Genre: moody synth pop
Hometown: Portland, OR
Recommended If You Like: Sylvan Esso, Hundred Waters
"Graham wails over Linder’s electronic pulses as myriad harmonies swirl on the EP—the juxtaposition is beautifully cohesive, nostalgia-soaked and demurely danceable.." —Vortex Music Magazine
"In the sparse synths and deeply emotive vocals, the duo found a universal language in their shared love of melody and emotion... [In] Small Million's euphoric debut EP, Before the Fall, you can still hear the Americana-steeped virtuosity in Graham's voice on 'Nightblooming' and 'Sleep Long,' but even at its twangiest, it seems right at home among the twinkling synths and rhythmic loops." –Willamette Week
"As Malachi Graham’s vocals echo over [Ryan Linder's] plush, well-produced instrumentals, the melodies feel cathartic, building the song towards the climactic, richly textured conclusion — one that feels like a long, emotional release." —The Wild Honey Pie
"Malachi’s delivery stands front and center around an array of vocal-samples and glimmering synths that shine forth like a cave of wonders filled with thousands upon thousands of sparkling rubies." –Impose Magazine
"A stellar debut EP." –Portland Mercury
Dec 17, '17 / Rontoms Sunday Sessions (Portland, OR)
Dec 3, '17 / Old Church (Portland, OR)
Nov 8, '17 / WWeek Give! Guide (Portland, OR)
Oct 26, '17 / Holocene (Portland, OR)
Sept 16, '17 / Brickroom (Ashland, OR)
Sept 13, '17 / Hemlock Tavern (San Francisco, CA)
Sept 12, '17 / Tiki Bar (Costa Mesa, CA)
Sept 6, '17 / Kilby Court (Salt Lake City, UT)
Sept 5, '17 / Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR)
July 22, '17 / PDX Pop Now! Festival (Portland, OR)
June 19, '17 / Bunk Bar with Lo Moon (Portland, OR)
June 2, '17 / Volume Fest (Spokane, WA)
Small Million is a Portland-based synth pop duo writing richly textured songs with impassioned lyrics and dark melodic hooks. LA-transplant Ryan Linder was new to Portland and seeking a musical collaborator, but struck out in the wilds of Craigslist. A chance meeting at a dance club with Portland native Malachi Graham, a songwriter and vocalist, led to the formation of Small Million. They continually drive each other forward— Ryan, a perfectionist producer and composer, regularly stays up until 4 AM tweaking the tone on his analog synths and meticulously layering samples. He’s long been drawn to both richly emotional indie pop (Arcade Fire, Champs, First Aid Kit, Fleet Foxes) and creatively textured electronic music. Meanwhile Malachi takes bold charge of the vocals and lyrics for the project; with her background as a solo songwriter and Americana musician, she concentrates on lyrics that make you want to pay attention, compelling melodic hooks, and powerful vocal performances as influenced by her love of Neko Case, Kate Bush, and traditional country and Appalachian folk music.
Appropriately for a duo that met on the dance floor, Ryan and Malachi continually improve their collaborative waltz. They wrote their earliest songs by emailing voice memos back and forth, successfully striking on their collective voice with their first single Six Feet. Six Feet quickly drew attention when it was selected for the PDX Pop Now! Compilation in 2014, propelling the fledgling duo into live performances and immersing them in Portland's spirited and rich independent music scene. The two continued to ping-pong ideas back and forth until they had composed rest of their debut EP, Before the Fall (June 2016), developing a trust and a shared language that continues to deepen. On their follow-up, Young Fools EP, their collaboration has evolved to be all the more fluid and seamless, with many of the tracks written at weekend retreats to the wild and grey Oregon coast. Like the dramatic Pacific seascapes framed in the window of the cozy beach house where these songs were written, both the sonic textures and lyrics on Young Fools EP play the epic off the intimate. The sounds continually expand and contract, contrasting the sparse and delicate title track "Young Fools” with the sweeping grandiosity of “LONE” and “This Is Where It Ends”. The EP features songs about the need for silence in the face of constant input (“Wild Devices”), mythical sirens who reject sailors’ advances and fall in love with each other (“Sirens"), and a retelling of Sleeping Beauty through the lens of gun violence (“Bullets in the Bower”). Young Fools EP was recorded in Linder’s home studio, mixed by Brock Grenfell (Gold Casio), and mastered at Elysian Masters in LA by Dave Cooley (M83, Animal Collective, Blood Orange).
Small Million were called "Portland artists to watch" by Vortex Music Magazine and "rising dream pop stars" by Willamette Week. In 2017 they performed at PDX Pop Now!, Volume Fest, and toured the west coast with pop crooner DoublePlusGood to support their joint single. Small Million's tracks have been featured on compilations by Tender Loving Empire, PDX Pop Now!, and Vortex Music Magazine. Willamette Week writes, "In the sparse synths and deeply emotive vocals, the duo found a universal language in their shared love of melody and emotion.” They will release Young Fools EP in 2018.