Mima Good Sows Resilience with Hydra LP

Photo Credit: Blaise Bayno-Krebs

NYC-based songwriter Raechel Rosen has resurrected her anti-pop alter-ego Mima Good for her latest LP, Hydra. We premiered the lead single “Sad Club Night” earlier this year, back when COVID was new and we were only beginning to feel the dread and uncertainty of Lockdown 1.0. With all that has happened since this year, the title of this new release feels all the more appropriate.

Greek mythology gives us the 9-headed serpent Hydra, who grows two heads for every one that Hercules cuts off in their legendary face-off. To Rosen, this monster serves as a metaphor for real world struggles. She says, “It isn’t like an adventure movie, where the hero defeats the villain, saves the day, and then we’re all good. Often, when we overcome one trauma, solve one problem, we uncover others that were existing beneath the surface.” Rosen’s first release as Mima Good, the Good Girl EP, dealt with her struggle to overcome an abusive relationship with a former bandmate. With each new release building on the last, Hydra seeks to soothe any other sore spots Rosen uncovered while healing from that specific trauma. 

The brutality of the Hydra theme contrasts with some of the more vulnerable imagery on the album, namely the second track, “Lolabye.” It plays on Judy Garland’s classic song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” referencing the same blue birds that fly somewhere else, somewhere better. The track itself samples a recording of Garland yelling into a tape recorder “I laughed at myself when I should have cried,” a reference to all the ways she allowed others to take advantage of her during her career. Though Garland ultimately succumbed to the Hydra of her own life, Rosen takes these words to heart, looking inward to figure out how to overcome all the times she’s had to laugh or grin through her own pain as a female performer, while remaining authentic to her sentimental nature. 

Writing these songs allowed Rosen to see herself as a fighter on a quest to defeat these painful forces that haunt her, saying, “I had so much fun with these songs, even when I was singing about painful topics, because of the built in narrative. It has always helped me to turn my struggles into songs, but as part of a quest-like epic, I was really able to face them. They felt small in the end.” This idea makes the record relatable to almost anyone, especially under the present circumstances. For most of us, 2020 didn’t offer the chance to improve your life so much as the opportunity to build resilience, the ability to choose how to react when things go awry. For Rosen, this meant adjusting her expectations to how she could release and promote Hydra, as well as diving deep into self-care practices like tarot, physical fitness, and reconnecting with her Jewish spirituality. For you, it might be different, but as Rosen said to me, “All of us are extremely brave every day that we wake up and try to defeat any of these heads.”

Follow Mima Good on Facebook for ongoing updates.

RSVP HERE: The Fantastic Plastics Live Stream Via Twitch + More

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE. Due to live show cancellations we will be covering virtual live music events and festivals.

Photo by Angelyn Toncray

This week marks the one-month anniversary of most COVID-19 lock downs in the US and everything that came along with that. Mass amounts of tour cancellations have ushered in a new world of consistent live streaming on social media. While most bands are still adapting to this new quarantined way of being, NYC-based synth dance punk duo The Fantastic Plastics are about to celebrate their one year anniversary of live streaming on Twitch. Self-described as “the future of the future,” the Fantastic Plastics are heavily influenced by Orwell and sci-fi movies, so maybe they knew this particular dystopian fate was coming all along. Their visually stimulating live show includes matching outfits, backing projections, Moog synths and a theremin and is guaranteed to captivate your attention, whether in person or from the comfort of your phone screen.

The Fantastic Plastics’ interactive Twitch stream is tonight goes live every Wednesday and Friday at 9pm EST, with occasional bonus shows on Sundays and Mondays – your next opportunity to tune in is tonight, April 17th! We chatted with The Fantastic Plastics about some of their live stream effects, their sci-fi movie favorites and their advice for starting your own Twitch channel.

AF: You were in the live streaming boat far before quarantine started. Coming up on your one year anniversary on Twitch, how has your performance style grown over the year? How has your fan base changed?

FP: Our performance style over the last year on Twitch has evolved to become more interactive with our audience. Before we started live streaming, we were accustomed to jumping on stage to play a quick 30-45 minute set and then tearing our stuff down off of the stage as quickly as possible. Now with streaming, we stretch our performance out over 3-4 hours with lots of chatting with our audience between songs. Our fan base has changed in that we spent years touring and trying to find our audience, whereas with live streaming, most of our audience has found us instead. We are also able to reach people in parts of the country and world that we’ve never toured.

AF: What goals do you have for streaming in the year to come?

FP: Streaming more often, making our stream more interactive, and branching out with a variety of content.

AF: Have you noticed a change in your audience since the quarantine began? Has the quarantine affected your creative process in any way?

