Miguel Mendez, an extremely talented singer/songwriter/musician, recently released his record My Girlfriend is Melting. It is an extremely good record that clearly comes from a very interesting man; I recently got a chance to talk to Miguel about everything from Elliot Smith to his friends.
How’s it going?
<p>It’s all right; I’m chilling, you know, how are you?</p> <p class="interviewquestion">I’m pretty good, I really like the album by the way, but I wanted to know what you were doing before this CD.</p> <p>Well it’s misleading that this is the first record that I’ve made. I’ve made a bunch of other ones too but this is just the first one that is being put out. Also I was helping out a lot of my friends who were putting records out. I was helping out the dudes in Dios (Malos) and my friend Sam James, he’s in Love as Laughter and I was in Love as Laughter for a little while. I was just trying to get my own music out there but it is tough, so in the mean time I was helping friends tour and put out records.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">I didn’t realize that you had been making so much music previous to this.</p> <p>Yeah, I’ve been doing this for years but I guess I hadn’t gotten serious about it until a few years ago. I have made a bunch of records and I’m hoping that I can get that all out one of these days.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">So how long did it take you to put together the CD?</p> <p>Some of the songs I’ve had written for a long time. I sit around and write songs and sometimes they come out in a second and sometimes it can take a year before I figure it out. The recording of the records only took a few weeks.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">What were you thinking about when you were making this record?</p> <p>I was thinking about love, I was thinking about all the acid I’ve done, I was thinking about running into walls, I was thinking about not wearing enough clothes on a cold day, you know there was a lot I was thinking about.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">What about the title, <em>My Girlfriend is Melting</em>, where does that come from?</p> <p>Well the title, <em>My Girlfriend is Melting</em>, is about love and acid. One time I was on acid and I saw something melt, actually the ceiling started to melt. That was really crazy but it was also a really beautiful moment in my life that at the same time scared the shit out of me. At the time of writing the record I was thinking about somebody very specific and there is that moment when you are like, “wow I’m in love” and often times peoples first reaction to being in love is they are really excited about it but it also scares the living shit out of them. Then you realize that this is real serious shit.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">I think that the idea of something being beautiful, in a very creepy eerie way, comes out a lot in your music. Where do those ideas come from though?</p> <p>A lot of my songs are about something that I don’t know exactly, it’s always about something that is bugging me or something that I am trying to figure out. When I’m sitting around and I’m writing a song its like I’m sitting around tripping out and whatever I happen to be tripping out about at the time is what is going to end up coming through. <p>That’s just the way that it usually goes. I’m trying to have more songs that are about more then just me partying but I just have to go with the ones that come easy. </p> <p class="interviewquestion">Your music has been compared to Elliot Smith; do you feel that that is an appropriate comparison?</p> <p>I do, but that guy wrote some pretty fucking menacing shit and I don’t know if I’m quite as dark as he is. Sometimes I sing like him but comparison is something that I don’t necessarily agree with. I think it is just a way for somebody to feel comfortable with someone’s music. It’s nice, I think Elliot Smith is really good but it’s odd because I don’t feel like Elliot Smith. I feel like more of a normal dude then him, maybe he was a normal dude but when I listen to his music I don’t feel like I’m like him. I do know that there is at least one song on the record that when I was done with it I was like “wow this sounds like Elliot Smith” so I guess I do agree with it on a superficial level</p> <p class="interviewquestion">How do you write a song then?</p> <p>If I have to talk about influences of mine a lot of them aren’t musical really, I’m really into Richard Brautigan, this writer, and when I think about words and lyrics I think more about him then anybody else. In order to make the songs flow you just have to do it in a comfortable way. I think if I ever thought that I had to write a song like Elliot Smith or Neil Young I would just run into a standstill and I wouldn’t be able to do anything.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">You mentioned some influences for your writing; do you have any musical influences?</p> <p>Me and Joel from Dios (Malos) are really good friends and we sort of developed together as songwriters which was really good and really fun. I’ve got to say that when we first heard Beck that made a really big impression on us, that early Beck was pretty important to us. Beyond that some of the older dudes that I like are John Lennon and Neil Young, I mean those are the people that I listen to every day.</p> </p> <p class="interviewquestion">They are really great musicians to look up to.</p> <p>Well yeah, they are just really brave songwriters. They are not always good, John Lennon ate shit so many times when he was trying to write something and so many of his songs you can point to and say that is just a total piece of shit but it’s the fact that he tried to do it which is pretty awesome. It’s just ballsy. It’s the fact that he got up in the morning and said, “Fuck it, I’m going to put these words in a song”. Songwriting is supposed to be fun, its called playing.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">Do you feel that you do that in your songs too, that you have fun and take chances?</p> <p>Yeah, there are a lot of songs where I am just sitting around, just fucking around. There are some songs where I’m not doing that too but I would definitely like to say that I do have fun with it. The point is to not think of things like success but just give it a shot. </p> <p class="interviewquestion">Do a lot of your songs come out that way, by just sitting around and not being too serious?</p> <p>Yeah I will be sitting around and just turn on the eight-track and just screw around.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">Your lyrics are both funny and serious, does that reflect your mood?</p> Yeah I guess, I am kind of a serious dude sometimes but I like to have a good time too.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">You were saying that you don’t think about being successful and that you just think about doing it, but you have been getting some play in college radio stations and such, do you feel that people are responding well to your record?</p> <p>Yeah I think so, its tough when you are in the position that I am in, my record just came out and all my friends are telling me that they like it and things seem to be going pretty well right now. Where I can really see people responding to it the most is at shows and the shows are going well and feel like they are going well to me. I feel good and the response at shows is really good. </p> <p class="interviewquestion">Have you been touring yet?</p> <p>I did one about a year and a half ago and that was just me and my guitar. The only people that had heard of me were strange people that had got a hold of my song on the Internet or who had a seven-inch’ that I put out on a small label. I haven’t been on my own tour since then. The shows I’ve been playing right now are all in New York.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">Are you planning on going on tour for this record?</p> <p>Yeah there will be one; I’m hoping that some of my friends who are doing well right now might want to take me on tour with them. It probably wont be for another four or five months. <p class="interviewquestion">It’s best when you are on tour with friends and such.</p> <p>Yeah I’ve been on tours, none of my own and they can suck but when you are surrounded by people that you love it is just a fucking blast. </p> <p class="interviewquestion">So what are your plans for the future?</p> <p>Well other then touring I want to release some more records, I’m starting to demo this new records in my house and now that I am on a label I have a bit of a budget so I’ll probably get together and make a studio record. </p> <p class="interviewquestion">Where did you record the last one without a budget?</p> <p>The one that is out I did out of my bedroom; I recorded it on a cassette eight track and just recorded the whole thing in my room, so hopefully the next one will be done in a studio with more people then just me. I can get some of my friends involved too then.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">You’ve mentioned friends a lot, where else are your friends involved?</p> <p>That has always been my requirement; I don’t want to bring in people to help me out. Its easier with friends, touring is better with friends and my friend Scott who plays bass for me did the album art, he’s an amazing artist and it’s a beautiful piece of art that he made for the record.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">Are you friends with other bands on your label, how did you get involved with them?</p> <p>Well actually I was playing guitar with Love as Laughter, just on their tour, and then I met Andy and I gave him a demo and he happened to know and work with my label, I and Ear, and that is how I got involved with them. So it’s all nice and familiar. Its really been a positive experience all the way through.</p> <p class="interviewquestion">Well I am glad that it is all working out for you.</p> <p>Yeah on that front I am really happy, I feel really lucky.</p>