Studio Session // A Conversation With Myst Milano
Throughout their career, Toronto singer and producer Myst Milano has taken on many positions including, DJ, community organizer, activist, and member of the House Of Siriano. They’ve recently funneled their diverse musical talents into a debut album Shapeshyfter. In this solo eleven-track project, Milano channels adaptability, changeability, and their own enigmatic power.
We met to discuss their distinct approach to music, as well as the album influences and their plans ahead of the release. Join us in this exclusive Glossi Mag interview with Myst Milano, the multifaceted artist spearheading their talents in the Canadian music industry. Plus, listen to Myst’s exclusive mix for Glossi Mag.
Congrats on dropping Shapeshyfter! Tell us about how you got into music and how long you’ve been producing.
I feel like I’ve been a musician my whole life. I started writing songs when I was six and spent my whole childhood trying to convince my friends and my cousins to be in bands with me. So, I’ve always had a lifelong interest in music. I’ve been producing for five years. Before I used to produce on Logic, which is more for recording instruments and whole bands. Now I use Ableton Live, which is meant to make hip-hop and electronic music. So, it kind of made sense to me intuitively when I started using it.
You have a lot of involvement in nightlife and electronic shows. From the city’s ballroom scene to co-organizing virtual raves with Club Quarantine, walk us through what inspired you to step back into music and create Shapeshyfter?
Because of the pandemic, I had time to actually sit down and conceptualize a whole piece of music and really think about the message I wanted to tell people. The world slowing down really gave me the opportunity to think about things. But, also, to learn how to use Ableton Live, which I got because of the Canada Recovery Benefit. And to really focus on becoming a better producer.
What message would you like to convey with this project?
Adaptability and changeability are super important. Because this is my debut album, I wanted to give people a reference point of understanding me and the places I make my art from. I wanted to reference all the stuff I’m into. So, a lot of underground hip-hop, electronic music, punk, post-rock, and spoken word. And to maybe inspire someone to grow past, out, and away from their limitations. Not just as an artist, but as an individual.
Which is your favourite danceable record from the album?
My favourite danceable track is probably nevr b me. I enjoy that song a lot and had a lot of fun writing it. I think I finished that song in a day or something. Some songs were like a labour of love, you know, where I kind of had to spend more time with them to feel them out and flesh out what I wanted to get out of them. But, when I have a track I’m so excited about, that I can finish within a 24-hour-period, then I always really enjoy it.
Who are you listening to now?
Damn. Well, I DJ a lot of house and techno, so I listen to that. India Jordan from the UK put out this amazing record with the song Watch Out on it. James Bailey is great and the Karim Olen Ash Banishment remix is really good. It’s just like this buttery house track. There’s so much talent in the city that it’s easy, I think, to stay in the scene and listen to the music coming out of the city.
I’ve also been listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers lately, I love the Blood Sugar Sex Magic album. I got it on cassette at Value Village when I was around 13 or 14. I listened to it a lot. It’s very familiar to me. It’s kind of this timeframe in my life that I can refer to when I put on one of the songs. I’ve been revisiting DJ Rashad, Aqua, some Jazz and some Nicki Minaj, Method Man and Redman.
What moment in your career sticks out from the past five years?
Playing in Paris at Le Station. This old train station turned into a rave warehouse, basically. The trip getting there was hell on earth, it was easily the worst trip I’ve ever been on, but the show itself was so much fun. The airline lost my luggage, so I had to wear the clothes that I wore on the plane to play the show — it was this whole thing.
Everything went wrong but I played a great show. It was probably one of my favourite shows that I ever played. It was in the basement of this old train station with one red light on. But, I DJ’d for myself and played the show, and people were living for it and enjoying themselves! Closing out the Lizzo show in the Beer Garden at Budweiser Stage was also cool.
Looking ahead, what is in store for you next?
Hopefully, money… I don’t know! Promoters can’t quite book shows now because it costs more money to put the show on than they would ever make at the door because of capacity restrictions. I can’t really play proper live shows unless they’re outside.
When things are open, I am touring, like out of Canada, an international tour for sure. Also, my team and I announced that I’m signed with Phantom Lin, a publishing company out of Britain. So, hopefully, you’ll see my songs in movies and TV shows and stuff like that.
For more information on the artist, check out @MystMilano on Instagram, and find their Shapeshyfter wherever you stream your music.
Myst Milano’s Glossi mix tracklist:
Bandoe, Cortex & Ekkins – Phoneline
Interplanetary Criminal – In My Arms (Coco Bryce Remix)
Overmono – BMW Track
Tessela – Hackney Parrot (10_Ton_Mix)
LSDXOXO – DEATH RATTLE
GRRL – The Bird
Sansibar – Liquid Programming
Luca Lozano – Blabba
Underworld – Born Slippy
VTSS – Sensor 150
DJ Arne L II vs. DJ Mirko Milano – Seven Of Nine Borg Baby
DJ Gigola & Kev Koko – Ibiza 2007
TreuHand – Killer Ginger
Blue Hour – Meridian (Julian Muller Remix)
DJ John Piemel – Escalope Boursin
Yazzus – Gwen Stefani Hates Waiting
DJ HEARTSTRING – VISION OF ECSTACY
Coco Bryce – Octopus
DJ Sideswipe – Nowhere
Coco Bryce – Cloud Busting
Sully – Swandive
J Majik – Serenity (Champa B Remix)
Digital – Stylee
Particle & Klinical – Cult Process