The Pound, San Francisco
KZSC: Welcome to San Francisco. You are about half way through your North American tour. What have been the highlights so far? What are you looking forward to?
MELODY: My highlight so far was our show in Phoenix with Audra. We met them at Projektfest. They're wonderful people. We had a really nice time. And we got to visit with some family and we still have some more family members to see coming up soon. For me, that's been my highlight.
TOM: Houston was a great place, and of course, San Antonio was a really interesting experience. There's a really different sort of scene there. That was Sin13 (the venue). And it was great to see Audra perform with a full band. We'd never seen them do that. It was kind of a very intimate setting. That was a really cool time.
MARK: Most of all the people that have let us stay with them have been really cool and we have been really lucky in meeting so many really cool people on the road. That it has made it really worthwhile so far.
KZSC: Being a relatively new addition to the Projekt label, I was quite taken aback by your sound which is very different to most Projekt bands. How did your relationship with the Projekt label get started? Where do you hope it takes you?
TOM: Black Tape played in Tallahassee and we went to the show. We made Regina give Sam a CD. He told us very flatly they did not accept demos, but we gave it to him anyway. They actually kept it and he listened to it later when they got home and asked us to do the "Cat Shaped Hole In My Heart" disc. We submitted "Cayman" for that. That kind of went really well and he asked us to sign later on. Where will it take us? I don't know.
MARK: We're kind of hoping that the next record we do will gather all the ideas we have been trying to get together because the band has been forming for the last few years and we're finally settled. This next record will be the first record that everybody writes on as a band and I think it will be the best thing we have ever done.
KZSC: Your music can be described as layered, lush, resonating and beautiful all at the same time. However, I understand there are no synthesizers used in the tracks. What is the group process used to create the overall effect? Are certain elements always laid down first on a track to build up the texture or is it different each time?
MELODY: We experiment a lot with sounds, definitely: through effects, through techniques in playing. We usually start with the drums as far as recording goes to have the staple, the background. Then I try to layer something on top of that with the bass and then the guitars and vocals.
TOM: The process really is different every time. Whatever that part of the song calls for additional layering ... layering is a big part of it and crazy effects as well.
MELODY: That's MY favorite part.
TOM: Some things we've been doing have been more organic lately, but we still do the same sort of older techniques we used on "Cayman."
MARK: Traditionally we've been working with about four or five different techniques of writing the songs. Either having somebody bring something in or we'll be jamming at practice and the bass and drums will start like "Space" was a bass and drum jam we came up with. The opposite of that would be "Plastique" which was brought in as sort of a classical guitar song. There are other times where Tom and I will write something or Regina will come up with something so we have a bunch of different ways to write our songs. They all create different sorts of feels, textures.
KZSC: In terms of the guitar work, many other shoegazer bands often layer on the guitar so heavy it becomes an impenetrable wall of sound and songs can lose their poignancy. Not so with Mira. Do you prefer to use alternative tunings or effects processors to achieve your clean and haunting guitar effects? How do you successfully find the balance between a layered song and a befuddled one?
MARK: I think that you and I, Tom, tend to play off each other and often times one or both of us will be playing off the vocals and that makes it a little bit less befuddled or mixed up. But I think that with Tom being more the effects and texture guy and me being classical guitar dude, we leave each other space for doing our thing. Always Melody is taking up the right sort of space that we are not using, so I think that everything has its own little place. Our own little family as it were.
MELODY: Niche. We fill up the space in between each other's...
MARK: Enough about space! (laughs)
KZSC: Are there any plans to introduce a male vocalist to any Mira tracks? Possibly a duet with Regina?
REGINA: Alan's really expressed a lot of interest lately. He's really funny. No, we haven't really talked about it, but I would be open to it. So far they have just let me do what I do and it's worked out.
MARK: Occasionally I will be drunk enough to sing the backup vocals without a mic. (laughs)
REGINA: If you are listening hard enough, you can hear him.
MELODY: Alan does have some ideas in the works.
REGINA: He usually just sings in the van as we're driving.
KZSC: What has been the European response to Mira and are there any plans to tour internationally?
REGINA: Going there next. (laughs)
TOM: As far as the European response, we've gotten...
MARK: We're big in Belgium!
TOM: ...we've gotten lots of emails from a lot of different places. None that we can say we have concentrations of fans, I guess. We haven't really heard of what's a "general" response, but we do, yeah. We'd love to tour Europe.
MELODY: I'm always surprised when someone from another country writes us and has heard our record. My friend just went to Europe and saw our CD in a record store there and it took me aback, but it's so apart from us right now that we don't even imagine it.
MARK: Somebody at our show last night in LA was in Hong Kong searching around a record store and found our record and ended up moving to LA and coming to see us. I guess they're being sold not just in Europe but in Hong Kong, which is creepy, because, I mean ... what do you do about that? I mean, somebody send us a ticket!
MELODY: Yeah, we want to go anywhere we can go.
KZSC: The next album is slated for release in spring 2003. Any teasers for your listening audience what can we expect from the new material?
REGINA: This is the first time we are just kind of free-forming it and we're just not sure what's going to happen. No deadlines.
MELODY: But we do have something coming up for this Christmas hopefully. Just a maxi-CD from our next full length. Something to sample our new stuff and remix some old stuff. Just play around with it maybe some live tracks.
MARK: We actually have the opportunity, and whether it will pan out or not is another thing, of recording on this tour. Probably some of the things we've been experimenting with will come up for this EP, which is exciting cause we are doing it for free, under the table.
REGINA: Yeah, it's play time.
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