Take a trip to lost island of Mu as we discuss disconnection from reality, fulfillment, and origins of sound with Brittney Rand (BR) and Francesca Belcourt (FB).
You were both solo artists prior to the creation of Mu. What brought you two together to make this amazing duo?
BR — We met at the Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver, where I was production managing at the time. Francesca came to play one night, and I found her to be to be very endearing. I think we both just wanted to collaborate, and so we tried it out. We got to know each other through making music, really.
How did you decide on the name Mu and where does it derive from?
FB — Mu came to us because we wanted to try naming ourselves after a place. When we discovered the Island of Mu during our research we realized it was very fitting because the Mu encapsulates the ideology of where our music comes from. A lost place, a mystical world. We wanted to act not as members of the society we really live in with our music, but as inhabitants of somewhere totally different.
You have already been given the opportunity to perform at multiple music festivals, such as Sled Island and Music Waste. What festival would be a dream come true for you to perform at?
BR — Honestly, we just like playing so it wouldn’t matter much to us. Especially in new cities so we can weird out people we’ve never met.
You were among FKA Twigs and Future Islands in Dazed and Confused’s tracks of the month. How does that feel?
FB — FKA twigs is an artist we both admire greatly, its a pleasure to be grouped with such individuals.
“Debauchery” sends a strong message about coming of age in a desensitized era. What personal experiences inspired the meaning behind this song?
BR — Well, life. Life in the landscape we live in now, anyway. Debauchery was a way of exploring why we often feel so disconnected. The media, our social media, perpetually considering/editing/displaying yourself in a way that doesn’t actually reflect or resemble reality. It’s not playful enough like theatre; we take it very seriously as a cultural practice. It’s a lot to try and make sense of— which is why I believe we’ll likely end up experiencing some sort of mass social media suicide in the next 5 or so years. It’s already happening. The internet is a huge library and an amazing, powerful tool. To manipulate a tool of learning and communication for a public ego stroke is so us. Like, of course we did that. “Debauchery” is a cry for privacy, connection, for something that is real. And yet also a way to laugh at ourselves for having created something that is not.
Although your music addresses the struggles of the worn world that we live in, you also express hopefulness for the future. What choices have you made in your lives to ensure that you go through life feeling fulfilled?
FB — Choosing to repurpose our struggles and other earthly experiences by creating music brings fulfillment to our lives. Being able to communicate in this way is extremely cathartic, and the thought of being able to do so gives me peace of mind and a sense of purpose. Being honest also plays a huge part in that feeling.
Everyone has a different way to describe your sound. How would you describe it?
BR — That’s really hard to do— everyone will always hear something a little different. We draw influences from stories we hear, strange sounds, field recordings, genres that often make no sense in our music— I really find it to be kind of random, the way we get to the song in the end. Cinematic, synthy, dreamy, disjointed pop music? Leandance!
When did you know that you wanted to be involved in the music industry?
FB — The music industry is a pretty ruthless place. I can’t remember a time where I ever wanted to be such an integral part of the industry per say, but I knew from when I was a small child that I completely loved being onstage, and being surrounded by music was always important.
How was music involved in your childhood?
BR — I loved singing and performing from the time I was very little. At thanksgiving I would write plays and perform them and make my family watch. I’d make the bed the stage, make the costumes, write the songs, teach the lines to my cousins. I would go to church with my grandmother, solely for the hymns and the candy she used to lure me there. I didn’t grow up just wanting to do music, I wanted to be an artist, a dancer at one point, a photographer, a scientist. I just always knew I felt a lot, and music made sense before I made sense of it.
What do you think has been your most rewarding opportunity as artists in your careers, so far?
FB — Something I consider very rewarding is the fact that as artists in this time is that we have the ability to attain the basic technological components that enable us to produce music that is only limited by our imaginations. It wasn’t always the case for anyone to be able to record and create music the way we do in our bedrooms, it’s how we began our careers at all. Our next EP is something that I am very proud we made together the way we did.
Was there ever a time when you felt like giving up on your music?
BR — All the time I feel like that. Every artist can probably relate to self doubt, and speculating that your ideas aren’t complete enough. Doubt manifests in so many covert ways, I just have to try and work with it. Honestly, I try to muzzle it by faking it, or just taking a break, but it probably won’t ever go away.
What did you do before you dedicated yourselves to your music?
FB — I’ve been dedicated to music since I was a teenager. I recorded my first original album when I was 17 and used the money I made from slanging CD’s to buy the computer I still use today. Obviously there are times where I can’t focus entirely on creating when I have to maintain a level of stability in life by having a day job. I’ve always had other interests and experienced doing things like working with children, illustration, other forms of writing, but at the end of the day I’ve always felt like music is my sole pursuit in life.
What artist/musician would leave you utterly starstruck if they asked you to collaborate with them?
BR — Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) or Enya.