Music, // November 30, 2014
FirebirdSweet – MUSICIANS
Interview with FirebirdSweet
1. Who are you and what do you do?
FirebirdSweet has two human members: Emma Gies on violin, mandolin and vocals and Micah Huang on guitar, percussion and vocals. We compose, arrange and perform music.
2. Why music?
Emma: it soothes my soul and gives my life balance. Music is a place where I can let my imagination fun free and my subconscious take control. I think it’s special because it puts us in touch with aspects of the world that we can feel, but not see or quantify.
Micah: Music is special, because it’s a space in which we can interact with the basic principles. Vibration, Rhythm, Harmony… they’re immutable, and interacting with them makes me feel really alive. It’s a great way to encapsulate and share the most valuable aspects of your experience, and it gives back a lot, too. It can take you to places where you can feel ok no matter what’s happening in the material world.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be involved in music?
Micah: I couldn’t really say. Apparently I leaned how to switch records on my parents’ stereo before I could talk. Both of us come from pretty musical families, so it was always around.
Emma: I don’t know exactly either. Banging on the keys as a kid, listening to my favorite beach boys tape… watching my parents play.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and style(s)?
Emma: I’m really into the classics… 60’s and 70’s music. The essence of the Beatles is like the Holy Grail to me. I love world music too, especially Indian music. I also love western classical music. Particularly romantics like Maurice Ravel and Bela Bartok.
Micah: Amen to all that. I also really enjoy a lot of music from West Africa and the eastern bits of Asia and Europe. We’re both big fans of Blues, Soul and Gospel. We like all great music.
5. How do you work and approach a new piece that you are working on?
Micah: I ask myself that question every time. I think that it’s really largely about tricking yourself into a mind-state where things can get in, so to speak. I conceive of this process in strange ways… that’s what works for me. It’s definitely more about allowing than about doing though.
6. What are your favorite musician(s), singer(s)?
For Classics, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Band, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and a lot of the old Atlantic Records crew. The Allman Brothers, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd… Radiohead is our biggest recent influence, along with Nirvana. Ali Farka Toure, Ravi Shankar, the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir… the list goes on and on.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
Micah: The best times are when our music can bring people together. We lived in Budapest, Hungary for most of the past year, and one of our best memories was a concert we played with some of our Roma/Gypsy colleagues. That event was awesome because it brought a wide range of people together across all ages, ethnicities and cultures. Those people wouldn’t probably ever have met otherwise, but there they were, listening to the music and sharing the experience. Afterwards we came out and there were American Diplomats and Gypsy-Jazzers drinking and laughing together. That’s the kind of thing that makes us feel really happy.
8. What do you like about your work?
Emma: I love the songs, singing the harmonies, the physical act of playing and being right there in the living music. I love when it gets in the zone and clicks. It feels like it’s all right where it’s supposed to be.
9. What advice would you give to other musicians?
What you say doesn’t matter as much as whether it’s honest.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Hopefully out and about doing our thing with a beautiful place to come home to.
FirebirdSweet is fully independent and can be reached via Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org