ECHO

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with MIYA MIYA

After meeting at university and bonding over their shared love of music, emerging british band, MIYA MIYA merged their talents to become a chart topping writing team. “All Night Long” which they penned for Jonas Blue and Retrovision climbed to No.1 on the Billboard Dance charts. 

Now MIYA MIYA is blending their intimate storytelling with a unique fusion of anthemic stadium and alternative pop on their debut EP “Cold Blood”

Check out what Ginnie, Jordan, Gio and James had to say about the EP,  the “Cold Blood” music video, and more.

How are you all doing today?

Jordan: Really good!

Ginnie:  Yeah, really good. 

James: A bit rainey here, but It’s a perfect time to be in the studio. So yeah, doing alright.

Gio: We shot our music video on Tuesday for Cold Blood which is out in the next couple of weeks. We’ve been super tired by it so we’ve just been relaxing the past few days because It was quite a tiring day. 

What was it like to shoot the music video during these Quarantine times? 

Ginnie: It was such a relief to kind of be out of our houses for the first time and actually seeing the boys. We hadn’t seen them because of Quarantine. It was actually amazing. It felt like such a breath of fresh air. It was really good.

Gio: We hadn’t seen each other for like 102 days. I think the longest before that is probably a week of not seeing each other. It’s not been too bad because we’ve been Zooming everyday and being able to produce and working on new songs. That aspect has been fine. Being actually physically acquainted again was amazing. 

James: The video was amazing, but kind of weird because everyone was in masks, everyone had their gloves on and sort of socially distancing. It was just sort of like a really strange experience, but an amazing experience 

Gio: It was really weird as well because the whole scene of the video was basically we were in a laboratory, but then all the crew are in these masks as well so it looked like they were in a music video too.

It sounds like from the music video you’re working on and from your other music videos that you’re very into the visuals. Why is that something that is important to you to combine with your music? 

Gio: I think we just want to take people to this world where they can just be free and forget about everything else and they can just be taken away to this place that we’re trying to create for us and for them. 

Jordan: We’ve always wanted to do things as big as possible. Like our first video “Underwater,” I think we had like a 200 pound budget. We were like we want fire, we want an underwater tank. 

Gio: We had to produce the video ourselves. We have a really amazing friend called, Henry Nathan and his team who did the videography and we were just telling him these mad ideas like we want to set fire to a mattress and put it in a swimming pool. So we go to this guy’s house and we’re like can we use your empty swimming pool to set fire to a mattress and he was like ‘hell yeah!’ Henry is like flying the drone over the pool. That was mad. But, it was super stressful because we had to concentrate on performing and overseeing the whole video. So on Tuesday, it was really nice to just kind of almost be able to focus solely on the performance and not have to worry about anything else really. 

Jordan: But the bigger the better.

How did you all get connected? 

Jordan: We all went to university together in Guilford. So we sort of knew each other although we weren’t really close friends at that point, just like acquaintances. Then it wasn’t until afterwards that we…

Ginnie: We always used to meet at house parties.

Jordan: Yeah, exactly. 

Ginnie: We got to know each other there.   

Jordan: Then after, we started working on songs for other people which then slowly built into us not wanting to give the songs away. We can’t do it. 

Gio: We want to keep these. 

Jordan: That’s sort of how MIYA MIYA was born. 

Where did the name MIYA MIYA come from?

James: Ah, the question. The question. To be honest, we had a fair few names before and for various reasons we didn’t keep them. We had another name that was similar to MIYA MIYA and another band, they were a DJ duo, they released something … 

Gio: ..from Austrailia. 

James: …in Austrailia. We were like ‘aw, damn.’ But, we really liked our logo so we thought we wanted to keep the two “M”s, so yeah, MIYA MIYA came around. We all agreed that we all loved it. We ended up loving it more than the old one I think. 

Jordan: Trying to find a band name now that no one’s used is impossible, basically. You could think of the most random thing and someone’s got it.

