To hear everybody tell it, singer-songwriters Thao and Mirah couldn't be more different. Thao, the Falls Church, Va.-raised frontwoman of Thao With the Get Down Stay Down, is more gregarious, inclined towards smart, swaggering indie folk. Mirah, a more cerebral singer-songwriter based (as is Thao) in San Francisco, makes complex, delicate pop records about things like the life cycles of bugs.
Under the aegis of Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus, the two singers found common ground on their new album "Thao + Mirah." In advance of their show at the Black Cat on Friday night, Thao called Click Track from the road to talk about her new partnership.
All the press surrounding the album suggests that Thao is some sort of wild child free spirit, and Mirah is the delicate one who sings about insects. Do you think that the differences between you are really that pronounced?
[Laughs] I don't think it's that much of a difference. We meet in the middle, I think. [On the tour with Mirah] I'm a little tamer than I usually am, probably. And there's less plastic on this tour.
You both wrote songs for the record separately, not collaboratively. Why was that?
From experience we knew we'd be [better off] writing separately and collaborating more in the actual production. Myself, I'm less of a collaborator — we work better when we're penning our songs in solitude. But we were there for the writing of each other's songs, to act as a sounding board for each other ... It was also an issue of time. We knew that we would be more effective doing our separate things.
How did you two first meet?
We met just over a year ago through ]a mutual friend]. Mirah was moving to San Francisco and I was already there. I had an invitation to do a [collaborative performance] at the North Stop Festival. I emailed Mirah and asked her if she wanted to do it.
Were you surprised at how well the record turned out, at how well your separate styles meshed?
I was surprised [a little], but I think because we do have the experience playing live together, I was confident we would blend well on record.
Can you see doing it again?
We're both very open to it, but first we both have plans to do our own records. That's next on the docket.