The Mynabirds // In Short

mynabirds

It’s rash to assume you’d get on with someone based on a handful of answers to a handful of questions you’ve asked a lot of people before but, given Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds predilection for swearing, Motown and The Neverending Story, it’s probably safe to think we’ve found a kindred spirit here. Luckily this week offers the chance to become even better acquainted as The Mynabirds are playing two London shows; tonight at The Islington, and an album launch show, on Friday, at the Old Blue Last. So get along to those shows and get lost in the wonderful music to be found on the Lovers Know album (we’re hearing everything from Eleanor Friedberger to The Jesus and Mary Chain in there). And, if you still want to know the worst job Laura never had, well, we’ve got the answer to that below…

If I had to describe my music in 3 words, I’d use…
Heartbreak hotel whiskey.

My favourite film ever is…
If I’m being a million percent honest? The Neverending Story. A story about the whole fate of the creativity and hope of the entire future riding on the back of a single kid warrior? That’s my jam. Especially when it involves a luck dragon.

The most famous person I’ve met is…
This would depend on your circles. I used to play softball with Ian McKaye when I lived in DC, and most people lose their shit when they hear that. But to me, he’s just a really hilarious human being with a heart of gold. I also met David Bowie once after a show of his in NYC. I was so nervous and totally blew it when I shook his hand and mumbled, “It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Bowie.” Mr. Bowie! Who says that!?

The song I hate the most is…
Let me be very clear here to say that I don’t dislike Katy Perry at all. But the lyric in that “California Girls” song — something about “we’ll melt your popsicle” has got to be one of the grossest lyrics of any pop song ever written. I’m sure they meant it pretty innocently, but all I can think of is the innuendo, and a bunch of melting, flacid cocks. Sorry! Now you’ll never hear that song the same way, either!

The worst job I’ve ever had is…
The worst job I NEVER had was being a waitress at Bob Evans. It’s a country-style chain restaurant in the US. I applied for and got the job when I was 16. But I really didn’t want it — I had been badgering this guy who owned a piano shop in the tiny town where I grew up to let me work for him. So my first day of waitressing came and went, and I never went in. One day my mom looked at me and said, “Aren’t you supposed to be working somewhere?” And I told her I couldn’t — I couldn’t let that job be the first mark on my permanent record. I ended up getting that piano shop job. Taught me that patience and persistence always pays. Until you get fired for playing the piano too much on the job!

If I was in a tribute band it would be…
Motown. Hands down. In the Caribbean. I’ve already talked to my bandmates about this being my retirement plan. What could be better than finding a little hole-in-the-wall bar down by the sea and just singing some of the best songs ever written to crowds who are gonna dance and smile and sing along every night?

My favourite word is…
This is a hard one to come up with when you haven’t thought about it recently. I always liked saying 18 in French (dix-huit). No idea why. I just felt right. Besides that, all the curse words are pretty great, most notably “fuck.” All that catharsis just by shouting some words! Have you ever seen those experiments where they ask people to hold their hands in ice water while silent, and then again while cursing as much as they like? They can pretty much withstand the ice forever when shouting a string of curses aloud!

If I had a super power I’d want it to be…
To teleport. It’d make touring and hugging your loved ones who live on the opposite sides of the earth so much easier.

If I could play a gig anywhere it would be…
For whatever reason, I’m thinking of a field in Iceland right now, in a giant geodesic dome structure under the Northern Lights. How can we make that happen? I love shows that are happenings, that require you to adventure somewhere, and it only happens that way just once. I mean, I’d also love to play at the Royal Albert Hall with my band. I got to play there with Bright Eyes in 2011, and that room is pretty special.

I think you should listen to…
Nina Simone. Have you watched that recent documentary? Heartbreaking. I fell in love with her music when I was 16. But you hear the songs a bit differently after watching that film. I’d also recommend Bad Bad Hats. They’re opening for us in the US on tour this fall and I’m loving what they’re doing. Super sweet band out of Minneapolis.

If I could see anyone play live it would be…
Again, Nina Simone. I don’t regret much, but not going to see her play in DC when I was living there is on my list of regrets, for sure. And if I had that teleporting super power, you’d better believe I’d go back in time and redo that one before she left this earth. I’d also love to see Stevie Wonder. I got a chance to see him play at Obama’s inauguration concert in 2008. But I’d love to see him in a smaller place. What a genius and a gem!

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Live: The Islington – August 5th, The Old Blue Last – Friday 7th August

Lovers Know is released August 7th via Saddle Creek.