“We live in different cities,” Mirah explains. “Lori and Kyle live in Seattle. I live in Portland, so a lot of the initial part of the collaboration was these long distance meetings — telephone calls and e-mails. They were working primarily on music composition, and I worked on lyrical composition. I had this whole room full of all these papers and books that were my source materials. So I was immersed in a way.”
“She was very immersed,” Hanson chimes. “Mirah was able to pick and choose from a lot and kind of shape things.”
Mirah adds, “And some of the melodies, or even a few that were more like completed songs that they had composed, which were sent to me, I could label them, like, ‘Oh, I think that’s the dung beetle.’ It was sort of like a puzzle, working this way.”
Kyle agrees: “I think you were able to, being immersed in those things, pick insects or pick stories, and be able to identify emotional states or kind of dramatic qualities that we needed to put in the music, or that we could create the music around.”
“It’s interesting how giving myself a language and inﬂuence in reading all these books,” Mirah continues, “and then sometimes I would get what was more or less a completed piece, like ‘Emergence of the Primary Larva.’ That was basically what it was, musically, when you gave it to me, and it just ﬁt so well — the feeling of the music with the moment of the life of the cicada that I was reading about.”
The music Mirah was receiving came by way of CDs and MP3s sent via mail and e-mail (respectively). There was some travel, allowing the musicians to play, write, and brainstorm together. Of course, this kind of work takes time. How much time?
“[The process] was actually kind of lengthy, but it wasn’t constant,” explains Mirah.
“It stopped and started,” says Goldston. “The ﬁrst half of it was in the 2005 TBA Festival in Portland. We wrote and performed half the songs for that festival.”
“Six months later we recorded those songs,” offers Kyle. “Six months after that, we recorded the rest of the songs. Well, two years since we started talking about it until the album was all recorded.” Hanson giggles. “Did any of us mention Mirah ran a marathon in that time?”
I laugh, but he’s serious. Mirah relates the story.
“There was a several month period where we had a recording date set for Seattle in December, and we hadn’t written the ﬁnal six songs that we were still planning on writing. And I kept saying,‘Well, as soon as I just get this marathon thing over with, then I can focus.’
“And literally the day after I ran the marathon in Portland, I was like, ‘Okay! Time to get to work!’ And I set up all my books again. I couldn’t concentrate. I can only do one thing at once for some reason. But as soon as I did the marathon, the next day I got out all my materials and recordings, set up all my stuff, and knocked them out. It was amazing!”
Does Mirah commonly run marathons? “No, I’d never run a marathon before. I just wanted to try it.”
Nice. And her time? “Four twenty-seven.”
Not bad. “Well, I wasn’t trying to qualify for Boston. I was…I was on a vision quest! That’s the only goal I set for myself: to ﬁnish it.”
She impishly adds, “Which is the same goal I set for myself on this project: to ﬁnish it!”
Oh, so that’s how it’s done.
– Lyam White