Interview: Miya Folick chats demos and Buddhism

Miya Folick

For the past week or so, we've not managed to get Miya Folick out of our head. The Los Angeles based artist has released three songs that plague the mind, infect the soul and capture the spirit of her alt-rock rambling ways. With her Strange Darling EP tucked safely under her belt, it's fair to say Miya has made an impact - and then some.

Below, we chat to the rising star about her career to date, incorporating theatre and Buddhism into her work, and what the future holds for her project.

Hello Miya! You’ve been making your own music for roughly five years, but what inspired you to start?

Hello! Thank you so much for all the love you've been showing me these last few months. I really appreciate it. I've always wanted to write songs, I just didn't think I was able. Then I moved to a new city and felt very isolated. I spent all my time in my room and started to play guitar. The songs came because I was too impatient to learn other people's songs. I'm a terrible campfire guitarist. I don't know how to play anything.

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Have you always performed as a solo artist?

I've never been in a band. Though I do play my solo stuff with a band sometimes. And, sometimes I sing with a psychedelic, entirely improvised band called Cat Museum. I'd like to be in a band and have that collaborative experience, but I'm waiting for the right people.

You grew up in a Buddhist family in California. How has this effected the way you approach art, specifically your music?

I wish it would more! Sometimes I can be very un-buddhistic in my head: impatient, petty, anxious etc. I think Cat Museum is the most buddhistic music experience I participate in. Improvised music is an exercise in being present and letting go.

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You’re obviously a keen reader and loads of other artistic elements come into your work. Would you say music is your first love, and primary focus career wise?

I think I came to music fairly late. I didn't grow up thinking I'd be a working musician or even thinking that that was in the realm of possibilities for me. It is the first practice I've come across that I feel will never bore me. Previously, I would hop from one interest to another. Now it is my primary focus, yes. Though, I'd really love to be an experimental dancer! Last year I was obsessed with Yvonne Rainer and thought I might want to start practicing dance but I think music is more for me. I love books but I can't imagine writing a novel. Too much to wrap your head around. And I couldn't write nonfiction because I'm awful with facts. I went to school for acting and maybe I'll do more of that in the future.

You’ve also previously spoken about how classical music and theatre have influenced your songwriting. Has that been the case with your material in 2015?

When I'm writing I don't really listen to other music as reference. I'm sure it creeps into my songwriting. You can't unsee and you can't unhear. I think my subconscious memory is better than my conscious memory. I haven't thought about theatre as a great influencer of my writing, but I do think the songs on this EP are pretty conversational. I've read a lot of plays and my favorites always had a sort of casual poeticism. Also my old acting teacher Lawrence Arancio used to have us look down at our hand and say, "This is my hand," and I still repeat that to myself when I'm feeling dissociated or stuck.

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You’ve self-released a few EPs and I can find reference to a few other songs on the internet. Would you consider Blue Whale your debut?

I self released one EP (Blue Whale) and have released 3 singles off of Strange Darling which is actually 6 songs total. I don't consider Blue Whale my debut. I consider it more of an exercise or even a different artist. I'd call Strange Darling my debut. Am I allowed to do that?

It was released in 2013, while your follow up Strange Darling has just come out. What have you been up to in the meantime?

Writing. Making demos. Toying with the idea of being a teen pop star and making club bangers. Drinking loads of coffee. Falling in love. Questioning everything. Trying to figure out what's important (to me(to everyone(to me?)?)). Trying to stay informed. Meeting some seriously rad people. And lots of standing still and staring at stuff.

Of the three songs on Strange Darling, “I Got Drunk” has a notably faster tempo. What was your songwriting process for that, and the other songs?

It's faster because it felt right that way. The demo is actually much slower, like 115 bpm. Much more shoegazey. But playing it with a band it felt better faster and the drummer, Cassidy Turbin, found that nice groove. More urgency and drive. Writing process is complicated because it's always different. Wish I was more habitual.

How have your style and influences changed over time, and do the two correspond?

My influences are always changing. Joni Mitchell was the first artist I revered, but I'm not the kind of person who has one idol and always refers back to that idol. When I hear something interesting, I find myself emulating it. So many good bands around right now. I'm obsessed with Eagulls from the UK and, of course, Courtney Barnett. Right now, I listen to a lot of Run the Jewels, a lot of Adult., and a lot of Charlie XCX. I have recently rediscovered the joy of Camera Obscura. But style doesn't rule me. We are post-genre. So much music is a blend (though I totally appreciate genre specific work - deal with my contradictions). I think songs have magic and come into the world with a certain vibe and you follow that vibe. I'm probably not explaining that very well.

What else do you have planned for the year?

I'll be releasing the rest of the Strange Darling EP then hopefully starting to record my first full length. Releasing some videos and hopefully touring. Hopefully collaborating more with other artists. I'd love to sing on some electronic tracks. Keep dropping hints so producers will hit me up!

Find out more about Miya Folick here.

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One Response to “Interview: Miya Folick chats demos and Buddhism”

    Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. Review / Miya Folick / Strange Darling - Independent Music News - 02/06/2016

      […] strong songwriting and stylistic persona and leaves us wanting plenty more. Folick revealed in an interview with Drunken Werewolf that she started writing music just five years ago, but you wouldn’t know it by her powerful […]

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