Photo by Abigail Maki
When most people meet local musician Diane Miller, they hardly expect her quiet and friendly personality to translate to the quick moving lyrics and powerful melodies they hear on stage. It’s this dynamic stage presence that makes her hip hop band D Mills and the Thrills worth checking out, and you can do that this Thursday at the Hodo Lounge.
Miller is known in the FM area for her role as the Editor-in-chief for the High Plains Reader, as well as for her other bands Diane Miller and the Silver Daggers, Haley E & the Rydells, Panda Bandit and Heavy is the Head. She has always had a passion for a wide variety of music, leading her to play everything from folk music to reggae, but hip hop has always stood out from the rest.
“Rapping is a weird skill set I’ve had since I was a little kid,” says Miller. “It was really easy for me to pick up rap songs, and I just became obsessed with it.”
Miller spent her time learning from artists like Jay Z, Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest and Lauryn Hill and eventually started rapping by herself with a loop station. One of her first shows was in 2011 at an event called Hip Hop Don’t Stop in the basement of the Fargo VFW. Her boyfriend and fellow musician Tom Johnson suggested that she had a band back up her songs. Not sure if she could pull it off, Miller agreed, and the performance went on to be a big hit. A year later, Johnson nudged Miller to gather those musicians again to form D Mills and the Thrills and are now gaining more and more popularity in the FM music scene.
“The Thrills” consists of Andi Thoreson on vocals and keys, Tom Johnson on guitar, Josh Reinhardt on guitar and synth, Steve Wallevand on trombone, Jason Boynton on bass and Seth Holden on drums. Though Miller’s talent brought the band together, she attributes most of the success to the talent of each member of the band.
“The band is so good. They are all so talented, and they make me look good,” Miller says. “They really help build ideas and melodies and lock everything in.”
Miller is excited to be an artist in the female hip hop scene. She admires artists like Dessa and Lizzo, who are already creating a scene in the Twin Cities area, and wants to bring that same scene to the FM area.
D Mills and the Thrills will be playing their mix of originals and covers at the Hodo Lounge this Thursday April 23rd at 8:00pm.