Miss June’s new single Twitch stays true to the four piece’s stripped back DIY nature while offering flecks of pop tendencies that the band previously avoided with onus. In their upcoming album, frontwoman Annabel Liddell processes her own med school experiences, like her first time cutting open a living breathing bod.
I called Annabel days after she finished her studies. She graciously stepped away from the Hamilton Bay sunshine to chat about life, music, and skate tricks.
T: Per your Instagram, I see that you’ve just finished med school.
A: Yea it is cool. It’s been a long time. 6 years.
T: To be in a band and also finishing med school – that’s incredible. How was the band-school-work-life balance for you?
A: I guess music is something that’s been present in my life since I was about eight. And so it’s always been something that I’ve done, and I guess it’s the same for education. I sort of come from a family that really prioritised taking educational opportunities if you can get them and so I sort – yea I got into med school when I was 18 and at that point, I had already played in a few bands and Miss June was just sort of starting up. And so we released an EP sort of in my 1st year of med school and then we tour it my 2nd year and really the last few years have just been writing recording and mixing our album. Which has kind of been a tactical move on my behalf because uni has been, by year, increasingly more and more time strenuous, and I guess writing this album and doing all of that has sort of been my oasis away from studying and working. In a way, it’s worked really great, but it definitely has gotten to a crunch point this year where we gotta release this album and I’ve gotta take some time away from it.
T: How would you say that the sound in Twitch differs from your previous album?
A: I think “Matriarchy EP” was a very fundamentally fast punk album a lot of the songs I had written when I was a bit younger maybe 17. Whereas Twitch is getting back to a lot more of my influences musically. A lot of the guitar tones are inspired by a lot of early New Zealand musicians but a lot of the songwriting is sort of based off of, sort of Breeders, Sonic Youth, and actually Wheezer’s new alum was a huge influence on this album I don’t know I guess returning to poppier song structure. Which I’ve really come to accept because I use to reject pop hugely but I realise there’s actually a lot of fun to be had.
T: I especially loved your lyrics. It seems like your passing on bits of wisdom from your own experiences.
A: Yea I write quite honestly through all our songs. And I think, in some tracks on the album, it’s been a good opportunity for me to explore some of the things I’ve done in my degree which I don’t really get the chance to talk about that often.
T: Could you speak to some of those experiences?
A: That song [Twitch] was about the first time I operated on a living person, which for me was a really existential crisis sort of moment. So that single definitely came from that experience.
T: And they twitched?
A: Yea they put the anesthetic on but it wasn’t really working and so when we cut into them they actually twitched. And I got such a fright because I was so use to working on cadavers who are obviously people who have passed and don’t have any muscle-twitch what-so-ever. And so it was sort of this moment: “Oh my god this person’s life, and their body is actually in my hands.”
T: What’s your favourite thing to look at at the aquarium?
A: Probably sharks I think they are really cool and they’re really misunderstood. But actually, the name aquarium comes from an interview […] about the internet being an aquarium where all you have to do really is pull your head out of it and see the actual world.
T: Speaking of the world, you were recently in Australia. What was the most memorable moment from that tour?
A: We got this amazing Airbnb in Brisbane because we couldn’t find any accommodation so we had to just hack it and buy a really great room at this hotel with a pool and a spa and stuff. It was fun playing these really packed out rock shows and then coming back to our spa as a band.
T: So nice! You’ve gotta treat yoself sometimes, right.
T: You play with Tom, Chris and Jun, how do your personalities work together?
A: Chris is very chill. He’s a very chill personality…
Tom is quite similar to me. He plays drums in the band Wax Chattels who are currently on tour in America. And Jun is just like our wild card. He’s just so crazy. They’re all my best friends and they keep me grounded and they keep the music fun.
With all the seriousness that comes with releasing a new album, we’ve just stayed really close and we’re still having so much fun with it.
T: So you’ve finished med school, and you’re about to release another single and the full album in early 2019, what comes next?
A: I’ve taken some time off uni, I’m going to have some downtime. I’m really bad at having downtime. I just really want to harness that self-care.
T: Last question. Word on the street is that you’re a skater. What’s your favourite skate trick?
A: To be honest I’m still learning a lot about it. And my favourite trick is the one that I can do the best which would be a Backside Pop Shove.
A: But that’s a bad answer because skaters will read that and be like “that’s not even a trick.”
T: Humility is good!
A: No… I’m just realistic.
Twitch is the first single from ‘Bad Luck Party’, set for release in early 2019. You can catch Miss June in their home turf at Laneway in Auckland the 29 of Jan.
JEROME LANEWAY FESTIVAL 2019– 10thAnniversary concert!
Monday 28 January
Albert Park, Auckland
For more info and tickets: http://auckland.lanewayfestival.com/