Who did you listen to growing up and do you feel like they influenced your sound today? 

Ginnie: We all have really, really different people that we each grew up listening to. We all come from completely different backgrounds. I’d say mine, really kind of random one was a lot of Celine Dion, not necessarily influencing any of our music but definitely influencing my voice – the characteristics in it growing up. Then massively The Chainsmokers and Queen, I think they’re two big ones in terms of songwriting and kind of the way that Queen have a live show. I like to take little bits of elements of that into our music and into the live performance. 

James: The fabulous Freddie, as well. 

Ginnie: Yeah, Freddie – an icon. Love that.

James: Growing up, I was a bit more of a metal head to be honest. I was just listening to Metallica and Linkin Park, just being a massive grunger. So I think it has kind of come through in my drumming. Then just like smashing it – big toms. On my production side, I kind of started loving production when dubstep happened. Skrillex for me just blew my mind. ‘Who is this strange guy making these weird sounds with his computer? He’s weird. That’s cool. Let’s go.’ 

Gio: Similar to James, my Dad brought me up listening to 80s guitar music like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC so a lot of my guitar playing stems from that. When I was at uni, production wise I was just full on obsessed with charts to the point it was like One Direction, Justin Beiber…I just love their production so much. 

Jordan: I think as a kid I was brought up with classics like Queen and ABBA like everyday. I’ve gone through waves. I was obsessed with progressive music at one point. I listened to MUSE everyday. Matt Belemy was my hero. Then it sort of faded into more like Katy Perry and Justin Beiber. Stuff like that. It is really broad. At the moment, I’m obsessed with Harry Styles and probably The Chainsmokers as well bands like that – 5 Seconds of Summer. 

James: When The Chainsmokers came out with “Roses” It was like ‘woah. They just started this thing didn’t they?’ 

Ginnie: Changed the game. 

James:  Huge wave of pop music. They’re still going now. They are just amazing. 

What was it like to bring all those styles together?

Jordan: I think that’s what makes us quite unique cause we do bring in all those different styles to our music. Production wise, we all sort of now produce, but we all bring in different elements from different things.  I think when we first started there were one or two of us producing and the songs would be like from one area and now I like to think you can hear loads of different influences in them 

For people that aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?

Gio: That’s such a hard question. 

James: We try to write music that makes us feel something, if that makes sense. You know when we’re writing a song we want to come away from writing it and feel like we really said something – the song, the chords, the melodies really give us an emotion, so I think definitely emotive. 

Ginnie: We always tend to end up with that kind of big anthemic chorus that we know we sometimes shouldn’t but we’re like ‘oh, but we need it.’ So It’s that kind of epic anthemic  section in the chorus and we try to kind of dull it down on the verse to not take you somewhere too cheesy. 

When people are listening to your music, what do you hope they get out of it? 

Jordan: Feel release, I guess. We’re all about a place people can escape to. We want to create this sort of world that our fans can engage with and sort of forget about real life issues. That’s probably the general feeling we want to go for.

Ginnie: To add to that, I think a lot of our songs, as well, have that kind of you can do anything if you want to do it don’t let anyone tell you no. I think all four of us have had someone – I’m sure everyone has had someone say no you can’t do that or they don’t believe in what you’re doing. So we want to kind of share our music and a message that you can do whatever you want to do. You can be whatever you want to be.

James: We hope they feel the way we feel when we’re writing it 

Jordan: Or at least we did feel when we first wrote it. We hate them now. We’ve heard it so many times. [laughs]

Gio: That’s one thing I wish we could do when we finish a song, go back in time and listen to it for the first time, something as a songwriter that you’ll never be able to experience. But, if we could all have one superpower, that would be it – to just be able to go back in time and listen to that song with fresh ears having never heard it before. 

James: You start to lose your mind a bit. Instead of writing the song, we’re all looking at each other like is this any good? Mom is this any good? If Mom likes it, it’s cool. We can keep going. 

