Music Profile

Brent Bader, Columnist

Many traits and interests are passed from one generation to the next and these hobbies instilled in us from childhood usually play a large role in our development, and in David Mills’ case this was music.  His father instilled in him an interest in music, specifically the guitar, but eventually Mills would expand his frame and incorporate many different instruments and genres into his works.  He looks up to idols such as Matt Nathanson and Mumford and Sons when creating similar songs and styles along with his father’s own classic rock songs and has enjoyed every minute of it since.

From an early age, Mills looked up to his father for inspiration and became interested in playing the guitar.  His father was no rock star but still played guitar on a local basis and gave Mills the practice he needed.  He was soon well versed in the instrument, but his interest in music did not end there as after learning to play the guitar in grade school he quickly moved onto snare drum in junior high and after that he began surpassing his father’s own talents by self-teaching himself on many other instruments including the banjo and piano.  His first band had an emphasis on pop music but he has slowly moved away from that genre and into a new one which he considers easy rock with a mix of folk.  His family has encouraged him every step of the way as he began growing in popularity and reaching a state-wide audience.  Today Mills has taken part in multiple bands and is currently a singer and songwriter for Long Ladder Home.

Originally called Beneath Starless Skies, Long Ladder Home is a relatively new band for Mills and they are made up of various friends he has had in previous bands and a few ex-rivals such as their bass player.  This band is relatively small but still growing as he finds it easier to deal with a smaller group of people as it’s simpler to get in touch with everyone and work around their various schedules.  As for the name change, Mills said that the team wanted to change the name before they became too popular to risk losing an audience and chose Long Ladder Home as he said “it deals with everyone’s struggles and personal journeys.”

He detailed the exhaustive song-writing process as it begins with upwards of twenty to thirty ideas which are then whittled down to just one or two, with the possibility of some of the ideas melding together.  These songs all tend to be inspired by personal experiences and relationships and the band works together to find which ideas work and which ones don’t.  Mills finds that he can go long periods of time without any fresh ideas and then they all appear to him in a short period of time causing a rush of inspiration.

The band certainly has long term plans in mind, with a professional band manager that works near Chicago, and they are hoping to make a living on their shared hobby.  Mills is no stranger to traveling for his trade as he has been to both Michigan and Wisconsin to perform on previous occasions.  David himself was accepted into medical school for psychology, but decided to turn it down as he felt that music was his true calling.  He feels that he could always return to his medical education and is currently taking courses at IVCC to help with that possibility in the future, but would always regret the missed opportunity of not following his dreams of becoming a professional musician.  When asked whether he would rather perform on a large stage for a world-wide audience or stay a local legend, Mills replied that “I would like to perform on a large scale as I enjoy traveling, but as long as it’s still fun it doesn’t matter where I end up.”