“Umbra” by MIIV

Cover Art by Dallas Thompson

In Umbra, MIIV navigates messy relationships, paranoia, gender dysphoria, and the self across haunting soundscapes evoking the work of artists like Spellling, Eartheater, and BEA1991. Choir-like vocals, ambient synth pads, and 808s resonate as the heartbeat of a sleeping giant comprises MIIV’s debut effort. 

On the single, MIIV had to say: “It’s a sadistic dance, you bend yourself to impress this one person to the point of unhappiness. It’s tiring, but you can’t stop. You’re doing everything just so they might finally see you.” 

Umbra was released on May 14th 2021 with an artful and original music video by Elle Rinaldi for the track, “Intermission (I’m High)” that follows 6 family members in a cartoon-esque style. 

Listen to Umbra here:

Elle picked a song from my E.P while it was still a WIP. I trust and believe in Elle’s work and ideas and gave her complete control in coming up with a concept for the song. We had a pretty large cast and crew, and shot the video upstate. Even though my hands were off the wheel for most of the project, I still had a say in the details. I contributed by helping out with Art direction and animating the credits at the end of the video. It’s been awhile since I have done 2D animation, but I felt like the ending of the video needed something endearing and playful to close it out.  When deciding who to cast, I made sure it was known that I wanted a family that looked like me. 

The whole video has kind of a familial chaotic and campy tone, with my character being the most subdued and detached. Even though the content in the video doesn’t necessarily match the song I think that sentiment of not being aware of the world around you does. I wrote the song when I was in a weird back and forth with someone and smoking too much. In-between social, life, work, and school (at that time) everything sort of just mushed together and I drifted by the days. The lyrics repeat that one question I didn’t have the courage to ask. 

MIIV was born en caul, a half human who lives between dreams and reality. Ears to the unseen, MIIV’s music summons disorienting spirits to the daylight. 

A headphone junky, MIIV found solace in books and writing poetry to dissect their world and relationships, sometimes work-shopping lyrics and tune ideas in their bedroom. But, it wasn’t until their senior year of high school that they began learning how to produce.  

Surrounded by the sounds of Fela Kuti, James Brown, and Southern gospel, MIIV’s childhood was baptized by rhythm and harmony. A musical goldilocks of sorts they bounced around from trumpet, to drums, to guitar, before finally settling on the electric bass, which often takes the forefront in their production and is surrounded by lush vocal arrangements that harken back to their choir-girl days. 

Now in their last year of college and no longer submerged in the white suburbia of Wisconsin, MIIV drifts between Brooklyn and their bed, finding inspiration in broken mirrors outside of NYC stoops, the silent hum of machines and water faucets, awkward conversations, and erotic nature. An interdisciplinary artist, bassist, and producer, MIIV is simply trying to figure out what being human is all about. 

Connect with MIIV: Instagram / Twitter

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