We live in a deeply comparative society. As Americans, we’re always trying to see where we measure up against the next person; in terms of striving, in terms of success, in terms of happiness and spiritual fulfillment. I think that has a shitload to do with capitalism, but that’s another conversation for another time. The advent of social media has only deepened this need to see other people’s deeply curated lives and feel like we’re not anywhere near the same level as they are.
“Wonder,” the new single from Tacoma-based electro-pop sensations/best friends Mirrorgloss, tackles the emotions which crop up when you’re working toward where you want to be in life and every stretch along the way have seen people pushed ahead of you. Over infectiously danceable musical backing, Najamoniq Todd and Del Brown sing of how plans fall apart (as plans often do) and the depression that besets ambitious people who experienced a prolonged period of stasis. It’s the moment where you stand in front of the karma wheel and ask aloud to no one in particular, “Why can’t I catch a fucking break?”
The first line of the song’s chorus serves as the response to this particular inner dialogue of processing extremely self-perceived failure: “You do it to yourself.” I’m sure you’ve heard the platitude, “everyone is on their own path,” which feels like a cliche until you realize many cliches are simply universal truths. Ultimately, "Wonder" is about the self-containment required to continue reaching for the proverbial stars; the practice of staying on your own path without paying too much attention to the paths of others. We’re all in little rowboats going different places, with the disadvantage of being able to see other people chart their course and reach their destinations with relative ease. Though it’s easy to tell yourself not to be so hard on yourself in hindsight, it’s human to be caught in the moment of self-criticism when it seems like you’re so far away from your goal.
I reached out to Todd and Brown about “Wonder,” reaching success on a person’s own terms, and getting to write, record, and perform music with your best friend in a brief Q&A below, along with “Wonder,” where you’ll be able to engage in your own personal dance party while toiling to reach your goals.
KEXP: Y'all have been performing this song at live shows for a while now, yeah? What made you want to give this song the full recording treatment?
Najamoniq Todd: I personally was feeling like in my life I had come out on the other side of this thinking ... where things have begun to fall into place and looking back and realizing that all started when I changed my mindset, it seemed time to put a lil shine on this record!
Del Brown: The initial intention was to record this song, as far as I can remember it was it’s purpose. The song is somethingI am very proud of, it’s message of you only have yourself to do better and make things better on your journey was something that I feel resonates in a very profound way.
I am such a fan of your live shows; there's such a feeling of joy and togetherness. How have y'all been holding up in a world where no one really has any clue when live music will resume?
Todd: I am very lucky to live with my best friend and work with her. Del and I have full imaginations and so many ideas for Mirrorgloss, we have been using this time to plan and dream and create. Being able to do that with my best friend is everything!
Brown: We have been very fortunate to not only live together, but also be able to work together. We are very close, what you see on stage is authentic and our friendship has always exhibited a joy and togetherness that didn’t come together without tons of hard work and patience and desire.
Is there anything that even comes close to the spiritual fulfillment of performing music with your best friend? How have the two of you been filling the void?
Todd: Nothing comes close to singing and performing, [but] we have been lucky to be able to participate in a few really cool live streams with The Nectar Lounge and Band in Seattle [as well as] one we hosted ourselves, but we have also been filling the void by listening to new music and getting inspired.
Brown: We have spent a lot of quality time together as we seem to continually grow in the same direction. We have become better at communicating and becoming more learned in each other’s love languages. We have been absorbing new and old music for inspiration as well as fashion and art.
"Wonder" seems to be about the feelings a person can get by seeing other people's successes and feeling theirs don't measure up. (I think a lot of people nowadays feel this very easily by jumping on Instagram and scrolling through other people's heavily curated lives.) What sparked the inspiration to write this song?
Brown: Najah and I have an uncanny ability to be able to work together in a very strange way, that seems to resonate. She came up with the blue print of the subject matter and I merely responded.
Todd: It’s so easy to watch the rise and glow-up of others today -- [whether] it is real or edited -- it causes us to look within and judge [ourselves]. Even as hard as we try, it can creep in and we start to wonder how can I get my good or where is my good. But as the chorus states, “You do it to yourself, you do what you want / You call it to yourself you call it in and then you win.” We have to look within to find happiness and worth, then it shows up in our lives. I personally have watched this idea blossom in my life.
The Seattle duo feel free in this clip directed by Matt Deering.
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