Born and raised on the Canadian prairies, the imagery of the big sky and wide open landscapes have forever permeated his music. It was here that he experienced a unique musical freedom from the very beginning. His father was a teacher, rock and roll guitarist and basically founder of the school of rock in Brandon, Manitoba.
The music room at the school was a musical playground where he would explore everything from instruments in the fully stocked percussion section, to guitars and amplifiers, to a PA system equipped with a full scale mixing console and effects rack. He’d spend hours messing around with everything that was available.
His wish was to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play the guitar, but at 5 years old his hands were still too small. So instead, his first instrument was the drums. Of course, a few year later, he started playing guitar. At the same time, he started singing songs with his guitar and in various local choirs.
While he would continue to dabble with other instruments such as the piano and various brass instruments, his main instruments would remain the drums and guitar until the age of 17 when he discovered the upright bass. The massive instrument was the perfect vehicle for combining the strengths of his diverse skill set. It was the perfect combination of percussiveness and strings, metal and wood, physicality and finesse that he knew he’d found his match.
Perkin moved from Manitoba to Montreal in 1999. While earning a bachelors degree in music from McGill University he performed on nearly a nightly basis in Montreal’s vibrant and diverse music scene. He appeared live and in the studio with artists such as Lhasa de Sela, The Barr Brothers, Jason Sharp, Esmerine, Jorane, Thom Gossage, Chet Doxas, Nicole Lizee, Steve Raegele, Erik Hove, Joe Grass, Josh Zubot and shared the stage with most of the top jazz and “Musique Actuelle” musicians in the city from Andre White to Jean Derome and almost everyone in between. Before leaving Montreal, he recorded 2 albums of his own music in 2008. ::Aposiopesis:: was his debut solo bass and voice album and ::The Guessing Game:: featured music written for Common Thread: a 6 piece ensemble featuring Erik Hove, Chet Doxas, Sarah Pagé, Joe Grass and Thom Gossage.
After a brief stint in New York City (courtesy of the Canada Council for the arts) studying with bass master Mark Helias, he settled in Berlin, Germany In 2009. He earned a masters degree at the Jazz Institut Berlin under the tutelage of Greg Cohen. He formed the Miles Perkin Quartet in 2011 with British trumpeter Tom Arthurs, French pianist Benoit Delbecq, and Canadian drummer Thom Gossage. The quartet developed a fine and dream-like aesthetic. In 2012 the quartet released and toured their acclaimed album ::Objects In Mirror…:: Now fully based in Europe with Jim Black on drums, the Quartet lives on! The latest Quartet release ::The Point In Question:: was released in May 2019 on Clean Feed Records.
In recent years, while still playing the bass as much as ever, Miles attitude towards music has returned to his free-wheeling beginnings as a multi-instrumentalist. He has been writing songs on various instruments and the 2016 release ::All Mountains:: by the Berlin based, all Canadian power trio Coal Oven is the first evidence of this. This album features Miles’ songwriting and vocals amidst Dave Bennett’s high-voltage noisy guitar soundscapes and Derek Shirley’s powerful drumming.
In addition to his own projects, Miles is an active collaborator in Berlin’s “Echtzeitmusik” scene and the European Jazz Scene. Projects include: Benoit Delbecq 3, Quairos, Sequoia, Glue, The Needle, Azalea amongst others. He is also a music maker for Theatre productions in Germany, composing and performing his works live on stage at major theatres such as: Deutsches Theater Berlin, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Theater Bremen, Kammerspiele Munich, Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, Schaubühne Berlin, and Staatstheater Dresden.
Miles Perkin uses and endorses PIRASTRO double bass strings.