Independent Artist of the Week: Sawmill

November 16th 2020

Through a filter of hazy melancholia, the debut album from Sawmill is an ode to the introspective: bedroom-indie once again the funnel for lonely boy heroism. Nick McMillan’s passion project is devoid of all pretence, and lets the sonic dreamscape speak for itself.

Nick McMillan is man of great rhythm. Beginning his music traipses as a drummer in several Brisbane based bands, his skillset developed from a steady backbone. The summer of 2019/2020 saw a wave of solo-experimentation which transcended from low-fi recordings and mixing techniques, resulting in his debut album under the moniker Sawmill.

Released independently in November, ‘Back to the Old House’ follows the leading singles ‘Heading Home’ and ‘Branches’ with pure consistency. It’s 10 tracks of textural bliss. Hailing from a place of listless yet dexterous angst, each track unfolds like another chapter of dusty, emo-adjacent folklore. Dreamy in essence, yet open to more jangly alt-rock sensibilities, the music of Sawmill is undeniably nostalgic.

It was somewhere along the dreary train tracks of urban fixtures and rural settings of Queensland, Nick McMillan conjured creative escapism to combat the predictability of suburbia.

“When I wrote this album, I was spending a lot of time on public transport in Brisbane listening to album after album, watching situations unfold around me. “

Whilst the 80s and 90s shoegaze influence feels strong, elements of indie and folk swirl around McMillan’s chalky vocals. Soaked in an atmospheric ambience deeply rooted in self-reflection, the lyrics speak to the aesthetic brilliance of the LP. McMillan says:

“I guess a decent number of the lyrics I was writing, describing idyllic scenery and weather, mapping out situations of uninterrupted isolation, were all written as a form of escapism from the repetition of city life.”

His mastery across all elements and genre-defying sonics is undeniable. A multi-instrumentalist, producer and DIY analyst, Sawmill’s ‘Back to the Old House’ is the product of both careful construct and spontaneous discovery.

Discover the genius yourself in ‘Back to the Old House’ below:

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