An Interview With The Australian Rocker, MIA DYSON!
Posted On 05 Jun 2018
Accolades are coming in for Australian rocker Mia Dyson and her new release IF I SAID ONLY SO FAR I TAKE IT BACK, which is out now. Billboard exclusively premiered the album, and John Paul White, who is featured on the album, notes, “Mia is a formidable talent, bringing an abundance of raw energy and passion to everything she creates. She’s a truly gifted songwriter, singer, musician… and a person I’m proud to call my friend.”
Dyson kicked off 2018 with a sold-out US club tour alongside fellow Aussie Jen Cloher (with Courney Barnett on guitar). She is currently touring touring with The Psychedelic Furs and she already made a stop at the SXSW Festival in March.
Connect with Mia Dyson Here: www.miadyson.com
Produced by Alabama Shakes keyboardist Ben Tanner and Dyson’s longtime drummer Erin “Syd” Sidney, IF I SAID ONLY SO FAR I TAKE IT BACK, adds a stylistic unpredictability to her soulful, introspective strain of rock music. Along with proving her extraordinary magnetism as a guitarist, the album finds Dyson shaping each emotionally intricate track with a more intense vulnerability than she’s ever revealed before. The album also features such musicians as David Hood, one of the original Muscle Shoals SWAMPERS (who played bass on classic songs like The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There”), and John Paul White (formerly of The Civil Wars).
Learn more about Mia Dyson in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
I’m returning from the high desert near Idyllwild to Silver Lake in Los Angeles. I’m going to have a friend over work on our creative perspectives
What is one big goal you have for 2018?
Finding new avenues to engage my creativity – drawing, dancing, poetry
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have?
As a child, my parents exposed me to so much great music, literature and art, that I knew I wanted to get out and explore the world. But not till I was a teenager did I think I could possibly lead a life in music myself.
Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
I can just remember me and and my dad and my sister all playing together in the living room. Dad taught us the song “Dark End of the Street,” I on piano and Ariel and Dad on guitars.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown?
Because I didn’t get into the surfing culture of my home town, there wasn’t much else to distract me from playing the guitar. I didn’t fit in there so I would say that Torquay gave me that freedom.
What have you learned from your father being a guitar maker? Have you ever asked him to custom –make you one?
For my 14th birthday, I asked him to make me a guitar and he made me a dark-blue/purple tinted with a beautiful wood grain you could see through the tint. He taught me my first few things on guitar and was a huge influence on me with all the music he played in the house
Let’s talk about your new album, “If I Said Only So Far I Take It Back.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you at all about the overall process? Were there any unexpected challenges? Can you recall the first time you heard it all the way through? What did that feel like?
Writing these songs changed my life. I really hope it speaks to people in a way that helps them celebrate life. I was surprised that Karl and I could communicate in a way that let these songs come out. Like everything, it was a mixed bag, and I learned more how to appreciate having a bag at all.
What was it like having Alabama Shakes keyboardist Ben Tanner and your drummer Erin “Syd” Sidney produce “If I Said Only So Far I Take It Back”? How did you go about selecting the musicians to play on this collection?
Ben revealed himself to be so personally warm. Syd was like an angel in so many ways: supporting, pushing, guiding. No one’s ego got in the way of anyone else. It felt so organic in Muscle Shoals. Ben knew John Paul White and Dave Hood how sang and played bass respectively, and I couldn’t have asked for better.
While it’s difficult, can you pick out a couple of your favorite songs off this album and talk about how they were written and how they got on this collection?
“Bleeding Heart” and “Everything is Waiting for You”. “Bleeding Heart” didn’t seem like it was going to do anything, and then, on Christmas Eve 2017 in a camper in the mountains it just snuck up on us and seemed like it wanted to be sung really loud by somebody. I think of it as an anthem to “soft” power.
“Everything” came out around a niece and nephew being born, and my wish that they (and I) see nothing but opportunity for some sort of joy in every situation, even if it is the sad sort of joy.
How was your most recent tour this April with The Psychedelic Furs? What did you learn from that experience?
Inspiring! They were sweet to hang out with, and they gave me an example of how to tour and serve music up passionately to people for a life time
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows you would like to tell our readers about?
I love old theater venues. My favorite performance is always the one I have the privilege of preparing for or actually executing right now. And right now that is San Fransisco, May 20th at the Chapel. After that is a guitar festival in Quebec.
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
The hard times seem to be producing art that speaks to me, coming from so many different people in so many different mediums (for example Handmaids Tale). It gives joy me thinking that others might be getting from my music some of the same pure joy that I sometimes receive when making it and when receiving art from others.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Lucinda Williams, Neko Case and my musician friends.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What would you say is the overall message of your songs?
Life is worth the price of admission; let’s squeeze the worth out of it together.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
My songs are my children and I am being the best parent I can.