Sounds Like Sparkles: An Interview With Multidisciplinary Artist Miiv

Last week I sat down with Miiv aka Saint A, a musician and multimedia artist bringing technology, spirituality and self love into all aspects of their work. We spoke about their upcoming EP, their visual work, and their love for music that sounds like sparkles.

Who is Miiv?

Miiv is me but also an alter ego. I chose the name by writing out my full name and dropping letters. She’s a spirit. When I feel like Miiv or when I’m performing as her, I don’t feel like a physical entity anymore. They allow me to be more playful than I normally would.

Where do you find intersections between your visual and audio work? Are Miiv and Saint A two separate entities?

They are the same person but also not. My aesthetic, or how I carry out visual projects can be really different than how I would with music. But at the same time I think they are interconnected because in both my visual and audio work I’m exploring something. I pull inspiration from a lot of the same places which tend to be spirituality, nature and my relationships with people.

My visual work is very rhythmic, it moves in a way that evokes sound. And similarly with my music, I like to paint a picture. So I’ll add ambiance, people talking, or chimes, anything to help put people into this world that I’ve painted.

You’ve collaborated a lot with other up and coming artists, i.e. doing the visuals for ntu’s residency at the st marks church. Do you see collaboration as an important part of your work?

I think that collaboration is essential. A lot of people will be set on working alone but there’s so much that other artists can offer you by bringing in their different backgrounds, they can catch things that you never would have noticed. It’s an opportunity to grow and build connections. I learned that a lot this year. I was hesitant to share my work but I had a class this year that was just all about being open and it gave me the opportunity to deconstruct and reconstruct everyone's work and just be able to play with other people's ideas.

How has your music evolved in this new EP? What can we expect from UMBRA? What themes/ styles are staying. Can we expect anything new?

I realized last year that I was frustrated with my music because I was just making stuff for people to enjoy and not necessarily playing around with what I wanted to create. So I took a break last year and decided not to put anything out or share anything with anyone. I decided it was time for me to just play and make music. From there I found what my style is and things that I like to do. I’m excited with this body of work because for the first time it feels like me. I’m able to recognize what I like to do with my music. I love weird synths, 80’s high pitched sounds, video game sounds, chimes. I’m always sampling water somewhere, or things that are metal-y and shiny-- things that sound like sparkles.

It has a rhythm to it but I let my music evolve on its own. I’ve just been making things without necessarily thinking about where they need to go, letting the art kind of lead me. Right now this EP feels very pink and purple.

The EP is called Umbra, meaning a shadow cast on the earth by the moon during an eclipse. When I first started making the EP, I was going through a pretty tough time and just sort of coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay to be emotional. A Lot of the earlier songs reflect that space and are kind of this lamentation on these moments in my life. This EP deals with sadness quite a bit, not sadness as defeat but more as a tool for understanding.

The final song is called “Lovers” because through making all of this music learned that if I don’t make room to love myself then nothing else matters. The chorus of the song goes “I only have room for one other I only have room for one lover”. That was basically me telling myself that if I don’t allow myself to love the light and the dark within me, I won’t get anywhere.

Is it a cohesive story?

Yes. I do this thing where I’ll listen to the songs in a different order and if all of the songs feel like the same color than it works for me. all songs feel the same color. They each have their own different sounds but they still feel like they’re made by me.

You work a lot in the digital/ technological realm with your art, i.e. starting the collective Digital Girl. What makes technology an integral part of your work and how does it enhance your art?

It’s the 21st century and everyone has a phone which makes the way we share art very different than how we would have in the past, you don’t necessarily have to go to a gallery to see art. While there is still value in that we have to understand that the way people consume art is just different now, people may only look at your work for like 30 seconds instead of 5 minutes. That’s why I use a lot of bright colors and movement because in this day an age, people don’t read! So you have to think about how you can deliver your message quickly and effectively in that attention span.

Technology is moving so fast, with things like VR and AR starting to work their way into the mainstream, and if we don’t keep up I can just see there being a split in the art world. I don’t think that old ways will necessarily die but I just think we have to learn how to work with technological advancements instead of being afraid of them.

That’s one of the reasons why I started the digital girl project [a collective for femmes interested in music production]. Because there's this elitism in tech that scares a lot of people away from being involved in it even though these are skills that everyone can learn.

What’s next for Miiv?

The EP! It should be coming out sometime this fall so I’ll be working on a lot of promo and visuals for that. I’ll be redoing Saint A’s website and doing more freelance work. I have a sliding scale for QTPOC who are looking to get visuals created. I’ll also be taking a lot of classes on performance and choreography which should be fun.

Joel CampoComment