While Mishkin Fitzgerlad might be best known as the lead singer of Birdeatsbaby, her solo career turns from the progressive sound of the band to dark piano ballads. Bringing her classical and operatic influences to brood, her piano-driven melodies will send you soaring. Her latest album The Piano Conspires reimagines the band’s last album for a haunting acoustic experience. We sat down with Mishkin Fitzgerald to talk about the album, her creative process, future plans, music and much more!
OSR: Was there a moment when you decided that music was the right choice for you?
Fitzgerald: Yes. I think growing up surrounded by music it was inevitable, I sang in a church choir, which naturally led me to enjoy performing music. The moment I knew it was what I wanted to do would’ve been the first time I attended a stadium show. It would have been Muse in 2000. I was blown away by the size of the audience and the way just 3 people could make so much incredible noise, I had never seen anything like that before. I wanted to create music like that for myself, and one day be the front person of a band.
OSR: You used to be the lead singer of Birdeatsbaby, how different is making music as a solo artist?
Fitzgerald: I’m still the lead singer of Birdeatsbaby! Becoming a solo artist is almost essential for working musicians these days, so it just happened when it needed to. The band was having a break between albums and I had time to myself to visit songs that were not appropriate for Birdeatsbaby. The solo songs are great because I can be a bit more flexible with the genre and sound, or completely go acoustic if I want.
Some of my favourite gigs have been solo too. It’s very powerful to silence an audience with just your voice and a piano. You feel exposed and vulnerable but at the same time, it is completely exhilarating. It’s very different than the energy of a band show but I enjoy them just as much.
OSR: How do you feel your music has evolved over the years?
Fitzgerald: My music has evolved like my life has. I’ve grown as a person and gone through quite a lot of change and upheaval since my first record came out in 2009. The music I’m writing today has so many layers, I’m not satisfied with a song having a simple arrangement anymore, it has to be well thought out and perfected over weeks of recording and editing. I would definitely say my songs have become more complex and colourful, just as my life has.
OSR: Is there a backstory to your album The Piano Conspires?
Fitzgerald: It’s the sister album to The World Conspires (Birdeatsbaby’s last album). Each song has been delicately reworked to be performed on one, two or sometimes four pianos. It’s the more subdued and intricate version of that record.
OSR: What is your favourite and least favourite track on the album?
Fitzgerald: My favourite is ‘Kill No One’. It accidentally got turned into a tango, and that was very fun to play. I guess my least favourite is ‘ZeroFortyThree’ because I just felt it lacked, and I wish I could’ve re-worked it better. That song was so hard to construct, even as a band, so the piano version was also a challenge. I’m always unsatisfied with my finished pieces.
OSR: What was the biggest challenge when recording The Piano Conspires?
Fitzgerald: Definitely the recording and editing process was incredibly frustrating. Because solo piano is so delicate and so naked, you can’t have a single note out of place. The microphone will pick up the pedals, the sound of your nails on the keys, even your breath. I had to meticulously perform each section bit by bit and I’m still not happy with it (laughs).
OSR: You are currently working on a new solo project, can you tell us a little about this?
Fitzgerald: Yes, I have a new band project with some members of Birdeatsbaby plus a clarinet, saxophonist and more. It’s called Mishkin Fitzgerald and The Chemical Perils. I’m about halfway through the album, yet to be titled. The influence is a bit more traditional as I’ve been studying Klezmer, Folk and Classical. Who knows what it’ll sound like finished but I’m excited!
OSR: If you were a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be and why?
Fitzgerald: Obnoxious Orange. I think that colour is pretty suited to my personality, my band would agree!
OSR: After the pandemic, are you planning any tours or gigs?
Fitzgerald: I hope so! We have some provisional dates booked for the late Spring but we’re just keeping things open to see what happens. In the meantime, we have a lot of recording to be getting on with anyway.
OSR: Do you have a message for your fans?
Fitzgerald: Yes, The Flock are the most beautiful groups of humans on the planet. Thank you for always supporting me, through all my weird and wacky projects. I would not still be creating music if it wasn’t for you. Love & Feathers x