Mi'ens

Mi'ens

 Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN
BandRockAvant-garde

Mi'ens is a Vancouver-based mathy noise rock duo. Experimental, with a side of sparklepop. Female-fronted shredding, backed with polyrhythmic blastbeats. Founded in 2012, Mi'ens is Kim on guitar/looper, Evan on drums. Our latest release 'Challenger' is a 10" coloured vinyl, out on Kingfisher Bluez.

Band Press

Mi’ens are experts in artsy, noisy math-rock – The Georgia Straight

Mi’ens
Challenger (Kingfisher Bluez)

Mi’ens’s Challenger was technically released in the summer of 2016, but it wasn’t pressed onto its glorious coloured 10-inch vinyl format until the winter, and its official release show remains planned for January 28, 2017.

As it happens, January 28 is the anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle disaster, whence the album’s title was drawn.

A stylized rendition of the craft’s plume disintegrating over the Atlantic Ocean graces the mini-album’s cover, providing an implied context with which one may approach this album, a dearth of intelligence that results in chaos as humanity’s progress is tempered by hubris.

The Vancouver-based duo of drummer Evan and guitarist-looper-frontwoman Kim (last names withheld by request) are experts in a quite specific yet hard-to-pin-down style of artsy, noisy math-rock, perhaps best summarized by the title of their 2014 debut, experimentalsparklenoisepop.

Their prowess is even more clearly defined on Challenger, bursting with technical instrumental jams for those who gravitate to the warmer side of Battles, Don Caballero, and Trans Am. Evan propels the polyrhythmic momentum, while Kim’s shredding breaks the sound barrier, the two delivering a sonic assault and always pushing forward with a spring in their step.

You won’t mind Momma pinning these Mi’ens to your ears.

Mi'ens 'Challenger' (EP stream) – Exclaim!

Vancouver math rock duo Mi'ens have just released a new EP called Challenger, which is available to stream in full below.

The release offers plenty of rhythmic twists and turns along with a surprisingly dense sound — you'll find it hard to believe there are only two people at work.

Of the release, the band offered up the following statement:

Mi'ens latest Challenger touches on ideas about political change, the end of the American Era (which Challenger represents in some ways- human progress vs the tragedy of over-reaching ambition), how the new instability affects all of us, from artists/musicians looking for viable spaces, to people forced to leave their homelands. The song Prussian Ellipses is sort of song for my grandmother, who was forced to leave Prussia at the end of WW2, and a play on the band name Russian Circles. These themes become inspiration for a private, introspective creative process. Challenger is a cautionary tale of a modern Icarus.

Stream Challenger in full below. The release is available now on a 10-inch record through Kingfisher Bluez.
http://exclaim.ca/music/article/miens-challenger_ep_stream

Mi’ens expand the thought behind the spazzy math rock – Beat Route

VANCOUVER — Mi’ens, Vancouver’s premiere purveyors of hypnotic looping math-rock madness (or as they often call it, experimental-sparkle-noise-pop), have been entrancing and warping minds for three years now, locally and across Canada and the US. They are now set to release their sophomore album, and third release overall, Challenger.

“Challenger is about the ideas of political change, the end of the American era, and how the new instability affects us all,” explains the guitar-shredding half of Mi’ens, Miss Kim. “So we were trying to put some larger ideas into notes and this is what we came up with.”

To capture both Kim’s fuzzed out Jazzmaster tones, angular riffs, and multi-amp live-looping set-up, as well as drummer Evan’s dazzling displays of percussive passion, the band enlisted the help of local legend Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung, Bison BC). Kim calls working with Gander a “treat and privilege.”

“He has such an in-depth understanding of recording and of music in general, and he really knows how to capture a band’s live sound and essence. [He] captures the warmth and fuzz of our sound without losing definition. Each melodic line maintains an articulate legibility in spite of all the layers. He is a master at capturing the analog within the world of digital technology.”

Also aiding in the recording was young up-and-coming producer prodigy Mariessa McLeod who helped record the trippy backwards drums of “Spacer.”

“With ‘Spacer,’ we decided to have some fun and do something completely improvised, which is a little glimpse of some of the stuff we do at our live shows,” explains Kim. “All of our songs are composed and performed as written, but the spaces in between songs are where we get a chance to just sort of spazz out, and ‘Spacer’ captures that space rock feel. [It’s also] a fun double meaning, because we wanted three tracks on each side of the album, and it’s literally a spacer between the more accessible, poppy ‘Dewey Decibel System,’ and the rest of the album which is, well, more challenging for the listener.”

