Inside the Jukebox: Mitten (Q&A)

MittenApril2010b

On the very eve of Valentine’s Day, on his mum’s Birthday no less, Matt of TWJ had the distinct opportunity to sit down and talk with Maia Macdonald and Joanna Katcher of multi-state based Mitten.  After the chat, Matt walked away feeling that a good portion of our federal budget should go towards supporting new artists that have wonderful sounds to share.  Truthfully, couldn’t most of the world’s problems be solved by music?  Skim the conversation to find out how Mitten met, what their song crafting process is based upon, and just how far they’re willing to go, in order to wear headbands and thigh-highs.  Extravagant excuses for a brilliant fashion ensemble.  Catch a review of their brand new EP, See You Bye here, and take a bit of time to meet a wonderful pair of women who just happen to make wonderful music.

The Wounded Jukebox:  bows

Maia:  hello!

Joanna:  Hello!

TWJ:  haha

Hellow and welcome

Joanna:  I think Matt is showing off that he knows how to make things bold

TWJ:  I make bold statements

decisive

TWJ:  excellent! Well this is my 1st q&a via gchat, so this is neat

Maia:  where are you? in the world?

Joanna:  ours too!

Maia:  NOT MINE I DO THIS EVERY DAY

TWJ:  I am near Cincinnati Ohio, in a zip up pull over with stripes on it, sipping ice-less water

Joanna:  Whoa.

That is exactly what Maia is wearing.

TWJ:  what’s your current environment?

Joanna:  And exactly what I’m drinking.

Joanna:  I am currently in Queens, NY reporting live from Fresh Meadows.

Maia:  at this moment I’m in somerville massachusetts cooking dinner listening to 90s rock on the radio and waiting for the grammys

Joanna:  Oh!  I am listening to Peter, Bjorn & John.  THANKS PANDORA.

Maia:  f*#k pandora would be better than this station

TWJ:  Ok 1st official question: How were your days today?

Maia:  hm

Joanna:  a sheer delight, started off with some brunch in Brooklyn, 3 cups of decaf, and what I thought would be a quick ride to target which was then overshadowed with a potentially faulty car battery, honking unsympathetic New Yorkers and a douchey traffic cop.

Maia:  i spent all of yesterday moving apartments so today was a sore sunday laundry style day. i got up too early, made sourdough pancakes, watched a lot of trashy tv and did laundry. it was one of those

Joanna:  (s&*t I forgot to watch trashy tv today, I can do that at work tomorrow.)

TWJ:  i’m glad I got you in the throws of various emotions, makes for a much better slew of answers

and Thankyou very much for taking the time, once again, you are very generous

could you tell me a bit about you met?

could you sense each other in the room beforehand?

Joanna:  Ha!  Yes, we can definitely tell you about how we met…

Joanna:  I had applied for the job of program director at BreakThruRadio which I was promptly denied (which is shocking since I had no experience as a program director before).  But they asked me to come in for an interview about doing a radio show solely about Northwest music since I am from Oregon.

Maia:  and i had actually just been hired as program director and ended up being the one to interview joanna about doing the north west show

Maia:  she got hired, then we hung out once in a while and ended up becoming good friends!

yeah at the time i was basically overseeing all the different shows and making sure all the ducks were in a row

TWJ:  So what was the moment like when you first got together in a room and starting plugging things in?

Maia:  that moment actually came months after we started making music together!

TWJ:  oh wow

Joanna:  We definitely work separately… we had essentially been emailing ideas back and forth for a long time

and it wasn’t until we decided we needed how to figure how to play live that we got in the same room and started putting stuff together

TWJ:  so a typical email from one fine lady to another would contain, what? lyrics, chords, beats?

Joanna:  But everything was pretty much via email, just seemed to work well for both of us

Yes exactly!  Usually an instrumental idea sent to Maia, and then a vocal and lyrical idea sent back to me and then back and forth from there

TWJ:  a Postal Service serendipity

Maia:  something along those lines for sure

we were super shy at first about sending each other ideas

but luckily we got over it.

TWJ:  i’d be pretty excited to get the NEXT email, on the edge of my chair

Maia:  exactly!

TWJ:  “omigosh what does she think?”

Maia:  yeah that’s pretty much it!

Joanna:  Yes!  That’s exactly how it goes!

Every time I send something to Maia I pace until I hear back… but it is amazing to get the next iteration of a song and see how it is changed / sculpted into something different

TWJ:  So do the emails take up a larger part of your days than they did before?

Are your day jobs still necessary?

Maia:  when we’re working on a new song we’re constantly emailing back and forth and its a big part of the day, and other times when we’re not working on songs we are sending roughly 30 non-song emails back and forth a day

our day jobs are very necessary at this point

okay maybe not 30. but like 20.

Joanna:  dude i mean 30’s not that far off the mark, let’s be honest.

TWJ:  i’m sorry to hear about the necessity.  Id imagine you’d like to give more time towards your music eventually.  Sans day job?

Tis the dream?

Joanna:  Definitely – – I mean right now it’s basically like we have two day jobs.

I mean each of us have our normal job and then spend the same if not more amount of time on Mitten

Maia:  without a doubt, agreed

Maia:  we think about parts of songs all day long pretty much

TWJ:  any daily activity that helps the songs grow in particular?

does a great line or rhythm hit you while doing laundry for example?

Joanna:  Sometimes yeah, I am pretty influenced by whatever I am listening to at the time and music that I’ve always listened to

TWJ:  ooooo, which is?

