Five Questions With…Miesha Louie of Miesha and the Spanks
The frontwoman of the hard-rockin' Calgary duo reflects on the growing number of girls getting into rock 'n roll and working with Danny Farrant of The Buzzcocks on the fiery new MATS album.
By Jason Schneider
Before you jump to conclusions about why Miesha and the Spanks titled their new album Girls GirlsGirls, it’s probably best for frontwoman Miesha Louie to explain it herself. “The more my life became filled with women, cool women in bands, I felt pushed towards it. Where I used to be one of the only girls in the music scene, now all of a sudden my life is filled with girls who have the same interests as me. I liked that it was happening and I wanted to encourage it. More girls.”
Part of it was also turning the tables on rock and roll clichés, something Louie and her musical partner, drummer Sean Hamilton, have become specialists at doing. With Girls GirlsGirls—released March 9 on Saved By Vinyl—the Calgary-based duo offers a fast, nasty, sexy slab of riff-fuelled rock, building on previous efforts that helped them share stages with the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age and Death From Above.
As an added twist, this time they worked with producer Danny Farrant, best known as the Buzzcocks’ drummer for the past decade. Louie and Hamilton struck up a friendship with Farrant after meeting at the 2011 Sled Island Festival, and they found themselves together again in 2017 in Brighton, England where Girls GirlsGirls was recorded during an intense 10-day stretch.
The results are sure to give any die-hard rock and roll fan hope for the future of the genre. The band is currently on tour in eastern Canada, working their way back west throughout April. For full details go to mieshaandthespanks.net
What makes the new album stand apart from your previous releases?
It’s the first full album with Sean Hamilton on drums, so his drum personality is already all over it. I’ve also matured a lot as a songwriter, and while I’m still passionate for sure, I’m able to step back and put the song first. I think you can hear that in the finished album. The songs and the music are a tight unit.
What was the experience of recording in England like?
It was such a great time to work on a record. We were in the middle of a two-and-a-half-month tour and flew out to Brighton. We were so removed from any distractions because we were over a month in of just playing music every night. It made it so easy to focus on just making an album—our headspace was perfect. Our producers Paul and Danny pushed us in our instrumentation. We were re-learning our songs on the fly, and I was writing lyrics at our AirBnB before heading into the studio. We just lived and breathed Girls GirlsGirls the whole time. I think I imagined a vacation in this British coastal town, but it was definitely not the case!
What’s your opinion on the never-ending talk about “the death of rock and roll?”
I think those people must have just quit going to shows. Rock and roll’s as rad as it ever was! Scenes change, but they only get younger. And the interest of teen girls to play said dead rock and roll is growing. To me, that means it’s getting better.
As a follow-up, how are things going with Girls Rock Camp Calgary and what do you have planned for this year?
I started 2018 pretty crazy busy with the new release, so planning the details of this year’s camp is something that’s coming up when I’m home from tour next month. But… I know we want to expand some of our workshops. We have a steady crew of recurring campers so it would be nice to offer some advanced workshops to keep them learning. We want to get more in-depth with gear customization and prepare the older girls for self-management, booking, that sort of thing. We offer a steady program of songwriting and collaboration, along with how to handle local radio, recording, making merch, and performance. So, my goals are to focus on some specialized weekend workshops this year.
If you could fix anything about the music business, what would it be?
I think we’ve come a million miles in the way of equal opportunity, speaking as a woman and an indigenous person. It can always be better, but I think we’re well on our way there and it’s just a matter of the time it takes everyone to get there. I also think funding could be better delegated.
I’m not sure why bands who are selling more records need more funding, but they’re the ones who get it. Money can be such a blockade to progress.