Q&A: Mirel Wagner, tells it as it is!

Mirel Wagner is a well-kept secret, and her self titled debut album was one favorite album of this page back in 2012!

A great and folk, singer-songwriter album, with Mirels guitar plucking and dry and closely mixed vocals as main ingredient, released on a small record label. Feel free to revisit dark yet beautiful world of Mirel Wagner here!


Then all of a sudden a few weeks back I read that Mirel Wagner has signed to SubPop, and had to check out if she would like to do a Q&A interview, and she did answer me back.

Mirel Wagner
Photo taken from SubPop

Welcome to the Read & Hear Q&A and enter the dark secret world of Mirel Wagner

Q: What are your thoughts about the advantages of being signed to a major label like SubPop vs being a recording artist on a smaller indie label?

*A: I try not to think about things like that.

Q: Your self titled debut was a dark but still very beautiful recording. I tried to describe the sound of Mirel Wagner to my readers and ended up with fictional genres like; doom-soul, dark-folk, goth-blues, minimalist-folk. How would describe your own sound?

*A: I try not to describe my sound.

Q: The lyrics on your debut-album is quite dark and there is much death, suicide, even and a necrophilia love song. If we sum it up is it correct to say it’s a concept album about death? Why this obsession about death?

*A: I don’t know if I’m “obsessed” about darkness or death. I just find these aspects of life interesting.

Q: Your songs are recorded very intimate. When you sing we can hear every little sigh, the click of your tongue and every time your upper lip is separated from your lower lip before you sing. How do you record your vocal parts?

*A: I just sing into a microphone.

Q: I read somewhere that some artists record in the dark while laying in flat on the floor to get a true intimate authentic laid back sound. What is your trick?

*A: I don’t have one.

Q: Have you started working on your follow-up album? Or have you been waiting until you have larger company, like SubPop, to back you?

*A: The follow-up album has been recorded.

Q: What can we expect from a forthcoming album? Is there going to be a new sound? Or is it still as intimate and beautiful as before, just you and your acoustic guitar?

*A: I don’t like to describe my music. I find it pointless and possibly harmful. You’ll have to wait and listen it for yourself.

Q: I do compare your music to Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Nick Cave – and female artist like Hope Sandoval, PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. Feel free to arrest me if I´m all wrong here. Is there any artists you are influenced by?

*A: Not really, not anymore.

Q: What made you wanna pick up the guitar, and start recording your own songs? Made you think I can do this, I can sing, and I can write songs?

*A: I have always felt that I need, want and can write songs. As long as I remember I have done it and enjoyed it.

Q: As always in my Q&A / Interviews I love to take a sneak into the artists record collection. What are your favorite albums? Feel free to mention as many as you lik

*A: I can’t think of anything


Thanks for your answers Mirel Wagner, great speaking with you, and look forward to hearing from you again when your second album is out!

A dark yet beautiful world!

It´s not often I stumble upon a female solo artist that sounds like – and write songs – that brings to mind gravel voiced artist like Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Nick Cave – and sirens like  Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. This sextet’s musical expression is recreated in the form of a woman of in er mid-twenties of Ethiopian origin but now residing in Finland.

The name Mirel Wagner sounds less Ethiopian and absolutely not like a name from Finland. It´s a name that seems to have a lot of dark history – and her stories is as dark as someone at least twice her age.

After name dropping Cash, Cohen, Cave, Sandoval, Harvey and Phair who is still reading – and wants to hear more about Mirel Wagner and her self titled debut album?

The Mirel Wagner record was recorded in just two days, mostly accompanied by a naked guitar. Minimalist picking the guitar. From bitter sounding melodies to more mantra-riff-o-rama – all performed solely on the guitar. Only accompanied by Mirel Wagners lonely yet strong and mellow voice

The voice and the songs need to be explained more closely; When Mirel sings, her voice is monotonous, coarse, rough, tired of life – it sounds as if each word must be forced out of her mouth. At the same time, there’s still something oddly beautiful – and she has a natural sensuality in her voice. The recording of her voice and instruments is so quiet and calm that every little strum the guitars neck can be heard. When the nails touches the guitar strings – and her fingers are being dragged up the guitar neck it makes this sliding sound. As if the guitar sighs.

You´ll hear Mirel Wagners voice deep in your ears, so close – you can almost feel the warmth of her breath. Hear the sound of her lips when she separate them and starts to sing – and you´ll even hear them touch each other again when she finishes the song. Even when Mirels tongue moves around her mouth to make this small clicking sound – and it hits the palate and her teeth in the oral cavity. Every small sigh of air she’s making as she prepare her self to sing the next line in her songs – and the sigh of relief that comes at the end of each sentence. I got a feeling that she may be laying down on either bed or on the naked concrete floor or sitting all alone in the dark while recording the album
So tight, close and without doubt very intimate.

Heres the album cover to Mirel Wagners self-titled debut album from 2011. You can hear it here; 

Click HERE to listen to the album in Spotify!

From start to end the albums steals only 35 minutes of your lifetime. The themes of the album is pitch-dark and grim stories of death, deep grief, problems and nightmarish small short stories spread over the 9 tracks.

If i should sort her albums in my record collection I sure would put her album in one of these fictional music genres; doom soul, dark folk, goth blues, minimalist folk.

If Mirel Wagner was a color – i would describe her as the non-colors black and white. As her musical world, and the album art, the pictures, the font and the liner notes and lyrics; All in rough black and white!

Only the song “No Hands”, in all of its monotone performance and simple naive text, are envisioned a tiny hope of simple childlike joy …

been riding my bicycle
all day long up and down the old
dusty dirt road
look mother no hands
see the sun filter through the trees
I am happy

…But the happines lasts only until the last open-for-interpretation and disturbing verse…

the wind and the speed
can not see the danger
look mother no hands

Maybe Mirel Wagners “No Hands” is written in a parallel world with the late Syd Barret in mind? Or at least her song is a part two of the song he wrote for his band Pink Floyd – the naive child like same-themed song “Bike”

The lyrics, music, photos
Step into Mirel Wagner
Dark, sensual world!