Get to know some of the cool people on Kit. Mia Carruthers performs as Curtains, a name chosen for its strong symbolism. “From the start, this project was rooted in freedom,” Carruthers says of her music. “Freedom of expression — of the kind of music I had made and released in the past — and freedom of voice (what I had to say). I wanted the listener to focus on the music, not the image, almost as if I were performing from behind a curtain.” We, ahem, pulled back the curtain to learn more about Carruthers as a songwriter and what powers her thoughtful kits.
1) How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it before?
Nostalgic, vocal-centric, low-fi meets hi-fi. I am always searching for the perfect balance between
electronic and organic sounds — usually the organic feel is produced by my layering of vocals both with harmony and backing parts. The instrumentation may change, but those three descriptors remain constant.
I also play bass and sing in the indie pop band, Multimagic.
2) As a songwriter, where do you find inspiration?
I’m a writer of many things, songs included. So lyrically, sometimes a phrase from a conversation will spur inspiration for a concept or theme. Other times, the song will begin melodically. Almost from nowhere. I’ll just start singing or humming. Then the melody will dictate the lyrics and the overall mood of the song. I often write because I’m overflowing. What I’m thinking and feeling is too much to process any other way and it helps to release it, transform it into art and reflect on it from there. Understanding one’s self through catharsis, I suppose.
3) You made a songwriter survival kit. Take us quickly through the flow of how you use these items.
Usually it starts with the melody in my process. Once I work through that on an instrument (either guitar, piano, bass or ukulele) and in my Moleskine, I would capture that through the iPhone in voice notes. Then I would switch to my Macbook and begin working the song in Logic. That’s where my midi keyboard starts to play a role. Choosing and manipulating sounds that speak to the vision in my mind’s ear. Finally, it’s time to record the vocals on my ribbon mic. From there, it’s all about completing that vision sonically through instrumentation and mixing.
4) We love what you wrote for your notebook: “Collecting your inner voice in a hard copy shows you growth, themes, and threads. Something your iPhone notes don’t allow.” What else would you put in an analog kit?
Thank you! I would include instruments of all kinds, knitting materials, candles, face masks and a record player. I’ve always wanted a room in my house that is solely devoted to analog practices. I like when things
are organized that way. I need that kind of black-and-white direction.”You go here for this, and there for that.” I’ve never been one to mix my green beans in with my mashed potatoes, you know?
5) Name three things you carry around with you everyday and why.
- a legal pad — as one could gather from this series of responses, I begin most of my processes with an analog, organic approach. Legal pads help me organize my work, thoughts, projects, and capture the necessary notes from a meeting or brainstorm.
- Apple ear buds — I don’t drive (I have a license, just not a car) so I walk quite a bit. I cherish the time I have to discover new music, listen to a playlist I’ve made or dig into my Discover Weekly on Spotify. Can’t be without your headphones.
- Blistex, Lip Medex — This may seem odd, but I swear by this stuff. I am a lip-licker in times of concentration (which happens most of the day) and can’t be without my lip medex. Opposed to balm, it truly moisturizes and restores your lips back to full health. It’s like a Mario brothers level up for your mouth.
6) Why I think Kit kicks major ass…
Kit encourages and celebrates your individuality. No two people have the same experience with or opinions on a product — and Kit gets that. I love being able to insert personality and narrative into a product review. It’s that exciting moment when you buy something and gush to your friends, only online. Plus, you also get to be the one who’s being gushed to.
7) If Kit existed when you were a kid, name three things your child self would have showcased on Kit:
- Toobers and Zots — a zany toy kit including bizzaro world K’nex-esque pieces and bendable cylindrical tubes of varying lengths and colors. These toys were awesome and bizarre. They provided endless entertainment for my brother and I — two kids with overactive imaginations.
- Beauty and the Beast (VHS) — I watched this so many times that my mom had to hide the tape. Classic Disney, awesome soundtrack.
- Pokemon Cards — Every Friday (if I completed my weekly chores) I would receive a $5 allowance. Every week, my brother Alex and I would go to the local Sci-Fi store and spend our entire allowance on a pack of Pokemon cards. The Japanese ones of course. I loved closing my eyes as I opened the pack and praying for a holographic card. I think my brother ended up with a full set, he’s a beast like that.
8) Show us your most recently used emojis!
If you’d like to recommend a Kit creator get the royal treatment here in this blog, just put their Kit handle in the comments of this post or use #tagyourekit on Twitter with your nomination.