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Spotlight on Plaza Art Fair artist: Miry Wild

(Photo by Travis Snell)
 
This week, we’ll be highlighting some of the artists playing INK’s stage at the Plaza Art Fair this weekend, September 19-21.
 
One of the newest members to the local music landscape is Miry Wild, a five-piece folk pop outfit with a sophisticated yet youthful sound.
 
Only a month after forming its full lineup, Miry Wild recorded its debut self-titled EP, a concise spiritual sojourn dotted with enchanting instrumentation and alluring vocal harmonies. The band’s natural chemistry and charm is apparent even from a cursory listen to the album.
 
With this fairly new lineup and only a handful of shows under its belt, Miry Wild is finding its identity as a collective. Fortunately for the rest of us, they’re finding it through cohesive, tasteful songwriting.
 
We talk with Julia Hamilton, the band’s vocalist and guitarist, about the group, its music, and what Miry Wild has to look forward to.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music.
 
Hamilton: Our music is a mixture of pop, folk, and jazz with some pointed harmonies, groovy moments, and tight rhythms throughout.
 
The Deli: How long have you been together and how did the band come to be? What’s the lineup?
 
Hamilton: We started as a three-piece (just guitar, bass, and vocals) last year when Kate [Miles], Havilah [Powers], and I were really itching to collaborate and start writing and performing together. It was just in February when we got together as a five-piece, adding drums and keys. We started working on our EP in March and played our first show together when we released it in May.
 
We really haven’t been together for long and have only played a handful of shows, but we have had an amazing time so far and are very much looking forward to all that is to come! I think we have some really great chemistry as a group. We’ve got Katelyn Miles on the upright bass and bass guitar and Julia Hamilton (that’s me) playing acoustic guitar with vocals. Havilah Powers sings vocals and also adds various percussion. Emily Marriot is our drummer, and Holly Grimwood is on keys and vocals as well.
 
The Deli: For a band that is just starting out, you already seem to have a great comfort level with each other musically. Have any of you collaborated together before?
 
Hamilton: Holly and I were both in different bands in high school; and Emily and I were actually in a rock band together with two of our guy friends from 2011-2012 but that didn't end up lasting too long. I know Kate has played with different orchestras as well. For Havilah, on the other hand, our group is her first brush with writing, collaborating, and performing music. If I was an outsider looking in though, I would never guess that to be true! As long as I've been friends with Havilah, our voices have always found each other. We both love singing so much and I think we have extremely similar tone and inflection, so much so that I feel like we are vocal soulmates. She comes up with these interesting, unique, haunting harmonies that sound so natural and easy for her; her musical ear is amazing! So, most of us have been casually involved in different projects throughout the years, but we've all been able to find our niche in Miry Wild. Each member brings an equally important piece to the whole, both musically and relationally. I feel like it's the band I've been waiting to be a part of my whole life and I hope the other girls feel that way too.
 
The Deli: What inspires your music and songwriting?
 
Hamilton: Obviously, I think it’s safe to say that other artists will always inspire and influence our music. We also write well together as a group and are constantly bouncing ideas off each other (let’s just say our band practices consist more of talking than actually playing music). As far as where we draw our concepts from, certain things tend to come up consistently in our songs: nature, spirituality, relationships… Sometimes we’re just telling the stories that float around in our heads.
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Hamilton: Recording our EP was the very first thing we did together as a band and honestly it helped shape and mold us so much. Five different people figuring out how to write and play together cohesively is a task when you’ve never done it before. We had to abandon the mindset of five individual artists and instead adopt the idea that we are one artist and must express ourselves through one voice. Figuring all of that out has been our biggest accomplishment so far, but we’ve happily accepted the fact that we have much more to accomplish!
 
The Deli: You released your self-titled EP earlier this year. What can listeners expect?
 
Hamilton: Expect to hear just a taste of the different sides of Miry Wild on this EP. We think it is a fantastic introduction to what we have in store for the future.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Hamilton: Supporting local music means SO MUCH. Kansas City has such a wonderful community of musicians who, in my experience, seem to always be there for each other. As a musician, supporting others means reaping all of the joy that comes with being a member of that community. As a Kansas Citian, supporting local music means contributing to the cultural well-being of our city.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local and non-local musicians right now?
 
Hamilton: We love Katy Guillen and the Girls and She’s a Keeper! As far as non-local musicians go, I don’t think I can speak for all of the girls with one answer but Ben Howard is coming out with a new album in October that I think we’re all pretty excited about. We really like him.
 
The Deli: Who are you looking forward to seeing at Plaza Art Fair?
 
Hamilton: I am very excited to see My Brothers & Sisters perform! I haven’t been able to catch a show yet but from what I’ve heard they’re really different.
 
The Deli: Besides Plaza Art Fair, what other shows do you have coming up?
 
