All About Ballroom Dancing: Ballroom Dance Music With Brent Thomas Mills (2024)

Apr 20, 2020

Todd Combs – Taras Denysenko –Brent Thomas Mills


Todd Combs 0:01
So we are with our first episode of all about ballroom dancing andTaras and I were thinking what what should the first episode be?And we thought one question all of our students have is aboutmusic. Is it? Yeah, to know? Yeah. How to know when, what musicgoes with what and it’s and identifying music is a challenge. Youcan’t learn it here on just the podcast but understanding things.It’s a it’s the first step. Right? Right. So we thought we’d bringthe man in. That’s right. The man

Taras Denysenko 0:33
the myth, the legend, the legend,

Todd Combs 0:35
the guy who writes if you’ve been to a ballroom dance competition,you have heard his music in your ears. And he does. I can tell youhe’s so many events, ton of events. He goes from franchises inNorth America competitions, parties, their competitions,independent competitions, any kind of events that has music Brentis running it. I think he even went overseas Yeah, even they evenlet him in overseas was questionable for a little bit, but they lethim in.

Brent Mills 1:04
I had to get a special passport. I know. Thank you so much.

Todd Combs 1:09
But everybody, let’s now welcomeBrent ThomasMills.

Brent Mills 1:13
What’s up, guys? How you doing?

Taras Denysenko 1:15
Good. Yes. Great.

Brent Mills 1:17
Well, thanks for having me. I appreciate I appreciate you having methere most. Most. Yeah, most want to talk about judges or techniqueor their feet. And in my brain, I keep thinking like, Well, youknow, it’s, it’s the importance like the movement, it all isimportant. But like, if that tune is not there, then you lookreally funny.

Doing all that stuff

without any noise. Yep. And it’s not like people go out and belike, Oh, I move like this. And then a band says, Oh, look, theylook like they’re doing a cha cha let’s do that.

It’s reverse. So if you

hear it, then you do it. So that That’s what I like, right?Everyone is listening, and then they do it.

Todd Combs 2:04
So first you have me on, I appreciate it. Absolutely no problem.And we were all kind of talking earlier about, there’s a bigadvantage of having a person run the music who is a ballroomdancer, not just a music, you know, fanatic or something like you.You’re a ballroom dancer, you know, dance. So that

Brent Mills 2:24
It did help. I’ve been dancing since I was 14,

actually, when I started.

Taras Denysenko 2:29
Wow. And how did you really? Yeah, how did you get started? Andwell, I

Brent Mills 2:33
just happen to have when I got into high school in the ninthgrade,

my drama

teacher because I was starting to get into, you know, that typeof thing, just so I could get out of math and science and anythingelse that actually made me think so I was like, yeah, drama easy,while the drama coach happened to be a former ballroom champion,danced on a Blackpool team. Per coach was Roy Mavor who is a veryfamous cabaret World Champion, choreographer and whatnot. So theydid the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. And that requires14 male dancers. And I was in a little Podunk High School. Sodancing was not you know, was not definitely part of the footballor athletic league. Let’s say that. So we had to go out and recruitfootball players and baseball players to you know, dance SevenBrides, which was appealing to them because it was like jumpingover logs and the big social, were there throwing the girls around.So it looked cool then. So we did the whole musical ran it. Andthen when it stopped, you know, we had to learn walls. For a scene,we had to learn lifts. We had learned the polka. So we was over andwe were like, well, we like doing this. Can we Do this after schoolso that drama goes right. But let’s start a little ballroom teamafter school once a week for an hour. So that started and by thetime I was a senior in high school, it was an official club. We hadlike 36 people in there. We were doing like performances for promand preference and all that silly stuff. And then after I left, itbecame even larger, where students from other high schools wouldcome after school to be on that team. And then they finally gottheir own team coach, and now it’s a state recognized playoff teammatch every year between probably eight high schools. And you canactually let her now in ballroom dance. You can walk around thehallway with your letterman jacket,

the pickle ballroom dance

icon, really, it is part of the art program now in many highschools and that high schools really started it out that way. Justthe artistic part of it. And then the athletic and the competitiveside. So it’s actually recognized by the state school board as a,you know, an estate competition. It’s crazy.

Taras Denysenko 5:10
That is totally Incredible

Brent Mills 5:11
Yeah, it was It is incredible and I and I do this I do And now I’dgo back every year for the Nationals because they do the youthformation championships over there at BYU and their 20,000 seatstadium and now I get to deliver music for all of them when I usedto be on some of these little teams and now it’s just youth andjuniors and preteens and I mean, hundreds and hundreds of youthkids now that all in there’s there’s programs in junior High’s now,so it’s gone a long way and progress but that’s how it started. AndI just stuck in there and then I started taking privates because myteacher saw some kind of weird potential. And it was just because Iwas a cheesy performer like not shy. So But I had huge gunboatfeats, I probably size 11 and a half. I was very embarrassed. I waspigeon toed. So I had this turn in. So that cured all of that myfeet are now size 10 I don’t even know how that happened. And Idon’t have the turned in feed anymore. I mean, it was crazy. Whenmy when I was born, my legs were skewed in they were going to breakmy legs and reset them. They were so pigeon toed, wow. But they’relike, Nah, unless he has a limp. We’re not going to do that. So Ijust grew up with these crazy turned in feet and very selfconscious because they call me pitch and tone and you know, lots ofbullying, but, you know, I made it through but that cured all ofthat. And just, you know, made me Yeah, I think that’s because whenI started coaching later in life, I became this foot Nazi theycalled me the foot Nazi because I was all about turnout and footplacement and just you have to have feed in for that because I hadto pay two To my feet when I was in Turkey, I look like right,craziness. But that’s how it all started.

Taras Denysenko 7:05
Well, that’s a pretty incredible testimonial for the benefits oflearning how to dance right there for a reason that a lot of us doget involved with it because of something like that. So that’s,that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing that

Brent Mills 7:15
story. Oh, it’s all good. I mean, the cure to anything isrepetition, right? The right repetition. So if you if you got alimp, if you got turned in, it’s just you just train your body,your body’s the smartest thing that it has going for itself. Andthen at all the tools of modern science, you shouldn’t have noproblem.

Todd Combs 7:33
Oh, yeah. And I think there’s something to be said about menbecause a lot of times women come in the ballroom dance world, asyou know, as teachers and they did ballet, they did tap, but Idon’t know to me, no, no, you have a ballroom background, but Idon’t know too many men that said, who came in the dancing say, youknow, I used to dance a lot. And you know, when I was five inelementary school in high school, I was dancing snow. Want to be ateacher. Most guys I knew You know, I was going to be, you know, adoctor, I was going to be this or that. And I just came intodancing. And they all think we came in with, you know, perfectawareness of our feet and legs. You know, we didn’t have pigeontoes, and we didn’t have a limp and we didn’t have, you know,problems like that. They just think we all came in, and we’re justbred to dance for some reason. So it’s good that you? Yeah, you’resharing your physical limitations as a young child.

Brent Mills 8:30
Yeah, it was challenging. It was just funny. You know, the boys arecute when they play baseball. And the girls are cute when they dolittle ballet, you know, and that’s and that’s kind of the statusquo for here in the States. And, but you know, you go to Europe, goto Asia, it’s like, it’s like, literally for both boys and girls,or dancing for boys and girls. There’s not this like, oh, the boysshould do this. And the girl should do that. It’s just, you just doit and such a difference between As if you if you grow up with thementality then it’s then it’s there and everybody understands itbut like my high school is so small town that you know any man orboy who danced it was instantly the crappy label that was you know,we know now which is complete ignorance but back then it was likeyou got tea so much. I got tea so much I got in a fight. I was Iwas voted my senior year most likely to take a life. That’s thatwas the prize I got.

Todd Combs 9:33
And they did.

