Popping Up: MIYNT
Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Rihanna and Katy were once unknown, too.
Swedish newcomer MIYNT (real name Fredrika Ribbing) first came up on our radar in 2015 when she released a poignant cover of Britney Spears‘ “…Baby One More Time.” It’s a version of the Britney classic unlike any other. Raw and unyielding, Ribbing’s icy vocals float atop a simple guitar melody, giving the 1998 pop hit a gloomy (yet glamorous) new look.
Ever since, the singer has been making waves across the blogosphere with her own tracks. From the Neil Young-inspired “After The Gold Rush” to the breezy and restless “Cool,” MIYNT’s music exudes a sort of shimmery sadness that rivals the likes of Lana Del Rey and Anya Marina. And as she releases her debut EP – aptly titled EP NO. 1 – today (September 16), the indie darling spoke to us about her new project, being stuck alone on an island for six days and why she sees PJ Harvey as a role model.
How did you first get into music?I always loved music. I’ve consumed a lot of music since I was really young, but making music, that started when I was around 14 [or] 15. I bought a guitar and just started to make tracks. I was really angry at myself because I started so late. I felt like I was too old.
When did you know that you were going to pursue music professionally? I kept all of my music secret until two years ago. I made so many songs, but I kept it for myself because I had that feeling like, “Fuck, I started too late.” But then I started to show it to friends of mine that were in music, and they were like, “This is awesome.” During all of those years, I just went around with this frustration in me like, “This is what I want to do.” But it was just me going around with that thought. That moment of showing it to people and getting really good feedback was like “Okay, I’m going to do this.” It sort of grew out of that.
What are some of your musical influences? Everything from Kraftwerk to … I’ve been a big Bowie fan for all my life, and a lot of my dad’s old records have influenced me a lot. And also, Gorillaz. So I haven’t been into the pop scene that much. I listen to old, really weird punk and Swedish punk records from the 80’s. That sounds terrible. [But] this is what happened.
Do you have a favorite album?I have a lot of favorite albums in different times of my life. When I first discovered music at six years old, I loved Hanson and I loved Kraftwerk. Because I thought Kraftwerk sounded like nothing I’ve ever heard before, and that was really cool to me. But I liked Hanson because they looked like me. That was more of a narcissistic thing. Do you have an artist right now that you see as a role model? I would maybe say PJ Harvey. I find it nice when women do it themselves because it’s such a male-dominated business, the music industry, especially pop music. I think it’s very important when female producers and songwriters get a lot of attention.
The first time I heard you was when you did a cover of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” How did you get the idea to update the track?We discussed doing a cover might be a fun thing to try, and I never was like a Britney Spears fan. I think it’s awesome, her career and stuff, but I never listened that much. I just thought that that particular song was interesting to try to do in a more melancholic way. Just to try to make that song from a different perspective, rather than just bubblegum pop. Because it’s interesting with melancholia and her career in general, I think that her songs have a lot of content but they’re all offered in a really pop-y world. I just thought it was interesting to do it in a more haunting, distraught, melancholic way.
What has been some of the most unusual places you’ve written music? Well, for now, for example, I was trapped on this island all by myself for six days.
Wait, what? How’d you get there? It’s my relative’s house, and usually there’s a taxi boat that goes from there. But they stopped going, so I’ve been trapped for six days, not seeing one human. That’s been very special, but it’s interesting to just be alone in nature and try to make something.
So you’ve been releasing songs one by one in anticipation of your EP. What has been your favorite song to make so far? I feel like I have a special relationship with all of them. For example, “After The Gold Rush,” that was really fun working with the lyrics because it was like a word-play with all Neil Young tracks. But then, “Strangest Game” was fun because it describes such a euphoric feeling of being in love, and when you work on something like that, you get into those feelings. And I mean, for “Cool,” I was just desperate for an air conditioner.
I love “Cool.” Can you walk me through the process of making that song? I made it together with Daniel Nigro. We were in the studio and just started with a bass line, and we did it with no melodies and stuff. I walked away from the studio and was like “No, I can’t do this. It’s too pop.” But then we had another session on that one, and it was really fun to make because that song is not that emotional. It’s more of like describing the feeling of being warm. Being warm or not having a job or something. We laughed our way through that song.
Yeah. Even though it may not be emotional, it’s so relatable that it works.Totally. And yeah, it also came out of some sort of restlessness. I felt kind of arrogant in a way or something. It was a fun thing to make music from because it’s cool to work with that [restless feeling].
So, what would you be doing if it weren’t for music? I started off going to art school, and I’ve been painting all my life, so I feel like that would be [it]. Or being a therapist because how humans work psychologically is one of my biggest interests. I guess that’s where my songwriting comes in.
How are you feeling about the EP coming out? I’m really excited. I’m also excited to start playing live and play those tracks.
That’s great! When are you thinking of hitting the road? Yea, I’m planning on doing that this fall. I’m waiting on a visa for going back to LA, so I haven’t got anything booked right now. But that’s the plan.
Stream MIYNT’s EP below.