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Interview: Misty Miller

Peddled as the next Laura Marling when breaking onto the scene with her self-titled debut album in 2011, the intervening five years saw Misty Miller morph from folksy, ukulele-toting teenager to Brixton-based punk flying the flag for women’s rights. With her second album, The Whole Family Is Worried, released last month and an appearance at The Harley in the pipeline for April, Tom Green-Fuller caught up with the 21 year old artist to talk music, beliefs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles.

So, after plenty of build-up, your album is finally out. Relieved?
Incredible! I feel like I’ve just given birth – the waiting is finally over. It’s definitely the thing I’ve created that I’m most proud of.

What’s the best part of being a musician: performing, recording, or creating?
I’d probably say performing. But something I’ve found about being a musician is that the little moments are often the best: the great feeling you get after writing a song, or after finishing a good rehearsal. The music world isn’t always fun, but the best parts are when you can really feel the little moments just falling into place.

You’ve said before that it doesn’t matter how many people turn up, you can still have a great gig. What is it that makes a great live show from your perspective?
For a start, there’s all the boring technical stuff like sound quality – I’ve played some gigs where the sound was truly awful! Though I was playing recently and just stopped caring about all the little things, which was hard to do because I’m quite a perfectionist; but when you’re playing and you feel you can really let yourself go, those gigs, for me, are the best ones. Artists are quite selfish: they want to sing what they want to sing, paint what they want to paint, and when you’re finally allowed to do that, it makes a good gig. Once I started realising that gigs were just places to have fun and release your demons, that’s when I started really enjoying them.

You’re a proud feminist. Do you see music as a vehicle for putting your views across?
A lot of the stuff on the album is what I wrote when I was about 17, so it’s not really recent material; it’s just stuff I was and remain passionate about in terms of music style. I think the album’s got some tongue-in-cheek songs, and I suppose there’s an underlying feel of promoting equality. There’s this weird thing about girls making music in the commercial world: you’re either pop or you’re folk, or you’re whatever. I think the album is just swayed by this punk ethos I’ve always had, and it’s just the stuff I want to create.

So, how do you go from folk songs on the uke to scuzzy garage punk?
The same way everyone moves from being a teenager into their twenties. I’ve always been into punk, but when I started to get noticed with my early music, I just went with it. You’ve got to remember that I quickly went from writing songs in my bedroom to having a manager, so I was always told to ‘do this, sing this, cut your hair like this’. The only real evolution I’ve made was evolving from what I was told to be into what I wanted to be.

And how are you taking to the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle?
It’s quite glammed-up by the media and becoming a cliché. I’ve been down some dark paths, and experienced some really dark times. That’s what the name of the album [The Whole Family is Worried] reflects.

Misty Miller plays The Harley on April 19th. Head to www.theharley.co.uk for more info and tickets.




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