Banta’s Sharaya Mikael on Dark Charms and Rules of the Road

We always like to let people know when and where they can find the best shows in LA. With that, you can Banta when they play the Echo this week with Avid Dancer. After that they’ll head up the coast and then back down again. All the while spreading their music far and wide with songs like “Someday,” one that had an emcee like flow to it that I personally admired. While their own Sharaya Mikael’s said it may’ve come from her love of TLC or Brandy, she wasn’t sure if that could’ve explained that one’s feel. She was sure of everything else as we went back and forth about their latest album, their upcoming dates and much more.

Kendra: There’s been a trend lately in TV with doing live musicals. If your band were approached to appear in one of these productions, which one would you want to be in and why?

Sharaya Mikael: My first and only appearance in a musical was in an 8th grade production of Pirates of Penzance. I was cast as a background pirate with no lines. The role I desperately wanted, but was to afraid and shy to audition for was Mabel, (who Linda Ronstadt played in 1983, side note). So I suppose if I had the opportunity and the power to choose, I would have to say I would want to play Mabel in Pirates of Penzance. I owe it to my 8th grade self.

Kendra: I would probably say Hair for you guys. I get this free love vibe from what I’ve got to hear of your music. When you’re writing and recording though, what kind of mindset are you in?

Sharaya: Haha, yes, Hair would be good too! The band would probably like that better! While I love the idea of free love, in reality I have had a hard time with living it out. Its human nature to want to possess or keep your beloved to yourself. But at the same time monogamy seems difficult in its own way. We all want to have our cake and eat it too. This back and forth desire to have love but also to push it away and be free is a common thread through several of the tracks on the album. “Dark Charms,” “Damned,” “Running” and “Better” all deal with this tension of possession and betrayal. I think my mindset in writing these songs was in processing my own emotions of heartbreak and jealousy against my rational thoughts of not wanting to be tied down or need someone. This album was one big therapy session.

Kendra: Your new album, Dark Charms, was slated for an earlier release but just got pushed to April. Why the longer wait for fans?

Sharaya: We were eager to get the record out right away, but in signing with a label there are a lot of hoops and processes in place that we need to get through. The labels reasoning for delaying had to do with a lot of numbers and excel sheets, business things I don’t fully understand. But I am trusting that they know what they are doing and we are in good hands so I am just doing my job writing more music and playing shows! I’m excited for the record, but I want to make sure it’s done right, so I trust it’s the right move.

Kendra: They do have “I’m Not Yours” to hold them over. When it came time to pick a first single, why this one?

Sharaya: The first single was actually “Someday,” but we had already released that independently on our EP before getting signed, so we wanted to follow up with a track that was brand new to our current fans.

Kendra: My bad, but the one I couldn’t get enough of though was most definitely “Fool For Love.” Other than love, what are you a fool for?

Sharaya: Really?! Thanks! That’s great to hear. I’m a fool for sugar when I can’t get love! haha. Chocolate is a great substitute for love. I read something scientific about it once.

Kendra: You guys are heading out soon for some dates. First you’ll play here at home at The Echo with Avid Dancer but then you’re heading south and then up north. What are your number one rules of the road when you head out for gigs that aren’t just around the corner?

Sharaya: Ya, we are really excited to get out on the road a bit this month! I’m kind of a freak when it comes to making good time on the road. lm always racing the Google maps estimated arrival time. So my only rule on the road is quick pit stops. Our drummer has a history of wandering off, especially if there is any type of arcade situation. It drives me crazy. It’s probably good for me though to learn to chill out a little, as long as we make it to our shows on time.

Kendra: Being a strong female fronted band, are there any other new bands like yourselves you’re currently spinning?

Sharaya: Really excited to be playing with Gothic Tropic, love them. Cecilia is a bad ass. I have Miya Folick‘s EP on repeat, “I Got Drunk” was my theme song for January. Also digging Riothorse Royale, excited to see whats next for them.

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