Gio: I think our parents are super honest with us as well. They’ll definitely tell us if it’s rubbish. 

Jordan: We’ve got a really good team as well that we can trust . Send them to them and be like ‘is this actually good. Be honest with us.’ Fortunately, we’ve been lucky so far. 

Gio: You can just sometimes get lost. Some songs just come to you and we’ll be working in the studio and we’ll just get it like the universe has given us this song. Sometimes we’ll just struggle for like a whole week trying to write a song then it eventually comes together. Every song is different. 

Speaking of songwriting, congratulations on your debut EP, Cold Blood. How does it feel to have it out in the world? 

Ginnie: Feels amazing just to have this selection of songs we’ve been sitting on and now… 

James: It feels amazing. Really, really, really surreal. You know we did a thing guys, Yeah!

Gio: And we’ve got something to show for it. 

What did the writing process look like behind the single, “Cold Blood”?

Jordan: “Cold Blood” actually came really quickly. I think we were actually in the midst of doing another one and we just had this idea that just kept going around in our heads. We were supposed to be going to a Yungblood concert that night and it was like ‘is it Yungblood?’ over and over again.  So we jumped out of that other song and started this new one, obviously got rid of Yungblood in case he’d sue us and changed it to “Cold Blood.” It developed really quickly actually compared to the others. 

Ginnie: We kind of did quite like a simple stripped back production and it was one of our less kind of anthemic choruses and it just felt really different and modern and new. I think it’s one of my favorite songs out of the five that we’ve released. 

What was the inspiration behind your single, “Hometown”? 

Jordan: “Hometown was a bit different. We wrote it probably like a year ago now. We were sort of developing it over a year.  It’s quite a hard one to remember now. 

Gio: It was the first one we all did in a studio together. We usually write in a home studio. It was the first time all four of us went to a studio and tried to write it from scratch, but we were kind of distracted by all the instruments in there. It was a completely different process. It took a bit longer because we were just ‘oh what does this synthesiser do? oh what does this do over here?’ That one took a little bit longer than “Cold Blood” 

Ginnie: It was more like experimenting with different sounds. 

Gio: It was one of the first ones we all wrote together as well. I feel like there’s a bit of a transformation from that to “Cold Blood,” sonically and kind of the other end of the spectrum. 

Jordan: They were probably like a year apart, those two.

If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to the EP, what do you imagine it looking like? 

James: Come around for a beer, sit in our studio and we’ll just hit play. We can all just listen to it together and have a lovely time. Unbelievably loud. 

What can fans look forward to next other than your music video? 

Gio: So the second EP is almost done ready to go now. So that’s what we’ve got cooking up next. 

Ginnie: And more music. 

Jordan: And hopefully live songs again. As soon as this lockdown lifts, it’s going to be one of our main goals to just play as much as possible. Gonna do some support shows and bring in some new fans, ideally. 

What song off the EP are you most excited to play live when you can? 

Gio: For me, it’s “Cold Blood” or “On My Mind.” 

Ginnie: I think I’ve got to agree with that, definitely. 

Gio: The guitar to play is quite fun in “Cold Blood” so I feel like it has a performance aspect to it.  That’s quite a fun one to play. “On My Mind” I love how pop that song is. 

Jordan: For me, it’s probably “Underwater” like how upbeat it is, you can really go at it live. It stays up there throughout the whole song whereas the others sort of have a drop and you’ve got to get back up to it. 

James: “Wolves,” especially on the drums it is really fun for me to play. Bang, bang, bang – it’s nice. Even though it’s a pop song you’ve got some rock in roll drums in there. 

Ginnie: There’s a tribal element in there. 

What is one quote that you’ve heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world? 

Ginnie: I’d say if you can dream it you can do it. That’s something I tell myself so I’d like to tell other people that. 

Jordan: Never limit yourself. 

James: And keep going. You’re doing alright. And If you keep going, hopefully you’ll do better.  Everything will be alright. Keep going. 

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