Hideaway, Ultra Eczema. Artwork by Dennis Tyfus.
For me music is a very private thing
Miaux is moniker of Mia Prce. She plays classical songs, ‘Krautrock’, early eighties pop and even Eurovision like anthems on a Casio synthesizer. Her second LP Hideaway is out now on Ultra Eczema.
What does the title Hideaway refer to? Hiding away from what? What are you afraid of?
Hah! I was wondering whether people would read it like that... It’s not “to hide away” as a verb, but it’s “a hideaway”, like a safe place, a little cabin in the mountains, an island, a warm beach, the moon, your favourite frying shop in the middle of the night. A place, real or fictional, that is soothing for mind and body.
I feel like I’m in a little hideaway right now, with my baby, my family and my new record. I won’t go to work for the next year and it feels great to have time to do only the stuff I love to do.
“Something Happened” reminds me on “Conquest Of Paradise” by Vangelis. A coincidence?
As a child I loved Vangelis (with Irene Papas, and the early stuff) and Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells) and a lot of the electronica of the late eighties. So there is definitely some underlying reference, but it wasn’t meant to be. It just turned out that way. It has the same dramatic storyline as some Vangelis songs. I also seem to like sixteenth, eight and dotted notes as the “tum-ti” or the “syn-co-pa”. But “Conquest Of Paradise” is in minor so it doesn’t remind me on that one. If I’d had to choose one Vangelis song then it must be “To The Unknown Man”...
Does “Tropic Of Cancer” refers to the Henry Miller book or the “Kiss My Jazz” song?
I must say I don’t know that book. Actually it’s a personal reference to the birth of my son Lee last July. My first 7-inch on Ultra Eczema came out right after my daughter Frida was born. There I also added a reference.
Hideaway is you second full album. If you would compare it to to the first one from 2014, what has changed and what stayed the same?
There’s not really a big difference in the way I write my compositions. For me it feels like they’re evolving. For this release I also skipped the prefab beats the good Casio people provided because they really sound shitty on this keyboard. My first few releases were made on a different model. The prefab beats were crappy but sweet, now they’re just crappy.
You’re a classically trained piano player, so why do you choose to play a Casio synthesizer and not a piano?
Because a piano always sounds as a piano and that can really bother me. I don’t always like the sound of it. When I play some songs on the piano, they’re all much more dramatic and serious than when play them on a synthesizer. The variation in sounds provided makes it much more interesting to listen to. The different presets on the Casio give the songs the right mood. Like “Polyester” for me really sounds like the way the fabric feels.
Do you have the impression that what you do is actually playing classical music on an electronic instrument?
Some songs are very classical; “Etudes Des Têtus”, “Revolver”, “Ellipsilon”, “Aeronaut” and now “Alptraum”, but others are not. Some songs can easily refer to pop music of the early eighties or even Eurovision anthems; they have something universe to them which I like. It seems to please a very heterogeneous crowd.
Do you own a piano?
Yes I own a piano .
What’s the main thing that you learned from classical education and you’re still using it in your playing today? And what did you learn from playing by yourself that you didn’t learn in your education?
The technique of playing with two hands. It’s a beautiful thing. But I wasn’t really happy at the music academy because it was too classical and the focus was on playing other people’s music; every year a bit more difficult. And you practice and practice and succeed but at the end I had the feeling I didn’t know anything as I wasn’t able to make my own songs. So for more than a year I didn’t play music at all, because I didn’t know what to do. Buy sheet music from composers and practice?? Noo... So eventually I started messing around and was super happy to write some melodies and from then some songs, and so on. That’s what I learned by just playing by myself.
You have a family and a day job, so which role does music play in your daily live? Do you have the chance to play daily, for example?
I live with my husband, our almost 6-year old daughter Frida and our newborn baby Lee. I also have a daytime job, 4 days a week, but I just see it as a way to make money and pay bills. Music is essential in my life and I try to play every day, but at this moment I can only rehearse during Lee’s naps. When I have a new record, I really have to practice my own songs, get ready for live shows. I also don’t drink before shows because then I start dreaming and I fuck up.
Joël Vandrogenbroeck sees music as a way of getting away from daily life, Dylan Nyoukis sees music as an essential part of his daily life. Which role do you give music in your life?
For me it’s a very private thing. It is in a way some kind of opium, it’s therapeutical and exhausting at the same time.
I ask this question in almost every interview, because this magazine is called Psychedelic Baby. Would you consider your music being psychedelic and what would your definition of ‘psychedelic’ be? I also ask you this because I hear ‘Krautrock’ influences in your music, which could be described as “late 1960s/early 1970s psychedelic music from Germany”.
My dad was very much into ‘Krautrock’, so I grew up with Neu, Can, Brainticket etc. and was familiar with the word pretty early. For me ‘psychedelic’ means: next level. Sometimes that connotation is good, but I also use it when I refer to something that is too much, “van het goede teveel” (too good).
Both of your parents are painters, so why did you get into music and not into visual art?
My parents saw that I was into music, I liked to improvise melodies on a little Yamaha at very early age and so they put me to music academy. Maybe visual arts would have been something for me, but I never went to art school.
Last summer, I saw an expo at MUHKA in Antwerp about the Antwerp Ercola scene. You grew up in that scene as a kid, right? Can you tell me which kind of memories you have from growing up in that environment?
Wolstraat was a great street to grow up because it was like a little village inside the city. I loved it. There was always someone at our door, passing by, very cosy. I remember Nicole Van Goethe invited my parents and me to her place for dinner, but I was a bit sick so after dinner I was laying in her bed watching television. Then she brought me dessert. My dad was laughing saying: “Hey, an Oscar winner is bringing you dessert in bed”.
- Joeri Bruyninckx
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