Subscribe to SoundAffects
email list:

Follow SoundAffects1 on Twitter



Interviews: Misty Boyce

photo of Misty Boyce copyright Lauren JonikMisty Boyce: Interview
August 2008
By: Lauren Jonik

It has been said that in the midst of any difficulty lies opportunity. For artists, this lesson is never more apparent then when creating a body of work that invites the challenge of rising to the next level while rewarding the very same. For Misty Boyce, the creation of her latest EP was an effort in holding the mirror a little closer, in daring to scale the walls within and ultimately, in emerging on the other side with a collection of seven songs that she feels accurately defines this place and time in her life.

A classically trained musician, Misty Boyce was born in Las Cruces, NM and moved to New York City after studying jazz in Ohio at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Boyce has become a familiar and noted performer at NYC venues like Rockwood Music Hall and Pianos and frequently participated at the now defunct event Late Night at Rockwood Music Hall, which helped to cement her well-deserved presence as part of the local music scene. When forming her current band, Boyce looked to other local talents: Matt Basile (bass) and Jamie Alegre (drums) of Rich Girls and David "Baldy" Baldwin (guitar) of The Dig. The connection Boyce shares with her band mates made the recording experience that much richer when venturing into the uncharted waters of capturing the essence of her music in its current incarnation. "I put a ton of pressure on myself and that made the recording process really exciting and horrendously difficult. But looking back, I'm really proud of what we did," Boyce says.

Comfortable on stage, Boyce found the process of recording to be more daunting- and more revealing- than she anticipated. "I really hit a wall that I never hit before in the middle of it. Our quests as artists are so much about personal growth, too. The ultimate success is staying true to yourself, being able to face yourself when you're up against your weaknesses and still keep going. It's an amazing feat and I definitely had to tackle that," she explains. Of writing the songs on the EP, which is due to be released in late 2008, Boyce says that "a lot of the lyrics do come from personal experience and I do think about them, but they sort of come out based on the music and I can't control it. Melody and rhythm are always first to me in writing and the words just fit." Boyce dives into such varied moods and topics as feeling disenchanted with organized religion in Magic, the playful suggestiveness of Love You Down, and the inherent poetry in sadness in the quiet ballad Blue Like Sea, which was inspired by an exhibit Boyce saw at MoMA. "There was a video of a couple and the lady made tea. Her boyfriend or husband put his face in the steam and that made his eyes stay open until they watered. His tears would drop into the tea and then, she would drink it," Boyce explains.

But, ironically, it was recording Trouble, a song that explores the duality of human nature and how the decisions that we make affect our lives that provided Misty Boyce with the conscious choice to continue forward on her musical path. While recording at Trout Recording in Brooklyn with her band and engineer/producer Bryce Goggin (Spacehog, Phish), Boyce discovered where both her strengths and weaknesses lie. "We were doing the vocals for Trouble. That song is so intense to begin with and I wanted to stay in a vulnerable place to get the delivery of the song that I wanted, but I couldn't stay in that place and use good vocal techniques," she begins. "I broke down and I sang the song through my tears just to pull myself back up and eventually, I got the performance." Deciding simply to keep going through the difficulties affirmed her path as an artist. "I wanted to capture this moment in time so much and I didn't want to let myself get in the way of that. Looking back on it, I can see what a turning point it was for me and I just hope that I can hold onto that and that it can make me better. Even through my plight and my imperfections and my insecurities, we accomplished capturing the moment which is all I can ask for."

Interview originally appeared in IndieSoundsNY (Issue #35 August 2008).