NewTracks New Artist: Mim Jensen

NewTracks New Artist: Mim Jensen

Sharing a common ground with former Silver Scroll finalist Mousey via tertiary schooling, as well as being managed by Winegum Records, livewire Kiwi/Aussie musician Mim Jensen‘s debut single Germaphobe is one of the catchiest indie rock tunes to come out of Ōtautahi this year. NZ On Air Music chose to give the song a leg up by including it on their NewTracks compilation this August.

What’s your given name, where are you from and what instruments do you play ?

My full name is Miriam Jensen, but I’ve always been called Mim – unless I’m in trouble! Then I get called Miriam. I was born in Brisbane but I moved to NZ with my mum when I was a wee bub. I’ve been based mostly in Christchurch for my teenage years and adult life. My main instrument is vocals, but I also play guitar and piano.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

I went to the Hagley School of Music and did Year 12 and 13 there. It was great because we got to focus on music 12 hours a week and it was the first time I actually enjoyed school. I then went on and did a Bachelor of Music Arts at Ara. My favourite part of my time there was the community and the fact that I got to collaborate with so many people and learn from so many great musicians. I also met my drummer Liam there and we’ve been playing music together ever since!

What’s the background to how this project came to be? 

I moved to Melbourne in 2018 and focused on my solo project over there for a bit. I spent time refining my craft and writing heaps of music. When I moved back to NZ due to Covid I put a band together and we started gigging pretty soon after. My band consists of Liam Dodge on drums, Reuben Ishrahm on lead guitar and Joshua Wright on bass.

How has your writing evolved from your songwriting beginnings to now?

I’ve found my songwriting has really matured over the last few years, I’m not scared to dive deep and be vulnerable through my lyrics. I’ve really found my voice over the last few years and I’ve established a sound that feels unique. It feels good to finally have a clear vision of where I want to take things next.

What makes Germaphobe stand out for you as a single?

I think because of how catchy and anthemy it is. It’s got great energy, and I’ve had people say to me, “Man I always have that song of yours swimming around in my head!” So that’s always a good sign.

What is the story behind Germaphobe?

Germaphobe was the result of some uncomfortable emotions and self-reflection. I was going through a lot at that point in my life, so it ended up being a big part of my healing process. It was one of those songs that just poured out of me, I think I wrote the entirety of it in about 10 minutes.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

I always enjoy screaming the ‘I don’t have to change for you’ line. It’s always cathartic. We weren’t going to include the scream in the recording initially, but it felt right at the time and it kind of gives you an idea of what we’re like live too, which is cool.

Who did you write/record/produce the single with?

I wrote it by myself in my bedroom, like I always do. The chorus melody just popped into my head and I immediately sat down and started putting chords and lyrics to it. We recorded the song at Loho Studio and had a great time. We were just buzzing off the experience really. Being able to see the song transform into its fully recorded potential was awesome. But I think the highlight of it was Reuben screaming into his guitar pickups, that was a funny highlight for sure.

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

Just because something didn’t work out doesn’t mean it was a failure. Stay true to yourself and do what feels right for you.

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

I normally just choose the one that feels right. It’s always a strong indicator if people sing along at gigs and some songs are more ear-wormish than others!

Who else is in your team?

I am signed to Winegum Records and managed by them too!

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

We got to open for Aussie legends Great Gable in Queenstown a couple months ago and it was the best gig we’ve ever played! The Great Gable guys were so kind and genuine. It was such a great experience and that gig that will always stand out to me.

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside yours.

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks? Got any advice for others?

I haven’t had any funding yet, and this is my first time releasing a song, so I’m just stoked for the opportunity!

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?

We just finished recording an album which we hope to release early next year! We’ve got some big gigs coming up too over summer which is super exciting.

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