FP: Since the quarantine began we have noticed that our audience, as well that of many other musicians on Twitch, has grown quite a bit as people are searching for new ways to see live music. As far as our creative process goes, we’ve been putting more energy into ways to make the stream more interactive and visually stimulating, and of course there’s always the pressure to keep writing new music.

AF: How do you make your outfits change pattern during your set?

FP: We are misusing the chroma key effect, haha! We actually used this same effect in a music video we filmed for our song “Teleport” in 2017 and thought it could work really well with our video projection show in the background on Twitch.

AF: What are your favorite sci-fi movies? What movies have had the most influence on your sound?

FP: Most sci-fi movies that we like, such as Barbarella, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, influence more of our aesthetic vs. our sound. Musically and lyrically, we have always been really inspired by William Gibson novels and of course 1984 by George Orwell.

AF: How do you think an extended quarantine is going to affect musicians’ (and humans’ in general) relationship with technology and live music?

FP: There has definitely been a shift and more of an appreciation for watching live music performances via streaming, and it seems like people are making a switch from passively watching Netflix to enjoying the chance to have more interaction with the musicians and bands they like via streaming. Hopefully after things start opening up again, this will be beneficial for both streaming and live, in-person gigs as we know everyone really misses the energy of being in live concert venues and is looking forward to seeing those rescheduled concerts.

AF: What advice would you give someone starting their twitch channel?

FP: The best thing to do if you are thinking about starting a Twitch channel is to just watch as many other streamers on Twitch music as you can – most importantly to learn the culture. Once you start streaming, just be consistent, and don’t give up.

AF: What are your plans for the rest of 2020 & beyond?

FP: We have a remix album, MLFNCTN, coming out at the end of the Spring/early Summer this year, and we just plan to keep writing new music, releasing more videos on our YouTube channel and streaming on Twitch as much as we can.

RSVP HERE for The Fantastic Plastics live stream on Twitch 4/17 9pm est. 

More great live streams this week…

4/17 Zola Jesus via Saint Vitus Instagram. 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/17  Jeff Tweedy via Recording Academy’s Facebook page, Amazon Music’s Twitch page, and Pickathon’s YouTube page. 1 p.m. pst, RSVP HERE

4/17 Mima Good via Baby’s TV. 10pm est, RSVP HERE

4/18 Air Waves, Juan Wauters via Baby’s TV. 3pm, RSVP HERE

4/18 Lauren Ruth Ward, Veronica Bianqui & More via Youtube – Couch LA. 6pm est. RSVP HERE

4/18 Global Citizens Fest feat. Alanis Morissette, Paul McCartney, Lizzo, Lady Gaga + More via Youtube. 8pm est RSVP HERE

4/19 Erykah Badu via Instagram. 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/20 Weedmaps “Higher Together: Sessions from Home,” featuring Wiz Khalifa, Billy Ray Cyrus, and more. 12 p.m PST, RSVP HERE

PREMIERE: Mima Good Teases Debut LP With “Sad Club Night” Single

Photo Credit: Michelle LoBianco

We’ve been following Mima Good, the alter-ego of NYC-based anti-pop songwriter Raechel Rosen, from the start, covering her debut Good Girl EP and last year’s one-off track “Holly Golightly.” She returns to the ever-evolving project with single “Sad Club Night,” off her imminent full-length debut Hydra.

Rosen describes her Mima Good character as a “dramatized version” of herself: braver, more performative, more extroverted and aggressive. “I think she’s the woman I dreamt of becoming when I was a child,” Rosen admits. This dramatization allows for a narrative arc to Rosen’s songwriting; when we met Mima Good on the Good Girl EP, she was emerging from the ashes of an abusive relationship. Rosen says that letting go of that baggage “clear[ed] space for me to face more universal demons” – no longer is she getting over one boy, one toxic relationship. Now she’s taking on the entire system that subjugates women as less than, but with a higher BPM and a greater sense of apocalyptic doom: “more Trinity from The Matrix than Powerpuff Girl,” she describes.

She wrote “Sad Club Night” last year after a night out that felt particularly apocalyptic. “I felt like we were all dancing waiting for the world to end,” she remembers. Layered under wobble bass, Rosen’s vocals sound almost playful as she recounts a late night dancing with friends, “beautiful people covered in black garments and red eyeliner that made them look kind of ill.” The visceral imagery led her to consider the aestheticization of depression, how we’re living in a society so devastating that we perform our despair almost as a trend. This becomes all the more relevant as we collectively face the present circumstances, how we no longer even have the release of a night out with loved ones.

