Mirador, an artist with a profound affinity for crafting atmospheric and emotive downtempo ambient music, brings a distinctive perspective to the world of sound and emotion.
In this interview, we chat with the Louisville, Kentucky-based musician and dive deep into their past struggles, their unique musical style and their latest album release ‘Something for the Ailments’.
Album and Artistic Process
Hey Ryan, could you share the inspiration behind your album ‘Something for the Ailments’? What motivated you to create an album focused on emotions like anger, anxiety, loneliness, and grief?
I had residual anxiety after finishing up my previous EP “Inconvenience” so I wanted to try to use that stress to guide me to alleviating it. I tried music as a sense of self-therapy starting with “Something for the Anxiety”- aiming for a simple, pleasing and affectionate sound that eased the pressure, with the hope that what comforted me might be of help to others.
It felt like a worthwhile method of creating music, so I wanted to try to use the same method for what I believe are commonplace hauntings of those detrimental thought/emotive cycles that seem to crawl out in the middle of the sleepless nights.
The album features 10 tracks, all starting with ‘Something for the…’ and addressing various emotions. How did you come up with this thematic structure, and how does it relate to your personal experiences?
One of my favourite bands dating back to 2004 is Mogwai. I found their music to be overwhelmingly beautiful. And for near all of their tracks, they would couple these majestic musical works with silly names like “The Sun Smells Too Loud” or “I Know You Are But What Am I?” I always took that as an informality or modesty. While I’m, most often, trying to pursue beauty in my work- I want to have a similar casual nature about how it’s presented.
My intention with the prefix was to make every track feel human and humble with its name. Scattered amongst the mess of a helpful friend’s place “there’s something for this, here’s something for that. You have a headache? I think I’ve got some aspirin around here.”
“I want this album to be useful. With this record, I tried to open up how useful this album could be by publishing it under a creative commons license. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but couldn’t quite figure out how to properly go about it.”
Unique Musical Style
Your music style is described as atmospheric and downtempo ambient with field recordings like rain. How do these elements contribute to the emotional resonance of your music?
Whenever I go out of town, I typically go there with the main intention of just walking around the city to absorb the scenery. To me, there is nothing more emotionally potent than that. To walk and be surrounded by a seemingly magical world. The longer the walk, the more the scenery is absorbed into the soul and the common pessimism that builds from my day to day is replaced with a running epiphany.
I suppose there’s a connection with how I experience beauty with how I try to communicate it. Create an atmosphere that’s explored at a walking pace. The non-musical elements (for this album, field recordings) I include with the purpose of giving it texture, sometimes life.
The first song I made for this project was “Something for the Anxiety” so I wanted to draw a line between the track and sounds people listen to when they’re trying to relax or meditate with. “…Nostalgia” the sound of children playing on a playground- drawing forth memories of youth long gone. “…Regret” a war of pendulums as the mind fights against the past to undo the haunting mistakes.
Some of the sounds are included there for fairly obvious connections (“..Anxiety”), others for more esoteric reasons (“..Regret”), or others are there just because the sounds add to the emotive quality of the tracks.
“‘I would hope that, for this album, other people can listen to it when they’re having their bad days and feel that same sense of understanding from the with what they’re experiencing.“
What role does your location in Louisville, Kentucky, play in shaping the sound and atmosphere of your music?
Most definitely the musicians I’ve met here. I’ve met some phenomenal acts in the music scene here(Twin Limb, Dream Eye Color Wheel, Tall Squares) but the musician that shaped this album the most is Phourist(of Phourist & the Photons). Back in 2012, he released an album “Breathe Deep” that took me by surprise. He writes fantastic songs, and when I started this album-I was expecting some more great songs.
Instead, I got scenery. I got a breeze, I got neon lights, and a factory line. Listening to that album inspired me for many years. The opening track of my album(“Something for the Shallow Breath”) is a direct reference to that album- I wanted to create a Mirador version of the magical musical meditations like Phourist did on “Breathe Deep”. Think I’ll give that one another listen here shortly…
Among the 10 tracks on the album, is there one that particularly resonates with you on a personal level, and if so, can you share the story behind it?
Something for the Grief.
One of my other projects is some experimental sound/music horror/comedy spoken word…thing, called Meat Team. When reaching out to acquaintances to help with voice acting, I reached out to a friend that I used to hang out with all the time over a decade ago.
I was filled with a sentiment of eras long concluded without noticing.
A story unfolded after our chat ended: A celebration with various friends before the move to another city. But the moving is just an illusion of a dying mind. He’s not leaving a geographical spot, but everything and everyone. A place the main character can never return to. Trying to tightly hold onto something that so easily slips out from his fingers.
As is usual, I jumped to the end of this episode-imagining it were already done, and recorded that song in anticipation- to capture that sentiment when the truth is revealed.
Unfortunately, that was to be episode 5, and episode 2 has taken me, at the time of writing this, about 8 months. So, maybe that track is all that’s left in the black box of that episode.
How do you hope your music will connect with listeners who may be experiencing the emotions addressed in your album?
There was a time, back in 2015, when I was listening to music I recorded while I was having a rough day. In the midst of the music, I had a moment where I wholeheartedly thought “Man, this guy GETS IT!” Before blushing when I remembered that I was listening to my own tunes.
I would hope that, for this album, other people can listen to it when they’re having their bad days and feel that same sense of understanding from the with what they’re experiencing.
I believe that, when people feel low, there’s a sense of isolation that’s implied with that feeling – like, YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE THAT FEELS THIS WAY! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? So I think people just want to feel less alone when in the thickets of it.
“I really hope that the music manages to connect with people in that way.“
What are your aspirations or goals with this album release, both in terms of your music career and personal growth as an artist?
I want this album to be useful. With this record, I tried to open up how useful this album could be by publishing it under a creative commons license. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but couldn’t quite figure out how to properly go about it.
I want music that might be able to help not just for someone that’s a listener, but also someone that’s also a creator. While I’m most likely not going to be able to know if the music from this album was of any service to individual listeners, if the music is able to help anyone else’s projects – I want to know any and all of them. I long for that spirit of comradery.
I think everyone feels better when they feel like they helped.
As far as growth as an artist, I think I’ve gained experience letting my music breath a little bit instead of focusing so much on the forward momentum. After I released “Audio Music” I listened to Casino vs Japan’s “Echo Counting” and I was floored by how natural and living the music was. There were also a few tracks where I curbed my maximalist tendency for throwing in a lot of instruments- I’d like to explore that path a little bit more. Doing more with less. Make it more intimate or make it more haunting, depending on the sentiment. That’s where I intend for the music to go next.
Do you have any plans for live performances or collaborations related to ‘Something for the Ailments’?
Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting with manipulating stage lights, projectors and camera-feed with the hopes of doing a live performance. I’ve also been scribbling down some potential play-like elements and scenes. The challenge I’ve been trying to overcome with the notion of live shows circles back around to the atmosphere.
It’s not enough to just be on stage while my music comes out of the speakers- that doesn’t make sense to me. I want to put on a show where the audience feels like they’re entering the world of each track. I see the performance as an artform of its own, and when I perform – I want it to feel true and necessary.
But I am aiming to do shows around Louisville to beta-test these atmospheric performances late this year, early next year; once I’m able to work out a performance that feels absolutely worthy of bringing people into it.
Show your support and purchase the 10-track album at 50% off until January 1st 2024 using code ‘insight’ via the artists Bandcamp page.
You can read more about ‘Something for the Ailments’ via our website blog, in which we reviewed the album here.