By John Curley
I first became aware of the all-female, New York City-based trio New Myths when I saw them perform last November at Pianos in Manhattan, where they were on the same bill as the Australian singer-songwriter Juanita Stein. I was really knocked out by their performance and had wanted to see the band live again since that night. I finally got the opportunity to do so on Saturday night, September 28th at The Broadway in Brooklyn. New Myths were part of a triple bill of all-female bands that also featured Nevva and Desert Sharks. During their set, New Myths’ lead singer/guitarist Brit Boras commented that the show was the first time in the seven years that the band has been together that they have been part of an all-female lineup.
In addition to Boras, who is also the band’s songwriter, New Myths include bassist/backing vocalist Marina Ross and drummer/backing vocalist Rosie Slater. They are quite a visually arresting band to see live. All three members of the band were wearing glittery eye makeup, and Boras and Ross were both wearing glittery tops. Boras is a commanding frontwoman, a talented vocalist and a terrific musician. Her instrumental prowess is particularly on display during the guitar breaks in the band’s songs. Slater is both a talented musician and a very effective backing vocalist. Her powerhouse drumming brings to mind the percussive excellence of Live At Leeds-era Keith Moon. And Ross is a show unto herself. A superb bassist, she is in constant motion during the show except when she is required to be at her mic for backing vocals. It’s a great deal of fun to watch her play.
New Myths began their 45-minute, nine-song set at The Broadway with the propulsive rocker “Fever Dream” that was powered by Slater’s outstanding drumming and Ross’ pounding bass. The lead vocal by Boras was top notch. It was a terrific way to begin the proceedings. The next song, “The End,” was another full-on band effort. It featured an excellent guitar break by Boras in addition to nice backing vocals from Slater and Ross. A new song with an effective off-kilter sound, “Insanity,” was up next. It featured stellar work by the rhythm section of Slater and Ross as well as great guitar work and vocals by Boras.
The band’s latest single, “Living Doll,” a strong critique of the consumerist culture, received a fantastic performance at The Broadway. The rhythm section shined brightly once again and provided effective backing vocals as Boras added stinging guitar work and a terrific lead vocal to the mix.
Prior to playing the softer song “No More Dreaming,” Boras told the audience that Ross jokingly refers to her as “Britney Branch” when she writes the more sensitive, singer-songwriter-type material for the band. The song does start out soft with nice vocals from Boras and Slater. It then picked up pace considerably toward the end of the song as the band rocked out.
The new song “Fade Out” is a powerful rocker with great drumming by Slater and good vocals from Boras and Slater. Their outstanding cover of EMF’s “Unbelievable” followed, and it went down really well with the crowd. New Myths’ take on the song is slower and considerably heavier than EMF’s original. It rocks quite a bit, with fantastic playing by the rhythm section as well as a great lead vocal and terrific guitar work by Boas, particularly during the guitar break.
The highlight of New Myths’ set was the driving rocker “Bad Connection.” The rhythm section powered the song and Slater provided a really great backing vocal. Boras delivered a terrific lead vocal and added some impressive guitar playing. The crowd erupted with a sustained cheer at the end.
“One Good Reason,” an outstanding single released by the band earlier this year, was the set closer. The band were firing on all cylinders and gave a superlative performance of the song that rocked harder than the studio version.
After their set was over, Boras told me that their next single will be their cover of EMF’s “Unbelievable.” It will be released in mid-October. The release of the single will be accompanied by a live-in-the-studio video performance of the song by the band.
A few weeks before the show at The Broadway, New Myths did a Q&A with me. The results follow:
GOLDMINE: Where is the band based?
Marina Ross: NYC!
GOLDMINE: What is the musical background of each band member? Did any or all of you play in the school band when you were in elementary and high school and college?
Marina Ross: My first instrument was the oboe in the fifth grade. They inevitably didn’t allow me to play in the school performance because rehearsals were before school and neither my mom or myself were able to get our shit together that early to make it to enough of those rehearsals. Then I picked up bass when I was 13, which has stuck around a bit longer.
Rosie Slater: My parents are both musicians and have a recording studio in their house, so I’ve grown up around it. My first instrument was piano in Kindergarten and then drums a couple years later. I was a HUGE music nerd all through school—did band, jazz band, symphony and choir plus a few garage bands with friends and then went to conservatory for college.
Brit Boras: Like Rosie, both my parents are musicians as well, so I was always raised around music. I started violin when I was five, then started on guitar at 13. I was definitely a music nerd in school as well.
GOLDMINE: Was there a particular song that inspired you to first pick up an instrument?
Marina Ross: I initially wanted to play drums, but we had a bass in the house so I started to play around on that (it was actually a Gene Simmons Punisher Bass signed by Gene Simmons that was prooobably not meant to be played but . . .). However, the first bass player/band that got me STOKED on playing the bass was Tony Kanal from No Doubt.
Rosie Slater: Everything about The Beatles made me want to play as a kid and I spent loads of time learning to sing all of the harmonies. But, I guess Hanson’s “Mmmbop” (I had the biggest crush on Zac Hanson, hahaha) and the theme from the movie That Thing You Do! were the first songs I learned on the drums.