Joanna:  And completely influenced by whatever melodic ideas Maia sends over

Music I am listening to now is… um

Foster the People, Faded Paper Figures, Phantogram, Bodega Girls, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, The Postal Service

Maia Macdonald

(the artist)

Maia:  OKAY COOL IT

TWJ:  vapors

Maia:  usually when i listen to a 30 second clip joanna sends me I get really inspired, quickly

TWJ:  that’s excellent!

sounds like the perfect mix

What are you hoping we the people will get from your music when we listen?

/jump in?

Maia:  i hope people will want to listen to the songs more than once and find something in the melodies or the words that they connect with

Joanna:  yes.  what she said.

Maia:  my favorite songs are the ones i listen to in earphones when i’m walking around the city

i want people to have that experience with our music

TWJ:  oy!  that’s great!  I see city streets, I hear dancing on a subway

had that typed before you said that

So you’re doing a great job then!

Joanna:  Ha, thank you!

TWJ:  If the gods were bestow a freeee music video up Mitten, which song would it be for?

does one have a visual idea to it?

Joanna:  we’d be pumped for a video for “You’re The Runner”

Maia:  i want a choreographed large group dance scene

Joanna:  in a basketball court.

TWJ:  how large is large?

with sweat bands or no?

Joanna:  of course sweat bands.  always sweat bands.

TWJ:  bright colors and high thighs?

Joanna:  yes.

TWJ:  love it

Maia:  short shorts

we had a video made for cavalcade

a stop motion one which turned out really cool

TWJ:  how did I not know this?!

oh neat!

Joanna:  it was a surprise for us too, she sent us the link and was like here’s this video i made!

TWJ:  golly gosh that’s gotta be flattering

So the reaction to the EP has been good?

what kind of feedback are you getting?

Maia:  we’ve been lucky to have a lot of positive feedback so far, which has been super encouraging! we worked for a long time to create these songs, and until we released the EP,  people had only heard the other songs from the album when we played them live a few times

it has been cool to see which songs different people are drawn to

Joanna:  yeah definitely – we have our favorites and it is definitely cool to see if people are on the same page or not about those songs

TWJ:  Do mind telling me which are your favorites?

or should it remain a mystery?

Joanna:  I honestly don’t know which are my favs

Solitary Moves has a special place in my ticker

Maia:  yeah i actually can’t pick

TWJ:  as a listener, the time you took to make the songs shows.  There’s so many little things that pop up at just the right times

its really neat

Joanna:  That is awesome, we really appreciate that you hear that kind of stuff!

TWJ:  *Matt composes himself*

TWJ:  was it tough to begin sharing the songs with audiences initially?

Maia:  for sure! when we posted up our first mp3 online we had no idea what people would think….

TWJ:  and then?

did your birds fly back?

Joanna:  we were lucky, we fortunately got some nice feedback which was really encouraging

TWJ:  How does Mr. Fitch play into things? (Ryan Fitch plays the drums/percussion with Mitten)

Joanna:  Ryan is definitely the reason that we’re able to play live, without him there wouldn’t be a live show

he’s an amazingly talented musician, has a really good ear and is able to learn our songs quickly and really well and then perform them flawlessly

TWJ:  ok, last official question

Joanna:  cool hit us.

TWJ: Are there any love songs in your pocket for tomorrow?

Joanna:  We’ll be serenading you at your doorstep around 7pm tomorrow night.  Get ready.

TWJ:  i tell you, I’ll be the greatest long distance Valentine you’ve never had

Joanna:  (We’ll be billing you for airfare of course)!

TWJ:  bah

gladly

Maia:  Joanna, let’s drive

I’ll pick you up at 6am

Joanna:  Sounds good.

TWJ:  I enjoy Vic Damone tunes

sing me On The Street Where You Live, and I’m yours

Joanna:  Noted, we’ll start working on them tonight.  And then more on the drive.  Check!

TWJ:  precious few covers of great Love songs

you’d be great at it

Joanna:  Well!  We are flattered clip_image005

Maia:  thanks for online dating us tonight Matthew Argalas!

Joanna:  agreed, happy birthday to mama jukebox!

TWJ:  blush and bow

i’m taking her to a mystery dinner theater

MURDERRRRRRRRR

Joanna:  Be careful!

Thank you again though, we really appreciate this!

Maia:  yeah this was a lot of fun!

thanks!

TWJ:  any questions for me, before we part?

Maia:  real quick, middle name?

Joanna:  (that was also my question)

TWJ:  Bryce

Maia:  MBA.

that stands for something

Joanna:  Maia owes me 10 bucks.

TWJ:  has a real nice flow to it, when it’s yelled down the street

Joanna:  Yeah it does.  I just practicing screaming it.

TWJ:  shudder

Maia:  i gotta run, dinner is starting to go down a bad road!

Joanna:  good night!

TWJ:   Goodnight!

Joanna Katcher has left.

Maia:  goodnight sir!

TWJ:  Thanks Maia

Maia Macdonald has left.

Mitten See You Bye

(Mitten’s See You Bye is available now)

-Matt

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  1. #1 by mistercereals on April 27, 2011 - 10:02 PM

    I love this band, thanks for publishing an interview of them. I wish they could come to France to play a show.

    • #2 by The Wounded Jukebox on April 28, 2011 - 12:11 AM

      They are definitely something special. Thanks for reading!

  1. RadioPotato's Top 5 Songs for April 2011 | RadioPotato

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