The new album itself is named for an ancient monster, a “10-song quest inspired by the story of Hercules versus Hydra.” In the myth, Hercules tries to defeat Hydra by chopping off its head, only to have two more grow in its place. Things grow more dire each day now it seems, as overwhelming as Hydra’s many heads, but Rosen emphasizes the importance of taking it one day at a time. Though she’s pausing preparations for the tour she had planned for the fall in light of current uncertainty, she’s still writing music and practicing her craft. “My mental health struggles are not really unique to me, [but] in my album at least, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I wrote victory into the game.”

Follow Mima Good on Facebook for ongoing updates.

INTERVIEW: Mima Good Returns with Light-Hearted New Track “Holly Golightly”

Mima Good is NYC-born and based songwriter Raechel Rosen, whose sound and aesthetic espouses a contemporary pop sensibility with a darker atmosphere of synths, organs and guitars. The result is a moody, soulful sound that somehow calls to mind both Billie Eilish and Billie Holliday simultaneously. We first met her last year with the Good Girl EP, a series of songs that articulated the healing process from a tumultuous relationship with a former bandmate, an auditory storytelling of Rosen’s journey from attachment to abuse to self liberation. But even more than that, Rosen confronted a confusing relationship with her own femininity, in a culture that tells girls to be “good” even when the men around them behave badly.

She continues to explore the conflict of who women are and who society tells them to be on new single “Holly Golightly,” a more upbeat and danceable alternative to Rosen’s previous release. On it she plays with the concept of the “manic pixie dream girl” by sampling Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, who is perhaps the original incarnation of this archetype. She reimagines her as a neurotic millennial woman living in New York, on the grind and trying to stay one step ahead of the “mean reds.” The beat then drops into Rosen’s drawn-out vocals and her artful use of synths, manipulated to sound as though someone is plucking an upright base, to create a whimsical, jazz-tinged sound.

We had a chance to talk to her about her newfound inspiration and how it feels to create music after you’ve been able to process and let go of the heavy stuff:

How does the new single build on the Good Girl EP?

I worked on Good Girl for years, hoping for the perfect articulation of my trauma, catharsis and some form of justice for the abuse. The writing process was thick to say the least, every detail weighing heavily on my creative spirit. When I finally put it out, I felt a different kind of release than I had expected, a grounding that contextualized my pain. I began to see my story as another casualty of patriarchy, understanding that life comes with all kinds of painful learning experiences and that everyone and their mother suffers at some point. So many women and girls reached out to me personally with their stories. I felt my trauma no longer defined me and my work stopped feeling like it was just about ME. My new single comes from this zoomed out perspective, a syrupy psalm of the anxiety cloud surrounding our culture and particularly us crazies in NYC.

What drew you to Breakfast at Tiffany’s as inspiration? Tell us more about the process of writing this song.

Holly Golightly, Audrey Hepburn’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is so cool and tragic at the same time. I’ve been thinking a lot about the manic pixie dream girl archetype. I’ve always felt like romantic comedies, TV, general society and all that encourage chaos and instability in femininity. It is so charming and sexy to be a hot mess! I have wanted to sample her character for a while and this scene where she describes the “mean reds” is pure poetry. “Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of…” And Fred just looks at her like she is this sad mystery only he can save. Come on!!! I love it so much. When I started this song I was just messing around with the sounds from that scene, using slamming doors as percussion and the piano and upright bass that accompany her antics as instrumentation. It was kind of just a personal production challenge, but when I listened to the beat the next day I was like OK this is a song!

Will this new release be part of a full length? What can listeners expect? What issues will you tackle?

I am currently finishing up a full length album. This year has been extremely creative for me, it felt like once I got my abuse story out of my system all this other music poured out. The new sound is relatively different from my EP and “Holly Golightly” played a big role in leading me to it. Everything has gotten more danceable. The BPMs have been raised. The kicks are heavier. I am having a lot of fun with the production and probably have been influenced by my nights working at a nightclub. (That unce unce unce gets to into your head!) The issues come from the same place, but the attitude is more playful.

How does the new release fit into your narrative of attachment, abuse, and self-liberation? What is Mima Good’s perspective after the therapeutic process of writing the Good Girl EP?

Once I was finished with the creative therapy that was Good Girl (for me), I was like “whoa, there’s a lot of other stuff going on internally and externally”. Human pain is so much bigger than this one piece of shit I knew, or even all the pieces of shit combined. These songs have functioned as stepping stones for me to figure out how I can survive in a world with so much pain and how I can contribute.

What’s next after you release the album?

Right now I am really focused on finishing the album!! It is so close to being done and I’m really excited by it. I’m sharing a few songs from it at my Standard Sounds showcase on Monday.