Brent Mills 9:35
Well, they did it as a funny one a spooky one, you know, but like,I was fighting all the time, because all the Hicks in my schoolwere like picking fights with me and they were labeling me and I’mlike, Really? You want that label to beat the crap out of you rightnow? And I would go off. And yeah, and I just they had pictures ofme just enraged for him. You know, I mean, I never picked a fight.But like I go ahead, you just Throw that first punch and I will notstop until I’m dead. Or you’re on the floor. I mean, it was. It wascrazy, right? I mean,

Todd Combs 10:07
I think that’s a label that all a lot of us male teachers get that,you know, they’ll make fun of you, even if it’s your friends, youknow, they’ll make fun of you. Oh, yeah. ruthless are the worst.Yeah, and then afterwards when we’re all going out to a club, who’sgetting all the women who’s who’s having to tell the women No, I’mnot interested right now I just, you know, I just want to dancejust and they’re just sitting at a bar thinking, you know, if Idrink three more beers, these women will look at me like, Man, thatguy knows how to drink a beer. Here we go. Yeah, go talk to thatguy.

Brent Mills 10:39
No, man, you are you are the center focus. And and I don’t know theconfidence. So for men, right? It doesn’t matter how old you areyoung, you could be 72. And if you’re 72, and you’re single and youknow how to salsa. I mean, you just let alone stand alone. Stand upstraighter. You know what I mean? You just you let people in. Theeye because you’re used to that, because that’s all you have to dowhen you dance with someone. I mean, it’s it’s all aroundencompassing a better just a presence, rather than I mean, the guysthat watch Monday Night Football. That’s all they do. Now I’m allfor one night football. So it’s all good. But it’s like theexpansion of your skills always lends to more confidence forsure.

Todd Combs 11:28
Yeah, that is very true. And going like you’re saying about Latinclubs. When, when I’m originally from Northern Virginia,Washington, DC area, and we would go Latin dancing. And Latin clubsare interesting, cuz you’ll have, you’ll have if it’s 21 Club,they’ll be 21 year olds, and they’ll be 72 year olds. In a Latinclub. You don’t see that and regular clubs and those those oldLatin dudes would every woman was in line to dance, because theywere old school and just like suave. Yeah, it’s the best. It’s sofun. Yeah. Yeah, where can you get that done? Where can you knowwork in a 772 year old guy go Hey, I’m going clubbing tonight.Yeah. And we’ll have an endless amount of women to dance with.Exactly. Clubs, dancers. Exactly. Yeah. And also Brent, you went toyou went to Berklee College, a

College of Music in Boston.

Taras Denysenko 12:21
Wow. Whoa,

Brent Mills 12:22
because your music is so there’s Berkeley Cal State, which is crazyBerkeley. And then there’s Berkeley with le E. Berklee College ofMusic from Boston. Like, john mayer went there.

Taras Denysenko 12:35
And Aerosmith guys from Aerosmith, right?

Brent Mills 12:36
Yep. There’s those? There’s a lot of Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s, it’sknown for its guitar department. That’s its main thing that said,that’s their strength. If you if you want to be a guitar player,especially jazz, then that is where all the guitar players go.

Taras Denysenko 12:52
Yeah. Like john Petra Tucci, I think,

Brent Mills 12:54
yeah. And then their next is like, as piano, but yeah, that wasThat was a full on. I mean, that half of the building was an oldhotel. So I mean, I had practice rooms that I literally couldbarely open the door. And then you have to sit on the bench at toclose the door. And then you’re literally could lean up against theback wall while you practice this upright piano in I mean, maybesix by eight just and that’s that was your practice room. You justgo in there and they call it the shed. And he’s like, Where are yougoing? I’m going in the shed. I got a shout out my scales. You gotto pass off every scale, every key, every mode and every key. Imean, yeah, so Oh, really? Yeah. It was just a great experiencebecause it was just specialized. This I mean, everyone going therewas out to be a professional musician. Because after that Itransferred. After two years of there, I just got my diploma. Andso I go, I went over to the University of Utah to finish and thatprogram was like everyone was going to be a band teacher. I mean,wasn’t even close to the same intensity or the same focus becauseeverybody in Boston was out like soon as I leave, I gotta makemoney, you know, where everybody else as a band, you’re like, well,I’m just gonna get a job teaching band, you know, so differentmentality and energy, but it was awesome.

Taras Denysenko 14:18
So were you into music? Like, when did you get into music? Um,

Brent Mills 14:22
I don’t know, I remember as a kid, maybe two years old. Three,looking at my older brothers, little piano books. They were likefive and four, and five and six. And so I would sit at the pianoand I would see time to see the pictures. So I would just look atthe picture like say it was a dog and a little boy with a balloonwalking. So I would just start plunking on the keys and starttelling a story about a boy and a dog and a balloon.

And that is like that. It’s a boy and God.

Ugly, and I would just like pound the keys. I was I was playingno melodies. Let’s Let’s not mistake this that I was like writingmusic because I’m not saying that I was massacring music, becauseI’m sure my parents were like, this kid has no talent because Iwould just make stories up the pictures I saw, which is tellingbecause once I mean jumping ahead 25 years, and I’m getting I gothired at the university to play for their ballet and their moderndance classes. All of a sudden, now I’m watching sequences ofmovement that I just had to put music to so they can have rhythm.So I could just make up songs and watch something and kind of knowlike, Oh, yeah, it’s jazzy. I’m gonna play something Jazzy, or it’squick. So I’m gonna play something slow and make make a contrast oryou know, so that’s when I started visually, like, if I seesomething I literally hear things. So I see someone moving nomatter ballroom or modern or whatever. I instantly start tapping myfoot. I instantly Just I want to put it to music. So I’ve neverbeen a songwriter as in like, this is my song. And these are mylyrics. Because writing music You know, it’s its own littlechallenge because it’s not the it’s not the progress of the song orthe sequence of chords. It’s the melody that sells a song. Right?So you know, Hound Dog by Elvis Presley. This the chord sequence ofhound dog is three chords. So there’s there’s probably thousands ofsongs with that same sequence. But the fact that he put that hounddog melody, that’s what sold the song. And that’s the hardest thingto do. Because in my brain since I just watched things, and I justput it to music. You know, I’ll change the melody all the time. Soit’s hard for me to compose original music because I can’t everdecide because I’ll play I’m like, Oh, I like it this way, and thenI’ll kind of play a little bit different. I’m like, oh, wait asecond, I like it that way. And it just becomes very challenging. Ijust like watching and playing freestyle. Like, that’s my, that’sthe thing I enjoy the most. So if I could watch a couple startdancing, I could totally compose a music a song while they actuallymoved.

Or a ballerina,

you know, like I could literally watch them and follow theirmovement because I kind of know what’s going to happen. Look, Iknow when they’re going to pause. I know, you know when they’regoing to do an over sway. So it’s just easy for me because I haveall that vernacular in education and dance. So that’s how it allgot started.

Taras Denysenko 17:42
So have you ever created a piece for a dancer?

Brent Mills 17:45
Yeah, many

Oh, yeah. Yeah, many different performances. I mean, I think itarts, one of Arthur Murray in Vegas, Ricardo and Yulia did a rumbaand They asked me if I would just follow them and we just play adrum track and I would play piano and I had my bass player playwith us. And I think it’s all it’s on video and somewhere I thinkgay hasn’t from photography.

Taras Denysenko 18:15
Yeah, I think I remember seeing that actually, sir.

Brent Mills 18:17
Yeah. So I was just making it up as they were moving. We didn’tpractice. We they just said we want to go at this rhythm. And wejust, I just watched them. I just watched them go. And yeah, thatsyncs up real well, but like when you watch it, I’m I’m literallyjust making it up. I told the bass player the sequence of thechords, and then we just followed. So that’s, that’s happened. Andthen I have my own original recordings that I’ve done. And thenoriginal covers that I’ve done that at this point. So

Todd Combs 18:50
you’re a musical savant.

Taras Denysenko 18:53
Yeah, I kind of, up, right.

Brent Mills 18:55
Well, I mean…..

Todd Combs 18:56
socially awkward.

Very A musical I mean, it’s like you to a tee. Yeah. It’s good.Emotionally awkward motion awkward. Don’t cry. Brendan’s.

