun electro pop with balls.

ALBUM: Destroy Rock & Roll (2004).

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