Following the release of her critically acclaimed debut album 'Premonitions' (which includes the incredible cuts 'Leave The Party', 'Stock Image' and 'Stop Talking') last year, Miya Folick has shared a new song, 'Malibu Barbie', about which she says: "'Malibu Barbie' is about my exploration of what being a woman means to me - it’s a longing for an ideal. It’s realising that I can go to an extreme in pursuit of physical perfection, look around, and realise that I haven’t changed. I am still longing and seeking something more. Who I am is not a place at which I can arrive."
Coup De Main caught up with Folick recently to discuss having perspective on the impossibility of human imperfection, hope and self-care...
I believe in the younger generation, like teenagers, to recognise what my generation is doing right and doing wrong. I do think that if our species is going to survive, we’re going to need to develop a healthier relationship with social media. It’s that powerful that it could kill us. When I think about the longer term, if I could try to be psychic for a moment or anticipate what’s going to happen, I feel like this intense relationship with social media is either a distraction that’s momentary on the great timeline of life or it’s something that will continue, but we’ll learn how to deal with it better...
COUP DE MAIN: Your new song 'Malibu Barbie' explores your personal ideas of what it means to be a woman - was there a particular catalyst in your life or specific inspiration behind when you realised that physical perfection is humanly unachievable?
MIYA FOLICK: I think I’m still coming to terms with that every day. It’s an ongoing process. There are still moments where I find myself bothered by some element of my body or my appearance that I’d like to change or improve. For me, I’m realising that these thoughts about my body usually stem from a more generalised anxiety about my life and it manifests itself in thoughts about my body or my appearance - but it’s not really about my appearance. Realising that has helped me deal with these thoughts. I haven’t eliminated these thoughts, I’ve just learnt how to have perspective on them, and realise that they’re not true. That when I criticise my body, it’s not because my body is bad, it’s because maybe I’m frustrated with myself, or I want something to change.
CDM: Is 'Malibu Barbie' lifted from an upcoming EP or album?
CDM: You've said that you wanted your album 'Premonitions' to be "the vehicle for a hopeful, truthful, generous, and loving world." Has how you feel about the world changed at all since writing and recording the album?
MIYA: No - I think it’s important that as you change, and the world changes, to have some basic, unwavering hope or perspective on life that guides you, that is based on some larger truth that has nothing to do with politics or what things are like right now. My general philosophy about life has not changed.
CDM: In the album's title-track 'Premonitions' you say, "But if you ignore the darkness / Then you miss the point of life." Do you think it's important to embrace the full spectrum of emotions in life?
MIYA: I think it’s important to embrace them, but that line specifically is more about that it’s important to not ignore them. You don’t have to go so far as to embrace them, just don’t ignore them. Don’t skim over the negative things, just to get to the things you like. I think staring things straight in the eye and acknowledging that they’re there is useful, whether or not you can go to the next step and say I accept it and embrace it – at least look at it.
CDM: 'Thingamajig' is a really beautiful song. What was running through your mind while writing it?
MIYA: At the time I was in a relationship that I knew needed to end - so it’s kind of about that. I was also watching 'Westworld' so it was kind of about that too.
CDM: The chorus of 'Stock Image' is really encouraging, "Don't you get too far from yourself / You're so hard on yourself / Oh, you'll get through / Only hard when you say it's too hard." Do you try and take your own advice to heart?
MIYA: Yeah I do - I’m not always good at it. I think especially when I’m playing that song live, I’m reminded of why I wrote it and maybe I should think about it more when I’m not on-stage.
CDM: 'Leave The Party' is such a self-care anthem! Do you tend to enjoy your own company more than that of large groups of people?
MIYA: It’s interesting because I feel like I used to like my solitude so much, but I think this job, being a touring musician, has forced me to be around people a lot more. Playing shows, being with my band, travelling with them - just being in constant contact with people has brought me into this new phase of my life where I do like my solitude, and I need it here and there, but in general, I don’t like being alone. Specifically, I’ve developed a fear of sleeping alone. I think it’s because when I’m on tour there’s always somebody around.
CDM: 'Stop Talking' is insanely relatable - from both points of view in the song. You say, "We will become the words we say" - do you think that the more you talk about someone/something, the more it takes up space in your brain and actually feeds obsession?
MIYA: Yes, 100%. I think there’s this idea that the more you talk about something the more you’ll understand it and something will be illuminated and eventually you’ll understand. But there’s also great freedom in realising that sometimes you’ll never understand. You’ll never understand his or her behaviour. If you can accept that and let it go, then you can move on with your life. Instead of rehashing the same conversation or interaction over and over again until you don’t even remember what happened - you just remember how angry you felt. I don’t think that’s useful. There are so many other things to think about, and you’re really limiting yourself when you become obsessed with somebody else’s behaviour.
CDM: Do you have any good tips for distracting one's self?
MIYA: Reading. I like to read. I’ve been really liking high intensity interval training classes. There’s something specifically about weightlifting where I don’t think about anything else - I’m just switched off and it feels really good.
CDM: 'Freak Out' also rings very true. Where do you see the future of the relationship between humanity and social media going?
MIYA: I believe in the younger generation, like teenagers, to recognise what my generation is doing right and doing wrong. I do think that if our species is going to survive, we’re going to need to develop a healthier relationship with social media. It’s that powerful that it could kill us. When I think about the longer term, if I could try to be psychic for a moment or anticipate what’s going to happen, I feel like this intense relationship with social media is either a distraction that’s momentary on the great timeline of life or it’s something that will continue, but we’ll learn how to deal with it better. But also, the scary thing is that I think it will start to be in our genetics. Our ancestors had to deal with predators and what a predator is, is changing, and we’re going to adapt to that. I don’t know what that means, but it’s scary.
CDM: 'Deadbody' is such an important song for these times. Do you think it's crucial to normalise conversation around sexual abuse and the #MeToo movement to destigmatize the shame society places upon victims?
MIYA: Yes - of course. I think that’s why I wanted to write that song, because it’s a powerful victim song. It’s an empowered, self-aware and intelligent song that isn’t simply vindictive and is less about the perpetrator and more about the person who experienced the trauma feeling empowered. It sucks that so many people, myself included, have not felt comfortable talking about certain experiences because they’re ashamed. It doesn’t have to be the case. But I also don’t think that any one movement, or any one song or movie could change that for everyone, I think our culture has a problem, that is going to take longer to fix. This song, to me, is just a tiny part of a larger effort that is going to take longer.
CDM: What was it like touring with Pale Waves?
MIYA: It was fun! It was really fun, they have very, very nice and exciting audiences.
CDM: What's next for you?
MIYA: New music and some festival dates in the US. And then we’ll have to see, but definitely stuff to look forward to.
Listen Miya Folick's new song 'Malibu Barbie' below...