Bay Area Feature and Interview: LOUIZA – “Party Trick”

LOUIZA

We’ve got a very catchy summer track from Oakland Artist, LOUIZA with her single, “Party Trick” 

Born in San Francisco, Rebecca Mimiaga studied music at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. The Summer before, she took an internship at a Chelsea recording studio and moved into a small room in the East Village. With few friends and only a handful of music venues she was allowed in, Rebecca walked around Manhattan and wrote lyrics. Building a diary in songs, she explored emotions with two voices: one introspective/acoustic; one electric/outward-looking. She continued to perform both styles in an ever-widening range of NYC bars and coffeehouses. In 2014, she teamed up with orchestrator/producer Maxim Moston to record Words in the Dark – a highly-personal work for voice, piano and orchestral instruments. In the same year, she built a rock band under the guise LOUIZA. In 2015, she left NYC for Oakland and, within a year, began recording Party Trick at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. The album introduced LOUIZA with aggressive, minimalist songs with a pop sensibility. Currently, Rebecca is writing her second LOUIZA album while under the influence of West African music.

Check out her full interview with BTR Today below!

BTRtoday(BTR): Why the name Louiza?

Rebecca Mimiaga (RM): I created Louiza to explore another side of me, vocally and musically. The music under my name Rebecca Mimiaga has a more introspective, dreamy quality. When I recorded my last EP, Words in the Dark, it was deeply personal, drawn from purely inner experiences. At the same time there was a part of me that wanted to be bolder, less careful, a sort of pushy persona I wanted to write for and perform as. Louiza came out of that desire. Musically it’s materialized in “Party Trick” as matching hard electric bass and guitar lines, chromatic melodies, punk rock drum hits, thicker vocals and aggressive lyrics. Rebecca and Louiza are two sides of the same coin, but I want to keep them separate. I want to see where both voices can go.

BTR: So would you say this music is more of an alter-ego?

RM: It’s both a reflection of myself and an alter-ego. I don’t act like Louiza in day-to- day life, but there is a certain honesty I can reach through her.

BTR: You’ve been doing music for a long time, what initially got you into it?

RM: I don’t know. I’ve always known and always done it. When I was younger, I sang all the time, so often my whole family called me “Bird.” Which of course became “Bird-Turd” if I didn’t stop. I’ve just always felt like there’s a radio on in my head.

Music has always been my passion, the most meaningful way I could express or understand my experiences. I will say that I wasn’t always sure I wanted to pursue music full-time. I had considered being a nonfiction writer or naturalist. But the more I moved in those directions, the more I missed music.

BTR: Tell me about this new track “Party Trick.” What was the creative process like? What inspirations went into it?

RM:  It was born from an angry feeling. There was someone I knew well, yet from whom I felt excluded, especially in front of other people. I thought, ‘how can I confront this person musically and lyrically?’ I sat at the piano and visualized laying into this person at a party, in front of everyone. I started with bass lines, feeling for the right rhythmic punch and melodic agitation and worked up from there.

We did a lot of cool stuff in the studio to flesh out the aggressive sound I was looking for. My engineer/producer, James Riotto, had his own studio tricks. He manipulated the attack and release settings on a noise gate to create an exaggerated pop sound on the kick drum. He thought we should double the bass line on acoustic piano and Minimoog. We also doubled my vocal line and added crashy percussion on the verse and thunder-stick on the instrumental section. It all started to work.

BTR: What are you listening to these days?

RM: Oh, man, where to begin? I do a lot of running and moving while listening to West African music, namely Bassekou Kouyate and Oumou Sangare. I’m taking Hindustani Northern Classical Indian singing lessons and listening to Kaushiki Chakraborty. I could drink her voice up.

For contemporary music, I’ve been checking out a lot of local artists to hear what the community has to say: Waterstrider, Madeline Kenney, The Tambo Rays, tUnE-YarDs, Kacey Johansing, The Range of Light Wilderness. I could go on forever—there are so many amazing artists in the Bay Area.

BTR: What more should we be expecting from Louiza?

RM: I’m going to do some shows in NYC for the new Party Trick LP. I’m recording another album this February and having a blast writing it. I feel many music worlds coming together in a pop way and I can’t wait to figure it out with a band. The full Party Trick LP is coming out this October 2017. The release show will be on Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Cornerstone in Berkeley, CA.  And I can’t wait to make the next record at Tiny Telephone.

 

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