Brit Boras: When I started playing guitar, I was listening to a lot of Alanis Morissette.
GOLDMINE: How and when did the band get together?
Brit Boras: We came together about seven years ago (time flies) after Rosie and Marina’s old band dissolved and I was looking to start a new band around the same time. Rest is history, I guess. Haha!
GOLDMINE: What is the band’s songwriting process?
Marina Ross: Brit comes in with the bones the songs/demos and then the three of us collaborate from there. Sometimes, we tear it apart and put it together and sometimes we just tweak some small things. Sometimes, whole sections or arrangements don’t even come into the mix until we’re in the studio.
GOLDMINE: The band toured with The Joy Formidable earlier this year. How did their audiences react to the band? Did the band learn any important lessons from that tour experience?
Marina Ross: The audiences were freakin’ awesome! They’re just a rad band that attracts rad people. Something that was super inspiring to me was seeing Joy Formidable really connect with their audience. They make it such an intimate and fun occasion no matter how many people they’re playing in front of.
Rosie Slater: The Joy Formidable puts on a fantastic show and their audiences were really warm and receptive. It’s always great to get out of New York and play for audiences in other parts of the country/world.
Brit Boras: That tour was super fun, and their fans are super supportive and genuine. Was an amazing experience for us.
GOLDMINE: Your debut album, Give Me Noise, was released in 2014, and it includes the excellent tracks “Howl” and “False Gold.” Where was the album recorded? Did you use additional musicians on the album or were all of the instruments played by the three band members?
Rosie Slater: Thanks so much! We recorded it upstate at Alder Sounds. We played and sang everything on the record except for the strings, horns and a few male vocal harmonies.
GOLDMINE: Is a new album in the works?
Marina Ross: F--k, yah, there is!
Brit Boras: Haha! What Marina said. We have an album’s-worth of material but right now we're releasing the songs as individual singles, and then will put them all out together eventually.
GOLDMINE: “One Good Reason,” your single released earlier this year, is one of the best singles that I’ve heard so far in 2019, a rocking piece of excellent power pop. What inspired the song?
Marina Ross: Daaaaaah thank you!
Brit Boras: I was watching a documentary about life in Amish communities and was getting so angry at how young girls were expected to get married and have children at such a young age, before they've even had a chance to know themselves or see the world. It made me feel very fortunate to grow up in an environment where I can ultimately decide who I want to be, what I want to do and how I want to live.
GOLDMINE: The video for “One Good Reason” is also quite good. Who directed it? And where was it shot?
Marina Ross: Our good buddy Anthony Milio! It was three different locations. One was a photo studio in Bushwick, another was the venue Brooklyn Bazaar in Greenpoint and the third was an elementary school in Connecticut.
GOLDMINE: The band’s latest single, “Living Doll,” has quite biting lyrics. Is it a criticism of the vapidity of American consumer culture?
Brit Boras: Before we play the song live, I like to dedicate it to the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
GOLDMINE: Has the band encountered sexism in the industry? If so, how have you dealt with it?
Brit Boras: Ooh, yeah. Lots and lots of eye rolls.
Marina Ross: Every woman in every industry has encountered sexism. Being a woman, you build your own way of coping/clapping back at it that works for you, and it changes all the time! We don’t let it stop us, that’s our one constant.
Rosie Slater: Half the battle of being a woman and a musician is learning how to battle sexism at every turn. All you can control is making sure you are making the best music and art you can, putting on the best show you can and always remember why you love making art in the first place—you just have to do it.
GOLDMINE: What bands and artists are you listening to at the moment?
Marina Ross: I have.....taken some steps backwards.....and have gone on a deep..... Placebo dive.....and am looooving it.
Rosie Slater: I’ve been listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell.
Brit Boras: I've been listening to a lot of ‘70s music lately. Makes for great summertime music.
GOLDMINE: What are your favorite venues to play in the NYC area?
Marina Ross: New venue obsession: The Sultan Room. What. A. PLACE.
Rosie Slater: What Marina said. Ha!
Brit Boras: Agreed.
GOLDMINE: What advice would you give to up-and-coming bands?
Brit Boras: Stay strong, have fun and don’t do it for anyone other than yourself.
Marina Ross: Know when to take yourselves seriously and when to just not. And actually, just have a good freakin’ time.
Rosie Slater: Yeah. Don’t take yourself too seriously, don’t be afraid to laugh at the whole thing, take the time to get really good at what you do and have fun.
GOLDMINE: What are the band’s plans for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020?
Marina Ross: We got some fun things comin’ your way, YOU’RE JUST GONNA HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE!
Rosie Slater: Making more music and seeing what happens next!
Brit Boras: And having a great time in the process!
New Myths’ upcoming shows can be found at https://www.wearenewmyths.com/tour.
The video for the single “One Good Reason” can be seen below:
New Myths' latest single, “Living Doll,” can be heard below: