Miya Folick on collaborating with Mitski, reflecting on the past and her new EP 2007
Miya Folick is seemingly everywhere. Following the release of her debut album Premonitions in 2018, The LA-based singer-songwriter shared one-off single “Malibu Barbie” in 2019, recorded a stunning cover of Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You” with American Football, covered Death Cab For Cutie‘s “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” for Hulu’s Looking For Alaska miniseries and was featured in Petey‘s song “Haircut.” But with her new EP 2007, Folick is ready to reintroduce herself.
Folick began writing this EP shortly after Premonitions, with the pandemic upending her plans to release it earlier. While Premonitions was about her dynamics with people and examining her boundaries, 2007 is about going inward, finding the strength to do what’s best for herself.
On opening track “Oh God,” Folick second-guesses her direction in life — particularly in her career. “I don’t ever want to be alone/Maybe I should call my mom and say I’m moving home,” she ponders, with a minimalistic drum machine and twinkling synths in the background.
A lot has changed in the past couple of years since she wrote the song, but the sentiment still stands.
“I think I’m constantly having second thoughts about my career,” Folick admits over the phone, speaking from her home in Los Angeles. “I’ll go through periods where everything feels right and easy and moving forward feels obvious, and then I’ll go through [others] where I am struggling or frustrated or questioning everything, and then I may find some answers and move into the other phase.”
Folick recalls that recently, she and her friends were having a conversation about the concept of regression, sparked by the realization that they were reexperiencing issues they had encountered a few years ago. “We had to remind each other that that’s just the way life works. Things don’t go away. Just because it’s not as present for you for a while, it doesn’t mean that it’s completely gone away,” she says. “And when it comes back, that’s not a moral failure. It’s not a regression. It can just be that life is cyclical.”
Though she’s talking about “Oh God” in particular, this could be the thesis statement for 2007. Spanning nearly 20 minutes, Folick contemplates how, when revisiting issues from the past, she can deal with them differently. Take “Bad Thing,” for example, a track about being stuck in a cycle of being hungover after a night of messy antics prompted by escapism. The song, the poppiest one on the EP, was co-written with Mitski and Andrew Wells.
“We worked on a few songs together, and this is the one that ended up making the EP,” Folick says about collaborating with Mitski. “I think she and I similarly have a very intuitive approach to music. The sense that I get from Mitski in the studio is that she is extremely comfortable with exploring [new things] and comfortable being vulnerable.”
Like Mitski, Folick explores her own vulnerability on “Nothing To See,” where she looks back at a past relationship, where she felt she lost her sense of agency. The track, pared down with acoustic guitar, lets Folick’s voice shine, as she processes how much this toxic dynamic affected her: “Why did I do that?/Why did I do that?/Nothing has changed, I’m just sad and in pain/Said, I would never be desperate/Look at me.” Though Folick is singing about a relationship that ended years ago, the details still feel heartbreaking: the former partner chatting up teenage girls on the internet, Folick struggling with body image to fit her partner’s desires, not correcting them when they mispronounced her name because she didn’t want to push them away.
“I rarely talk about relationships in such detail on songs. More often than not, I just start writing and see what happens. It’s almost like the song asks to be written,” Folick says. “It was a relationship that really affected me, but I hadn’t written about in a couple years, and I think that that distance of time allowed me to be pretty honest about it in a way that I may not have been able to have been closer to when it had occurred.”
Though the lyrics feel heavy, Folick brings some levity in the song’s music video. Directed by her friend Noah Kentis, the video begins with Folick sitting at a restaurant, slurping a bowl of milk while dressed as a cat.
While trying to come up with the concept for the video, Kentis and Folick were trying to imagine what a visual extreme would look like. “I think the real-life version of that song might be wearing a specific type of dress or wearing a specific type of perfume or talking a certain way,” Folick notes. “We were brainstorming different images that captured that kind of concept, and we thought of the idea of turning yourself into a cat because the person you’re with really likes cats, which is just a funny way of visually representing that.”
Those who’ve been waiting for a follow-up to Premonitions are in luck. Folick shares that the EP is part of a “larger body of work” she created in the past few years. She decided to release an EP first because she wanted it to feel “like the beginning of the story” that will be continued in an album, set to arrive in 2023. “I’m very excited for it to come out,” Folick says. “It’s been a long time in the making.”