Holly Golightly

Holly Golightly, a song by Mima Good on Spotify

INTERVIEW: Mima Good “Bad For Me”

Witches talk back nowadays. Raechel Rosen, aka Mima Good, walks an interesting tightrope thematically; her music weaves together the historical oppression of women with music that more readily brings to mind a candlelit boudoir. It’s the playful banter between hi-concept undertones and sexuality that make her new EP Good Girl stand out.

Raechel says her first single “Bad For Me” is about “attachment to trauma, how traumatic experiences can be so formative to our identities that we don’t want to let them go. It starts with… reminiscing about what it was like to be a young girl, before puberty and sexualization and boys, when I didn’t have to care. I’m mourning the girl I was before patriarchy got ahold of me, in a sense. Once the chorus kicks in, I am fully in its grasp, in a self-destructive trance.”

We talked with Raechel about how feminism influences her work, what the word “witchy” means to her, and how performance art seeps into Mima Good.

Give her single “Bad For Me” a listen below:

AF: Give us a little background on you: Where are you from? What kind of music were you dancing around to as a kid?

RR: I grew up in NYC and was obsessed with music and performing as soon as I could move. My parents raised me on classic rock and disco, my dad spoon-feeding me Springsteen in the crib and my mom blasting Abba, cheering “C’mon Raechy” until I’d begin to bob. The camera was pretty much always rolling; they got a full reality show season’s worth of baby footage.

AF: Where did the name Mima Good come from? 

RR: A feminist theory class in college (lol). We were reading Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici and it got me obsessed with the strategies of patriarchy from feudalism to capitalism, and of course witch hunts throughout time, specifically those in Salem in the 1690s. Most of those women burned at the stake were tried as witches based on accusations of being too political or too sexual, suspected queerness, “turning the eye of too many a married man” (literally just too hot); any woman who did not fit within the strict bounds of Puritan society could be murdered for suspected witchcraft. So I combined the names of two of my favorite “witches” and began this project as tribute.

AF: Your music is direct, sensual, powerful. It’s been called “witchy”, which is one of my favorite female musician descriptors (Grimes being one of your tribe). Do you categorize the music you make?

RR: I have a hard time describing my own music. I think its really exciting how much music is being made right now and how everything is fusing together. I kinda feel like we are moving past genre. I don’t know how to compare myself to others but some of my biggest inspirations are Amy Winehouse, Angel Olsen, Nina Simone, FKA Twigs, Talking Heads… I could go on for a very long time.

AF: I love the retro vibe on “My Demon.” Tell us about your writing process. Are the lyrics the frontrunner or do you start with a beat/rhythm in mind?

RR: It really depends on the song. “My Demon” literally came to me in a dream about my abuser – we were both sprinting toward each other ready to fight. Right before I reached him I woke with the first verse and chorus in my head. Most songwriters I know experience this once in a blue moon and it’s really the coolest feeling. I really felt like I didn’t write the song, so much so that I couldn’t finish it until it came to me in a similar manner on the 6 train. With other songs I usually start with the lyrics & melody, developing the chords and beat afterwards.

AF: A trademark move of yours is slowly peeling a banana onstage and circumcising it with a pair of scissors. It reminds me of watching Teri Gender Bender perform in Le Butcherettes: a kind of visceral representation of the lyrics themselves. Is this end of show act the only time you bend into performance art, or is crossing that line a consistent interest of yours?

RR: Haha yea, I was doing that for a bit last fall. I was thinking a lot about misandry at that time, both ironically and genuinely. I do love playing around with boundaries and pushing audiences’ comfort zones. My performance style is constantly changing based on how extroverted I’m feeling and what’s going on in my spiritual practice. Lately I’ve been focusing inward and on delivering my songs as honestly and beautifully as possible.

AF: In 2016, you co-hosted The Witch Ball in Brooklyn, “an inclusive, intersectional feminist party.” What role does feminism play in your work?

RR: I would really love to witness the destruction of patriarchy and all systems of domination in my lifetime, or at least for future generations to experience less gender-based violence. My EP has been an attempt at expressing my journey through a particularly formative trauma, how it held me frozen for years after and what it takes to truly get free.

AF: What artists do you currently have in rotation?

RR: Alice Coltrane, Girlpool, Valerie June, Hole, and ‘Everytime’ by Britney Spears.

AF: When can we see you live?

RR: Tuesday, April 24 at The Good Girl Party at Elsewhere in Bushwick! Doors are at 7:30, I go on at 10. I am bringing up some new live players, drums, bass, a 16-year-old trumpet player and my little sister on vocals for the last song. I am so excited for this show; it’s gonna be a meaningful one for me.

Do you live in NYC? AudioFemme x PopGun presents The Good Girl Party TOMORROW NIGHT at Elsewhere in Brooklyn.Get tickets to see Mima Good’s release show HERE!