Mi’ens is inspired both by some of the big names in experimental rock (Battles, Don Caballero, Death Grips, Marnie Stern) and also local bands, describing the Vancouver music scene as “wonderful,” and counting What’s Wrong Tohei, Double Standards, Shearing Pinx, Lié, Anybodys, and Dirty Spells as favourites. “The most important thing is community,” reflects Kim. “Art should be a way to wake us up and bring us together.”

Mi’ens’ Kim Discusses New Album – Discorder

I rushed into the café to meet Kim of Mi’ens, late due to unprecedented snow delays. Kim met me kindly, and didn’t seem at all bothered by my lateness. She was patient and accommodating, and ready to jump right in.

Mi’ens was formed in 2014. Kim (who requested last names not be included in this piece) jams on the electric guitar and creates feedback loops while Evan plays unconventionally rhythmed drums. The band was created in great synchronicity, but with few words. Kim had been in the band Reverter with her friend Trish. When Trish moved to California, Kim resorted to Craigslist for a new bandmate. She listed “very mathy” bands, and Evan responded.

Evan is a classically trained guitarist, but mostly self-taught on his preferred instrument: drums. He had played in the hardcore Victoria band, American Geography, then the pop-y Vancouver band, Diamond Dancer. When those bands ran their courses, he found himself ready for a new project. That’s when he reached out to Kim.
“We communicated more with our instruments than in words,” Kim said of her first jam session with Evan. She described Evan as reserved at that time, and mainly focused on the music. Kim reciprocated that focus. It was clear to both of them, right from the start, that their sounds dovetailed effectively.

The name Mi’ens has a lot of significance to the band. One definition of the word is a contraction of the word ‘mittens,’ because Kim and Evan are a pair, and they want to see how much sound can be made with only two people. Considering this definition, they still keep the music pretty personal to each of them — Kim plays guitar and Evan plays drums, each in charge of their domains.

Another meaning of Mi’ens, quite fittingly, is from the French word mien, meaning ‘mine.’ “This is the first project I’ve had where I’m composing the lead melodic lines,” Kim said, adding that Evan writes and performs his own beats. They riff off the feedback loops of Kim’s guitar, but retain their own individual expressions.

The music of Mi’ens is a heavy dose of chaos, with discernable moments of harmony. They find a balance between being pretentiously abstract and condescendingly overt. Kim explained, “When you have music that is really discordant and then it resolves, it’s more of a relief. A pop song that’s always three chords and never has anything weird, it’s not that interesting to me.” Mi’ens songs are story arcs with moments of breakdown, but not without consonance. After all, they aim to make music that everyone feels that can listen to. “A lot of mainstream music talks down to people,” Kim expressed. “Anyone can be a musician … they just might not have had their moment yet.”
Their latest release is Challenger, named for the failed American space exploration vehicle in the 1980s. Challenger was used successfully until its tenth launch, when the ship crashed on live television and resulted in the deaths of the astronauts inside. It remains a significant tragedy in the history of space exploration, and a blow to American hubris. The failure of the Challenger spacecraft showed that, despite what the government continued to push against, the United States was fallible.
Kim came up with the name Challenger for their new album as a shot to the growing, sickeningly familiar American nationalism in our present day, keeping alive the memory of human fallibility. She also liked the insinuation that their music may be a bit more “challenging,” working off the idea that less accessible and more complex music can be more rewarding than pop.

When asked if the release was inspired by anything from their own lives, Kim simply responded, “Not really. Here’s something [Evan and I] like to say: ‘We like our music complex and our relationships simple.’” She continued, “Aside from larger political ideas, when we’re playing we more think, ‘How would this one part go best with this other part?’ Then we just try to jam something out.”

M’iens just returned from an East Coast tour with the band LAE, and Kim mentioned Montreal was a highlight. “My favourite places to play are in the West Coast because I feel like the West Coast is more into math rock right now, but Montreal, in itself, is a whole different animal. It’s more of a supportive artistic community.” Kim says touring can be very exciting, and provide time for other interests. “We try to see some of the cities we’re in. I like to go to the skate park … I’m pretty conscious because I don’t want to break anything while touring.”


Having recently read Kim Gordon’s memoir Girl in a Band, I was cautious to bring up gender. In the book, Gordon felt the question, “What’s it like to be a girl in a band?” trivialized women being in bands, implying it was odd or distinct. However, the topic of gender arose naturally with Kim of Mi’ens, who is also enamored with Gordon.

“Sometimes women are seen as less capable of playing music properly,” Kim said of the disparity of gender. “For me, playing technical music is a feminist statement.”

