Kata Rokkar — Kata Rokkar – A Bay Area based blog about music, life and stuff by Shawn Robbins.Kata Rokkar — Kata Rokkar – A Bay Area based blog about music, life and stuff by Shawn Robbins.

Kuestionnaire: Frontier Ruckus (Bonnaroo Series)



Bonnaroo 2010, Music


Matthew Milia & crew’s music, otherwise known as Frontier Ruckus, might seem to relegate the decidedly non-bluegrass group to alt-country fringes. However the buoyant melodies and heart-tugging harmonies owe more to the Band more than anything else. Their sound is a headlong, honky-tonk dash through a landscape of dancing guitar work, stumbling emotions, and brawling drums. Frontier Ruckus poetically croons of open roads and ramblin’ ways, while keeping a steady rollin’ country strum with infectious twangy melodies. Frontier Ruckus sees nothing incompatible about tradition and innovation, about punk and country and blues, providing the perfect recipe of very raw artistic forms.

You can pre-order their new album Deadmalls & Nightfalls (out July) here.

For the last installment of our Bonnaroo Kuestionnaire series, we have Frontier Ruckus mastermind Matthew Milia as he provides probably the best answer for question #6.


1. Could you state your name and what you do in the band?
My name is Matthew Milia. I write the songs of Frontier Ruckus in addition to singing and playing the guitar.

2. How would you describe your sound?
I’d say it’s very lyrically intensive and thematic with a pleasant rawness and strong emphasis on chords, harmony, and texture.

3. What is your favorite local band?
My favorite Michigan songwriter is probably Chris Bathgate.

4. Any concerts that blew your mind recently?
We caught Dr. Dog in Amsterdam a few weeks back on a day off. It was quite infectious.

5. Any non-musical influences you would like to mention?
Walt Whitman, 90s sitcoms and their theme songs, the memorized locality of home, the abundance, connection, and obsession of memory!

6. If your music was to be the theme of a film/TV show, what would it be?
It would hopefully be the theme for the entirety of some large and vaguely connected television universe–as in the way the worlds of Cheers, Wings, and Frasier all exist in intersecting realities. What I mean to say is that an ambition or our songs is to herald the connection of every seemingly disconnected fixture of memory.

7. What musician/artist would you like to collaborate with for a day?
David Lynch.

8. What is the album you listen to on a cold rainy day?
Paul Simon – Paul Simon

9. List four songs you would listen to on a roadtrip?
Gemini (Birthday Song) – WHY?
MacArthur Park – Richard Harris
Cowgirl in the Sand – Neil Young
The Old Crowd – Lesley Gore

10. Where do you see yourselves in 7 years?
Hopefully writing songs in peace somewhere in a nice personal settlement surrounded by humble yet comforting and meticulously organized possessions.

11. What is the last book you read?
The Beautiful and Damned – Scott Fitzgerald

12. Is image a factor in music or is it a waste of time?
Depends what you mean by “image”. I think identity is crucial and should be a genuine projection of the ineffably singular interiority found within each, allowing even for contradiction in its infallible honesty.

13. Any embarrassing moments on stage you would like to share?
In Leeds I accidentally said that it was wonderful to be in Manchester. Both towns were lovely.

14. Any favorite tour locations?
When not in Michigan, I probably feel the most comfort in the northeast–Boston, New York. The string from the Bay to Portland to Seattle is always wonderful and welcoming too. Berlin was fantastic and we can’t wait to return.

15. Lastly, what is your present state of mind?
Worn out and anxious yet exceedingly grateful and brimming as always in that greater sense.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

[mp3] Frontier Ruckus – Nerves of the Nightmind from Deadmalls & Nightfalls (2010)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

[mp3] Chris Bathgate – Buffalo Girl from Throatsleep (2007)

  • renée louise-marie de witt

    having attended high school with matt and davey, and having experiences on more meaningful levels them as well, i have to say- i’m never really surprised when they continue to blossom, exponentially, in their seemingly boundless spirit, creativity and ingenuity.

    i’ve seen matt and dave go from performing in parking lots in the suburbs at our high school, composing songs about migrants&thedustbowl for high-school assignments, go off to college to meet and collaborate with musicians they met there, onto to being signed, recording 2 releases, and now are set to release a third. i feel privaledged have any affiliation, however distant it is now, with these incredible artists.

    ive personally seen as they’ve gone from performing at michigan historical sites (the octagon house) and getting press in the small-town paper, to being booked for extensive US and countless european tours & festivals such as south by southwest, bonnaroo and so, so much more.

    i suspected or knew, somehow, from the nearly-childhood beginnings, that the eager attitudes and enrapturing aspects of milia and jones’ enthusiasm for this expressive method would certainly take them places, places like this, with only more to come…

    i’m not surprised that they’ve come so far so fast, without luck at all really, because i saw so long ago (2000…2001?) what i’m incredibly proud to have seen develop, having been there, watching friends grow, prosper and become a phenomenon for their incredible talent(s) that i just always believed would really become something “big,” and evolve everyday into what i knew in those early years the great successful artists they are and always have been.

    oh, and they are living their dreams.

  • http://katarokkar.cribble.net kata.rokkar

    i’m sure they feel extremely privileged to have dedicated and passionate fans like you too. :)

  • Pingback: deadmalls & nightfalls one week later | frontier ruckus()