What are your names?
Miesha Louie (guitar/vocals) and Sean Hamilton (drums)
What is the bands name?
Miesha & The Spanks
How did you come up with the bands name?
I thought of “The Spanks” a long time ago, maybe even high school, and was hanging onto it for an all girl band I’d hoped to form someday. When my old punk band BOGART! broke up and I was starting something new I decided to just use it already, and throw my name at the front. I wanted to be able to keep playing and using my songs if band members came and went, not start from scratch again.
What is your genre of music?
I always answer “Garage Rock” but there’s definitely some punk and pop elements there.
Give us a little bio about you as a band and as individuals.
Sean and I have both been playing music in Calgary AB a long time. He used to front a punk band called Jenny that worked with DOA and their label Sudden Death Records. He joined up with me just over two years ago now- I’ve had Miesha & The Spanks going for about a decade now. Besides playing music I’m also on the board for our Girls Rock Camp here in Calgary, and facilitate it every year.
Are you a signed?
We work with a local Calgary record label called Saved By Vinyl. They released our last full length as well, and have worked with a lot of great Canadian artists like Ghostkeeper, Astral Swans, and Rae Spoon. They’re going to be releasing Eamon McGrath’s new album Tantramar later in the year as well.
Your new single ‘Girls Girls Girls’, tell us more about it.
The new album is Girls Girls Girls, but the first single is Atmosphere. Atmosphere has a punchy power-pop chorus that’s super fun to play, and is sort of stripped down in the verses where I sing about love/romance and keeping it secret for a while. We recorded it (and the rest of the album) in Brighton with our producers Paul Rawson and Danny Farrant of The Buzzcocks. We were in town a whole ten days working in the studio, it was great to get out of our element and put the whole thing together.
Tell us about the naming process of the single.
Girls Girls Girls was an album concept since 2014, when my drummer was Emelia Lovink. We started with the hashtag on everything we posted. It was an idea long before it was a song! It was actually the last song written for the album. It’s about all the strong females in my life stepping forward and taking up space. The single Atmosphere was named for the chorus hook “You keep me here in the atmosphere”- cheeky love lyrics.
What is the message you are trying to tell your fans?
Working with Girls Rock Camp in Calgary, I’m always trying to show younger girls that it’s possible to stand up and play loud. It’s so great how many more female and non-cis musicians there are these days than their was when I was a kid, but it isn’t quite leveled out equally just yet so I still think it’s important.
What was the writing process like?
I usually write pieces of a song on my own and bring them to jam to work out with Sean. We did that with this album but kept them technically unfinished before going into the studio, knowing that we would re-work them with our producers.
What was the recording process like?
Ten long days of recording every idea. We really flushed everything out and tried it all! We were in Brighton the whole time but didn’t actually get to see too much of the city because we were in the studio so much.
You worked with Danny Farrant ( The Buzzcocks), how did that come about?
I’d met him at home in Calgary during a music festival, Sled Island. I snuck backstage and was drinking the Buzzcocks beer and then he caught me and I turned into his tour guide around the city. Months later he e-mailed me to record some vocals for him and Paul (Rawson- the other producer) for some film/tv work they do. That was 2011 and I’ve done a few songs a year with them since. It was natural we’d end up doing a record together I think.
How was it working with Danny Farrant?
Writing and recording music is his and Paul’s main gig I think. They are so dialed in, and truly attempt every idea they have good or bad. I think working like that sort of leveled up Sean and I in that respect. It was frustrating at times because I am not used to working like that, but I learned a lot, because it made the songs and album as whole so much better.
You also teased an album, what can you tell us about?
Girls Girls Girls is the album all these singles are coming from, and what we recorded in Brighton last may with Paul and Danny. It’s some of our best work. Still punky and garage-y like we’ll always be, but polished and for a lack of a better word right now, professional.
Describe it in three words.
Sassy singalong swagger
You also have a tour coming up , what a can you tell us about it?
We’re working on some UK dates now for late spring, but we’ll be going coast to coast at home in Canada for March and April to support the new record, released March 9.
Do you have support acts?
Nothing official for the whole tour, but we’re playing with some great local bands along the way.
Will there be merch? if so what can fans expect?
The new album! Both on vinyl and CD. Shirts, pins, stickers, beer cozies.
Where can you get tickets?
Most shows we play are door admission, but if you need tickets we’ll make sure the info is on the facebook events.
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any other artists or bands?
Nothing planned at the moment!
Would you be up for collaborating with artists or bands?
When it’s time to start writing our next album we’ll be up for anything!
What made you go in to music?
I always loved making it and performing from a very young age. Once I was old enough to tour I just never did anything else. It all seems very natural.
Do you play any instruments?
Guitar in Spanks, and drums in my side project Chick Magnets.
Who are your influences?
I grew up listening to motown and Bruce Springsteen, so that influence has to be in there somewhere. I was obsessed with riot grrrl music in my formative years.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I get a lot of inspiration these days, musically, from watching my peers perform. Bands like Dirty Nil and Hot Snakes. Lyrically I’m drawing a lot from my own experiences, which in the past led me to a lot of love/relationship songs. Those are all still there, but I’m more aware of what’s going on around me than I’ve ever been, and so I’m finding myself writing about broader topics.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
More of the same, but maybe on an island like Tobego for writing season.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I like to retreat to my comics and video games when things slow down a little. But truthfully if I’m not performing I still love going to shows and playing records. It’s still everywhere.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
I don’t know if it was one song. It was more watching real people on stage and realizing I could do it too. So like, the entire Calgary music scene in the early 2000s.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
To try every idea, just in case.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Same advice! I heard it much later than I should have.
Where is the go to place to go in Canada?
Canada is very big with very different cities and terrains, so it really depends what you’re after. I grew up inthe Rocky Mountains so I’m biased, but you really do have to experience them in your lifetime.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Instruments, guitar picks, red lipstick, change of t-shirt for sean, aaaand 2 shots of jameson to start the set.
You come off tour;
1/ Where do you go first?
Home, but only for a second. Then one of the local pubs to reconnect with my city.
2/Who do you see?
My girls and my man. A band.
3/What do you eat?