Holly Miranda

by Alex Teitz
Holly Miranda
            Mutual Horse is Holly Miranda’s 3rd album with Dangerbird Records and comes out February 23. The album is filled with collaborations with other artists. Miranda has a list of credits accumulated over time and has worked with artists including Ambrosia Parsley, Craig Wedron, Chris Maxwell, Scott Matthew, and many more. In Mutual Horse she works with Jim Fairchild, Kyp Malone, and Shara Nova.
“Golden Spiral”, the 2nd single off Mutual Horse is a feast for the ears. It includes visual lyrics and a driving drum beat mixed with a saxophone that helps to color the track as both rock and psychedelic. Miranda is not a household name. She is a working musician who has built a sound over numerous experiences in the music world. She is a small revolution waiting to happen. For info visit http://hollymiranda.com/
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Mutual Horse?
HM: The biggest challenge making this record was probably choosing which songs were going to make it on the final album. I went into the studio with 33 songs, not all were finished, some were just pieces of songs, notes scribbled on bits of paper taped into my notebook. We tracked basics (drums and bass) on 24 songs in 5 days and then I had to trim that down to 18 songs we would focus on finishing. Finally, I had to then choose which would make it onto the vinyl record and the digital record. I get very attached to each song, it’s like a baby that I want to see grow up, but with production costs and studio costs, I have to choose which babies I will carry out of the fire. That’s a hard decision.
FEMMUSIC:  What was your vision for this album vs your other albums?
HM: Writing with other people hasn’t always come very naturally to me, but I think I found a sweet spot of collaborators in this mix. I really tried to allow myself to be vulnerable in the writing space and the recording studio, letting the musicians who have been playing with me for years take the reigns more and guide this horse with me, if you will.
FEMMUSIC: This album is filled with collaborations. Tell me how that came to be. How did you choose whom to work with? Were there any collaborations on the album you were nervous about? How did you meet the collaborating musicians?
HM: Everyone I wrote this on this record was already a good friend of mine, with the exception of Jared Samuel, I met him while working on this record and his contribution was monumental. Jim Fairchild (of Modest Mouse) who I wrote “Wherever you are”, “On the radio” and “Let her go” with has been a good friend for a while. We had planned to try and write one song and wrote about five. Kyp Malone (Tv On The Radio) has sang on all of my solo albums, but this was the first time I asked him to write with me, “Exquisite” is one of my favorite songs, ever. Josh Werner, who I wrote “Mr. Fongs” with, was actually the first bass player in my old band The Jealous Girlfriends, about 180 years ago. We sent Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond) that track when we were stumped for a chorus and she sent us back what you hear on the record. It really all happened very naturally and felt good to involve my musical family and share the work in that way.
Holly Miranda
FEMMUSIC: This is your 3rd album with Dangerbird. What benefits do you see working with a label? How is Dangerbird to work with?
HM: Every label has its pros and cons and no label is perfect. If you are looking for anyone to do everything for you in this age of the industry you are going to be disappointed. I think ultimately, you have to be willing to do as much as you can on your own. That being said, the perks of having help on the administrative side and financial support are greatly appreciated and needed. Dangerbird has been wonderful to work with. 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? Has it changed over time?
HM: It never really happens the same way twice, but it always involved stopping and listening to the little whisper, pulling the car over, finding that pen stuck between the seats, being still. I think it has changed, as I have changed, how exactly, I’m not sure. I still feel vulnerable and nervous the first time I have to sing a song out loud to someone else for the first time, I just welcome the feeling more now. 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
Probably Nina Simone “Do What you Gotta Do”, it’s a song about setting free what doesn’t belong to you and trusting if it’s meant for you it will come back. Letting go, with grace. Something I have had to learn a lot about over the years.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
HM: Umm, yeah. 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
HM: I would love to collaborate with more of my friends, Laurel Sprenglemeyer (Little Scream), Stuart Bogie (Arcade Fire) and Kyp Malone, if the four of us got into a studio for a few days I would be over the moon.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
HM: Ha! One thing? I mean, everything, but if I have to pick one it would have to be how little the artists get paid by the streaming companies. I would like to change that.  
February 12th, 2018