This is Getting Hairy: Mirah Interview

Posted June 13, 2007 in
This is Getting Hairy
an interview with Mirah at the Sasquatch Festival
By Jeff Guay

A few hours before I was set to interview Mirah about her new album, Share This Place: Stories and Observations, I realized that I had left my tape recorder back at the campsite. With nothing more than a complimentary bag of pretzels and a bottle of water, I battled dehydration, fatigue and a gang of Utah Jazz-heckling frat boys, making it to camp and back in time for the interview. Mirah had requested we meet backstage while her friend, Khaela Maricich of the Blow, was making some stinky northwestern hipsters dance. We talked for a few minutes about her new album, as well as The Sasquatch Festival and her disappointment at MIA’s show being cancelled due to visa problems.

SLUG: Your new album is a song cycle about the lives of insects. What drew you to that idea? M: I was definitely drawing on different vocal skills than I usually use. It was character acting. I was speaking in the first person as all these bugs, so I’m speaking about these experiences that they’re having. It was like a theater piece for my voice, more so than the songs where I’m just sort of ripping my diary open and spilling my blood out for everyone.

SLUG: What about the short films made to accompany the album?
M: There’s a stop-animation vignette that goes along with every song that Seattle animator Britta Johnson made that are beautiful. They are just so tender and are all made out of found objects and trash and refuse.

SLUG: Do you plan on presenting them together?
M: We just finished our debut at the Seattle International Children’s Festival. It was a commission through them. We also got a grant for part of Britta’s materials. We have this 12-foot circular screen because the projection is actually circular--it’s a circular film. We’re also gonna be performing it at the TBA Festival in Portland on Sept 9.

SLUG: What do you think about venues like the Gorge, or big festivals like Sasquatch?
M: I just got here two seconds ago. It's kind of strange to drive for four hours from a place where a million people live in fairly close proximity to a place where usually there are no people (so you can) be in basically a small city of people in this pretty beautiful place. I’ve never been to a festival like this. When I was a kid, we went to folk festivals and stuff, but the landscape isn’t quite as dramatic in Pennsylvania.

SLUG: Who’s gonna be playing this weekend that you’re into?
M: I can’t believe that MIA isn’t playing because of the visa thing. I feel really angry about that. She was one of the performers I was most excited to see, and I just think it’s got to stop. She’s an artist--she should go wherever she wants in the world to work with whomever she wants, to record an album or play a show and share her sound and message. I’m pretty excited to see Bjork. I’ve seen her several times before, but I just love her.