Brent Mills 19:07
Yeah, I get it. I get it I get

Todd Combs 19:12
so now I want to know who is did you have a musical inspiration?Either growing up or Now earlier.

Brent Mills 19:20
Growing up, I remember hearing Rhapsody in Blue when I was very,very

young, like

eight or nine years old and just fascinated. I don’t know whatit was about that piece. And that led to I don’t know, I fell onWest Side Story. And I watched that as a as a small child as well.And I was just what is this music like, what is this great, youknow, music that’s so deep and so just like the prog the chords andeverything they use, and so that hooked me into just listening tomusic. That was Not what my friends were listening to. And thenwhen I was a sophom*ore, we went to New Orleans for the World’s Fairwhen they used to have the World’s Fair and we were doing showsdown there. So we went to New Orleans for the first time and thatwas Dixieland jazz is when I just was like, Oh, my Dixieland jazzwas it and then that led to Harry Connick. But I was like a stingfan police songwriters, I love Billy Joel and like all their offmusic as well like their music that you know, not their mainstreamso I was always that guy that always had the album’s and listeningall the besides. So that’s that’s kind of how it went. But I justhad to teach myself piano when I was two, three years old, and thenthey finally got me lessons that I didn’t like the lessons becausethey wouldn’t let me play the songs the way I wanted to play them.Because I was already like it. Probably then. My father wasn’t agreat kind of jazz pianist. He played a lot on his own just forfun. And I’d watch him do Boogie Woogie. And so that’s how Ilearned how to improv. And so I just loved making things up. So,which got me out of lots of classes and trouble in high schoolbecause I learned how to make things up.

Taras Denysenko 21:23
So that’s cool.

Brent Mills 21:24
So so that’s how that started.

Taras Denysenko 21:26
So you can play keys, but you can you also play other instrumentstoo, right?

Brent Mills 21:32
Yeah. So I yeah, I started teaching myself piano, but then maybewhen I was eight, maybe maybe seven. I was with my older brotherand his friend had a drum set who had a brother had a drum set. Andso they started playing and the brother played this one littlegroove. And I was like, Oh, yeah, I can play that and it was kindof a syncopated groove. And my older brother couldn’t play it. Andthen my older brother got a pair drum, some drums. Use drums. Andthen when he was gone, I would practice I would play, and then comehome and I’d get off and then he found out I was playing. And thenI don’t know, I just took the drums like it was so easy just to dothat was just easy. And so I started playing drums a lot more thanpiano. So I spent like, my whole youth playing drums at planetfairs. We used to have this drum duel that we’d go to state faircounty fairs and do this drum off with this other kid. Yeah, andthen it wasn’t until jazz band in junior high. Sorry, in highschool, I started I started I switched over to piano. And then Istarted playing jazz piano in that jazz band. And then when I wentto Berkeley, I went over as a percussionist because I had a more ofa background and qualifications to get in. But once I got there, Iswitched to piano just to learn my theory on piano because Ialready knew the theory and technique of drumming because I didtake lessons I was in drama Bugle Corps one summer So, yeah, sothat’s when I started piano officially when I got into college atBerkeley. And that’s, and yeah, I play a little bit of guitar, butI can, I can play all the percussion instruments, xylophone,glockenspiel, all those things timpani anything in orchestra. Andthen and then just piano and I’m not really an organist or becausethat’s a different technique that I did not take on too. So I wasall about real keys like real piano.

Todd Combs 23:34
So, yeah, that’s really that’s cool. Cool.

Brent Mills 23:38
Well, it helped a lot because when I was dancing when I when Igraduated with my dance degree and went to New York, someone foundout that I was a drummer and then Gary and Dinah MacDonald with aformer World 10 dance champions they they asked me if I could justremix some music because back then before the internet, you therehad allowed Song or it was a ballroom song he couldn’t change it.Digital software was starting up and so then I can you remix thisinto me. So I started making music, Latin music for the dancersbecause I knew how to drum and I knew how to play a conga line andyou know, bongos and like, I could mix easy because I knew whatLatin music was. So I’m like, yeah, that’s easy to just put alittle drum track on it. Next thing, you know, it’s a cha cha, youknow. And so that helped a lot because there weren’t a lot ofmusicians that had a dance background. And there weren’t a lot ofdancers that had a music background. So I was lucky that I had aprofessional experience and training in both, which I could talkall of the dancer talk and so then all sudden, that turned intocoaches and teachers, you know, dancers and I didn’t have to bringthem over. They didn’t have to come to my house. I would just saythey were like, Hey, I love the song. You make a samba mic? Yep.And then I would come back the next day, two and a half minutesSamba show, and I I know what they would want. I know they want thecool beginning they gotta have a big highlight solid ending. I knewwhat they wanted because that’s what I would have done if I wasdancing so they didn’t have to babysit anymore. So now they’relike, this is awesome, because you used to have to go over to arecording studio, sit down with the guy. Have all your cuts ready,you remember so yeah,

the prod I used to edit tape the tape like reel to reel. I don’tknow if you guys know what that means.

Taras Denysenko 25:27
Yeah, there’s probably no well maybe some of the listeners wellwill

Brent Mills 25:30
the reel you had to cut it with a razor blade and you had to usescotch tape to tape it back together and hopefully you got thecrossfade right is crazy. Crazy.

Taras Denysenko 25:39
So what was your What was your first musical director gig then?

Brent Mills 25:44
My first gig was us DC the United States dance board championshipswhen it was down in Miami at the fountain blue. And it was 1999 andmild director got put in charge of the music because the formermusic directors retired. It was a husband and wife team. So hebrought down all the music, but he had also chair the competition.So he saw me there because I just had one student, he’s like, canyou help with the music because, and I knew him from the tours. Andso I just stepped in and just did it for free to help elite, youknow, give a break to the guy that was sitting there for 16 hours.And then they asked me back again, and then I thought someoneshould, you know, modernize this because it’s pretty archaic. So Istarted doing that and then just one gig after the other than do agig. And then there’d be judges there that had another other eventsand they’d be like, Hey, I like your music. So I went from one ortwo a year. And then we got more and then we the now we do likeover 100 and maybe 60 events a year. So I have a lot of themthrough for that. I send these Guys out and it’s the music thatI’ve curated and put together and, you know, I put it together anddifferent levels as far as like, being able to discern, you know,what’s appropriate, because there’s their styles of music that areappropriate for kids for beginners, and, you know, tempo andcontent as far as like, you know, how what’s portrayed, you know,so you can just blast out some walls with, you know, music thatdoesn’t really lean towards waltz. It’s just so I was able to kindof filter out some of the songs that didn’t really work, because Iwouldn’t have danced to them. So I just throw them out, because I’mlike, I will buy one down soon, then nobody wants to. I justthought that way. So that helped a lot. Yeah. So that’s, that’s howit all started in 1999. So

Taras Denysenko 27:49
so when you hear a song for the first time, how do you decide who’sit going to be for what it’s going to be when you’re going to playit?

Brent Mills 28:00
I immediately hear

what the time signature is and the style so I can like if theyhad the show name that tune or but if they did it reverse into saidname that dance when you hear the song. Like instantly I could belike rumba or I could be like as a swing as a West Coast. I meanlike it’s so fast, because it’s just that’s how I my brain worksnow. And so as identify, you know, I’ll be like yeah, it’s a rumbaand then it’ll probably change. Oh, my God, never mind is chacha,you know, because the energy changes or whatnot. So, I think Isense the energy of the song. And then once once I’ve known whatthe time signature is, then it’s easy to say Oh, that even likeAmerican waltz versus like a ballroom like international waltz.Like there’s even slight differences that in my brain I use tohelp. You know, this is better for American style. It’s morelyrical if people will want to move in open way. This is a ballroomwhen is really good solid beats, it doesn’t drift off anywhere,just stay solid, you know. So, over the years, I learned thoselittle idiosyncrasies for each for each style as well.

