Dive Bar Wisdom with Holly Miranda
A new album is on the way, but meanwhile Holly Miranda gave us a collection of covers in 2016 to tide us over. Head to Bandcamp to hear her do Drake, Bon Iver, Morphine, Sparklehorse and more. Also check out a special song Holly helped create with Ani DiFranco and others in February.
For the fourth edition of 'Dive Bar Wisdom' we caught up with Holly Miranda to talk about her large musical family, future plans, and some of her favorite places in NYC...
BV: You've gone from playing with The Jealous Girlfriends to embarking on a solo project that led you to working with Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio (and on a related project with Scarlett Johansson). How have your musical influences changed over time?
Holly: They change the way things change but always stay the same as well. By which I mean, I grew up only allowed to listen to Motown music, and that kind of music always had so much soul and drama. I think that has influenced what moves me for years, it has to be real and honest and usually very dramatic.
And are you working on anything new?
I just finished a new record that will be out on Dangerbird Records in the fall. I'm also joining Lizz Winstead, Ambrosia Parsley and many others for the Vagical Mystery Tour in June. That is a tour of musicians, comedians and actors who will travel around the country this summer and spread awareness about women’s reproductive rights. I am also working on a few other things that I can’t talk about just yet.
Were your grandparents (or a grandparent-like figure in your life) music fans or even musicians? Did any of the music they liked or played influence your own musical taste or style of music?
My great grandaddy made fiddles and played and wrote songs for all of his 12 children, who all also made music and influenced so much of what I do. I love old country music; Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard... the list goes on. I learned to speak in TN and my real voice is very southern. I think maybe one day soon I will make a country album.
What is some worldly advice that a grandparent or grandparent-like figure gave you that's stuck with you? How has that influenced how you think about life or music?
Remember who you are and keep your nose clean.
What is your favorite place to see or play live music in NYC? Why?
I love seeing shows at Town Hall because there isn’t a bad seat in the house, no matter where you sit it sounds amazing. However, I have never had the privilege of playing there.
Two people interviewed for this series so far separately brought up how much they miss Zebulon. Zebulon was actually the first place I saw you play solo. Do you also think NYC is not the same without it?
NYC will never be the same, from yesterday to today. I miss Zebulon as much as the next guy, but I also know that Zebulon had to leave to keep Zebulon going, they couldn’t survive in Williamsburg. They recently reopened in East LA and I couldn’t be happier for them, I also can’t wait to play there.
What is your favorite Brooklyn dive bar and why?
I don’t think I know a dive bar that is still open in Brooklyn. When I lived in Williamsburg the dive bars I loved were The Levy, Trash Bar, and Sweetwater (When Pablo bought it and made it into a bistro I told him I had seen someone throw up behind the jukebox once in the early 2000’a and he told me the vomit was still there.) The last bar I went to in Brooklyn was Bar Lunatico, I doubt you can call that a “dive bar” as they serve octopus salad and fancy mezcal, and I loved it there.