Guitarist and songwriter Tyler Milka knows the importance of looking back to move forward.
Before drummer Alex Klump joined Milka’s Chicago-based pop-punk band Fluorescents a few years ago, the two used to jam together and noodle over new songs. On Friday, the duo are releasing the first single from a new studio project they created during the pandemic, The Armoury, revisiting some of those songs they wrote back before they were bandmates.
The first single, “Luna,” is a nostalgic but cathartic look at relationships. Norridge native Milka originally wrote it as an exploration of missed opportunities and connections gone wrong.
“In a relationship with somebody, that becomes your world. You look at the future and all these awesome things and all these plans you’re gonna make and all these things you guys hope to accomplish. And you get lost in that,” he said. “Relationships come to an end, and it’s sad. In a way, this kind of pays tribute to all those past relationships and plans that never really came to be. It’s a sad song.”
But it’s a sad song that doesn’t feel like a sad song. It addresses past hurts while letting listeners move on.
Fans of Fluorescents — which, besides Milka and Klump, also includes Sasquel Exum and Bobby Guidi — already know the band has a solid handle on Chicago’s pop-punk sound. But Milka’s thoughtful approach to songwriting and versatile vocal range gives “Luna” a different feel as The Armoury drifts more into early-2000s alt-rock than pop-punk. Not far enough from its roots to be unrecognizable, but just far enough that nobody would confuse it for a Fluorescents track.
“Me and Alex like all these different genres that are outside of the pop-punk realm, so we thought we should start something up, just to be creative and kind of push the boundaries a little bit more,” Milka said. “It’s weird because all the songs we have planned are different. And what’s kind of cool about this new project is there’s no umbrella vibe it needs to sound like. Fluorescents has its sound. We figured it out, and I’m so stoked that we’re like the most cohesive group right now. But it’s kind of cool to just have this freedom to do whatever we want with this other project.”
Milka and Klump have other The Armoury songs in the works, hoping to drop one more before they start up a new set of Fluorescents releases. But Milka is pleased with the way the new project is coming together, especially revisiting this lyrically sad but musically uplifting song they wrote a couple of years back.
“It’s not supposed to bum you out,” he said. “It’s supposed to reach out to people who’ve been through that, which I think most people have, and just connect with them.”
And who among us couldn’t use a little more connecting these days?