In our relatively progressive environment, Kim doesn’t have to prove herself — but she does anyway. By playing formally and breaking that form with intention, Kim proves that she knows how to play her instrument and uses it to make sounds that speak most to her.

Mi’ens is a pure mesh of the individual sounds of Kim and Evan. Their music is for everyone, in an attempt to express that music can — and should — be made by everyone.

Challenger is available in coloured 10’ vinyl, to the delight of those who share Kim’s sentiments toward physical music, high sound quality and coloured vinyl. Visit kingfisherbluez.bandcamp.com to order a physical copy or stream online.

Mi'ens: Challenger – Discorder Magazine

Math Rock duo Mi’ens certainly make an impression with their latest release, Challenger. True to this sub-genre of indie rock, Mi’ens’ drummer Evan and guitarist Kim utilize unconventional song structures, unusual time signatures, and melodic dissonance in order to showcase musical ability. At times, it is easy to hear the influence of their Math Rock forefathers. Spiderland by Slint, Mirrored by Battles, American Don by Don Caballero and American Football’s self-titled album have all clearly left a mark on Mi’ens. An immense amount of music theory knowledge, talent and accuracy is a prerequisite for math rock, and Mi’ens do not falter. “Challenger,” the eponymous track of the album is a composition in which guitars juxtapose themselves, woven between each other in counterpoint. The melody of this track is as jagged as it is repetitive, but catchy nonetheless. “Ja Baar,” the third track off the album, contains a seriously impressive guitar melody that sounds as if it spans the entirety of the guitar neck.
While the band’s musicality is tantamount to many of the other great bands in the genre, their style is noticeably similar to more-recent, lesser-known math rock groups like Hella and Tera Melos. But Challenger has its limitations. Clocking in at a brief 20 minutes, the listener is made to desire more diversity between tracks. Maybe on a longer release the band would have extended further into their musical knowledge to create even more wild and crazy sounds. This album, however, leaves you yearning for just a little bit more. Guitar chords or riffs are looped at the beginning of almost every song. While this looping acts as a backdrop for stunning guitar work, the continuation of a single riff (for minutes at a time) ultimately limits the songs to just a few different melodies. The end result: undynamic song structure. At points, songs virtually blend into one another.

Nevertheless, the instrumentation remains undeniably impressive. For any average guitar player, listening to Challenger will conjure up a feeling of ineptitude: as good as you may think you are, there will always be someone better. And, chances are, they’re in a math rock band.

Multiple loops, guitar lines that go in and out of phase, poly-rhythms, and some sparkly riffs you can dance to – Ride The Tempo

“Multiple loops, guitar lines that go in and out of phase, poly-rhythms, and some sparkly riffs you can dance to”

If you are looking for an easy listen then you’ve come to the wrong place. The Vancouver duo known as Mi’ens (Kim Glennie on voice/guitar/loops and Evan Heggen on drums) don’t play up to anyone’s expectations and they follow their musical muse wherever it may take them. Choose to follow them and you’ll be rewarded with superb art-rock/post-rock because, despite the angular melodies, complex guitar lines and odd time signatures, there is a true warmth at the heart of their music.

Prime cut: “Challenger”

Music Waste delivers zany and, at times, inspired performances at multitude of venues – The Georgia Straight

"Mi'ens, meanwhile, delivered a well-defined postrock set down at the Cobalt that had guitarist Kim Glennie gleefully laying down a complex series of polyrhythmic guitar loops. The performance likewise threatened to unravel when the musician's mike stand accidentally swung away from her during the finale, but a do-gooder hopped on the high-up stage to help Mi'ens get through the song right proper."

Gregory Adams, Georgia Straight

Music Waste delivers zany and, at times, inspired performances at multitude of venues – The Georgia Straight

"Mi'ens, meanwhile, delivered a well-defined postrock set down at the Cobalt that had guitarist Kim Glennie gleefully laying down a complex series of polyrhythmic guitar loops. The performance likewise threatened to unravel when the musician's mike stand accidentally swung away from her during the finale, but a do-gooder hopped on the high-up stage to help Mi'ens get through the song right proper."

Gregory Adams, Georgia Straight

Imaginary Pants with Try the Pie, Mi'ens and KVMP August 29 @ Lucky's Comics – Discorder (that magazine from CITR 101.9)

"Next up was Mi’ens, pronounced like Mittens but without the “tt.” Mi’ens is Kim Glennie on guitar, Evan Heggen on drums, and nobody on vocals. Instead, Glennie spoke through her guitar with complex conversational playing. It was reminiscent of math-rock bands like Hella or Don Caballero."
Chris Schonfeldt