10.5 Lira Mondal of Mini Dresses: She Does Music / by Elaine Sheldon



Curated by Sarah Ginsburg

Lira Mondal is as sweet as can be. She’s a native Arkansan, an aspiring pastry chef and the heavenly voice of Boston-based Mini Dresses. Comprised of Lira (who also plays bass), guitarist Caufield Schnug and drummer Luke Brandfon, Mini Dresses is making what you could call Boston’s beach music, a little dirty and not a lot of surfing going on, but listening to these folks might make you want to grab a board and try. It’s definitely not typical for music like this to be coming out of this city, but I’m glad it is. Staying true to their name, Mini Dresses has been steadily putting out EPs since 2012 and most recently released FOUR under shiny new label Little Death Records. Allow Lira to take you through the waves of Bianca Giaever’s story in Episode 10.


Do you like to play another version of yourself when you are up on stage? When you're a performer, you're always playing around with how you put yourself out, how you present yourself, what your identity is. There's this pressure, especially on women, that you have to be this outgoing person who is making witty banter with the audience, always having that clever thing to say. It’s that pressure that you have to be a rock star with a capital "R" capital "S." I guess I've always flirted with the idea of playing around with the kind of personality that I want to give off, but then not being so comfortable with myself that I'm actually able to. But Mini Dresses isn't that kind of band, it's not a band that’s out to manipulate how we are perceived.

Who, in your music and in general, are you influenced by? I’m really into Broadcast and love Trish Keenan. I feel like she was a really genuine person and she definitely came off in her music as this curious woman who had all of these different influences. She was into film and literature and occult but even though she had all of these far flung interests she always sounded familiar and so warm and inviting, even when she was singing some very dark things. I guess I really look up to her as an influence and that’s how I kind of want to come across but then sometimes I do want to be really cool and...I don’t know how to do that.

Your latest EP FOUR was put out by Little Death Records who handprints cassette tapes in addition to a digital download. What is the benefit of the physical tape? I love recording on tape and listening to tapes, especially being a child of our generation on the cusp of both the CD coming into prominence, but also making mix tapes as a child, that was really attractive to me. People are more and more starting to appreciate the materiality that comes with tape and that it does sound richer, sweeter and warmer. Just like vinyl sounds different than an MP3 with the pops and the scratches. You have to be in tune to what you’re listening to. Little things like flipping the record or flipping the tape become these ritualistic experiences. That was something that resonated with me as a child because I would always listen to the radio with an empty tape in the deck, just waiting to hit record when my favorite song came on. I hope that they really do come back into play...quite literally.

Where and how are you inspired to write the lyrics to your music? I have to be in control of what I'm singing and what I’m saying. That's why it's so hard for me to write lyrics because if I don't have an immediate source of inspiration like a book or a movie, which are the first things I go to, then I just have no clue where to go because I feel that if I don't have something to say, what's the point in trying to sing something because it won't be genuine.


LISTEN: Mini Dresses on Bandcamp and buy their latest EP release on cassette from Little Death Records

READ: Vanyaland Review

WATCH: ‘Bracelets’ Video on Boston Hassle