This story first appeared in Bandcamp Daily on October 31, 2016
Leor Miller. Photo by Micah Miller.
The inspiration for songs strikes Leor Miller whenever, wherever. In art history class, the seeds of a song might appear in notes Miller makes in the margins of papers, in little drawings and jotted words. Sometimes, something another student says, or a bit of prose from a Richard Wright story, triggers a snippet of a lyric.
Miller hasn’t always worked this way—but since leaving the Midwest for Bard College to study photography, they’ve become an impossibly prolific songwriter. When they released riding out the big anxiety in March of this year, they stood back for a moment and realized it was the sixth album of some sort they had written, recorded, and published since leaving Illinois. At this writing, in the past year, they’ve put out 10 albums or EPs, writing 56 individual songs in the process.
Miller’s transgender identity shapes how they interact with the world. Since coming out, Miller has felt alienated from some notion of “normal,” but they take solace in their perceived strangeness. So in song, Miller treats the normal both as unfamiliar, and as completely fine—even idyllic. “There are some songs like: ‘Damn, I feel really separate from everything that exists.’ And there are other songs where it’s like: ‘That’s really chill,’” Miller says.
Their bedroom pop, alternately melancholy and twinkling, requires no band and no collaboration; any further refinement would add unnecessary shine to the lo-fi patina of their work. They’ve got everything they need in the clutter of their dorm room: two guitars, two amps, a computer, a kit of software, and ample material from which to extract inspiration.