Inside the Bedroom of Young Rocker Milly Tabak

Musician Milly Tabak of The Miltones shares her sleep routine


Milly Tabak, in her bedroom, wears a Lonely silk blend velvet robe, $475, and pants $340. Wallace Cotton velvet quilt, $330, and European pillow cases, $50 each. Citta Design linen pillowcases $80 for set of two. Picture / Babiche Martens

There’s something distinctly free-spirited about Milly Tabak, part of Auckland-based band The Miltones who are currently on their first national tour following the release of their self-titled debut album.

It comes as no surprise that the 23-year-old’s favourite decade is the 70s - that’s echoed in the group’s Americana sound as well as her cosy bedroom filled with vintage treasures like crochet blankets and retro posters.

"I’m a real 70s kid, though I was born nowhere near that decade. I’ve been infatuated with the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll and blues since way back and I adore the retro, the brightly coloured and a good bit of moody lighting," says Milly. "My room is a great big piece of my heart. I feel like I’m stepping back in time when I walk in – the old quilts on the bed, 70s posters on the wall, turntable and swappa bottles scattered around the place.

“I don’t charge my phone in my bedroom. It’s become my sanctuary of analogue where I can escape to for a while.”

A self-proclaimed night owl, Milly often spends evenings in bed with her guitar and will “tinker away” at writing music. If inspiration doesn’t strike, she opts to write in her journal instead. Lights out is anywhere between 11.30pm and 1am.

"When I’m hanging out in that relaxed, dream-like part of the evening, that’s when I find things come easiest. I’ll leave the guitar on my bed and maybe tinker away, which can lead to writing a song or, go the opposite direction and I’ll just sit there wondering, where it all is tonight? If nothing takes me, I listen to music and like a 14-year-old girl, write in my journal until I drift to sleep."

Milly's earliest memory of connecting with music is dancing on the front deck with her dad at 4-years-old listening to Neil Young’s Down by the River; at age 12 Milly watched her first live band in an old hall in Tapora at her dad’s primary school reunion.

“From then on, playing music was my way of framing memories and putting them up on the wall: using that magic to keep close those most important to me.”

How do you start your day? Describe your usual morning routine.
My morning routine has been a little bit skewiff, recently. I might be up early, running out the door to meetings or interviews (which has been a hell of a lot of fun). Otherwise, I’m sitting on the bench, scrolling through emails and chewing muesli.

What are your favourite ways to relax and take time out?
At home, it’s candles, a glass of whisky and an old blues or soul album – something like Gladys Knight and The Pips’ Imagination. Man oh man, I can’t get enough of that at the moment. I also love driving north and staying at my friend’s family home just outside of Kerikeri. I feel like I can totally unwind up there. Can’t beat it!

You can’t sleep - what song do you listen to?
Janis Joplin's Maybe. That song soothes my soul, breaks and melts my heart, then fixes it right back up, all at once.

It’s an exciting time for your band The Miltones as you’ve just released your debut album and are currently on tour – how has the whole experience been?
I’m going to be very real: it’s been an absolute whirlwind. You don’t realise the amount of pressure that comes with trying to line up a tour. This has been the first one I’ve ever organised, so I think I’m still learning how to balance it all. Throughout the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with a phenomenal team who’ve helped secure those things for me I could never reach alone, so it’s a little bit daunting doing it all myself. The first show was the most stressful by far but we did a great job, and come night two, I felt like I was able to let my hair down a bit more.

What’s next for you and the band?
More shows! I’d love to hop the ditch and get over to Australia after the New Zealand tour. Who knows where the road will go? I’m just enjoying the now.

• For The Miltones tickets and tour dates, visit Utr.co.nz

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