Next month XL Recordings will release of The Magician’s Private Library, a suite of ornate and expansive songs from New York’s gallingly talented Holly Miranda.

Recorded with super-producer Dave Sitek, and featuring contributions from members of Antibalas and Sitek’s own TV On The Radio, Private Library is one of the first significant pop albums of the new decade and is sure to bring Miranda, late of the band Jealous Girlfriends, much-deserved success. FACT recently tracked down the star-in-waiting to find out more.

Download: Holly Miranda – Joints

So. How are you? What’s been interesting of you late?

“I’m good, thanks. What’s been interesting me? Making a silent film.”

What did you grow up listening to? What had the most impact on you in your formative years?

“Motown, Nina Simone and my first trip to the Detroit Institute of Art – where I saw modern art for the first time. It was a wooden box in the middle of a room with Billie Holiday singing from the inside of it. ‘i jumped out of the frying pan and right into the fire…'”

“I’ve been trying to make this record for a long time.”

Tell us about the origins of The Magician’s Private Library

“My Uncle Ronny came up with the title when I played Dark Side of The Moon for him, he said it sounded to him like ‘the magician’s private library’ and I loved the imagery of it. I’ve been trying to make this record for a long time.”

What was your role in Jealous Girlfriends, and how does what you did with them differ to your current solo work?

“I was co-lead singer and guitarist in the JGs. I loved being in that band, but it was very different from my solo music. I got to shred a little more in the JGs.”

Is there any contemporary music that you’re particularly into..?

“The most new music I hear belongs to my friends’ bands – Abandoned Lighthouse, A Place To Bury Strangers, TV On The Radio, Scott Matthew…”

“Dave’s role as producer? He would conjure the sounds out of me.”

You first befriended Dave Sitek when you were rehearsing next to his studio, right? How did the decision to record together come about?

“Dave and I knew a lot of the same people and yeah, we met in Headgear recording studio when I was working on a record with the Jealous Girlfriends. We became friends and it wasn’t until a few years later that I gave him a demo I was working on and he asked if I would cover a song for him. We went back and forth like that for a while and then started plotting this record we would make.”

Can you tell us about your songwriting process?

“It’s never the same twice.”

If – God forbid – your house was burning down, what three things would you save?

“I’d probably grab my portable hard drive full of all my demos, pictures of my mom and grandaddy and I’d wake up my roommate (who’s the guitarist in my band, Timmy).

Download: Holly Miranda – Forest Green, Oh Forest Green

What were you aiming for with the sound of the record, and what was Dave’s role in realising those ambitions?

“I didn’t have too many expectations going into the studio, or maybe I just didn’t know what to expect. I’d always made albums stretched out of years of free night time studio sessions. I’d never been in one room for a solid month making a record. Dave’s role as producer? He would conjure the sounds out of me. Make me do as much of it on my own as I could before anyone else added parts.”

Having put a lot of time and attention into how the songs sound recorded, is it daunting to then render them live?

“Sure, it can be.. but I’m not married to the idea that live has to be just like the record. in fact, i get really bored when i go to see band that play their album verbatim.”

What are you hoping for in 2010?

“I’m not really hoping for anything. Just trying to enjoy the moments as they pass by.”

Nat Tate



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