Hamilton: We are so stoked about a show we’re playing at Czar Bar on October 7 opening for Paper Bird. They’re amazing. Also, look for a show with KG & the Girls in December!
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Hamilton: MY personal fantasy concert would definitely involve Brandi Carlile. However, all of us in the band have such varying interests so it’s kind of impossible to answer that question for Miry Wild! Maybe we need to work on that as a part of the whole five artists, one voice thing…
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Hamilton: Our musical Mount Rushmore has five faces, one for each of our heroes. The face I chose is Janelle Monae. I admire her more than anyone because she fearlessly represents everything I think music should be about: free expression, unlimited artistic experimentation, and giving a voice to those who aren’t allowed one.
 
Kate chose Jimi Hendrix because his story has always inspired her: a self-taught musician who did not have an easy life by any means but kept making music and making it the most important part of his life, regardless of how much money he made doing it.
 
The face Emily chose is that of drummer Zac Farro because she hugely admires his drumming style and he really influenced her in the beginning stages of figuring out her own individual style.
 
Havilah’s Mount Rushmore includes Joanna Newsom because… How could you not be moved by everything she does!? Her rhythm, melodies and lyrics are puzzling; the form and heart of her songs are captivating.
 
Finally, Holly chose Alicia Keys as her most highly regarded artist because of the way she combines classical piano with hip-hop and soulful lyrics. Alicia really transformed Holly’s style when she was being trained as a classical pianist and made her fall in love with the keys again (no pun intended).
 
…we think that’s a pretty good-looking hypothetical mountain!
 
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
 
 
The Deli: What other goals does Miry Wild have for 2014, and beyond?
 
Hamilton: We are planning to start working on a full-length album before the year is over! We are writing new music now and loving it. Besides that, we just want to play more shows in different venues in Kansas City and make a lot more friends in the music scene.
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Hamilton: Check us out! Come to a show, introduce yourself, and talk to us about music! We have so much to look forward to and are very much enjoying every bit of the ride.
 
Miry Wild is:
Holly Grimwood: keys, guitar, vocals
Julia Hamilton: lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Emily Marriott: drums
Katelyn Miles: upright bass/bass guitar
Havilah Powers: vocals, aux percussion
 
 
Miry Wild will be playing on INK’s stage at Plaza Art Fair on Sunday, September 21 at 3:00 p.m. The stage is located at Ward Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Gram & Dun and Plaza III. Facebook event page.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 

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Spotlight on Plaza Art Fair artist: Key Party

(Photo by Jeremy Rockwell)
 
This week, we’ll be highlighting some of the artists playing INK’s stage at the Plaza Art Fair this weekend, September 19-21.
 
With a well-established and acclaimed musical career, Kirsten Paludan has proven to be an invaluable asset across various facets of the local music community. From the haunting, celestial sounds of Olympic Size to the country charm of Starhaven Rounders to her catalog of solo work, Paludan possesses a versatility unlike other vocalists and songwriters.
 
Earlier this year, Paludan wrote and released an album with Key Party, a project that began with her and bandmate Jessica Gomez, eventually becoming a five-piece. We talk with Paludan about her music and the evolution of her group.
 
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music.
 
Paludan: Ethereal, soulful, dynamic, and dreamlike music interwoven with stories of life, love, loss, and everything that happens in between.
 
The Deli: Give us some background on Key Party. What’s the lineup?
 
Paludan: Currently, the lineup is yours truly (vox, acoustic guitar, keys), Jessica Gomez (electric guitar, keys, background vox), Dalin Horner of Black Christmas (electric guitar), Garret Brown (bass), and Ryan Pope of The Get Up Kids (drums). Key Party started as just me and Jessica in the winter of 2010. I had recently moved back to Lawrence from KC—where I had been living for 10 years—due to a family tragedy, and hadn’t been playing much music. I was offered a show at the Jackpot and was without a band at the time. Jessica and I were good friends and she mentioned that she used to play. I said, “What the heck, join me for this show!” I had to twist her arm since we only had like two practices, but she did it, and the rest is history.
 
The current lineup has only been together since early spring of this year. There have been several different incarnations since 2010, but this group of people is like family. We all collaborate on a separate project together (LongShadows—our first show will happen this winter) and it’s like we have this little music collective of our own.
 
The Deli: You're an accomplished songwriter who's done a lot of solo work and has been in several notable bands in the area. What is your approach to Key Party's music? And what are you learning through this experience as a songwriter and musician?
 
Paludan: When this incarnation of the band first got together earlier this year, I was asking them to recreate the songs from my album Up All Night (recorded with Dave Gaume at Element Recording with an entirely different lineup, other than Jessica). As I continue to bring in new material, the band is giving more and more input.
 
