Monday, October 01, 2007
Over the last few years Miso have been turning up on venue chalkboards and in street press advertisements with a regularity that suggests they're making a second home of the stage. With a Bristol-via-Tokyo feel, a Melbournian openness to sound and a refreshing lack of pretension, this is a band picking up pace and renown via word of mouth and perseverance, and with a new single "Broken Record" out October 6th, expect it to escalate again.
On record the band are a different prospect as to their live shows, something they have always sought to be explains double-bassist Martin Hadley, "We treat our recordings as almost a separate art. Live it's more about absorbing as opposed to just rocking out and forgetting what you watched. Rock music grabs you and pulls you in straight away but we couldn't be rock if we tried. If people are willing to give us a chance and are open to listening, then they can have the most amazing time of their life. We have been approached so many times at festivals by people who have worshiped their time with us, because it can be quite intense."
The variety of audience responses at a Miso gig is a defining characteristic of a band that can surf genres and modify their shows without capitulating to any one market. "You get crowds that are dancing euphorically, and other times they're kind of hypnotised, or with eyes closed in a dream-like state - this is something you really drive off. Just playing together and digging the whole performance aspect is something that's different every time we play."
What it is that Miso plays is often described as trip-hop. "We were definitely drawn together by all loving that stuff back then, and we produce that stuff now," explains Hadley. "There is a sense of nostalgia to it, but I'd say we're more focused on trying to move forward and toward creating uniquely Australian trip-hop. As a genre trip-hop doesn't have much of a theme in Australia; it's undefining in a way. We've attached ourselves more to the hip hop and the dub scene through supports we've played and built that up, so we can play the chill out stage at the Rainbow Serpent Festival or a DnBBBQ in Sydney, and though we are more upbeat live, we can't force something that doesn't just come out of us, we always come back to this introspective antique darkness."
Creating this sound is where their fierce quality control comes in, something necessary for a band this open-minded to medium and sound. "It's a passion for only using the best samples and working our arse off on mixing - not just throwing together beats. We're all trained musicians, and putting together samples in a musical way is hard work." So what is it that Miso listens for in a sample? "We're at a stage now where we're looking for something we haven't used before but is still hi-fidelity. We listen for interesting instruments, instruments you don't ordinarily hear in a band and we often sample ourselves from previous recordings. When it comes to recording, we've got the songs and we know what we want to do with them, then it's a matter of recording it the way we've been playing it and deciding what we want to keep. It's kind of an analysis or a definition of what we want the song to be." This hard work is resulting in a launch of their video as well as their single and is seeing them contemplate a recording tour of Tasmania "We'd take a caravan round, maybe play a couple of shows, but focus on it as a recording exercise and document it on the way. It's all part of how we like to mix mediums and push artistic boundaries - we're just doing it on a small scale." Expect that scale to expand soon.