Like “emo,” “ska” is one of those dated descriptors that many musicians run from. Not Miku Daza; it’s right there in her band’s Facebook description. As Daza points out though, ska is one of a number of apt genre tags; the page also cites punk, rumba, cabaret, and glam rock. And unlike many overwrought band bios, you can actually pick out each of those genres in a single song. Like, for instance, the band’s vibrant debut single “Frosty Pink Skies”:
You hear the trademark on-the-upbeat guitars and horn blasts of ska, sure. But what ska band features the accordion and violin so prominently? She pulls those sounds from her world-music background. Miku Daza the person played and sang in the cumbia band Mal Maiz (who we just wrote about), studied Afro-Cuban percussion in Cuba, and currently sings Bulgarian harmonies in an Eastern European a cappella group. Miku Daza the band features a rotating cast of instrumentalists who shift the sound as they come and go.
The idea for “Frosty Pink Skies,” she says, “came to me on a bitter cold winter night, during a pink and red sunset. I was young, and madly in love. Driving down a highway, I passed a motel with a broken neon sign, flashing on and off. The wind felt like needles, and I remember everything about the moment feeling so raw.”
It’s a literary image, like something out of Kerouac. Which is fitting because, for a (semi-) ska band that rocks glitter and face paint, Miku Daza has highbrow influences. “‘Miku’ means ‘future’ in Japanese,” she says. “’Daza’ is a reference to a book, Love in the Time of Cholera, by my favorite author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Fermina Daza is the main female character of the story, the object of Florentino Ariza’s obsession. I combined ‘Miku’ and ‘Daza’ to create my name. It is the name I go by personally, as well as the name of my project.”
“Frosty Pink Skies” is the only song out by Miku Daza so far (though the band used to go by Skeleton Dancer, and we posted another video last year). They’re preparing their debut EP for this summer.