I Need A Friend

Music by: 

Colin Miller’s latest project, Hook, slated for release in March through Oof Records, will be his first release under this label, and yes, the EP is named after the 1991 movie starring Robin Williams. A movie which has always captivated and terrified Miller, especially the character Peter who could so easily “lose himself in an effort to displace painful memories”(Riot Act 2021). Warm, lo-fi and lyrically innocent, one might feel as they make their way through Miller’s new EP the felt impression of a VHS tape pressed into a TV set during late adolescence. A feeling made painful only through its distance, through the act of remembering it.

Earlier this month Colin released a single from the EP, “I Need a Friend,” alongside a grainy and equally heart-felt video for the track. The video captures a series of naive animations which overlay handheld shots and night vision close-ups, amid the rural landscape of Western North Carolina. We asked Colin about his process of writing the forthcoming EP, to which he responded with the story behind “I Need a Friend,” a song which came to him in a dream:

“In the early months of the pandemic I dreamt that I was telling someone how much I loved the southern songwriter Vic Chestnutt. The person responded “That’s wild, I’m going to be filming a livestream of him tonight. Do you want to come along?” This piqued my interest both because I would do anything to see him play live but specifically because Vic Chestnutt died in 2009.

Immediately after this, he got a call on his phone–unimportant detail but, to illustrate fully, he did have an old motorola razr, the red one–and the voice on the other end said Vic couldn’t play tonight. My dream-friend and I were both bummed at this, it’s not often you get to see a dead person play live–especially in a pandemic. We started comparing our favorite of Vic’s songs and figured out that we had the same favorite: “I Need a Friend”. We both half-sang the melody and talked about our favorite lines:
    “Alone in my car the world feels so faa-har away”

Then I woke up...And I realized that this was not a real Vic Chestnutt song. I looked up “I Need a Friend” on my phone––nothing! So I sat up in bed, grabbed a guitar, sang and wrote what I could remember, filled in a few lyrical gaps with the first things that came to mind and in five minutes the song was as done as it is now.

Some songs come out of a few years of very slow, very patient, work ––tracking down the right lyrics, then chords, and then melody. Some have to be pushed into the deep end and after staying under the water a little too long they come up gasping for air and sea-ready. And then there is a small group of songs that fall out of the sky and, if you catch them, you find that somehow the work is already done. They are the most infuriating kind of song but, in a way, the most reassuring as well. “I Need a Friend” is one of those songs.”

In early quarantine, we published a series of Colin’s graphic poetry, found here.

--Emily Costantino, TQR
Listen to “I Need a Friend”:

︎ Watch “I Need a Friend”:

Follow Colin:

Instagram: @c_linmiller

Twitter: @c_linmiller_


Colin Miller lives in Asheville, North Carolina. He makes records in a little house on a hill in the Haw Creek Valley. In addition to his own eponymous musical project, he contributes to several other musical groups including Cheap Studs, MJ Lenderman, Brucemont, and Zach Romeo.

EST 2020


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EST 2020