The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world








The Moment is one of our favourite albums so far this year, if you love blues from the heart you really should get along to one of Mia's homecoming shows in October and November - which culminates in a show at Bridgetown Blues in Wetsern Australia on November 9. Mia plays Western Australian shows at: Mojo's, Fremantle WA - Thu 8-November and Blues at Bridgetown, Bridgetown WA - Fri 9-November.





Hi Mia Thank you so much for talking to The Rockpit




We pretty much love the new album ‘The Moment’ from end to end but a few of the tracks that stick out are ‘Pistol’ (the new single), ‘When the Moment Comes’, ‘Fill Yourself’ and ‘The Outskirts of town’: all very different styles tell us a little about them.




‘When the moment comes’ was the last track I wrote for the album, just before going into the studio. I didn’t really like it at first, but my drummer/producer Syd, encouraged me to bring it to the studio and it evolved over the 7 days of recording (unlike the other songs which had been rehearsed and workshopped already) And as we added piano, and backing vocals, and guitars, I grew to like it more and more and it really surprised me as it turned out to be the first single!




‘Pistol’ pretty much wears its heart on its sleeve – the break up song




‘Fill Yourself’ started out as a slow 6/8 waltzy ballad, a song of love and encouragement. Then I jammed it with my drummer Syd and it was more fun to take the tempo up and change it to 4/4 – Syd plays the drums like Levon Helm from The Band on this one and I love it.




‘The Outskirts of town’ is a little observation on the modern western lifestyle. Working hard to have material things and feeling empty for it…





‘The Moment’ is your first record recorded outside of Australia and there’s a variety of dynamics and styles on there from Blues to Rock, Soul even Country but without it feeling jarring or contrived. Are you comfortable with your style now?




Yeah, I don’t think too much about style when I’m first writing a song. Just ‘what am I singing about?’, and where it’s coming from. And then once I’m with the band, and the songs develop a ‘style’ I really like to keep variety and dynamic in there as that’s the kind of album I would like to listen to.





There are a lot of heartfelt lyrics on there and some beautifully poetic moments. Did your struggles in establishing yourself in the US over the last few years colour the writing process?




Definitely. It changed me, living in the US and ‘starting again’. Somehow all the challenges and struggles of the past few years only made me appreciate that I get to make music for a living so much more. It helped me to express myself more directly and honestly, which I think comes through in this record.





Any beautiful moments of inspiration that just came in a moment and you managed to capture?




The song ‘Pistol’ really just ‘came to me’. It’s rare for me to write a song in one sitting, but that’s what happened with ‘pistol’. I just had to be there to capture it, and I luckily I was.







After releasing such a complete album how do you look back on your first two releases with hindsight?




(Ahem, 3 releases!) Yeah, interesting question. This is the first album where I don’t have any regrets. Each previous album has some aspect that I wished I’d done differently or worked harder on or had the courage to change. But not with this new album. And it took a lot of work have it be this way.





How does it feel to be nominated for another ARIA?




Surprising! I’ve been away so long and I had the fear that I would be forgotten, so I was really heartening to get that nod.





Moving to LA must have been a huge decision when did you realise that was what you needed to do in order to take the next step?




After ‘Struck Down’ I had the sense that I had tried everything I could to build my career in Australia and, short of commercial success, which I don’t think is on the cards for me, it was time to try something else. I had always felt pulled to America and it felt like the perfect time to take the leap. And it was a big leap. Very challenging to leave family and friends and my support network to start again.





Presumably part of the reason for the move was as much about experiencing the music you love?




Yes indeed. I wanted to be part of the musical landscape that had produced all the incredible music I grew up listening to and was inspired by. I wanted to see the towns and cities that singers sing about and drive through the big sky landscapes of so many songs.





Who have you got to play with or seen live since you’ve been over in the US?




I got to see my hero – Lucinda Williams – in Ventura, CA, which was a thrill! And I had the incredible good fortune to get to open for Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak while I was over there





You’re back in Australia for a tour to promote the album where are you looking forward to playing most?




Everywhere! I just love returning to all the places I’ve played before and seeing familiar faces.




What do you miss most about ‘home’?




Family and friends for sure. And food in Melbourne





What are you like in the live setting? Do you stick to a standard setlist or go with the flow?




I like to have a set list, but it changes and evolves from night to night as we work out what songs fit well together or shouldn’t go together.





Who do you think has been the biggest single influence on your career to this point?




Lucinda Williams





Where do you see yourself heading musically next, have you ever had a real yearning or goal musically you’d like to achieve?




To open for Lucinda Williams! I don’t know where I’m heading musically next. I just try to follow the muse. My long term goal is to be able to tour the world’s theatres and make records for the rest of my life…





There’s a lot of artists out there at the moment shying away from using the word ‘Blues’ because of supposed negative connotations, that’s not how we see the Blues – to us it’s always been a life-affirming form of music where people sung about life and real experiences. What does the Blues mean to you?




At its best it’s a form of music and speaks truth from the heart.





You’ve followed your dream to the other side of the world, what advice would you give to young musicians these days? How dedicated do you need to be?




Follow your own instincts, even when they contradict ‘the experts’. I think if you love playing music and you put your heart into it, the rest will work out somehow. I do believe you need to be pretty dedicated to do it full time.





If you could take the stage with any three performers and hit the road on a tour who would it be?





Neko Case, Tom Waits & Levon Helm





If you could have been involved with the creation of any piece of music at any point in time, what would it have been and why?




‘Willin’ by Little Feat. I would have met Lowell George and talked about truck driving across America!





What is the meaning of life?




To love and be present.






By Mark Diggins