Self-Portrait: Miranda Winters of Melkbelly | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Self-Portrait: Miranda Winters of Melkbelly

Life in Miniature

Apr 21, 2020 Web Exclusive Photography by Miranda Winters Bookmark and Share

For our recurring Self-Portrait feature we ask a musician to take a self-portrait photo (or paint/draw a self-portrait) and write a list of personal things about themselves, things that their fans might not already know about them. This Self-Portrait is by Miranda Winters, singer/songwriter/guitarist for Melkbelly, and she drew her own self-portrait rather than taking a photo.

The Chicago four-piece also features Bart Winters (guitar), Liam Winters (bass), and James Wetzel (drums). They recently released their new album, PITH, via Wax Nine/Carpark. PITH is the band’s second album, the follow up to 2017’s debut, Nothing Valley, and was recorded at Bloomington, Indiana’s Russian Recording in two short sessions six months apart with the band’s longtime collaborator Dave Vettraino. Lyrically, the album was borne of loss and mourning.

“We lost an incredible friend suddenly and nostalgia always acts as a helpful tool for me in navigating difficult times,” Winters explained in a press release announcing the album. “Revisiting emotionally challenging moments or significant social interactions helps shed light on confusing feelings for me. Lyrically, grief gave way to considering life.”

Read on as Winters writes about her early band with a divisive name, the thing she collects, and the way she first learned to record music.

1. I prefer collaboration. I did ballet for 12+ years growing up and most of that time was spent dancing with the same dozen or so girls. My earliest interactions with music and performance were through dance and almost all of it was collaborative. Our instructor encouraged us to develop our own choreography for side projects in our later teens, we all took it very seriously. I still find it satisfying to produce a creative project that consists of many moving parts and people.

2. I was in a two-piece band called Slutbarf. It was a bass and drum band in which I played the bass, Kyle Reynolds (Oozing Wound) played the drums, and we both sang. Some people hated the name, some people loved the name, and some people felt neutral but still asked me not to say it in front of their parents. We had a song called “Rainbo Bright” and another called “When Daddy Carves The Fucking Turkey (Daddy Carves His Fucking Finger).” We never toured outside of the midwest and only released one tape. I don’t have a copy of it.

3. I’m a vegetarian. The first time I stopped eating meat was the day I visited a pig farm with the girl scouts and my mom coincidentally made pork chops for dinner. It didn’t stick until later in high school and I’d say it’s been about 13 years at this point. Two of my three siblings are also vegetarian/vegan. I credit this partly to my mom’s honesty about where food comes from and her willingness to find alternative options as opposed to calling it a phase.

4. I’m passionate about miniatures. I’ve collected miniature things since before I can remember. My favorite ones are these little toy mice from Germany called Fur Toys that are dressed up as different professions or in celebratory attire to mark events like graduations, birthdays, etc. My top three mice are as follows: Chef mouse, doo-wop mouse, and fairy godmother mouse. I also love miniature kitchen appliances but for some reason have mainly toasters.

5. A karaoke machine was my prefered recording method. When I found out that you could record over any cassette tape by simply laying scotch tape over the top my world changed forever. My exploration in home recording started with an old karaoke machine and two boombox system. I’d rip instrumentals by playing whatever CD I was most excited about through the karaoke machine and recording it to tape with an external mic on a boom box. I’d then play that instrumental track from one boombox and sing into the external microphone on the other boombox. Then I’d take that tape, with a vocal/instrumental mix on it and just keep layering between boomboxes ‘til everything started to fall apart, kind of like photocopying a photocopy.

Also read our recent My Firsts interview with Miranda Winters of Melkbelly.

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