Fire It Up: Calgary duo Miesha and the Spanks get set to drop fuzzed-out, hits-heavy Singles EP

It’s safe to say most of us have become sick of quarantining with someone at some point over the last year of this pandemic – we just didn’t write about it. 

But that’s OK because Miesha and the Spanks did – and it’s glorious. 

On April 16 , the Calgary rock duo made up of dynamic frontwoman Miesha Louie and drummer Sean Hamilton are releasing their latest album, dubbed Singles EP, and it was a labour of love and intensity borne out of the pandemic. 

But that doesn’t mean it was written entirely during the COVID lockdown, Louie explains. That’s just when things got a little more intense. 

“We had our very first recording just days before everything was shut down,” she explains. “So, we planned on going into this album as a collection of singles.”

But the pandemic changed everything; there were no more live shows, festivals or tours, and the forced hiatus led the duo to reimagine things while they waited to get back into the studio again. 

“Over that time, the songs changed and were either rewritten or scratched, and new ones were put in. So now, all of the sudden, I’m actually pretty influenced by what was going on at that time. You have more time to think just think about what you’re doing because you’re not doing anything,” Louie says. 

The start of the pandemic also happened to coincide with the end of Louie’s maternity leave – she had twins the year before. 

“So, there was a lot on my mind and a lot to write about,” she adds. 

One song that wouldn’t have made the cut if not for the pandemic is I want Fire, their latest single, which they recorded the video for at Louie’s family cabin on Lower Kananaskis Lake. The video features her and drummer Hamilton messing around with the occult in the bitter cold in January 2021. 

“We didn’t anticipate the sweeping breeze across the lake that chilled us to the bone every time it came,” Louie explains. “Sean had his thick winter jacket on between takes, and I was wearing a big faux fur jacket throughout, but my feet were like bricks of ice. I was wearing pantyhose and thin red leather boots and lost all feeling by the second take.”

Hamilton’s partner was there with bourbon to warm them up between takes. 

“it was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve done all year,” Hamilton says of the experience. “We were doing shots of bourbon just to keep warm  and let the adrenaline take over, and then you would do another take, and then the cold comes back, and you can’t take it anymore.”

While the pandemic caused a lot of uncertainty, there was a silver lining when it comes to this album, the band says. 

“I wouldn’t have done as much in-depth writing if we were playing festivals, travelling, touring, and I was trying to be a stay-at-home mom when I was at home,” Louie says, also adding the pandemic allowed her more time to spend with her newborn twins. 

“It was definitely special to spend every day with them as they grew.”

But the isolation had its trying times, too, as you can tell from the song that almost everyone is likely to identify with — We Were Never Meant To be Alone For This Long Together. 

“I remember hearing that one and being like, ‘Oh my God.’ You know, there’s a bunch of focused pandemic songs out there but I think nothing hits the nail on the head as much as that slow burn of loving your partner but also, ‘Oh my God, I need space,’ ” Hamilton says. 

Adds Louie: “A bunch of our jams were just me and Sean spending half an hour talking shit about the people we love dearly.” 

It’s nothing personal, she adds. “You know, it’s going to happen.”

And that’s what makes this album a collection of songs that will speak to many and the duo can’t wait to get back out there and perform for fans again.  

“Our energy needs an audience,” Louie says.

Singles EP is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2018 LP Girls Girls Girls (notably produced by Danny Farrant of punk legends The Buzzcocks). 

Already it’s gaining traction. When it was released this past November, Wanna Feel Good, the first single from the new album, charted Top 10 on the Indigenous Music Countdown, was added to SiriusXM Canada’s CBC Radio 3 and Indigenous Peoples’ Radio, with features on The Verge and Rodney Bingenheimer Show,. 

Working with Western Canadian Music Award-winning artist/producer Leeroy Stagger was meant to clean up the noise for crisp, polished songs, but Stagger, especially on that track, instead turned it up and infused their crunchy mono-guitar sound with extra doses of fuzz and feedback, guaranteed to get the blood pumping.

“In the beginning, I just wanted to dial back how, like, loud we were starting to get,” Louie says, but they quickly discovered it was, “silly to think we should dial it back.”

The result is a gritty fuzzed-out anthem about the pressures faced as deadlines approach and time runs out; and the vices and rituals used to relieve it, to make it through to fight another day. 

“We went into it with a different idea where it would go, and it ended up being truer to our sound than we would have expected.” 

And they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Miesha and the Spanks Singles EP is released April 16.