Tonight at Martyr's and this weekend at The Empty Bottle (Sun, 23rd) Charlie Williams and Mira Mira will be taking the stage to infuse audiences with one last dose of avant-garde sun-drenched indie-pop before the end of the year. RFC recently caught up with Williams via email to discuss the band's growing roster and the prospects of a new Mira Mira release in early 2008.
Download: Mira Mira - "Try It Sunny"
So…what's been new with Mira Mira since we last talked to you at Bandwidth in January?
So many new things...while I was always playing with other musicians, Mira Mira was basically a solo project when we last talked. It's now much more of a band, the musicians involved are making a lot more of the musical decisions, writing parts, influencing things. I think the live show is a lot stronger because of that, as well as the recording. I've been playing for a while now with our cellist, Andrea Nott, whom I played with in middle school orchestra, and re-met last year. Kay Miller wrote harmonies and sang on the album, and now she sings and plays bass full-time in the band. Peter Martin is a hardcore new music percussionist/marimbist who's joined us on percussion, and Kay's little brother Nick is our most recent addition, playing guitar and adding another vocal. He's a phenomenally talented songwriter on his own, and he's also the person I can have the longest conversations with about the lives and projects of individual members of Wilco.
The word on the street is that you have a new album in the works...what can you tell us about it so far?
Let's see... it's called Music for Scientists. It's 7 songs, unless we throw another one on there. I think it's a step forward in terms of the songwriting, and the vocal harmonies definitely add a whole new dimension to the sound. There's more use of space this time around-- I think for Midnight for You we ended up packing so many details in every square inch, especially production-wise, that you really needed to listen to some of the songs four or five times to get what's going on. This new one is a more natural band sound-- we could do that this time because the piano was so much better, for one-- and so I think the things you're going to notice on the fifth listen are going to be more in the meaning of the lyrics, for example. The album also has a cover of an Andrew Bird tune on there... although our version of it really blends in with our style and the other songs, so if you don't know the original it probably won't stick out as a cover.
What can we expect at your upcoming shows at Martyrs' and The Bottle?
In addition to the new songs we've got a couple other covers we throw in, including a quiet, gentle version of a famous '80s song I've been wanting to cover for years. We've played it at two shows so far and it's been a hit. You can sing along as long as you don't imitate Axl.
What were your favorite records of the past year?
A lot of this year I've spent getting to know things I missed from 2006... Joanna Newsom's Ys, Regina Spektor's Begin to Hope, Gotan Project, Harry Nilsson. From 2007, I really dig the new album from a British band called Paris Motel, called In the Salpêtrière. In Rainbows would make a top 5 list too, of course. Sky Blue Sky was good-- probably top 10 rather than top 5, though.
Any New Year's resolutions?
Besides playing and writing more great music together... the main one, for the band, is to add someone to our team. It could be a booking agent, producer, manager, street teamer, record label, dedicated unicyclist for live shows, whatever. It's time for us to grow beyond only having the people in the band work on getting the word out. We're also looking at playing outside of Chicago-- last year was 12 shows, all of them in-town. I'm shooting for 24 in 2008, with dates in Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Kenosha, Urbana... We'll explore.