Justin W. Price, AKA PDXKaraokeGuy, is a freelance writer, blogger, and award-nominated author based out of Juneau, Alaska.
Maybe the best thing about Mima Good’s debut album, “Hydra”, is that it refuses to be categorized. Is it pop? Yes. Dance? You betcha? Soulful? Of course. It’s a perfect amalgam of the musical interests of the talented songstress.
Mima Good is an experimental pop artist based in Brooklyn, New York, though she grew up in nearby Manhattan. Mima was musically inclined from a young age, playing in different bands before ultimately beginning her solo project. She is a classically trained singer with years of experience in jazz, pop, and rock technique. She is an adept and accomplished musician, fluent in guitar, piano and bass, and producing. Her solo career really took off when she converted her closet into a vocal booth and began work on her debut album. Hydra: a genrelust compilation of songs about youthful woes from a troubled world.
“Hydra” It is an explosive bedroom pop project, exploring many heads of trauma and oppression—which is certainly apropos for an album relwased in the longest year of our lifetimes, 2020. penned, played, and produced by Mima Good, Hydra pushes the boundaries of contemporary pop. The therapeutic album features has guest spots with many of Good’s friends, including Christopher McBride on saxophone, Shelby Keller (Pom Pom Squad) on percussion, and YATTA on vocal ad libs. “I wanted the album to hold the vulnerability of a bedroom recording with the clear audio quality of a studio pop album.”
As to the name? Well Mima was kind enough to get into that with me and several other questions during an email interview a few days ago. I hope you‘ll enjoy the interview as much as I did—and be sure to check out the album.
Can you give my readers a little of your personal background—and how you ended up as a performer?
I grew up in NYC. My parents were in their mid 20s and would carry me around to bars to hang with their single friends. Before I could speak, I was encouraged to perform for these groups of 20 somethings. My journey as a performer went from fart noises, to animal noises, to singing.
What’s the story behind your stage name?
I was studying the witch-hunts of Eastern Europe and Salem, Massachusetts in college. I was struck by the stories of these women burned at the stake, how anyone who was taking up too much space was accused of witchcraft and murdered for it. I decided to start my music project in honor of two of them- Mima Renard (a victim of the Brazilian witch-hunts) and Sarah Good. I wasn’t sure what kind of music I would be making, but I knew I wanted to take up space and push boundaries.
Who were the musicians on the "Hydra"?
I recorded all of Hydra in my home studio, which was a desk in my kitchen and a vocal booth in my closet. I brought in some talented friends to add parts on it, Christopher McBride on saxophone, Shelby Keller on various percussion, YATTA on vocal ad libs, and my sister Talia Rosen on additional vocals.
What was your role like as far as crafting the songs and how much input did you have in the production process?
100%. Hydra was written, produced, and mixed exclusively by me. I did not work with another producer. Amy Dragon mastered it.
Mima Good "Tiny desk submission"
How has "Hydra" been received and how do you feel about it?
I can’t really say how it has been received. I would love to jump inside every listener’s brain. I have received some press and love from listeners. It has been tough really getting it out there during all the craziness this year but I am so relieved and grateful to have released it.
Why did you choose “Hydra” as the name of your album?
The album is inspired by the story of Hercules defeating the Hydra in Greek mythology. When he chops off 1 head, 3 more grow in its place. I can’t help but relate to this as I continue to survive and attempt to thrive within a patriarchal, capitalist society hellbent on reducing each of us to our consumer potential, especially during 2020. I wanted the album to be a hero story for us all and for myself, proof that we can get through all of the heads to freedom.
How often do you perform?
I used to perform about once a month! In the Age of Corona, I do the occasional livestream but mostly am back in the studio.
Where do you see yourself over the next decade?
I hope in 10 years I have a super sexy music studio, have put out 5 albums, gone on an international tour to a healthy world, and have 2 children who need less therapy than I have. I hope I am still with my love and that all of my family is healthy.
What are some of your musical and lyrical inspirations?
I really have too many to count, but my constants throughout life have been Neil Young, Nina Simone, and The Talking Heads. This album took inspiration from Bjork, Solange, and Lana Del Rey’s “Norman Fucking Rockwell”.
Do you have a specific message or underlying theme to your work?
So far, an underlying theme to my work is overcoming personal struggles, “my demons”. Catharsis is also a big part of it, and cultural observations.
Mima Good "Hydra"
Did being a New Yorker help or hurt your career, as far as getting notice from the right people?
Wow, who’s to say?! Growing up in NYC was truly insane, and I started playing out as a musician at the age of 12. I definitely had a lot of experiences as a young musician that I wouldn’t have had if I grew up in the suburbs.
What is the songwriting process like for you?
It varies from song to song. Some songs come to me in dreams and I force myself up to record a voice memo. Sometimes I can’t wake up and swear the next day that I wrote the best song of my life but will never remember it. Others start with a beat, a chord progression, a phrase, or just a thought. Each song tells me how to finish it; each song has its own creative journey that I cannot force.
Are there any causes that you have thrown your weight behind?
I have a long history with activism and have worked in many different causes and circles.
You can have one perfect day. What happens?
I’m at the beach all day with my Momo, my mom’s mom who passed away 2 years ago.
What’s your favorite Covd-19 quarantine game?
We ordered Bop It Extreme off of E-bay. Do yourself a favor and order one you will not regret it.
What’s the first thing you plan to do when this whole Covid-19 business is over?
Play. A. Show!!!!!!! Also go to a show. I don’t care what music it is. Actually, a metal show would feel amazing right about now.
Many artists are still finding ways to perform for fans during all this through Livestreams. Is this something that you have done or considered?
I have done a few livestreams, my favorite one being Baby TV, Baby’s Alright’s livestream platform. I recently moved to Woodstock and am building a new livestream set up. I want to share this nature somehow. TBD.
If you could write a letter to your ten-year-old self, what would it say?
Keep writing poetry. Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them.
What are your hobbies, outside of music?
I love baking, cooking, and collaging!
What are your top five desert island movies?
I don’t think I could even name 5 desert island movies! Lord of the Flies?! Castaway?! I’m out.
What makes your brand of pop different from the other pop acts out there?
It comes from my head! Nobody else’s! Unfiltered 100% my brain for you folks, take it or leave it.
Do you have any advice to young musicians out there about how to handle themselves in the industry?
Sometimes I feel like younger musicians are better at this industry than I am. I really loathe self-branding, self-identifying my music. A lot of them seem to have this DOWN. They seem so cool. If someone was getting into music and asking for my advice, I would tell them the same thing I have to remind myself constantly, ignore the numbers, just write what you need to write. Whoever is meant to connect with your music will find it in time.
Where can folks purchase your music and keep up to date on upcoming shows and events?
All of my links, lyrics, and other fun stuff are on mimagoodworld.com. I update my Instagram the most frequently: @mimagood. My music is on all the places you listen to music! Just look me up. Mima Good. Maybe throw me a follow so I know you’re listening ;)
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Wear a mask, black lives matter, ACAB!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Justin W Price
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 03, 2020:
Nice. Well conducted interview. Interesting.