Track x Track: Mia June - Don't Forget Your Bags
19-year-old Boorloo-based singer-songwriter walks us through her highly anticipated debut EP, track by track
Image credit: Grace Sanders
Mia June has had a huge two years since we met her and her debut single Fish In A Bowl back in March 2022. The Wales-born, Perth-based singer-songwriter, who has been playing guitar since eight years old, took the plunge to being recording her original compositions at the start of last year and after soon recruiting a band, began taking to stages around town as well as regional festivals and a slot supporting Stella Donnelly on an Australian tour.
After signing to the respected and influential independent record label Father/Daughter Records (home to releases from Anjimile, Annie Blackman, Shamir, Diet Cig and many more) and releasing a string of awesome singles, June’s debut EP Don’t Forget Your Bags has arrived.
Across six tracks of folk-influenced indie and alt-rock that ranges from the tender, stripped back sounds of Freckled Friend Forever to the driving, commanding sounds of Cooking Oil and dreamy vibes of EP closer Slate is Clean, Mia takes us on a personal journey of detailing stories of growth and youth, fresh from the source.
To celebrate the release of Don’t Forget Your Bags, Mia took us through it, track by track:
Melbourne is about watching those around me grow and change, the realisation that my childhood is over and the mix of fear and excitement that comes with that, and discovering patterns in my behaviour as I age. The song was inspired by eating lunch in my friend Maia’s backyard in Fremantle, we had known each other for a couple of years already but I realised we already seemed so much older than we did when we met, she said I was ‘young and wise’.
The chorus of ‘my childhood moves to Melbourne, joins a cult and lives out in the bush’ is about my two family friends, one moved to Melbourne to study fashion and one joined a group living in the Perth hills - they are both the happiest I believe they’ve been. We grew up together since I was around 8 and they were 11, so stepping back and seeing how everybody has grown is strange. At the time of writing the song I had realised a pattern in my dating habits, I never felt completely ready or as if I had a solid foundation before I jumped in. Romantic relationships have taught me a lot about myself, and part of being ‘young and wise’ has been finding my boundaries in this.
The subject of The Wheel really feels like it crept up on me slowly and then hit me really hard all of a sudden - the fact I was looking to romantic relationships to keep my life ‘interesting’ and as a result ended up being weighed down instead. I realised as I was looking around my room all of the leftover remnants of relationships I had lying around, a movie ticket, an unthoughtful gift, a drawing, and realised I felt suffocated and as if a part of my identity lied with these people. I did not want it to. I read my tarot cards and pulled The Wheel of Fortune, I took that as a sign my situation would change.
I wrote Cooking Oil when I was 16 about a boy I was seeing that would easily get very angry on a regular basis, though the anger was rarely directed at me I was still the receiver of the ranting and yelling over the phone. At the end of these phone calls he would soften and thank me for being so kind and warm to him, leaving me feeling confused and weird after just being yelled at. At 16 I didn’t think or have the words to communicate this, so I felt angry too.
I had the idea for the words landing on my cheeks like cooking oil at my job at the time. I was frying chicken in a deep fryer, the oil would spit and sometimes land on me. I had come to work after one of the said phone calls, and felt like the sharp pain of the hot oil was comparable to his words.
Freckled Friend Forever
This song is about waiting too long to let someone know your feelings about them as you want ‘the perfect time’ to tell them, and then going to tell them and realising the time has passed and you are too late. I wrote it when I was 17 during my first weekend away without my family, at Nannup Music Festival. I have always had a soft spot for this song and its gentleness.
Dead is a song I have been playing for many years and don’t particularly plan to play again. I wrote it after my first experience with heartbreak at 16 years old. I took the pain and ran with it, I wrote it very quickly and wanted to play it at every single gig, it meant a lot to me. I feel as though I’ve outgrown this song now, but I felt I owed it to my younger self to include it in this EP, it was a veryvery formative song to write for me.
Slate Is Clean
I call Slate Is Clean an ode to my friends that I’ve carried with me all the way through from ages 13 and 14 to 19 and 20. It started out as a romantic love song and gradually I realised I didn’t feel that way about the person I was writing it for, I felt the same way towards them as I did all my friends, I valued and cherished them because we grew up together. The wonder and awe I viewed the world with when I was 16 was shared with many friends I love, they remember everything of it, and I remember everything of it.