INTERVIEW: Audrey Mika on her first tour, her planned full length and the creative process behind her new EP
It breaks my heart a little bit, okay a lot of bit, in posting the last few interviews I have from prior to our Coronavirus lock down because all these bands/acts told me about all their ambitions of continuing to hit the road, play festivals, and now knowing that that will be a very unlikely thing again until at least late April. We’re feeling the emptiness too of something that as music writers, is a detrimental reason why we pursue what we do. Going to see live music is something I’m learning we clearly all take for granted in times like these. And one of those artists that we were lucky enough to sit down with before all of this began was nineteen year old Audrey Mika, who was in the middle of her first US tour when we spoke to her in Boston. Just an hour or so before Mika and her band took the stage, I sat down with her to chat her first touring experience, the creative process behind her month or so old “5 AM” EP and plans for a full length!
This your first tour that you’ve done, yes?
So considering, you’re only nineteen but you’ve been releasing music for so many years. Kind of the preparations you made going into this run? Having this “5 AM” EP out. Having a band with you on stage.
Well, it starts with the music. I actually got to write this whole EP with my best friend and my manager. And we’ve been writing this for almost a year and we finally put it out. And it’s gotten really good feedback. So that’s kind of helped us get ready for the tour and all the fans are screaming the lyrics. And we had rehearsal for three weeks before the tour. We were just rehearsing in this tiny little room. And I was rehearsing in my apartment too. Yeah it’s been so great, in preparations and being on tour as well.
Maybe a city that really surprised you or something you didn’t expect to be a thing with tour? Obviously long drives, it’s a bit of an adventure.
It’s been an adventure. So we flew to Dallas and then we drove from Dallas all the way to where we’re going. We’ve actually unfortunately had a couple flat tires with our van. So that’s been very stressful for our team. But we’re okay now. We didn’t really expect that to happen. Also city wise, I think Charlotte, North Carolina was a big surprise for me. It was a small show but it was really cool and the energy was not what I was expecting.
And how are you approaching these sets? Obviously from looking at it, you have done covers in the past that you can see on Youtube, TikTok, stuff like that. But these sets, I’m sure you have fans that have been there since the covers, that want to see those but how have you been balancing these sets? Is it a lot of original, half and half?
It’s actually all original.
All original, that must feel really great.
Yeah it makes me really happy that most of the fans, they know the music. Especially in the meet and greet, a lot of them say “I’ve been here since your covers” but I’m so thankful for that because that’s really where I got my fan-base from. And I’m forever grateful for that because I wouldn’t be here without it. But they still know all the words to the original music. And I have my pink microphone out on stage actually. Just as a reminder and they love it. And it makes me really happy that they still love it.
And speaking to that, I interviewed this guy J.I. recently in a similar situation, signed to Interscope (Mika is currently signed to RCA), only 18 on his first tour. Maybe advice to young kids that want to tour, want to pursue music? You’ve put in your time.
I would say you’re never too young or too old to try to pursue anything. The biggest thing is consistency and really laying everything out there and making sure you feel good and you’re happy, people can feel that. And they catch on to that. Those are the people that stick with you and also just not letting fear get in the way. Because I feel that for sure. But I just told myself, you never know unless you try and I live by the everyday.
Then I know from looking at it, you recorded your first two albums with Garageband, your two previous projects. So maybe with the “5 AM” Ep, was it something where you had finished the EP before you signed to RCA, was it something where RCA was already part of it? Where did they come into the process?
Right, well there’s one song called “P.S.” and I did that in GarageBand but everything else, we were lucky enough to collaborate with some really dope producers, but it was mainly just my best friend and I writing and I’m so lucky to get to do this with my best friends. And we have a great team. It’s just a really tight circle. So I’m just really grateful.
It’s going well. And maybe that writing process. I know one of the songs ‘Y U Gotta Be Like That” has been out for a while. So maybe when it came to writing with your best friend like you say, how did you approach that in the studio? Do you bring your own ideas, do you write every song together? Do you bring in skeletons?
I mean to be honest it’s different every time. Also they happen so randomly. Sometimes I’ll go out for the day and then Amisha will be at home (looks at Amisha)
Are you the best friend I’m assuming?
Amisha: (Smiling) Uh, uh…uh.
Audrey: (fakes clearing of throat) Yeah! We live together so I would go out for a little bit. Then I’d come back and she’d have a little bit of a song and then we work on it together. But we always write together and we always finish the song together. We’re trying to expand, so we’re trying to write more in the studio, but it’s been kind of hard for some reason. We just love being in our house. It’s just comfortable but we’re expanding and we’re experimenting.
You’re so used to writing in your space and not being in another studio.
Definitely, yeah. So it’s just taking the time out of our day to do that.
And maybe considering, you’ve released this EP, these six songs, you did the projects in the past. Is it something where you’ll stick to the EP pattern music release wise or do you think it is something where you’re aiming for a full length?
A full length is definitely something we’re aiming for. We’re already in the midst of planning our album. It’s going to be at least twelve to fourteen tracks. We’ve been having a lot of fun writing that. But we’re going to put out a couple singles throughout the summer and then just build the hype for the album. It’s going to be a really special one. We really want to tell a story through our writing, and visually, we want to have music videos. Just all the in-betweens.
A lot of the creative things that come with it.
Exactly. It’s going to be a lot of work but then I’m so excited to go on tour for the album. So it will be really great.
Then you’re close to finishing this leg of the tour.
Actually, we’re almost finished with this leg. So we have four more shows. Then we go to the West Coast in two weeks, then I think there’s like five shows in that. So we have about ten left out of sixteen I think.
That’s pretty aggressive for your first tour.
I feel like for your first tour, where you’ve like a full band on stage with you, which you haven’t done before.
That’s true. It’s been amazing though.
But you’re still so early in 2020. The EP only came out about a month ago. I think about a month ago today. It’s only a month old.
Oh wow, it feels like it’s been out for so long.
It’s well deserved, I can see you’ve had a long time presence even if it hasn’t been touring till this point. Again, still so early in 2020, maybe focuses or goals for you as an artist these next few months? Is it just a lot of writing?
Yeah honestly, after the tour, I really want to go home back to the Bay area. I just miss my family and stuff like that, so it will be nice to kind of recharge there for a little after the tour. And then, when I come back, it’s writing time and we’re just going to focus on the album and hopefully maybe play festivals in the summer. But the album is the main focus for 2020. Just getting every little detail for it and making sure that the rollout is perfect and that people love it.