Todd Combs 29:14
So I wanted to kind of bring in if students because you know, inthis in the show, we’ll have students listening teachers and, and Iknow some students are going to sit here and think how, what kindof tools are or what can I need help identifying music, right so wecan hear music. And, you know, I wanted to kind of go and ask yousome questions about timing signature measures bpms and things likethat. So, so when if a student said, um, you know, now Now I don’twant to sit here and say what I do, right because you’re the experthere. You know, they’re slow music fast music so what what kind oftools would you say what does this do need to learn?

Brent Mills 29:54
So yeah, so like,

first thing to do is is it To establish speed because speed willdictate a lot of the dances right i mean if you hear it you knowvery fast swing you can be like organza Lindy see the quick step orjive you know, you can immediately go Okay, I’m gonna go into theslow dance mode, or the medium or swanky mode you’ll you’llimmediately identify that way. So the tempo then that will break itdown to like okay, well now does this feel like so slow that it’snightclub to step? Or is this a little faster where I could getaway with rumba or Bolero? Do I Do I hear Latin Congress? Do I hearLatin percussion? So the next is to identify the sounds you’rehearing. Am I hearing strings? You know? So now I’m going to gointo foxtrots or waltzes or tangos, you know you so you kind ofcompile as you hear measures pass each other because everythingeverybody’s song is kind of a kind of a build or progress. So,musicians when they’re making music, you know, they’re not thinkingabout dancers, which most people forget. So dance music, everymusician unless someone like me or a designated record label thatmakes ballroom music, they’re not going like, Yeah, man is my song.And I think it’s gonna be a great West Coast Swing to now theydon’t even know what that means. So they’re just going this is mysong. And this is the way I like to play it. And then we as dancersgo, Yeah, I like it too. But it needs to be a little fasterbecause, you know, blah, blah, blah. And it’s our responsibility tochange that or to or adjust to that. And it’s funny because a lotof dances will be the expectations are like, well, this song isn’t.It’s too slow. They’ve did it too slow. And I’m like, but theydidn’t do anything at all, they just made their song. Yeah, we’rethe ones that like it. So, you know, it. I liken it to tomusicians, as a professional musician, they write their music orarrange it, produce it record or whatever, though, and then theysend it out. So they’re there. They’re in this highway in the, inthe right lane. And they’re just they just stay in that lane andthey just send out their music and people grab it and they buy it.They don’t whatever. And that’s how they make their money. And thendancers. They’re the same. They’re in the left lane going down theroad, teaching their dances, choreographing booking the shows, youknow, all those things, but yet they have to move over into thatright lane and grab a bunch of music. And then they got to moveback over to their left lane to do what they want to do with thatmusic. But those musicians in that right lane, they never come overto the left lane. But there’s so much work in the left lane becausedancers need them. They can’t do it without no one has just startedmoving without any music except for someone that has a problem. So,I mean, there’s some, there’s a few modern, contemporary, you know,pieces that have no music, which are amazing, you know, but they’respecialized. But nine 9% of the rest have some kind of sound,whether it be any kind of sound, but any sound makes it musical.And that’s what invokes you to move. So I’m always of the of thethought of like, I need to find more musicians that can come overto that left lane, and help out the dancers. So I’ve been tryingto, like make a network of musicians that, you know, come over herewhere there’s work where you can edit and you can remix for theseguys. I mean, if I had more time, I mean, the situation that it isright now. I’ve just pumped out three new V and these losses. I didit I did a cover of dust in the wind. We have to play that.That’s

that did a Viennese wall to that

Taras Denysenko 33:57
just now that’s cool.

Brent Mills 33:58
Nice. So I mean, I have the time to Do it, you know, but I don’talways have the time because I’m, I mean, I do 45 events a yearalone. So that’s just two days home out again, three days home outagain. So, you know, if I could get a network of musicians sothat’s

that’s how my mental process of like,

as much as people take advantage of the music’s always there, ithas to be there because that’s all you got to do. You don’t justtake off and start moving. So

Todd Combs 34:33
and I think it’s hard for some people to just for some studentscome in and they want to just ask us, what’s the magic equation tobe able to music identify for ballroom dancing? And, yeah, it’sit’s so challenging, and without some good kind of reference point.I think it’s really challenging for them. So so like one thing youhave is you have music Mills live, which is your music service thestreaming channels. Yes,

Brent Mills 35:01
it’s like the Pandora for Dance, dance sport. Right? It’s

Todd Combs 35:05
like yeah, there you go Pinto you probably have a way better way toexplain it. Yeah Pandora for dance. And especially right now, whenas we’re recording this. We are in the Coronavirus lockdownsituation. Yep. So we’re all stuck at home, we’re not able to goout. And you do have a special which will last during the lockdownsession. So we’ll, we’ll have that on in our in our show notes andyou can you know, tell us where to go and things like that. But Butyour, your service tells us, hey, I want to Foxtrot. This is thefoxtrot.

Brent Mills 35:43
Yeah, we decided I decided, yeah, because when we I was making theapp. You know, at first we made the app for the phone because allthe teachers were using their phones. They’re hooking their phonesinto the sound system playing from their phones. And but none oftheir apps were slowing down music Storing and making playlists,the things that you need to do when you have to manipulate musicfor dance for ballroom especially. So we made the app. And thenduring that time, unlimited data came about and so everybodystopped downloading and buying music. They just started streamingit. So we’re like, wow, we need to have an alternative. Becausethere’s two kinds of dancers, there’s dancers that will dance toany music, they just need the right music. And then there’s dancersthat love their collection, they pull in the chart and this rumbasthey love and that’s their music and they and they love collectingit as a dancer, because that’s what inspires him. Right? And, butwe had to kind of serve as both styles because I am like, when Ilisten to Pandora, I like the steam channel. I’m a fan of sting.And I’m also a fan of musicians that are like staying and if Iliked them, I keep them. I don’t subscribe to the sting channel tolisten to just sting music, just the styles of sting. So we decidedto do like the international cha cha channel, which are all thecharges that are in my library at the International speed. Sothey’re all curated, they’re all phrased, and they’re in thecorrect tempo. So if teachers that just need new music and rhythmthat is correct, they don’t have to keep adjusting or editing.That’s for them. That’s that just gives you Chacha after Chacha orAmerican waltz after American walls, and they’re all from mylibrary, so they’re trusted. There’s songs that I’m using currentlyin events, so nothing gets stale, nothing gets like where you justcan’t stand listening to a song over and over again, like dancerscan do they can crush a song and crush the life out of a song. Sothat’s what that is for. And then the app as itself that functionsas a tool to like, collect your music, organize it into differentfolders, you can save your showcase music for your students. Youcan create playlists for socials. That’s that’s the other style ofteacher that is uses music as a tool. Like I use when I taught Iused music as a to make every student a CD, I would make them CD oftheir practice music so they would go in their car and they couldhave that right cha cha music at home. And the app was meant to dothat is like, if you’re a teacher, you, you know, I would give thisapp to my students and I would say, here’s a song, you’re gonnaload it into your app, and this is the right music to practice to.So now they’re practicing the correct music style, tempo andwhatnot. When they’re on their own Plus, it was just a, you know,reminder where they were and where they were training. So it was agreat tool. It is a great tool for even students, teachers alikebecause it can help organize, it can help motivate whether you justneed I mean we have an American bronze Foxtrot channel we have 32channels total. So we even have an American bronze Fox channelwhich are a little faster internet So, instead of again, trying tospeed up music for a bronze student, we have the American bronzeFoxtrot channel. So all those temples are a little faster, a littleeasier to teach and dance to. So with 32 Yeah, lots of choices.Whatever style you do, we got them all even bachata salsa hustlethat

those as well.

Taras Denysenko 39:24
And that’s it, you know, that’s, that’s really a great value,because it’s like, just like learning to dance, you got to gothrough repetition and training your body to move but also, this isa great way to train your ear. So when a student wants to developmusic recognition, if they can go to your app, and just your thattempo here, that style of music, then they start to get yourtraining, as well. So that’s like, it’s brilliant.

