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Mi’ens expand the thought behind the spazzy math rock

Monday 13th, February 2017 / 18:15
By Elliot Langford

Photo: Patrick Farrugia

VANCOUVER — Mi’ens, Vancouver’s premiere purveyors of hypnotic looping math-rock madness (or as they often call it, experimental-sparkle-noise-pop), have been entrancing and warping minds for three years now, locally and across Canada and the US. They are now set to release their sophomore album, and third release overall, Challenger.

“Challenger is about the ideas of political change, the end of the American era, and how the new instability affects us all,” explains the guitar-shredding half of Mi’ens, Miss Kim. “So we were trying to put some larger ideas into notes and this is what we came up with.”

To capture both Kim’s fuzzed out Jazzmaster tones, angular riffs, and multi-amp live-looping set-up, as well as drummer Evan’s dazzling displays of percussive passion, the band enlisted the help of local legend Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung, Bison BC). Kim calls working with Gander a “treat and privilege.”

“He has such an in-depth understanding of recording and of music in general, and he really knows how to capture a band’s live sound and essence. [He] captures the warmth and fuzz of our sound without losing definition. Each melodic line maintains an articulate legibility in spite of all the layers. He is a master at capturing the analog within the world of digital technology.”

Also aiding in the recording was young up-and-coming producer prodigy Mariessa McLeod who helped record the trippy backwards drums of “Spacer.”

“With ‘Spacer,’ we decided to have some fun and do something completely improvised, which is a little glimpse of some of the stuff we do at our live shows,” explains Kim. “All of our songs are composed and performed as written, but the spaces in between songs are where we get a chance to just sort of spazz out, and ‘Spacer’ captures that space rock feel. [It’s also] a fun double meaning, because we wanted three tracks on each side of the album, and it’s literally a spacer between the more accessible, poppy ‘Dewey Decibel System,’ and the rest of the album which is, well, more challenging for the listener.”

Mi’ens is inspired both by some of the big names in experimental rock (Battles, Don Caballero, Death Grips, Marnie Stern) and also local bands, describing the Vancouver music scene as “wonderful,” and counting What’s Wrong Tohei, Double Standards, Shearing Pinx, Lié, Anybodys, and Dirty Spells as favourites. “The most important thing is community,” reflects Kim. “Art should be a way to wake us up and bring us together.”

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