What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I grew up in a small town in New Zealand and had came from a pair of star-crossed musicians so a life in music was pretty much in my blood – I started writing songs as a 6 year old, then got a sense of musicianship singing in maaaaany average, good and terrible bands as a teenager, which turned into a proper job as a session vocalist. Did that till I got tired of singing other peoples songs so I started writing them instead and playing my own gigs in tiny bars and clubs to a much smaller audience. Fast forward through some hard-work and DIY-ing with local NZ and Australia releases – got a few awards, played some big shows and after touring every corner of NZ packed up my little family and came to the mighty USA to to release Astronomy and the next one (in the works). Good times, good times.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
The Bells is the first song from an album called Astronomy (yay). It’s just me and my guitar and in it I am leaning on the thin wall between life and death so it’s about the waiting and the yearning for a release yet a shard of hope keeps the whole thing alive. Sounds pretty dark when I put it in writing (omg). Anyway, this song and the rest of the album was produced by Chris Coady in a few NYC studios over the space of 2 years. We spent some time letting the songs breathe and called in a few people to play on a couple of tunes, was an intense recording spell. We done good though. I shaped up a lot of the songs back in New Zealand, brought them with me – rebuilt them and Chris layered in beautiful sonics and guided me where I was going with each track as was mostly just me on all instruments and Chris with his bass and a synth he built that looked like something out of the Tardis.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Sci-fi, ghosts, God, heaven and most things mystical, scary, or awe-inspiring. Musically – Elliott Smith, The Chills, Nirvana, Aretha Franklin, Jellyfish, Portishead, Staples Singers, Big Star, Burt Bacharach, Split Enz.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I can’t for the life of me describe my style and end up telling people I make elevator music or worse: mall music, (lolz and totes not true). In a grown-up world I would say I fall between gothic dreampop, indie industrial rock with a side of sad folk. Still not sure how to describe my sound.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Books: Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides, Beloved – Toni Morrison, Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Movies: Almost Famous, The Rescuers, Star Wars
Albums: Elliott Smith – Either/Or, Aretha Franklin – Gold, Nirvana – Nevermind
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Both super different scenarios – I’m a gear nerd and thrive on the process of recording from start to finish…but I can’t help but love the moment in a live set when it feels bigger than me: something else happens…its weird and I can’t pin it down. Prince said he lived for those moments of transcendence and am certain this is what we all hunt for. Worth the travail to get there for sure.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I was at the end of a 5 month singing gig in an underground famous LGBTQ club in Kuala Lumpur – surrounded by beautiful queens every night and towards the end I finally found out that all the regulars thought I was a man (in drag) like 99% of the performers there (fair call probably) so the last night I came out to sing my Celine Dion anthem of the night and I stopped the song, told the crowd I was actually a woman – not a dude, but I still love you all and thanks for the memories etc. Room went silent apart from a few awkward coughs, shifting of seats and out of the corner of my eye a tumbleweed rolled across the stage. Turns out nobody really cared and anyway don’t ruin the magic thanks. Never *out* a queen even if you’re not one. They are the best of us though and it should be pride month every month.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
My fave song on this new record is Coloured Lights – its a churning, building song – I love the flow and the push of it, and the words completely echoing my thoughts. Peter Hale (Here We Go Magic) played drums and I played everything else aside from a strange yet good arpeggio synth from Chris but it was when we got to the outro on the bass and drums it felt like the bubbling pressure cooker had burst and was slowly simmering and subsiding, like a melting. Was cool.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Sooooo, Astronomy is out September 27th so along with USA tour dates through to November and then heading to New Zealand for a summer tour in December which I am psyched about!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
How do you REALLY feel about being mistaken for an Australian Miriam?
Hey thanks for asking! Well I go through the 7 stages of grief – starting with shock and horror at the obvious mix-up and ending in acceptance of the quiet knowledge that only 4 people in the USA really can differentiate between the fine, beautiful New Zealand accent and the interesting Australian accent. Then I have a laugh, take a deep breath and explain myself and they just ask me to repeat what I just said at length coz they didn’t understand the first 2 times. Just jokes Australia, love you… we are in this together!
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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