(Photo by Travis Snell)
This week, we’ll be highlighting some of the artists playing INK’s stage at the Plaza Art Fair this weekend, September 19-21.
One of the newest members to the local music landscape is Miry Wild, a five-piece folk pop outfit with a sophisticated yet youthful sound.
Only a month after forming its full lineup, Miry Wild recorded its debut self-titled EP, a concise spiritual sojourn dotted with enchanting instrumentation and alluring vocal harmonies. The band’s natural chemistry and charm is apparent even from a cursory listen to the album.
With this fairly new lineup and only a handful of shows under its belt, Miry Wild is finding its identity as a collective. Fortunately for the rest of us, they’re finding it through cohesive, tasteful songwriting.
We talk with Julia Hamilton, the band’s vocalist and guitarist, about the group, its music, and what Miry Wild has to look forward to.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music.
Hamilton: Our music is a mixture of pop, folk, and jazz with some pointed harmonies, groovy moments, and tight rhythms throughout.
The Deli: How long have you been together and how did the band come to be? What’s the lineup?
Hamilton: We started as a three-piece (just guitar, bass, and vocals) last year when Kate [Miles], Havilah [Powers], and I were really itching to collaborate and start writing and performing together. It was just in February when we got together as a five-piece, adding drums and keys. We started working on our EP in March and played our first show together when we released it in May.
We really haven’t been together for long and have only played a handful of shows, but we have had an amazing time so far and are very much looking forward to all that is to come! I think we have some really great chemistry as a group. We’ve got Katelyn Miles on the upright bass and bass guitar and Julia Hamilton (that’s me) playing acoustic guitar with vocals. Havilah Powers sings vocals and also adds various percussion. Emily Marriot is our drummer, and Holly Grimwood is on keys and vocals as well.
The Deli: For a band that is just starting out, you already seem to have a great comfort level with each other musically. Have any of you collaborated together before?
Hamilton: Holly and I were both in different bands in high school; and Emily and I were actually in a rock band together with two of our guy friends from 2011-2012 but that didn't end up lasting too long. I know Kate has played with different orchestras as well. For Havilah, on the other hand, our group is her first brush with writing, collaborating, and performing music. If I was an outsider looking in though, I would never guess that to be true! As long as I've been friends with Havilah, our voices have always found each other. We both love singing so much and I think we have extremely similar tone and inflection, so much so that I feel like we are vocal soulmates. She comes up with these interesting, unique, haunting harmonies that sound so natural and easy for her; her musical ear is amazing! So, most of us have been casually involved in different projects throughout the years, but we've all been able to find our niche in Miry Wild. Each member brings an equally important piece to the whole, both musically and relationally. I feel like it's the band I've been waiting to be a part of my whole life and I hope the other girls feel that way too.
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
Hamilton: Obviously, I think it’s safe to say that other artists will always inspire and influence our music. We also write well together as a group and are constantly bouncing ideas off each other (let’s just say our band practices consist more of talking than actually playing music). As far as where we draw our concepts from, certain things tend to come up consistently in our songs: nature, spirituality, relationships… Sometimes we’re just telling the stories that float around in our heads.
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
Hamilton: Recording our EP was the very first thing we did together as a band and honestly it helped shape and mold us so much. Five different people figuring out how to write and play together cohesively is a task when you’ve never done it before. We had to abandon the mindset of five individual artists and instead adopt the idea that we are one artist and must express ourselves through one voice. Figuring all of that out has been our biggest accomplishment so far, but we’ve happily accepted the fact that we have much more to accomplish!
The Deli: You released your self-titled EP earlier this year. What can listeners expect?
Hamilton: Expect to hear just a taste of the different sides of Miry Wild on this EP. We think it is a fantastic introduction to what we have in store for the future.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Hamilton: Supporting local music means SO MUCH. Kansas City has such a wonderful community of musicians who, in my experience, seem to always be there for each other. As a musician, supporting others means reaping all of the joy that comes with being a member of that community. As a Kansas Citian, supporting local music means contributing to the cultural well-being of our city.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local and non-local musicians right now?
Hamilton: We love Katy Guillen and the Girls and She’s a Keeper! As far as non-local musicians go, I don’t think I can speak for all of the girls with one answer but Ben Howard is coming out with a new album in October that I think we’re all pretty excited about. We really like him.
The Deli: Who are you looking forward to seeing at Plaza Art Fair?
Hamilton: I am very excited to see My Brothers & Sisters perform! I haven’t been able to catch a show yet but from what I’ve heard they’re really different.
The Deli: Besides Plaza Art Fair, what other shows do you have coming up?
Hamilton: We are so stoked about a show we’re playing at Czar Bar on October 7 opening for Paper Bird. They’re amazing. Also, look for a show with KG & the Girls in December!
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Hamilton: MY personal fantasy concert would definitely involve Brandi Carlile. However, all of us in the band have such varying interests so it’s kind of impossible to answer that question for Miry Wild! Maybe we need to work on that as a part of the whole five artists, one voice thing…
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
Hamilton: Our musical Mount Rushmore has five faces, one for each of our heroes. The face I chose is Janelle Monae. I admire her more than anyone because she fearlessly represents everything I think music should be about: free expression, unlimited artistic experimentation, and giving a voice to those who aren’t allowed one.
Kate chose Jimi Hendrix because his story has always inspired her: a self-taught musician who did not have an easy life by any means but kept making music and making it the most important part of his life, regardless of how much money he made doing it.
The face Emily chose is that of drummer Zac Farro because she hugely admires his drumming style and he really influenced her in the beginning stages of figuring out her own individual style.
Havilah’s Mount Rushmore includes Joanna Newsom because… How could you not be moved by everything she does!? Her rhythm, melodies and lyrics are puzzling; the form and heart of her songs are captivating.
Finally, Holly chose Alicia Keys as her most highly regarded artist because of the way she combines classical piano with hip-hop and soulful lyrics. Alicia really transformed Holly’s style when she was being trained as a classical pianist and made her fall in love with the keys again (no pun intended).
…we think that’s a pretty good-looking hypothetical mountain!
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: What other goals does Miry Wild have for 2014, and beyond?
Hamilton: We are planning to start working on a full-length album before the year is over! We are writing new music now and loving it. Besides that, we just want to play more shows in different venues in Kansas City and make a lot more friends in the music scene.
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Hamilton: Check us out! Come to a show, introduce yourself, and talk to us about music! We have so much to look forward to and are very much enjoying every bit of the ride.
Miry Wild is:
Holly Grimwood: keys, guitar, vocals
Julia Hamilton: lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Emily Marriott: drums
Katelyn Miles: upright bass/bass guitar
Havilah Powers: vocals, aux percussion
Miry Wild will be playing on INK’s stage at Plaza Art Fair on Sunday, September 21 at 3:00 p.m. The stage is located at Ward Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Gram & Dun and Plaza III. Facebook event page.
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.