Brent Mills 39:46
Yeah. And the fact that you don’t know what’s coming next becauseit is streaming. So you literally challenge yourself to like, startidentifying evil, you know, you could even be like, well, I’m inthe waltz channel. I know they’re all Walters. However, everyoneAll starts different some start real quiet, you don’t know whatthat beat is yet. You know, I mean, that’s another key factor oflike ident. Once you know what the dances well, you need toidentify when that downbeat is, or, you know, when that measurebegins what you were talking about earlier, you know, if you’re ina waltz, you need to know where one two, you know, same thing. So,that’s a lot of practice, because you can just listen to it likethe radio, right?

Todd Combs 40:25
Yeah, that’s because when you make a playlist, let’s say, inSpotify or something, you even if you shuffle it, you put it, youknow, the songs that are in that playlist, right? You know, soit’s, it’s different, right? You want it, there’s not as much of achallenge in that. Whereas as a teacher, it’d be great to say, golisten to music Mills live. I want you to listen to the foxtrotchannel. And I want you to listen to the rumba channel and tell mewhat the differences are next less. There you go. Brilliant. Yeah,Spock, you know, sometimes spot Trying rumba, you know, there,there can be we know there’s some songs you can do both to theirslow Yeah, but you know, there’s some differences. And I’m sure inyour, you know, like at the studio sometimes I’ll play. I’ll justbe like, you know what, today, let’s play some 80s ballads, youknow just really some rockin 80s music and, and and we’re choosingto do a rumba to it or we could choose to do a Foxtrot to it, butit’s not authentic, you know, it’s an authentic Foxtrotnecessarily. So, there’s those songs but, but yours is good becauseyou’re really working on the authenticity of what a Foxtrot is, youknow, and really understanding them right. So I like that good.

Brent Mills 41:37
Yeah, and that’s and that’s really the primary reason to eithercollect and manipulate the music as you like, because you have acertain song It needs to be a certain tempo. You know, because therest of the world, the dance world, even salsa, the the industry ofsalsa of Tango, the industry of hip hop lyrical jazz ballet. Thoseare all songs that are pretty much as they hear them, they dance tothem. So they’re not stuck on time. They’re not stuck on tempolike, Oh, this I need to speed this up for West, the west side,like West hip hop. Because there’s East Coast West Coast, right? Soif they go this is this is too fast for US Coast hip hop, theywould look at you like you’re a turkey. They don’t even they belike, we don’t even care about tempo, you crazy, you know, butlike, Oh, that’s too fast for our church. I’m not going to do thatme, you know, and you’re like, Oh my gosh, because that’s why theythe other dancers roll their eyes at us. But you know, once youlearn the reason why tempo has been established, then you fullyunderstand there are reasons why you can do jive really slow, oryou can’t do foxfire really fast because it turns into anotherdance. Where hip hop is hip hop, you know, fast or slow, right?There’s not like hip hop, salsa or hip hop bachata. No. So is thatdistinction that no one really, you know, made no for for theballroom world because it’s really not the dominant dance shaundrayou know, hip hop and ballet, like those are the dominant. Sothat’s where they get all the attention. Yeah. So,

Taras Denysenko 43:28
you know, it’s really interesting. You said earlier about the rightlane in the left lane, right lane, or musicians left lanes ordancers. So you’re kind of unique individual in that you dolegitimately ride both those lanes as composing music, and being adancer and yeah, why what’s also super cool is when we go to someof our competitions, you also are able to do live music with Brentmills and the nine dance band. It’s a great band and a mad respectto provide a live music because there’s there’s a whole otherelement to dancing to pre recorded music versus live music.Yeah.

So let’s talk a little bit about Brett milson. And your and yourlive band man that’s,

Brent Mills 44:17
well first of all, I, I would play. I love playing live. I onlylike playing live as a drummer. I hate playing live as a pianistbecause there’s 10 fingers that are going to make a mistake at anytime at any moment. And it’s nerve racking. And unless I’verehearsed for hours and hours, I am a wreck. I so every time youguys have seen me play like the walls for pros. Oh yeah, I’m amess. I’m a mess in my head. I want to cry a little bit. It’s It’sIt’s terrifying. Now drums. You know, who knows I’m makingmistakes. I’m just hitting cymbals and tom toms black As long as Ikeep my rhythm, I am at a party for me up there. So that first andforemost is just thrilling, thrilling, thrilling. The whole ninedance pen that came with that was just Paul Hermanson, one of theMCs that is always emceeing there. You know, our first time we hadthe band, the corporate took a big chance and they’re like, you cando this. And I’m like, Yes, we can do it. And I, I know how to doit. And so they did. And so the first time Paul was like, well,what’s your band’s name? I’m like, well, we’re not a band. I mean,we’re not a we’re not a band that goes out and does shows on theweekends. These are all musicians that play for Michael Buble andRod Stewart and all the saline they they’re the they’re the membersthat are hired when these guys come in to do their like one monthshow run. Because those big names they don’t really travel withtheir whole band, they travel with maybe three and then all therest are locals. They’re locals that can instantly read music, anystyle, any difficulty. And that’s how good they are. Well, I had abass player friend who was one of probably the best play bassplayers in Vegas, and he knows everybody. So when we had to dothis, he’s like, no, I got this pianos used to play for elton john,I got this this horn line they play from Michael Buble. Like, so Ihave these cats that can play anything instantly. So I could belike, bass, mucho and D. And they’re like, boop. And done. Andwe’re going yeah, like they know. And even if they don’t know it,they’ll just say, yeah, it’s it’s indeed 135 back to six, thebridges four or five, you know, I mean, they’re just like, Okay,got it. Literally with halfway through, you know, a minute, theyalready have the sequence. So it makes it easier because we don’thave to rehearse and you know, meet three times a week like mostbands have to do to practice their gigs because we’re not reallyplaying a concert to to show So we’re just the support for thedancers. So they just need to play a minute and a half. And thenwe’re done. So it’s like any mirror, have any song everybody knows,you just follow and everybody follows. And then they just followme. And when I’m done, I fade them out or we find the end spot. Andthat’s, that’s how that all came about. And and then, you know, wewere able to mix. This is what other the bad they were able to mixinside the system. So like we made, we miked everything so all ofour sound was coming to the floor where you’ve been hearing musicall week, through those speakers, where if you see other bands comein, they bring in their own sound system and all their sound iscoming from one stage. So it’s like a concert like it’s all comingfrom one end. So all the dancers on the other end are gettingknocked the energy it’s too far away and it sounds like we’reliterally in the sound systems. We sound like the music that’sbeing played. So I had a lot of people just say like, I didn’t evenknow it was a band yet until I looked, I thought it was justregular canned music, and then they look up and it’s the band,because we were able to, we integrate it into the sound system,which made a huge difference, because now the dancers Can youclearly hear the rhythm, not get confused from a delay, you know,because we’re on the other side of stage, you know, blah, blah,blah. So,

Taras Denysenko 48:27
and that’s true. I have a I have a student that she competes. Wecompete at a pro level and I remember dancing, one of ourscholarship events and you guys were playing live and I was like,dang, that was a live band. We were just dancing to those musiciansyou bring on our Oh, second to none for sure.

Brent Mills 48:44
Awesome. I you know, Elisa, my female singer who comes every time.Yeah, she’s she toured with Prince for like, 10 years. That’sawesome. So I mean, she’s in a video with Prince on his knees,while she’s doing like some solo and he’s worshiping Like, that’show good she is. I mean, just amazing, amazing musicians all.

