Photo Credit: Leonardo Julian Rossi
“…ideas are living entities which float around the psychic realm and if one comes to us we can realize it or it will leave us again.”
Whether it’s an idea of a melody, it’s clear that Mynolia has this innate capability to capture and spin them into wonderful musical moments. All of which can be found on her debut EP, ‘All Things Heavy,’ out now. We talked about the record, loneliness, and more in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: Like you, I didn’t grow up with a real attachment to a cultural identity. Not because I was traveling like yourself, but more so because that just wasn’t something my family put a lot of stock into. Do you think that’s allowed you to create more from a base-level human perspective?
Mynolia: I don’t know any different, so I can’t really say. But I feel like a fusion cuisine, with a bunch of weird flavours that aren’t claimed by any of the fused cultures. Maybe the other way to look at a lack of cultural identity is as an overload of them. That is what I noticed in my songs over time, that small pieces of all my homes make an appearance, while a theme in the lyrics is often the lack of home. Either way, I can’t say if it’s more base-line human to have no cultural identity or if it is so deeply human to have one, that it becomes the baseline. In the end, we are creatures who want to belong, and some of us just belong in the not-belonging.
Kendra: Being Berlin-based now, did you find yourself being inspired by anything local when writing and recording ‘All Things Heavy,’ be it a dish or a particular shop?
Mynolia: After a decade in Berlin, I actually feel less based there than ever. I feel like I’ve been transitioning out of it for some time, but it has definitely affected me and my songwriting. In “Stall Stickers” I refer to a dark and low-ceilinged basement club, with stickers all over the bathrooms and people looking to shake off life’s monotony while going on hedonistic and exhausting benders. “White Noise” is about wet empty winter streets. I loved a few winters there but hated most. The grey really gets under my skin.
As Beirut sang way back, “Berlin is so ugly in the morning light”, and I agree but I’ll admit it can also be beautiful and it has managed to maintain some of its DIY spirit and punk undercurrent, which is rare these days for major metropolises in my experience. No food has made it into my songs….yet.
Kendra: When you noted about this album, “My driving force is discomfort and connection, making room for the spectrum of emotions we all face, while laughing at it,” I was reminded of what a UK drag performer by the name of Scarlett Harlett said about life. To paraphrase, “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.” All of that said, do you think that ability to find humor amidst the darker times is somewhat of a superpower some of us have?
Mynolia: I think everyone possesses the ability, but of course, it depends on our circumstances. I feel lucky to be able to laugh. Laugh at myself and humanity. It feels good to cackle in the face of doom and gloom. I just look to keep the balance between brooding, discussing, and debating the mysteries of life and our current cluster fuck of a world, and not forgetting that we are animated flesh sacks who came up with everything besides eating, shitting, and mating. Maybe that’s the real baseline human perspective.
Kendra: Speaking of superpowers, you may also have one for creating melodies. Which, have you ever been caught off guard and come up with a melody in an instance when perhaps you weren’t trying to?
Mynolia: Well thank you. I like that theory written about most recently by Elizabeth Gilbert, that ideas are living entities which float around the psychic realm and if one comes to us we can realize it or it will leave us again. There’s no ownership there, which I like. I don’t have any cool stories of coming up with melodies, thinking back now I barely remember coming up with them at all, usually, it’s just a vivid dream that had me waking up exhausted with a new well to draw from for lyrics but I guess melodies hitch that ride, it usually shows up altogether, chords, picking pattern, melody, and lyrics.
Kendra: I do want to get into “White Noise” before we wrap up. The idea of loneliness, especially in recent years has been so prevalent in art all around. As we get further out from the pandemic, do you think that’ll change or will the hold social media has on us keep us in that lonely state?
Mynolia: Yeah it all feels pretty grim these days. And the claw grip of social media isn’t helping for sure. I want to believe that things are getting worse because they are going to get better. I hope we all overdose so hard on the mind-numbing side of tech consumption that our bodies start rejecting and expelling it like food poisoning. The loneliness might be built into us for a while though. I read that psychological studies done on Gen Z show more introverted, fragile, and lonely tendencies, but also higher levels of empathy than any recorded generation before.
Muscles are built by strain and maybe we are just in that phase of getting buff in human connection, despite many old-world strategies attempting to keep people dulled and afraid. I don’t know if I’ll witness it, but I am optimistic there will be fundamental shifts in how we structure societies through hierarchies and law, etc. For now, just hug people more and grow your own veggies I guess.
Kendra: Time for a side note…with the holidays right around the corner, I’d love to know if you could be gifted with tickets to see any artist, living or not, live in concert – who would it be and why?
Mynolia: Leonard Cohen and Lata Mangeshkar. I think I should get to go to two concerts because my birthday is the day after Christmas.
Kendra: Happy early birthday! Lastly, with ‘All Things Heavy’ out on December 2nd, what are your plans heading into the new year?
Mynolia: At the end of this year I’ll be sharing some projects made along with the album, but I’m off to lay low in the Ouachita mountains for the winter. Next year I’m heading to SXSW in March and touring Morocco before that. I have a pile of new songs I will be recording and some exciting collaborations coming up. Keep on creatin’ and livin’. That’s the plan.