Melbourne based singer-songwriter Misha Bear has followed up on her debut 2018 full-length album Ladybug, with a new 5-track EP. We have the exclusive first look at the EP before it’s official release this Friday. Bear teamed up with Perth-based producer Craig Cumming to put this EP together. If you love the late 80’s, early 90’s UK inspired electronica, then we think you will dig this new release. Bear has one of those voices which resonates truth, and honesty. It carries the personal nature of the songs effortlessly.
We’ve been lucky enough to have a track-by-track rundown written by Craig and Misha. So do give the EP a spin and see what inspired them to produce this really lovely EP.
I started working on some of the tracks that made it onto the EP back in 2015. Most of the music I had worked on up until that point had been organic live band type music, but I had just purchased a copy of Ableton Live so I could collaborate with a couple of musicians in Nashville who were using it, and I started to experiment with some of the soft synths and other elements of electronic music that Ableton does so well. A few of these tracks on the EP are the result of some of my initial experimentation in Ableton, using it as a sketch pad for song ideas that developed into something more. The whole album was written, produced and mixed in Ableton in the years since then, and the songs did evolve and progress to where they are now on the EP. Stylistically I was drawing inspiration from the sounds of the 80s and early 90s, such as a lot of the early Eurythmics, Culture Club and the Human League. These are all bands that I felt had a pretty raw and transparent sound, albeit by using a lot of programmed drums and synths. Being able to toil away bit by bit on tracks and add to them and tweak them over time really appealed to me, which was one of the reasons I decided to focus more on using programmed drums and synths. The album was also mixed entirely in the box so that recalling and tweaking the track could be done easily.
Craig and I were in a band together in Perth, Icy Dice. He then had a few electronic songs, and gave them to me to write lyrics and melodies as a side project. We performed them a few times, but didn’t get around to recording before I moved to Melbourne. We wanted to complete the project so I recorded my vocals with a Producer over here, and sent them back to Craig to complete the EP.
This song has a touch of the melancholy about it. Musically the song moves between fairly sweet verses to slightly more aggressive choruses, which reflect the frustration that is being communicated in the lyrics. It is essentially about being fed up seeing how things could work if people were honest, but don’t because some people would rather be a different version of themselves than who they really are.
This was initially just the working title of the track that I was composing in Ableton, and we never got around to changing the title. This song is a social commentary on how people are so easily distracted and obsessed with things like technology that they forget to live in the moment. It also comments on the preoccupation with the 24 hour news cycle that keeps a lot of people feeling on edge. This song is about breaking away from these modern temptations and being your own person, thinking and acting for yourself.
Another song that ponders what might have been from the perspective of someone wondering if they could maintain a post-relationship friendship. Lyrically the song is pretty clear, and the feel of the music conveys a kind of eeriness mixed with aggression to emphasise the disappointment bordering on anger that things didn’t turn out differently. The songwriting process started with the chorus which was built around one piano loop that I liked the sound of. From there the verses and the rest of the track took shape to evolve into the cacophony that we hear today.
Crash and Burn
This is a song that looks at where we are as a society, what is important to us, and where we are headed. When we care about money and appearances we can get hung up on the superficial things in life, complaining and getting upset about small things. We are all essentially searching and yearning for more, there is a deep, empty void in each of us, but filling it with our first-world comforts is not the answer. The song looks at how tough life can be on your own, and how people need to stick together to create new perspectives and priorities in our current world.
This is one that resonated with me from the start. The melodic bassline and organic sounding acoustic drum samples that I chose had me feeling like this could be a track that people would dance and sway to. The overall feel both sonically and lyrically is a bit more uplifting than some of the other tracks, with the focus on what makes you think you might have a keeper when it comes to finding a partner. There is a more optimistic feel about this song, and it is intended to end the EP on a more upbeat note. Writing and mixing this song was a lot of fun, and a lot of sonic experimentation was done with effects and samples that resulted in the final version you hear today. Although the song sounds like it has a fairly classic structure there are a lot of more modern elements thrown in to try and create the feel of something new mixed with something a little familiar sounding.
Listen to Stories in its entirety below.
Stories is released on the 4th October 2019 on all major online stores.
Misha is playing at the Boots, Blues, Rhythm and Shades night at Sound System Studios in Sunbury this Friday night (4th October).