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MUSE Series

MUSE: Mira Stanley

September 13, 2014


Like an old soul in new shoes, Mira Stanley—female half of the symbiotically harmonious duo, The Sea, The Sea—is both timeless and original. She exudes a youthful energy and a wise-beyond-her-years soul. A little Lucinda Williams, a little Rilo Kiley, and a little something all her own. When paired with the insanely sweet vocals of Chuck e. Costa and their fiercely intelligent lyrics, it's nothing short of magic-making. We can't wait for this holiday season when The Sea, The Sea will be performing at Ode (December 12th). Meet Mira, our Muse.


What’s the first line in the book about your life? What’s the last line?
‘It had been months that her mother spent upside down, trying to convince baby Mira to turn, but she stubbornly refused, entering the world instead foot first as Neil Diamond’s voice rang through the delivery room “I Am I Said!”

Last line: ‘“Until next time!”


Favorite dance move?
A little Uma Thurman/John Travolta twisting action a la Pulp Fiction.

What song breaks your heart? What song mends it?
“Changer” by Anais Mitchell. “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison. 

We love the origin of your band name. For those who don’t know it, will you expound?
THE SEA THE SEA is a cry of joy that comes from an ancient Greek tale of soldiers returning home from battle (Xenophon’s Anabasis). When they saw the ocean, they knew they were home. It’s a light a the end of the tunnel sort of scenario. Finding each other felt that way. Playing music feels that way. And there’s a lot of joy in the things we find ourselves writing about - even the more difficult things.


Repetition seems to be thematic in your titles. Could you explain what function repetition plays in your music?
We liked the repetition in the band name because we’re a duo-band - emphasizing the idea of two but one. Beyond that, I think there’s sonic satisfaction in repetition that’s almost primal. And sometimes you experience a line differently, importantly so, the second time around. I’ve always loved how to certain poetic forms, for instance, allow for those discoveries. Take our song “Guess it Was” - there’s almost a villanelle sort of thing happening that I think is the core of how that song’s meaning is conveyed. I also tend to be a very visual writer when it comes to the words of a song - like with the palindromic title of the album - I love wordplay and the occasional symmetry on a page.

Favorite palindrome:
I like the existential: Do geese see god? Also, someone once sent us a 150 word palindrome that was quite impressive.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Cooking is one of my favorite creative past times, and Chuck and I have had the pleasure of some incredible dining experiences all over the country, but in recent memory...this summer we had a mind-blowing brunch with some of my longest-time friends that my amazingly talented friend Kyky made. It was homemade eggs florentine (with eggs from Chuck’s sister’s chickens who live down the street) on sprouted grain english muffins. I love yummy tasting things that make your body feel good too. Also, Chuck introduced me to the importance of ambiance/location - even on the road - we’re forever trying to find the “scenic overlook” where we can sit and have our sandwiches.

Favorite YouTube video?
Just about anything that involves animals and unexpected friendships. I’m beginning to believe the internet exists solely for the purpose of sharing these sorts of videos. Here’s my recent favorite (warning: it’s a tearjerker): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ-bJFVJ2P0


Best song ever written: Leonard Cohen “One of Us Cannot Be Wrong”

If you were a piece of clothing, what would you be? A big ‘ol pair of earrings, something flowy, or a rockin’ pair of boots. Does that count as one? smile

What’s your spirit animal?
Peacock-horse! Though I share with my spirit sister Emma this spirit animal as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPWXOlCiEgg

Describe your perfect day.
Any day outside or with the windows open (at home or in the car) that also involves good music, good company, and good food.

If there was a perfume named after you, what would it smell like?
Once I fell in love with a scent a woman was wearing at a show we played in Cleveland. She proceeded to give me the one-of-a-kind bottle of what she told me was a homemade perfume (that she happened to have with her). It’s floral, a little sweet, and it transports me. It’s like the first day of Spring and the first day of Fall all wrapped up with every good memory I’ve ever had. I have no idea how to recreate it, but my friend Nels Andrews has an incredibly beautiful song “Wisteria” in which he references a woman on the Lower East Side who creates perfumes based on how you describe someone (or yourself). She has an enormous collection of tiny little jars of essential oils. I plan to take my little empty bottle to her one day.


What musician would you love to cover your songs? My most favorite covers are those that I would’ve never seen coming...when an artist spins someone else’s song to give it an unexpected life. So, I’d want it to be someone I wouldn’t have thought of...

If you were to write an Ode, to what would you write it?
The moon (or maybe a Grecian Urn? Is that one already taken?)

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Maybe some late night Netflix and an extra glass of red wine. Sssshhh...Don’t tell anyone.

What’s next on your bucket list?
We just met a pilot at a show in NYC who offered to fly us to our next show in the city. So that...

Top 5 favorite albums:
Let’s go with the top 5 (ok 7...) albums I’ve listened to this year. Most of them have come out in the last year or so - some just newly discovered or re-discovered :

1. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
2. Sean Rowe - Madman
3. Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I  Fight, The More I Love You
4. Lucius - Wildewoman
5. Gregory Alan Isakov - The Weatherman
6. Joshua James - From the Top of Willamette Mountain
7. Andrew Bird - Pulaski at Night

What’s your favorite word to sing? LOVE


[Chattman Photography]