Guitarist, composer Kyle Miller talks classical music, anime and climate change

Though the name Kyle Miller may be a stranger to many, the classical guitarist and composer is most certainly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the vast spectrum of music.

Through the course of the interview, Miller’s calm demeanor and reserved nature should be noted, but also should not be mistaken for any sort of weakness. Rather, Miller uses such characteristics to his advantage to remain disciplined and fastidious in his approach — making him one of the most refined and bright young musicians to emerge from the contemporary classical world today.

On the debut edition of the “Lunar Interviews” series, Miller sat down with Lunar Space cohorts wormharvester, Mal Rojo and JayPapes to discuss his rigorous performance and compositional studies, his initial foray into the classical world and who the man Miller is beyond the guitar.

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“Part of being a classical guitarist — part of being a performer — is to not only play the music that’s written on the page, but convey it emotionally. In other words, bringing justice to the music or bringing the music to life,” Miller said in regards to performance. “It’s not an easy task to do on your own.”

“The job that my guitar teacher has is to get me to figure out ways to understand the music on a more in-depth level — either theoretically [and/or] emotionally to bring life to that music,” Miller continued.

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Miller then spoke on the emotional rigors that encompass performance and composition and noted the many factors that go into doing such.

“The approach that I’m taking… it’s kind of taking the ‘knowledge is power’ sort-of approach. You know, trying to learn various different sides of music theory, guitar-playing technique, understanding other instruments. This way when I go to write for them I know what I’m dealing with,” Miller noted.

“This way, when I sit down to write, or I’m sitting and listening to someone else perform, either my own music or someone else’s, you essentially have the knowledge to either interpret what someone else is doing or try to convey your own emotional idea,” Miller added.

“You’ll have the knowledge to do so, you can have the technique to do so whether it’s compositional technique or performance technique. Because let’s say you’re playing music and… you were confident in your technique, then you don’t so much need to worry about, ‘Can I play the line?’ You’re thinking about what note out of these 20 notes are the important notes [and] where do you place the emphasis so this way you can convey to the listener what the line really means from an emotional standpoint.”

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When asked to walk us through a day in the life of Miller, the Omnea guitarist noted that the first thing he does upon waking up is putting on some form of music.

“As a composer I try to not limit myself to one style of music to the best of my ability. I do spend most of my time in classical music nowadays — I grew up listening to death metal but nowadays, it’s mostly in classical music in various subgenres. I really like Renaissance music,” said Miller.

Miller mentioned that his playlist at the moment consisted of post-metal band Isis alongside the likes of “Aaron TurnerMichael Gordon, [Ludwig van] Beethoven, [Johann Sebastian] Bach [and] Carlo Domeniconi” and further noted that it “varies day-to-day very deliberately.”

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Outside of music, Miller enjoys two pastimes in particular — playing video games and watching anime.

Growing up in the “Guitar Hero” generation, Miller noted that he “obsessively got into” the games as a child and “got way better than anyone needs to be at it.”

“I actually ended up entering a competition and the winning prize was to meet Steve Vai. I was second, [but] I ended up meeting him two years later at the Sam Ash in Carle Place because his mom still lives in the area,” Miller recalled.

Miller also offered his thoughts on one of his favorite video game series, “Kingdom Hearts,” and noted that, “excluding the third one, it’s incredible.”

Taking aim at “Kingdom Hearts III” specifically, Miller noted the highly anticipated title did not live up to expectations. “You waited 10 years to get no sound effects and shitty dialogue that doesn’t need to be there.”

“They took away — you know you could just button mash through the dialogue, that’s how you’re supposed to play video games. I don’t care what they’re talking about, I just wanna slash some dudes,” Miller lamented.

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Speaking with JayPapes and Rojo, Miller opened up about his love for subbed anime and revealed what anime resonates with him.

When asked about his favorite anime, Miller revealed that he enjoys “Fullmetal [Alchemist],” “Sword Art [Online]” and “Death Note.”

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Check out the full 54-minute interview with Kyle Miller as he discusses his studies of classical music at Queens College, his practice regimen, influences like Charles Ives, playing video games, climate change, watching anime and more in further detail on Lunar Space’s YouTube channel.

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