Beloved Australian singer, songwriter and guitarist Mia Dyson has announced a special upcoming release to coincide with the 15-year anniversary of her highly acclaimed album Parking Lots. Set to be released Friday 4 December, the Parking Lots (Revisited) EP will feature five completely reimagined tracks from the album, stripped to their core and dressed again, with new arrangements, special guest appearances and additional nuances, all approached through Dyson’s highly considered idiosyncratic lens. To celebrate the occasion, Mia has reissued the original album with a limited run of white vinyl and has announced a 2021 East Coast headline tour that will see her perform all 11 tracks off Parking Lots from start to finish. Ahead of the vinyl reissue dropping and her 2021 tour we had a chat with Mia about life in 2020, gearing up for these live shows and her successful career.
Hey Mia, congratulations on the release of your new EP Parking Lots (Revisited)! It’s been 15 years since the beloved catalyst album Parking Lots was released and you’re celebrating with a special selection of reimagined recordings from the album. Can you give us a bit of an insight into the EP’s track selections and who you got in the studio to help out on the re-recording?
Thanks! Yeah, selecting the songs for the EP was based on which songs still resonated with me, lyrically; which songs I still felt I could embody and find meaning in. I asked my US band, Erin Sidney and Dan Wright to produce the ‘revisited’ tracks and then Lee Pardini of Dawes to play some Hammond and piano, with Matt Aronof on double bass.
The Parking Lots LP received an ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album and also saw you nominated for Best Female Artist that year. What do you think it is about the album, and these five tracks in particular, that resonate so strongly with listeners and industry alike?
This might sound ridiculous but I feel like I’m the last person who has a good answer to this question. I am always wrong when I guess what songs people will respond to (it’s never the ones I pick) either of my own music, or the music of other people. I do think at the time this album came out, there was a wave of interest in ‘blues and roots’ music and that helped me to get heard.
Since the release of your previous solo album If I Said Only So Far I Take It Back in 2018, you’ve been keeping busy releasing a debut album and touring extensively with beloved songwriting supergroup, Dyson Stringer Cloher. How important is the role of friendship and collaboration to you and your musical practice, and how has your time in this trio perhaps shaped or inspired the future of your solo work?
I’m much more keen to collaborate than I used to be! I was a solo traveller for so long and although it has it’s pros, I now feel that there’s much more joy and surprise to be found in collaborating with others. It was such a treat to write, record and tour as Dyson Stringer Cloher and has definitely given me inspiration to do more.
To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Parking Lots, you’re about to embark upon a 2021 East Coast Tour from Melbourne to Sydney, Bribane to Byron, and outer suburban and regional Victorian towns such as Belgrave, Castlemaine, Sandy Point and more. How does it feel to finally be able to get back on the road and play real live shows to a real live audience after a year or so of isolation and lockdown?
I am so excited to be playing live again, I’m almost nervous 🙂 Will I remember how to do it? It’ll be a thrill and that fact of not having played for so long will make it that much more precious.
What are you most looking forward to about post-COVID life, now that things are starting to open up again?
Well, unfortunately things are not opening up in the US where I am at the moment, but eventually when that does happen, I am excited to see live music again, hang out and play music with my friends, go to the movies, kiss and hug everyone!
Can you recall your favourite festival or gig you’ve played in the past fifteen years, and how does that compare, if at all, to your favourite show you’ve attended as a punter?
Well, since we are talking about Parking Lots, I’m recalling my first big show at Bluesfest just as Parking Lots came out. The year before I had played Bluesfest for the first time but in a tiny shed venue that maybe held 200 people. This time, they put me on the Crossroads stage which held 8,000 people and I was shocked, totally shocked, that when I came out to play the tent looked packed. I’d never played to anything like that big of an audience. I was SO nervous and could hardly say a word except ‘cheers’ after each song, but they were just so on my side! That was quite an experience. As a punter, I love going to see a band who maybe isn’t the headliner and who is super thrilled to have a new audience come to see them.
And finally, what have been some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in the Australian music landscape over the past fifteen years since releasing Parking Lots? Any particular moments, achievements, setbacks or milestones that come to mind?
I think the biggest change I have seen over the past 15 years is how many women have come up in all areas of the music industry – songwriters and singers for sure, but also drummers and bass players and guitarists and sound engineers, which is so fucking cool. When I first was playing in Melbourne around 2003 there were so few women and it’s so thrilling now to see women kicking it all over the place.
The 15th Anniversary Parking Lots reissue is out Friday 4 December via MGM. White Vinyl bundles are now available to pre-order and pre-save, with limited edition handwritten lyrics, t-shirts, caps and signed posters. Each purchase of the Parking Lots Vinyl Reissue includes a download of the Parking Lots (Revisited) digital EP comprising 5 songs Mia has lovingly revisited that are near and dear to her. Pre-orders and merch bundles are available now via here.
Parking Lots 15th Anniversary Tour 2021 Tour Dates:
Friday 12 March – Lizotte’s – Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 13 March – The Lansdowne – Sydney, NSW
Friday 19 March – Howler – Melbourne, Vic
Saturday 20 March – TBA – Surf Coast, Vic
Sunday 21 March – Macedon Railway Hotel – Macedon Ranges, Vic
Friday 26 March – Sandy Point Music Club – Sandy Point, Vic
Saturday 27 March – Theatre Royal – Castlemaine, Vic
Sunday 28 March – Sooki Lounge – Belgrave, Vic
Thursday 1 April – The Brightside – Brisbane, Qld
Friday 2 & Saturday 3 April – Bluesfest – Byron Bay, NSW
Tickets on sale now via miadyson.com