Todd Combs 49:05
Yeah. And they’re all they’re all cool, cool dudes cuz I rememberwhen we all were playing the guitar guy. I was up with him andwe’re, he’s like, you can use my guitar if you want to. And I waslike, No, no dude, your guitar looks way, way too expensive for myhands. Yeah, but he was, he was like, um, I think he just assumed Ilived in in Vegas. And he was like, hey, come, you know, just letme know. Let’s talk and we can I’ll work with you a little bit.He’s like, for fun. I won’t even charge you know, I was like, dude,you’re the coolest. I don’t live in Vegas. But I wish I did. So hewas Yeah, he was just so nice. He offered to help me

Brent Mills 49:44
and they love those gigs. They love the dance gigs because, I mean,it’s just a whole different energy where they’re not having to sitthere for four minutes, three minutes. Play all this music and knowall the changes. You know, it’s like, show up. Here’s the songlist. I mean, we’ll we’ll go through things when we do our soundchecks, we’ll make sure like, if we’re doing a new song, we’ll makesure we know what’s going on. But for the most part, it’s reallyjust a meeting. And we’re like, Okay, this set, we’re going to dothese songs in these keys, who’s singing? Okay, just watch me. Andthen then there we go. And then they get it. You know, they lovewatching the dances. The dances are so grateful and verycomplimentary to them. And so, to them, it’s just like a bonus gig.I mean, it’s very lucky that I don’t have to drag any. I mean, Ihave people just waiting at the door like, Hey, man, if you everneed me, I’ll jump in, you know, Steve, like Gilda Marlo sue forChicago. He’s like, anytime you need me. I’m ready. You know,because they just love playing just like dancers will danceanywhere. musicians that play full time they’ll play anytime,anywhere.

Todd Combs 50:48
Because they love it. And it’s so and you can tell they like Imean, you know, when you’re going out and you’re eating somewhereand a band is playing and everyone’s just eating their own dinnerand and not really paying attention. To the band and you’rethinking, This band is is really good and no one’s reallyappreciating. You can tell like when we have our students out ofevents. The band is like, man, we love you guys dancing while we’replaying. Because I think a lot of time, I mean, obviously indifferent venues, you know, sometimes they, you know, when theyplay a gig at a dance event, I mean, the dancers are 110% and youknow, involved. Oh, yeah. And I think they, it’s just a, it’s likea, we feed off each other, we feed off them, they feed off us, but,you know, yeah, I don’t think they always get that kind ofparticipation now.

Brent Mills 51:35
And the other thing is, is that the way the reason that our bandhas been so successful is that, you know, me knowing that, youknow, I’m not going to play a salsa for seven minutes, becauseeveryone’s gonna die. or crazy, wicked fast, cha cha. So right anymusician that is not in the debt at all, which are all of them. Youknow, you We say well, we want chachos and rumbas and swings. Well,you just said to them, swing, so he’s gonna be like Fly Me To TheMoon, which is a Foxtrot right? That’s not a swing. to them. That’sa swing. Or if you say, if you say, cha cha, they’re gonna be likeDing, ding, ding, Tintin, Tintin, Tintin fast. I mean, they’ll evenGoogle cha cha, and they’ll get this crazy tempo. So they don’tknow they don’t know how fast so you even when organizations hirelocal bands, they get a lot of complaints, a lot of long tracks tooslow for a rumba. too fast for East Coast Swing. So it’s like, Iknow exactly the kind of music everybody likes grooving to and thetempos. So it just it makes it that much easier. And I’ve even beenhired to come in and take a band’s repertoire, I’ll look it up,I’ll look at all their music. I’m like, Okay, these are gonna beyour charts, these are gonna be your Foxtrot. You’re gonna playthese at 100 124 beats per minute, you’re gonna play these at 90per minute, you know. And then I can customize their playlists toplay them at least the right tempos and length. And that’s beenquite successful as well, because they can still have local, but atleast some some kind of tutelage to help them. Know that like, no,don’t play your churches that fast, then they’ll always like whatI’m like, yeah, it’s at 120. Yeah, that’s really slow. Yeah, toyou. So, you know, they’ll learn really fast, but they always wantto do it because every time they’ve done it, everybody applies.They all cheer for them. They they can feel like the energyConnect. And that’s the point.

Todd Combs 53:55
So, so cool, big difference. Yeah. Definitely. Now I think we wantto get to a section that we’re kind of every time we do aninterview, we’re gonna tell we’re going to ask them. What’s yourtake on? Okay? Like, what’s your take on something so, so now we’regoing to go to our what’s your take on section? Four. Brent’s,what’s your take on we’re going to talk about which songs need tobe banned from showcases competitions, studio events, any eventthat you know other people are hearing music now. Just because wewant to make your life harder we’re gonna go first even though thisinterviews about you, we obviously don’t care Yeah, we’re gonnatell you are

Brent Mills 54:44
you you? You You be all about you right now. I get it.

Todd Combs 54:48
Cheers. Yeah, cuz ours. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it’s right. It’s ourshow. Yeah, what is the songs are played out. So for me, I have acouple now I have more than this, but I’m going to give you like myworst and I couldn’t decide between the two Mine is Phantom of theOpera. And cellblock Tango like every time I go to an event or ifI’m judging a showcase or or doing something for me I don’t think Imake a face but when I hear that Oregon play for fan of the operaI’m just like, oh or I see him walk out with the half mask. I’mjust like,

Brent Mills 55:20
yeah, you want that you want the mask to catch on fire? I know.

Todd Combs 55:24
Yeah, I want them to really burn right there. And then and then thecellblock Tango, they’ll just you know, it’s so tired of thecellblock Tango, even though, even when there’s a bunch of womendressed all sexy, doing their thing. I still still doesn’t work.It’s not enough. It’s still not enough. Yeah. I hear you. Yourpain. You feel my pain. You now you see this stuff. Every week. Youhave to push the play button and I’m sure your finger doesn’t wantto push the play button. It’s like now. I’m not going to do it. Youshould just you should just boycott it. Yeah.

Brent Mills 56:00
I wish I wish I could turn a crab song into like a Rotten Tomatoand then throw it at the dancers. Now, mostly, it’s mostly when itcomes to showcases, it’s really the you know, I get that studentsthat are learning they have their favorite music and that they loveto move to right. And that is fine. And I understand all of that.But it’s the guidance that should be there for that student. Sowhen they say, I love Phantom, you’re like, well, Phantom has beendone nine bazillion times. So the only way we’re doing Phantom isif it’s a funny sketch, something that people would not expect whenthey hear the expectations of what phantoms they’re gonna get. So,but that requires way more focus, creativity, and you know,sometimes teachers don’t have all that time or don’t have that. Allthat creative inside them. So I understand that but like to me, Idon’t want to ever hear anyone do anything to Greece.

I don’t want to hear

any Moulin Rouge. I don’t want to hear anything from Chicago. Idon’t want to hear anything frozen. or really any Disney Princessunless it’s a little child then we shouldn’t be doing right

Todd Combs 57:27
right that’s that’s Isn’t that funny how that’s totally okay. Yeah,when a kid comes out you’re like that’s cool. So Phantom of the

Brent Mills 57:34
Opera cool. Yeah. Phantom No, that’s been done millions oftimes.

If any pasta doble a Please don’t do pasta Dhobley unless youtake a fun song and make possibly, you know, right there’s a lot ofdisco songs you could do possibly to and that would be fun towatch. But like if you come out with a spine you Connie I mean wealways hear we’ve heard a spine you Connie now for 50 years. Soit’s not Like it’s different. It’s not like it’s so this is thespiny Connie by 50 cent. No, it’s not gonna happen. So that’sthat’s Michael Jackson please no more Michael Jackson. No moreMichael Jackson. We don’t need the glove. We don’t need themoonwalk. And we don’t need him you know reminding us that hetouched kids not good I was never I was leaving Neverland. Theworst thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s I mean, it’s Yeah, Ihad to actually I stopped playing his music laughter I watch thatseries. I was like, I haven’t seen it Yeah, well if you see if youdon’t watch it if you don’t want to have weird feelings when youhear Michael Jackson music because our ever since then I’m justlike, This music is amazing. Of course it is. Right? What he did isnot you can’t you can’t justify I can’t in my brain. So I’ll seekid groups and Michael Jackson, I’m like, What is wrong withpeople? Mm hmm.

Taras Denysenko 59:04
I’ve seen studios yesterday that they’re gonna boycott. Like whenthat when that came out, people are like, we’re not playing itanymore. We’re not gonna do it.

