Mika Miko is een new-wave punk band uit Los Angeles en tevens kopstukken van de scene van jonge bandjes dat daar in The Smell samenkomt. Hun opgefokte liedjes en vaak schattige podiumtaktieken (zingen in een telefoonhoorn) zouden bedacht overkomen als ze niet zo verrekte goed waren. We spraken de meiden in L.A. om te kijken of ze ook gemene dingen konden zeggen. Dat bleek niet het geval te zijn.
Let's start with the obligatory band background stuff.
Kate (drums): Jennifer, Michelle, and Jenna met in high school and started playing music with Jennifer's sister, Jessica. In 2001, they had a thrash band called Dead Banana Ladies. Around the end of 2002, they started Mika Miko for a new sound. Then in 2005, I joined the band as the new drummer. I met all the girls after playing shows with them at the Smell with her old band, Wasabi and the Prostitutes. That summer, Mika Miko went on their first US tour.
Nice names. You're all really young, how hard is it to balance out the band with all your regular teenage crap?
It can be tough but we all give each other time and space to work and go to school. We all have hobbies, and side projects and jobs. Jesse goes to school, makes films, and does photography. She's also an awesome roller skater. Michelle builds machines, takes pictures, lives a secret life, and goes to school. She's also very passionate about IN-N-OUT. Kate silkscreens and does printmaking. Jennifer makes clothes, sells bags, and does fashion work stuff. Jenna works at a movie theater and plays in Silver Daggers. She works A LOT.
You guys have been on some larger shows of late. Is there a difference for you guys opening for the Gossip at Irving Plaza on a big national package tour vs playing for a few buds at the Smell? Do you like one better than the other?
Really our fans just become our friends. It's cool because at a show you'll be like, "Oh, look. All of our friends came." On one hand you have fun playing shows at the Smell, where you can hang with the crowd and be a part of the whole show. On the other hand, you can play at big venues where you just hang out backstage, which can be nice and relaxing but not as fun. Irving Plaza was cool, but not as exciting as the Smell where anything can happen. Our music just translates better in a party atmosphere.
Although some message board popularity and an MRR cover certainly don't count as unjustifiable hype, at this point, do you feel like you guys have enjoyed "success" relatively quickly? Is there any resentment or awkwardness?
The internet is crazy! We just do what we do and have fun at it. People seem to like it. We get tons of support from our friends, and they've helped us get where we are today. When we started playing music we never had any ambitions except to play and have good time. Unlike some bands, who have certain goals they want to reach (like recording, labels, tours), we didn't, and maybe that's why it worked so well for us. We did have to work hard to get where we are today, but it's been really fun.
It seems every review or article references you as "the young, L.A.-based" band? Do you really identify with your age group and locale or does constantly being tagged with that burn you up?
In the music scene we are considered young. We are doing a lot of things that a lot of kids our age don't do. Perhaps we inspire those kids to get up and do the same, or even just to get up and have fun with us at a show. Being in L.A. just makes everything bigger. There are so many types of people and music, it's easy to get inspired. There is so much opportunity here, with different shows and parties you can play, and bands to play with. Touring bands are always coming through here.
Speaking of L.A., Google directed me to this article when I was looking for other write-ups about you. Is there a concentrated effort on the band's part to come off rather stupid or does this woman hate you?
Michelle(guitar and keyboards): The L.A. Weekly article was a complete disaster. We don't like thinking about it. The lady who did it really hates us, I'm sure. While we were doing the interview, she was trying to create drama between Mika Miko and The Mean Reds. It didn't make sense to me at all at the time but now it does. She just truly sucks.
Mika Miko have been sitting on an EP they recorded on June 6, 2006 called the 666 EP, which Kill Rock Stars may or may not release this summer. Only time will truly tell.