Swipe across to see more
This tour is Mimi’s first time back on the road since tearing through Europe with Frank Carter late last year. The opening night at London’s Black Heart – her first-ever headliner in her adopted home – was sold out and wild. Two evenings ago at a stop in Haarlem, in the Netherlands, Mimi’s request for “crazy” strobes during her mid-set drum solo “made me nearly black out”.
These shows are also her first time onstage since DEADGIRL came out at the end of 2022, and her debut turn as a Kerrang! cover star. During that conversation in a Soho pub at the start of December, with her typical lack of ambiguity she spoke of the sacrifices she’s been prepared to make (basically everything) to live as she wants. In the bubble of touring, Mimi buzzes with even more energy than normal.
“I can’t stay in one place for two minutes. I get bored quick. I need to be on the road,” she says. “I actually don’t want to come home in between. Once you’re in that flow, you’re on autopilot. When you’ve been on tour for 30 days and come home, you have this massive downer, a comedown.”
Mimi isn’t someone you can imagine settling for the mundanity of normal life. There may be an air of affectation to the medical equipment that decorates her merch stand (“Pretty sick, innit?” she laughs, showing us what appears to be a kidney dish), but she’s also self-evidently someone who belongs to the night. The difference between what she wears onstage and during the hours of daylight is the fake blood dropping from her contact lens-ed eyes. When K! suggests it’s all an escape from hum-drum reality, she counters with another idea.
“Maybe touring is reality,” she suggests. “Doing emails, sorting bills, going to work, paying for a box that you live in to fulfil someone else’s dream, maybe that’s not what reality is. Maybe that’s just what they want us to believe. For me reality is being on tour, and fulfilling my own dream, my own vision. That’s reality. It feels fucking good.”
You don’t doubt Mimi when she talks like this. Part of what makes her and her music so magnetic is the assuredness that she’s on the right path, which is the one she makes for herself. To a question of, ‘Why?’, her view is frequently, ‘Why not?’ Often this means no safety net, an absence of consistency most people would insist upon. Even on tour, things are helped into fruition by a circle of similarly-minded friends, and making good with what you have. If she seems comfortable in this chaos, it’s because she is.
“There was never another option,” she says. “I always wanted to do this. It doesn’t really fucking matter if it goes wrong or right. At the end of the day, there’s no fucking wrong or right, you’re going to get to the same ending point.”
Since DEADGIRL was released, things have been going consistently right. This summer, Mimi will take the stage at 2000trees, Graspop in Belgium and Full Force in Germany, with more to come. While she waits, she’s already been working on a follow-up, as well as a follow-up to that.
Recently, she went to the wilds of Wales to work on new stuff in an isolated farmhouse, so far out of the way that her phone didn’t work, and warmth came from having to fill up a Rayburn. At night, she was enveloped in the type of suffocating darkness you only get in areas remote enough to be free of light pollution. You’ll be out of luck looking for it.
“The street didn’t even have a name,” she recalls. “The place was literally on the foot of a mountain, and you could walk for 20 minutes and still not be at another house. There was a gun there. I guess you need that if someone comes to fuck you up, you know what I mean? It was fucking isolated, mate.”
This solitude and self-reliance, Mimi says, is writ large in the music. When DEADGIRL was released, she explained in raw detail its concept of suicide and rebirth as a more powerful, focused soul. She may have shed skin, but the battles are still there. Only now, she’s using them for her own ends, taking energy from them like a vampire.
“I’ve shaken hands with my demons, for sure,” she nods. “I know how to take them. Now I see my demons as beneficial. The new stuff is gonna be dark, too. I’m sorry – it’s not gonna be any lighter! It’s gonna be dark.”