Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
Chuck E. Costa: We mostly tour just the two of us and when we do it is in our Chevy VOLT. It’s an electric car (and has a gas powered generator backup). We’ve put 218,000 miles on it so far. It’s pretty exciting to think about how much this car has decreased our carbon footprint. It’s a hatchback and pretty tiny though. We joke that we couldn’t even add a harmonica to our set because we’re just plain out of room!
The car has been incredibly reliable so happily no crazy breakdown stories. But we always compete with each other to get further on the battery and once Mira was pulled dover on I-90 in Massachusetts for driving too slow! 45mph… on the Interstate.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
Mira Costa: We really try to treat ourselves like we’re athletes on the road as best we can. It’s the only way we’ve found to sustain physical and emotional energy on tour, and how we eat is a big part of that. We eat unprocessed whenever possible, we’re vegetarians, we seek out places to stay on the road where we can cook (and we often travel with our own mason jar pantry and at times a camping stove), and sometimes we travel with a blender — and have made smoothies wherever we’ve been able to find a plug — be that a hotel lobby or gas station entryway. So, it requires humility haha.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
Chuck: We only break roughly a string or two a year. Must be our gentle approach… So only a couple of bucks to replace 🙂
Where do you rehearse?
Mira: We live in Troy, NY and our rehearsal space is in one of the top floors of an old victorian building in town. All of the things we love about being in an old building are also all the things that make it more difficult and peculiar.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
Chuck: Title: “Synonym” “You are my Synonym, we are different words but mean the same thing”
Mira: Title: “Monster Under My Bed” , co-written with her dad at age 4. “There’s a monster under my bed, that’s right you heard what I said!”
Describe your first gig.
Chuck: It was at a lovely little coffee shop in PA called Burlap and Bean. Mira was mostly just singing harmonies on my songs. At that point, I had played a bunch of shows already but Mira was still a newbie. She may have said exactly zero words on stage that night.
Mira: Yes, I was terrified to speak on stage when we started!
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
Mira: My last day job was as an event coordinator at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Michigan—a job I continued into for a few months after a work-study job in college, and I loved that one. I mostly worked in restaurants and interned a lot before I discovered I wanted to play music. I had some magical internships when I first moved to New York City…at STEPS on Broadway a dance studio, the People’s Improv Theatre, and for a small theatre company called Back House Productions in the basement of the Drama Book Shop while they workshopped an early version of In The Heights. The world was so new to me at that time, and I loved being around so many creative people who were so passionately living with what seemed like such purpose—it really made me want to work to always try to be brave in whatever I do.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
Mira: Our goal from the beginning has always been to make music for a living, and to diversify the ways we do that. Our income has gone up every year mostly because we’ve worked to keep growing all of those different areas of what we do—and hopefully we’ve gotten better at all of them in the meantime too! And, man…who knows what anything will look like anymore, ya know…—it starts to feel impossible to make any predictions about the future in these unknown times, but it seems that being an artist in the world now requires that we be flexible—so to us, that looks like continuing to find ways to empower ourselves to be creative in every way that we feel inspired to be—and staying open to learn anything we may need to learn at any moment.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
Mira: I think it’s easy to feel like things aren’t happening the way you want them to when you’re starting out, and certainly not as quickly—just trying to get your footing can feel overwhelming. But I think now, there are reasons for the time. There are so many hard won lessons in the time. And I think that’s part of choosing the thing that you love to do most in the world…you have to be in love with that thing, the whole thing, the practice of it…because you will live by the way it shapes how you experience the world.