Brent Mills 59:10
It’s too much. It was too much for me. I remember watching that waswhen I was working at BYU and Nelson. I saw a whole routine toMichael Jackson Medley and all they are all kids. Like this is odd.This is not feel good. But yeah, that is that’s my take it that’syour take on that. The thing that I realized after all these yearswatching 9 million showcases is that and this is the map moreapplies to professional show dances as well. You know, you may havea favorite song that you love and that you have connected to, butthat doesn’t mean everybody else, and the majority are not going toconnect to it. Perfect example. I love the song by a band calledsticks. You all know sticks. So Oh yeah. sail away. It’s an amazingsong. It tells a story. It’s a whole thing, right? It’s got a wholebreak in there with all the synthesizers. I mean, come on. Can youimagine the dance? You can? No, you can’t, because there’s no danceto do to Come sail away. But there’s a lot of, but I love the song.But I know that I can’t translate that onto the dance floor.Because I mean, it’s such an epic song, you’d have to have epicmovement or something that would everyone relate to but you know,who is from the 80s in the audience, half of the people the otherwrestler like what is this song? So he’s talking about sailing in aNavy outfit? I mean, you don’t even know. So if people don’t peopledon’t realize like if they’re selecting music, if they feel it’sreally close to them, they think that everything should be able tobe a dance, but it’s not always It doesn’t work that way. Now, ifyou’re doing it for sentimental reason I respect that and they justwant and they love and that’s fine. But it’s when they think thatthis is something that is moving to others or inspirational orentertaining. Just because it’s they think that’s the song thateverybody should connect to is a huge risk, huge risk. So I’ve seenthat more than I’d like to say, tick because it just gets awkward,awkward, awkward. I mean, you know, you’re like, Oh, I know me,and, you know, Russians will come over and then all sudden, they’redancing to Bananarama. like that song went out a long time ago, youknow? So, it’s just got there just got it. It’s true. But I mean,it’s just really doing research and you know, finding that piecethat you know, speaks to you but also speaks to an audience becauseif you don’t have the audience, then you’re sorry. cases, it’scalled a showcase for a reason you’re given a show. So I don’t wantpeople walking out on your show, or not connecting to yourperformance. I mean, that’s the key, right? They got to connect toyour understanding. So I mean, if it is deep then make it funny. Imean, people love comedy. So people, right if you’re gonna do fanof the opera, then put a mask on and then a speedo. How about that?Now? opera. Anyway.

Taras Denysenko 1:02:33
All right, awesome.

Todd Combs 1:02:34
Yeah, that’s I’m just thinking of the beginning. Unlike a Luchadoroutfit, maybe that unlike a cape, and a wrestling outfit, since,like, amazing idea.

Brent Mills 1:02:44
And the best performances are when people have taken risks, wherethey’re like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna just go I’m gonna wear theseshoes, or I’m gonna wear this hat and I don’t care. But if youdon’t care, then you’re committed. It means you’re committed. Likeit doesn’t bother you, which means you’re going to support it. SoYou know, and even if it’s not the right song for everybody, if youcommit to that song, then people are going to connect becauseyou’ve connected

Taras Denysenko 1:03:08
such as Baby shark.

Brent Mills 1:03:10
Baby shark. Perfect. Now, hi. Oh, yes, Travis and Jamie talks thecurrent US, right? They did some of that where I’m like, Oh my god,you know, you almost instantly were like, I cannot really call thisand then the way they did it. They just said, Yep. Where is Babyshark? There’s nothing else to do except being a shark outfit. Anddo the moves. The way they presented best showed as probably in 10years.

Taras Denysenko 1:03:42
Yeah. I agree. That was funny. totally unexpected. Yeah. Becausemy, my least favorite one that needs to go away is from Milan,Roxanne. That was okay. Yeah.

Brent Mills 1:03:55
Yeah. painful.

Taras Denysenko 1:03:56
So do you lowered Do you think there’s such a thing as a song beingtoo big to do a dance to.

Brent Mills 1:04:08
Uh, I think before editing, yes, because you can’t commit to thatlong or to that many style changes or whatever, but like now thatyou can kind of customize your music, I think every song ispossible, where you were there you either put effects in, or youput in a different style of the song. I mean, the music is soreadily available, like I can put in flying to the moon and I’mgonna probably get 20 different arrangements just on iTunes. Andnow I can like, you know, mix and match. You’re not just committedto one piece. So I don’t know that’s a that’s a good questionbecause you know, sometimes I’ll hear music like if I showed asclose And all sudden I hear that Oregon like he said, I can’t helpbut like, Oh my gosh, please No. And, you know, and I’ve done that,I’ll admit, and then the show ends up being amazing and I eat crow.You know, not that I said it to anybody else but in my own way, andI’m like, Well, that was a fast jump of judgment, idiot, youknow?

Todd Combs 1:05:23

Brent Mills 1:05:24
Mostly I’m correct, like, Oh, yeah, they just chose a song. That’sthe fast the fast. You know, that’s the quick fix. Everybody knowsit. Let’s just do it. So there’s enough resources and you know,things to find nowadays that none of that should ever happenanymore. But like I’ve seen, We’re the champions. No one’s done aBohemian Rhapsody yet. Because, I mean, you can’t cut that song.Everyone knows the song. So I mean, there’s sounds that you know,you’re not going to get away with because you can’t. It’s Too longand you can’t cut it out because people will be mad. Yeah, that’show I take.

Todd Combs 1:06:10
That was a lot information.

Brent Mills 1:06:12
Yeah, sorry. You’d be surprised how fast people turn when theydon’t get the music that they want at that time. You know, it’sjust I just get really just annoyed people turn around and look atme, give me the stink eye. And I’m like, Hey, man, I’m gonna playanother charge on about five minutes, then I’m gonna play anotherone and play about 100 more today. So I think we’ll get it righteventually. Yeah.


I’ve always said like, if there’s one person that doesn’t like asong that’s going on, there’s probably 10 that really like it. Soit’s just the 10 that really like it don’t cheer and, and come upand say things it’s when they don’t like is when they come up andtell you It’s hilarious. Yeah. It’d be like, yeah, fewer standingnext to dressmaker and you’re like, a professional goes out andthen you’re like, You know what? I don’t really like that dress youmade. I like it. It’s just too green. You know what I mean? I don’tlike green. Yeah, never do that. You would never do that. But yeah,right. I’m telling you, these guys will come up to me like toattack us sucks. I mean, they’ll say right.

Look at him and give him the bird or


all right, well, it’s only a cha cha. Another one’s coming.You’ll be okay. Yeah, relax. Take a quick lube. Do something smoke.I don’t know you need to relax because it’s not that big of adeal.

Taras Denysenko 1:07:44
But I gotta tell you one quick funny story. We’re my wife and Iwere competing pro one time Cadillac classic up in Montreal.

Brent Mills 1:07:52
Okay, good. I wasn’t there.

Taras Denysenko 1:07:54
No you were not there. And it was a Mambo comes on. And we’re stillrelatively new in competing. And one of the more popular couples atthe time they were placing really high Gleb

Brent Mills 1:08:11
Gleb Makrov?

Taras Denysenko 1:08:13
Yeah. Gleb Makarov looked at the DJ. And he looked at him and juststopped dancing and he looked at me goes, this Mambo

is an expletive just started coming out of his mouth.

Brent Mills 1:08:27
He don’t care. He okay.

Taras Denysenko 1:08:30
And he was not gonna dance and you know, Wendy and I were like,okay, we’re, we’re gonna start dancing. I don’t care how fast thisis. We’re gonna you know, we’re we’re still fighting. We’re sofunny. So the guy stopped playing it, and he put a different mumbleon and that was the only time I’ve ever seen something like thathappened. I’m

Brent Mills 1:08:50
glad though. He don’t care. He He’s, he’ll I’ll see him at callsand he’ll be like, so glad you’re here. I can’t believe this stuff.They play and then he’ll just go off and I’m like, Oh man, I shouldplay over. Don’t play the wrong song for you. You’re gonna massacreme? Oh my god. Yeah. But you know, he’s just he’s very, you know,like, you know, just like we expect someone to teach their studentthe right steps, the foot placement, you know, he’s expecting like,if you’re gonna be that music guy, you better be a music guy that,you know, cares, that knows what he’s selecting. You know, so. Oh,that is hilarious. I don’t know anyone has everstopped me. That hasnot happened with I would remember that I would have beentraumatized. And I’d probably be in therapy Still, if thathappened.

