"Making the album was a brutal back-breaking process that nearly killed me" We chat with Holly Miranda
Indie guitaring her way onto the scene back in 2015, Holly Miranda made a reputation for herself with her self-titled album that year. Following up a critically well-received album can be tough, but Holly's made it look easy with Mutual Horse. We caught up with her to discuss the album.
Hey Holly, how are you doing?
I’m alright, how are you?
Great, thanks! Where are you right now?
Right now I am in Los Angeles.
So what have you been up to today?
It’s 7:33am here, so far today I let the dog out and made some coffee.
Right, onto the album. What can you tell us about Mutual Horse in two sentences?
There was a sign on the studio door that said “Wizards only” and that was really our vibe. We had a lot of fun making this album, but it was also a brutal back-breaking process that nearly killed me.
How did you go about writing and choosing songs for the album?
I wrote as much as I could and went into the studio with 33 songs, we then tracked basics on 23 and then had to choose 18 to focus on. From there we shaved off a few more as we got into the “finer” stages, i.e. horns, vocals, etc. What we wound up with was the strongest of the bunch. A very Darwin approach. I would like to someday do what Joni Mitchell has done and make my own “Misses” album of just the songs that don’t make it on the records. I would have a lot.
It feels like you’ve grown sonically in your 2015 album, what can you tell us about how you got the sound of the album?
It was a lot of collaborating and experimenting. Jared Samuel, aka Invisible Familiars, was indispensable to the sonicallity of this record. He is a wizard.
Tell us about ‘Golden Spiral’, my favourite song on the album.
'Golden Spiral' is a song I started with my best friend and soul sister, Ambrosia Parsley, it’s about her childhood growing up in the deep valley in the 70’s.
Actually, I love ‘Mr Fong’s’ too. Who (or what) is Mr Fong? (Or can you tell us about that track?)
Mr Fongs is a bar in Chinatown that I was spending a lot of time at, along with my bass player, Josh Werner, who I also wrote this song with. For the chorus we sent it to the incomparable Shara Nova, My Brightest Diamond, and she sent us back that gorgeous juxtaposed hook that was exactly what it was missing. We also enlisted the guitar work of Sam Stewart to really take that track into the weird realm it lives in, he is also a wizard.
What was behind you putting out a covers EP in 2016?
A record label.
Does how people listen to music these days matter? For example, Spotify not being near CD quality, or people using Apple earbuds which are just horrible. Or are you happy for people to just hear you?
I am happy to be heard, but if you want to hear it right, buy the record and light a j and lay on the floor in front of the speaker and get up to the flip the record and then lay back down.
You’ve spent time in Detroit, Nashville, and New York, three cities rich in musical heritage; what influences have you taken from them?
I was raised mostly on Motown.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Holly's new record Mutual Horse is out now and available to stream everywhere. For more information on Holly and her tour schedule visit her website. You can also follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, and others.