In December, when 19-year-old Sydney-based artist Milkpunch (real name Raf Lima) released his latest album Moonshine, we were immediately immersed in his sprawling sonic textures.
Lima creates music that’s not quite like anything else making the rounds, so we caught up with the artist himself to chat about the new album, recording in a Marrickville garage, and growing up in different parts of the world.
Fresh off the release of his incredible latest album Moonshine, we caught up with Sydney artist Milkpunch to chat about influences, recording in a garage, and a whole lot more.
HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
RAF: Hey. I’m sitting on a couch at a house in Torquay, Victoria. I’m on a trip with 3 friends, this is our last stop, going back to Sydney on Thursday.
HAPPY: Moonshine is absolutely insane! Congrats on getting it done. How long had this record been in the works for before you released it?
RAF: Appreciate that! Almost literally a year. Started writing it December 2017 and put it out December 2018. Funny because I thought I’d have it done by April.
HAPPY: What’s it feel like to release something you’ve worked so hard on out into the world? Do you ever struggle with stuff like that?
RAF: I’m relieved actually. It’s as if the album doesn’t belong to me anymore, but to whoever listens to it. I did struggle with the fact that the tracks already felt old to me by the time I finished them. You naturally wanna put out the best stuff possible, so I feel like taking too long between records takes the fresh factor away.
HAPPY: You recorded the album entirely in a Marrickville garage, right? Could you walk us through what your setup looks like?
RAF: It was pretty simple, there wasn’t a lot of space so the only gear we had in the ‘studio’ was the stuff we needed for what instrument we were recording during that week. We did have a couple synths lying around in case an idea hit us and we had to record it straight away. Apart from that, we had a computer, monitors, preamp, a broken fridge with ancient prawns inside, a chair, a guy called Scotty in the back smoking darts and saying nice things.
HAPPY: Were there any significant limitations that came from recording in that environment?
RAF: Totally, the mics would pick up aeroplane sounds all the time, plus there was no proper ventilation since we put a mattress in front of the door to ‘acoustically isolate’ the place. Totally worth it though, sometimes you play better when you’re a bit on edge.
HAPPY: We really loved Junk Pop, but this record seems like a big step forward. How do you view Moonshine as being different from that first EP? If at all…
RAF: I feel like Moonshine solidifies what I want Milkpunch to be – a project with no specific style. Each release being its own thing. I had more fun on Moonshine than Junk Pop I reckon.
HAPPY: You’ve spent large periods of your life living in different geographical locations… do you feel that your experience living in different areas of the world has shaped your songwriting in any way?
RAF: Yeah! There are so many great artists in Australia that it inspired me to push myself. But growing up in Brazil was very important. We had to seek music. They didn’t play rock n’ roll on the radio. Plus I grew up listening to bossa nova chords.
HAPPY: What artists are you listening to at the moment?
RAF: Getting into some pop like N.E.R.D and Sophie. A lot of Beatles. Really, a lot. Also, I’m obsessed with R. Stevie Moore. And Enjoy. I love Connan Mockasin’s new album. Also getting into Isaac Hayes and that album Hot Buttered Soul.
HAPPY: What’s next for Milkpunch? Any other exciting plans in the works?
RAF: Yep! I’m going to Melbourne for a while, will write and record an album or EP there. See how it goes.
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
RAF: Thank you!
Moonshine is available now. Listen above.