Todd Combs 1:09:41
Well, Brent, can you tell us about where so we’ve established onyour app like you know, it’s a great place for students to start tohear proper tempo music. A great place that they can get their earused to understand What a fox. What is an East Coast Swing versus aLindy versus a West Coast? You know, with a tempo a good tempo of aChacha is because that sometimes can be a little crazy. So, wherecan they go? To get your information? And your your sir? Okay,well, thank

Brent Mills 1:10:18
you. So yeah, you can their app is for Android, or iPhone. You canuse it on surface or iPads. And the app you can find in the appstores or the Google Play, just type in music Mills, which is oneword, and it’ll show up or you can find our websiteasMusicMills.netAndthen we have all the information there for streaming. And thespecial that’s going on right now our little COVID special becauseit’s typically 25 to $35 a month for all 32 channels, but wedropped it down to $9.99. Pretty much the cause To, to get peopleto music because, you know, the dancers can send the lessons andthey can video lessons and video chat. But if those students andamateurs don’t have the music that they’re used to, which is theproper music and the timing, then practice becomes, you know, moot.So we decided to let this go at cost and just let people at leasthave the music while they’re, you know, in quarantine, stay in ahome and you know, do that practice that way. And that will keepgoing until we’re done. And when it’s done, it’ll just cancelitself out will actually cancel everybody’s account that’s on that$9.99 account. And then, because, you know, we didn’t want peopleto think that we’re capture everyone and then keep them. So it’llcancel out and then a few if they liked it, then they can sign backup and do the regular, you know, price and whatnot, but definitelyhelping out that way. And All the instructions are on YouTube. Sowe have a music Mills a YouTube channel where you can actually seethe tutorials on exactly how to download the app. Sign up for thestreaming and getting going on your account. So it’s all on thewebsite or our YouTube channel music Mills. There’s the plug.

Todd Combs 1:12:17
Sweet and yourMusicMills.netithas your YouTube channel link on there doesn’t Yes, yes somewhereOkay, I thought I didn’t see it right now because I’m browsing yoursite.

Brent Mills 1:12:29
Yeah. And then you can we got videos up there. We’ve got some of myoriginal compositions. Some fun videos I’m gonna release a couplealbums in a couple weeks. I just released Dustin the wind cover Ijust did as a Viennese waltz. You can find that in iTunes or rightnow or Spotify. Mostly you can find my music through my my name,Brent Thomas Mills, type my full name into any of those searchengines amazon music or iTunes or Spotify those kinds of then mytracks will up there, and you can check those out as well.

Todd Combs 1:13:03
Yes, also. Well, well, thanks, Brent, we appreciate yourinformation on ballroom dancing, music and storage.

Brent Mills 1:13:13
Of course, if anybody has questions, have them, send them in andthen we’ll do a follow up and I’m sure people have, they alwayshave questions about, you know, when they listen when they’re not,you know, people hear music, but they don’t always listen. So,right. That’s, that’s the key. Like, I think it’s hilarious. Um,especially the professionals do this all the time. Like, there willalways be one couple that’ll think that they’re gonna start movingbefore the music goes, you know, which is hilarious, because, oh,yeah, why are you moving? There’s no sound. I mean, so it’s odd.And I’m like, Well, how do you know this is gonna start this way?What if it starts really loud? Or what if it starts really quiet?Like you’re not even blending yet? You’re just going off. So I’lljust like take a little longer to press the play button and make itawkward. Second, the gnocchi I’ll just test them like yours stillgonna move, come on, just stop. But I don’t really do that veryoften. But uh, you know, it’s, it’s just like you have to hear it,you have to listen to it. And you establishing like, ah, soft,okay, I’m going to be soft. Oh, Jazzy, I’m going to be jazzy. Youknow, you don’t just get a standard beat. And everyone is everybeat is the same on every waltz. It’s not the tempo is and thecontent is right. But the way it’s arranged can give us suchdifferent levels of performance, technique and, and energy andthat’s, that’s what sets you apart. So that’s my walking awayadvice if you hear it, great, but listen, take a second There’s norush to start so

that’s what I can appreciate those that listen.

Todd Combs 1:14:58
Yeah, great advice. And yeah, that’s It’s great that you offerthem, you know, people have questions because you know what willhappen is people listen to this now, and then as we’re going, youknow, people I’m sure you listen to podcasts, sometimes you go backto the first one and it’s it’s old, you know, when someone listensto this, we could be out of the COVID lockdown. And, and askquestions, Brent’s awesome, dude. So I’m sure you could askquestions months from now and he would still be able to help

Brent Mills 1:15:24
ya. So if you want to follow up, call me back. Be glad. Obviously,I can chat a lot. And so I apologize for that. That was awesome.You guys are awesome. I appreciate you spread the musical word.That’s what I appreciate.

Taras Denysenko 1:15:38
Yeah, man, as Yeah, musical hacks ourselves. We like to talk tosome legit musicians and dancers.

Brent Mills 1:15:44
Oh, you guys are legit. killing it. Thank you guys.

Taras Denysenko 1:15:49
Awesome. Thanks for joining us.

Brent Mills 1:15:50
Anytime, man. I can’t wait to see you guys again. I can’t wait tillwe get out of here. Till then I know it’s gonna kind of privateties ourselves and make the best of this time, so why not? So I’lljust keep going. We’ll all keep going and then we’ll reset. It’sgood.

Taras Denysenko 1:16:09
That’s good. Yep. Yeah,

Todd Combs 1:16:11
exactly. Once again, guys, I appreciate it. And we look forward toseeing you, man.

Brent Mills 1:16:14
Well, I look forward to being on again. So please don’t hesitate toask or call and I’d be happy to answer any questions. Thanks,guys.

Todd Combs 1:16:21
All right, man. Thank you. Take care. Take care. All right,everybody. We hope you enjoyed this episode with Brent Mills. BrentThomas Mills of music Mills live and remember his website is musicMills. That’s m i ll. s mills, music Mills dotnet. And he’samazing, cool guy. We’ve known him for years and he runs all thebig competitions, the music. He does, he does everything. And hewas really gracious enough when when we got off the phone right atthe end of our interview, he said he has some songs that he has notreleased yet to any of his platforms so it’s so no one knows abouthim yet. He said, Hey, I’ll give you all some links to, to my newstuff. No one knows yet so, so the check out our show notes, andwe’ll put links in there to some of his music that he has notreleased to the public yet. So check those out. That’s reallycool.

Taras Denysenko 1:17:20
And also coming up on our next episode. How appropriate is duringthis COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, everyone has to stay at home.The title of our next episode is going to be Do I need a partner toballroom dance? And don’t worry if you can’t have a partner, ofcourse you’re going to want to ask your partner for this is goingto create opportunity for people who don’t have a partner right nowor if their partner maybe is overseas, or is not local to whereyou’re at. You don’t need a partner to learn how to ballroomdance.

Todd Combs 1:17:49
How many times have you heard someone call in and say, Do I need apartner to ballroom dance? That’s right. Yeah, a lot. Youdefinitely do not need a partner to ballroom dance. You don’t needone. So that is our next episode all about ballroom dancing. Whatdo you got to say to us?

Taras Denysenko 1:18:07
Right, we’ll see you on the dance floor.

Todd Combs 1:18:23
If you like our theme

music and it’s called do it by m BB. And you can find this at

Transcribed by

And we’d like to thankMBBforsupplying this song called “Do It“. You can findthis

All About Ballroom Dancing: Ballroom Dance Music With Brent Thomas Mills (2024)
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