An interview with Mirah

I’ve been a fan of Thao (and her Get Down Stay Down crew) and Mirah in their solo efforts for a while now. Each has such a distinct style — it was actually difficult for me to audiolize (did I just make up that word? Think visualize but for the ears) at first — especially upon hearing Merrill Garbus of tUnE-YarDs fame was doing a lot of the producing.

The collaborative album from Thao & Mirah , aptly named Thao & Mirah, has been on my best of 2011 list since the second the first chords of “Eleven” hit my ears. Sure, the one song was just a small taste of what was to come, but the heart and soul that was poured into that one song convincing enough to believe the rest of the album would be just as great. And I was absolutely right.

We had the chance to catch up with Mirah, who was at a local record store trying to find a physical copy of their album at the time. Once she found it, she hopped on her bike (I made sure she was wearing a helmet) and we started our conversation.

Thao and Mirah

AfterEllen.com: This interview really comes at an interesting time for me because I’m reading Chuck Klosterman book Eating the Dinosaur and the very first chapter basically asks the question, “Why do people answer interview questions?”
Mirah: That is so hysterical because I actually was talking to my therapist the other day about that. “What can I do so I can enjoy interviews because, why do them?” I don’t even know why I do them. I think I’m supposed to do them and other people tell me I should do them and then, well, I feel like I’m not really in a position to claim recluse status — which would aid the cause of people hearing my music — which is actually what I would really love to have happen. Like, I’m not famous enough to be that much of a diva but I was like, “What can I do to make interviews more fun?” and then she and I were discussing all of these options like first of all, why do I do interviews? And second of all, how do I make them more fun? Which is why I’m on a bike ride during this interview.

AE: Yeah, I was wondering. You should check out that book. Have you heard of Chuck Klosterman before?
M:
No, but I love that you started your interview off with that.

AE: For me, I love doing interviews but they get me very anxious and I get butterflies in my tummy. I get so nervous because I think, “What can I ask these people that they haven’t been asked before, that they would actually be excited to talk about besides their projects?” Because that’s usually what everyone is asking about.
M:
Yeah, but it’s not that talking about our projects aren’t fun and engaging it’s just good practice for me getting to know myself and practice discussing all the work that I’ve done and especially after doing five interviews in a row you start feeling like your mom and your dad are nagging you and you turn into a like eight-year-old kid and you’re like, “Stop nagging me. Stop nagging me.” When maybe, I like homework, I like the book I’m reading, I like the album I made or whatever.

AE: I get that. You love it but sometimes it becomes a chore to talk about it.  It’s bad.
M:
Yeah.

AE: But for me, on the interviewer part, reading the book, it actually intrigues me and scares me like, “Why are they talking to me?”
M:
[Laughs] To avoid having the person start acting like a brat.

AE: Right, because I want it to be fun and really get to the personality of whomever I am talking to.
M:
Well here’s my personality. I’m riding my bike right now. Can you hear me? It’s totally windy.

AE: Umm, I can hear you OK right now.
M:
That’s amazing I didn’t even buy the fanciest headset you can buy I just thought, “Well, this ought to work!” Talking and riding my bike I know is unsafe to do but I will let you know that I’m wearing my helmet and I’m not on streets I’m in Golden Gate Park on the bike path.

AE: Good, that does make me feel better.
M:
It’s not really impressive to do an interview while on a bike.

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