I really appreciate having people on my side whose opinions I can trust. Sometimes when you are the songwriter, it’s hard to be unbiased and objective about a song, and that’s where having a deep bench really helps. Ryan and Garret are a great rhythm section and always have awesome ideas about arrangement. Dalin is an amazingly versatile and soulful guitarist and one of the nicest guys on the planet. Jessica’s simple yet incredibly tasteful approach to her playing makes her one of the band’s secret weapons. Everyone has taken the songs from the record to another level and has really made them their own. When you have such smart and talented people on your team, it only makes sense to use the knowledge they bring to the table. I’ve found that when you can let go and release the need to control the outcome, the results can be better than you ever imagined.
 
The Deli: Tell us more about Up All Night, your latest release.
 
Paludan: I released Up All Night in Spring 2014; it is available on Bandcamp, iTunes, and all other major online retailers. It was recorded and co-produced with Dave Gaume and features John Anderson on drums, Dave Gaume on bass, Jessica on guitar and keys, plus guest appearances by Hermon Mehari, Wade Williamson (guitar), Mike Harte (cello), Chris Tolle (guitar), and Adam Stafford (guitar, pedal steel, background vox).
 
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
 
Paludan: Well, since this is a fairly new band, I would say our greatest accomplishment so far is having a great time playing music. It may sound silly, but it is very hard to find that right balance in a band. Where egos don’t get in the way and everyone is there to give their all to the songs. At this point, I’d say I’m the happiest about finding a group of people who I feel really get me and the songs I’m writing. From here, everything else is gravy.
 
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
 
Paludan: To me, it’s not just about supporting local music—it’s about supporting the community. Most people know that a vibrant art scene is the pulse of any city worth its weight, and making the effort to cultivate and elevate that element is just common sense. I am grateful to be a part of a culturally rich area that understands how important this is.
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
 
Paludan: I don’t like to play favorites, because I think we have an amazingly talented group of people creating music in our scene and unfortunately, I don’t get out to see bands as much as I’d like (usually because I’m performing myself). However, there are a couple of bands/singers that I always love listening to: The Hips, Drakkar Sauna, The Caves, The Belles, Your Friend, Ghosty, Lauren Krum... to name a few. Also, I am a fan of all of the people I play music with—every single one is a talented artist in their own right. I am damn lucky!!
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
 
Paludan: I’m attracted to a mix of genres and eras when it comes to non-local listening. Currently on my playlist: Loretta Lynn, Ella Fitzgerald, cast recording of The Nervous Set, Lower Dens, Warpaint, Sharon Von Etten, Neko Case, The National, Leonard Cohen, Blonde Redhead, Prince, Emmy Lou Harris, Ray Price, Wye Oak, Fleetwood Mac, Cat Power, Patsy Cline, Sade, the list goes on...
 
The Deli: Who are you looking forward to seeing at Plaza Art Fair?
 
Paludan: I’m looking forward to seeing everyone! It’s an event that attracts so many types of people, and it’s great to have a spotlight on local music. Thanks to Ink, a lot of Plaza Art Fair goers are being introduced to the great music being made in their community.
 
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
 
Paludan: Current: Warpaint + Sharon Von Etten + Neko Case
Super duper fantasy bill where time and space don’t matter: Fleetwood Mac (Tusk era) + Sade (of any era, because she is a goddess).
 
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
 
Paludan: This is a really tough question! I’ve been mulling it over and decided on these four (and I cheated a little) for what they have contributed to music overall.
Beethoven: His music is like the primer for all music that followed it.
Prince: He is a bad ass. That is all.
Lennon/McCartney: No one can deny their influence on popular music and their ability to inspire generations of songwriters and bands.
Loretta Lynn: A force of nature with the voice and personality to match. To me, she is the undeniable queen of country music.
 
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
 
 
The Deli: What other goals does Key Party have for 2014, and beyond?
 
Paludan: We have plans to begin recording sometime this winter starting with demos in Dalin’s basement studio and more than likely working with Dave Gaume on the final product (as long as he is available, busy as he is these days). Future plans include continuing to have a great time and playing awesome shows. Hopefully, having that as our goal will lead to greater success. If not, we still win.
 
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
 
Paludan: These are things I’ve learned from my family, my bandmates, and friends over the years: Learn as much as you can from other people, even those with different opinions than you. Be open to alternate possibilities. Live your truth. Always try to do your best and you’ll never be disappointed. Be kind. Don’t forget to say please and thank you.
 
Key Party is:
Kirsten Paludan: lead vocals, acoustic guitar, keys
Garret Brown: bass
Jessica Gomez: electric guitar, keys, vocals
Dalin Horner: electric guitar
Ryan Pope: drums
 
 
Key Party will be playing on INK’s stage at Plaza Art Fair on Saturday, September 20 at 12:00 p.m. The stage is located at Ward Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Gram & Dun and Plaza III. Facebook event page.
 
You can also catch Paludan in a production of The Nervous Set—a Beat Generation jazz musical—at the Lawrence Arts Center. It runs the first three weekends in October, Thursday through Saturday. Ticket link.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.
 
 

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