Photography Nick van Tiem

Mila V makes emotional acid house for the club

Watch the Dutch director-turned-musician’s self-directed video for debut single ‘The Craze’.

by Frankie Dunn
|
15 April 2021, 3:11pm

Photography Nick van Tiem

You might know Mila van der Linden as a director. You’re about to learn there’s a whole lot more to the striking Amsterdam artist than that. After six years living in London, Mila recently returned to her motherland and — alongside impressive films capturing the universal mood of isolation and the unrealistic expections placed upon modern Muslim women — quietly began working on a secret project: her music career as Mila V. The 27-year-old has had a long and beautiful relationship with the music world, attending clubs and raves in the Netherlands from the tender age of 15. “That was probably when I started hearing and vibing with electronic music. I remember going to my first rave and thinking ‘Ok, this is it!’”

While she’s always taken music seriously -- often composing soundscapes for her films -- she says that she “never really had the balls to go public with it”. Until now, that is. The past two years have seen Mila scour second-hand marketplaces for analogue synths and drum machines, playing around with sampling and producing her own take on instrumental club tracks that she’d later bless with her rich vocals. She describes the result as “emotional acid” that sits somewhere in between club and pop music. “Because of my background in visuals and having already experimented with making myself the subject of my videos,” Mila says, “it makes sense to now present this one-woman show of visuals, productions and vocals.”

mila v wearing a white pinstriped suit, sitting in a patterned chair holding a cane
Photography Nick van Tiem

Which is exactly what she’s done here, with her debut single, “The Craze”. “It’s a song about the aftermath of a bad and intense relationship where there’s an unhealthy power imbalance,” Mila explains of the dark synth track. It’s about fooling yourself into thinking you don’t care and not being able to be yourself, then slowly regaining the strength the other person took from you.” While for one person that might be exciting, she tells us, for another, you might lose sight of yourself altogether. “Once you realise that, you have to set it ablaze to stop it.”  

In the accompanying video, which we’re premiering below, we find Mila performing to the coolest crowd that Amsterdam cabaret club Paleis van de Weemoed has ever seen. She stalks between tables in a sequined bodysuit, giving her best performance but finding herself unable to ignore the negative energy of one audience member. “The video portrays the different stages of this relationship, so in the second half I’m trying to regain my strength, and it’s the audience member with the bad energy that’s the one losing control, cause they are sensing I am finally moving on.” 

Watch ‘The Craze’ and get to know Mila V via these 10 fun facts…

1. Mila makes music because she has to
“It feels like something I have to do from deep inside. I make productions or melodies that resonate with what I’m feeling at that moment. In a way, it is storytelling, too, but the stories are mine.”

2. She’s very influenced by Marina Abramović, her best friend Mairo Nawaz and her dad
“My late dad is always a big inspiration — he lived a very adventurous and creative life and was always expressing himself through different mediums. I read Marina Abromović’s book Walk Through Walls a couple years ago and it always really stood by me, I often re-read it, she’s such a powerful woman that makes you think beyond. And my best friend DJ Mairo Nawaz — the music he plays has been a big inspiration for my productions and realising the force and spirituality of electronic music.” 

3. Her fabulous mum has been her muse for as long as she can remember
“She just inspires me the most. Every time we do a project together it feels like we really made something special, even if it’s just for us. She was meant to be in the video for ‘The Craze’, but it wasn’t safe. Hopefully, soon we can collaborate again. She is also the first one I play new music for, and luckily she’s really vibing to everything so far and plays it when she drives her car.”

4. Mila cast her friends and fellow party people to star in ‘The Craze’ 
“They are all friends and people I know from Amsterdam and going out, including DJ Mairo Nawaz, model and writer Chaima el Haddaoui, and Singer Raven Artson. These are the people that give me good energy and the people I hold very close, so I think the video also has a very positive side to it.”
 
5. Like the rest of us, 2020 taught Mila an important lesson
“I think it gave me some time to process things I never had time to process, and I think I learned that allowing some more stillness into your life is healthy.”

6. Prepare yourself: her debut EP is dropping next month
“It’s coming at the end of May! It consists of four songs… one is the follow up of ‘The Craze’, called ‘Tear Eyes’, which I am currently in the process of making a video for. One is more vocal-based called ‘Perfect’ and one is a more instrumental track called ‘Verbsucker’.” 

7. She reckons it’d be a good soundtrack for either Blade or Saturday Night Fever
“I think these were the only movies my dad had on tape, so I must have watched them over 100 times when I would stay at his flat. They definitely made an impression on me -- I'm picturing some crazy mash-up of the opening scene of Blade where they go to this rave and it’s raining blood, and the dancing scene in Night Fever.”

8. When this whole pandemic thing is over, you should invite Mila to your karaoke night
“My go-to songs are ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’ by Guns and Roses or Robin S, ‘Show Me Love’. I’m a bit of a karaoke fanatic.” 

9. Mila V has big live plans
“I'm planning to release another single in summer and another EP in fall. Furthermore, I'm expanding my live set. I'm doing a live set on Future Intel at the end of this month and hope to be able to play gigs later this summer. I’m looking forward to playing for a live audience for the first time -- I have a feeling I’m gonna like it.” 

10. And admirable life plans, which we’re fully confident she’ll see through
“To hold ground in this male-dominated industry.” 

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