Mipso, a quartet from Chapel Hill, released his new album last October following a strange production process.
Bearing the same name as the band, “Mipso” is the sixth album from the indie band Americana.
It quickly gained notoriety and has been featured on podcasts such as NPR’s “All Songs Considered” and “Artist Profile,” a podcast by UNC graduate David Jurman.
Jurman decided to revive the podcast he was recording at the time in Chapel Hill for UNC’s WXYC radio station. He interviewed artists like Billy Joel and Ozzy Osbourne, but said he wanted to use the podcast to continue to spotlight the talent. He featured Mipso in the first episode of the relaunched podcast last fall.
“I’m not interested in the heritage artists of 30 or 40 years ago, but the artists who I think deserve to be exhibited and deserve to be shown to a wider audience,” Jurman said. . “These are the people I focus on, and I thought, what better band to do it than Mipso?”
Jurman said the maturity of the writing made the album excel.
“It’s their best album,” Jurman said. “It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s one of the best albums released last year. It’s clearly their best album of their career.
Band members Jacob Sharp and Libby Rodenbough said that a factor in the greatness of the “Mipso” album was related to the time the band spent creating it. Sharp said it was the longest time the band had taken to write and record an album.
After intentionally spending over a year working on the album, the band were ready for a 2020 release tour and for the release of “Mipso” in the spring.
Rodenbough, the group’s violinist and singer, said the release experience was different in many ways, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It always feels like we didn’t release the album, because you still form such a relationship with the songs that play them live,” Rodenbough said.
The group organized three virtual concerts last week as part of their “Living Room Tour”.
Sharp, the band’s mandolin player and singer, said it was fun to perform live, especially since people from all over the world were tuning in.
“To realize how many different places we were playing with people, like Sweden and just down the block, and everyone tuned in on different time zones – it was a cool little community moment,” he said. Sharp said.
While facing challenges, Sharp said there have been benefits in creating music remotely due to the pandemic. He sees the pandemic as a period of potential growth in the way American society views art and culture as it embraces the new normal.
“We don’t want to go back to a place where the success of our music is tied to the quality of our social networks or the type of industry team we have,” said Sharp. “We try a bit of the same way to take a step back and say, ‘What would be the new normal that would be perhaps more satisfying and emotionally, both for us as creators and also to share with this community at worldwide ?'”
With COVID-19 restrictions halting continued live performances, band members took the time to learn about the political movements that have swept the nation over the summer.
Despite the oddity the pandemic created, Rodenbough said they felt lucky that as musicians in the pandemic they did not encounter great financial difficulties and were able to continue working on music.
“We don’t see ourselves as the victim,” Sharp said. “And how lucky are we that we can still make this music.”
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