Ahead of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2017, we got to ask Mike Blaha from the band BLAHA a few questions. Read what he had to say below, and don’t miss them at First Avenue on Friday, January 5.

Charlie Bach: After establishing a name for yourself with The Blind Shake, what is it like to be doing the same with BLAHA?  

Mike Blaha: It is much easier to walk into this situation having known all of the tour contacts, labels, and people in bands to help get us going. In the early days of The Blind Shake, we had to kick down every single door we wanted open. Even getting a show in Minneapolis was almost impossible.

CB: Who do you look to for an honest review of your work?

MB: Scene Point Blank writes thoughtful reviews. But I am definitely not looking to add critics. I have enough self-hate issues without putting my self esteem in the hands of other people. So I prefer to just do the work, followed by some more work.

CB: What has been the biggest difference between playing with The Blind Shake and BLAHA?

MB: Not playing with my brother, Jim, is the biggest difference. When we write songs together or play live, things click super quickly because we can pretty much read each other‘s minds by now. Musically speaking, we sort of merged into one person. However, when we knowingly work apart, I think both of our projects attempt things that push us and help us grow more. For example, the last place I would have wanted to be in my life is singing by myself into a microphone in front of people. But it’s something I have to attempt in order to get through whatever it is about that I am resisting. If I only do what is comfortable for me, I just sort of become a cartoon of myself and I’m not breaking any new ground artistically or as a person. But yeah, you definitely can’t explain your ideas with the same intensity to a non-brother and have it still work out. Ultimately, being a little more open-minded and not having to achieve certain aesthetic has been a lot of fun. My bandmates are all great musicians who take the song idea and expand on it without losing sight of the original concept. With that being said though, there definitely is some magic in being extremely intense and unhealthy for 15 straight years.

CB: You released a ton of music this year. What can we expect for 2018?

MB: Hopefully a Blaha band full length and an acoustic duet album as Blaha & Costello, a project I’ve been working on with Christy Costello from Pink Mink, Von Bondies, and Oujia Radio. I think both albums are ready to go, we just have to line up some time and record them.

Blog by Charlie Bach (Marketing Intern)