I meet electro-pop outfit Mirrorgloss at 9lb Hammer. It’s the kind of rowdy dive bar that can only really exist in the still-gritty reaches of Georgetown, although signs of gentrification’s glacial crawl can be glimpsed at the massive cider bar down the way.
The women of Mirrorgloss, Del Brown and Najamoniq Todd, have been in the music scene long enough to remember when this wasn’t the case. “This place used to be punk!” Najamoniq remarks when they arrive, gesturing to the surrounding neighborhood. “I used to help do some work at a friend’s punk club down the block and Georgetown definitely didn’t look like this.”
While we’re discussing the past, I ask about the beginnings of Mirrorgloss. Both women cite a curious origin point: Jeff Buckley. “There was a tribute show that we did in 2013 with a bunch of people and we did a whole Jeff Buckley tribute performance,” Najamoniq tells me.
“That’s part of what brought us together as friends, was how much we love Jeff Buckley,” Del adds. “After that performance we were like ‘We should do this!’ Plus it gave us the confidence to do complex music, because his stuff is no joke to sing.”
Originally a quartet encompassing guitar and drums, Mirrorgloss underwent a series of lineup changes that eventually led to their current incarnation as a duo, though it wasn’t easy to get here. “There was a minute there where we really thought we were done,” Del explains. “We’d lost our guitarist, Danny Kenny, and things were kind of up in the air with our management.” But the two persevered and have begun performing regularly in both Tacoma (where they live and got their start) and Seattle.
Their latest release, 2017’s Something New EP (Swoon Records), is a five-track collection of dance songs about breaking up, falling in love, and moving on. The title track is a thumping ode to a rebound, “It Goes” is a thoughtful disco cut about losing oneself on the dancefloor, and “Heartbreak Roadtrip” recounts the beginnings of a relationship that feels doomed from the start.
It’s not difficult to understand the duo’s growing popularity when you sit down with them. Both women immediately come off as the kind of friends you’d want to have—bold, caring, unpretentious. They speak loudly and without hesitation. Both of them are excruciatingly funny. Their sheer presence, you suspect, would make you feel unstoppable on a dance floor or while trying to talk to your crush at a function. Early in our conversation, they reach an impasse about what food to order.
“I’m going to get the fish sandwich,” Del announces.
“You sure you don’t want the wings?” Najamoniq asks probingly. When Del reaffirms her commitment to the fish, Najamoniq stops for a beat, stares at her, then replies: “Get the wings. We all know you’re never going to regret wings.”
The obvious affection the women have for each other is apparent, and, they explained, it’s also the engine that propels much of their music. “Everything that we do with Mirrorgloss is just us trying to impress one another,” Del tells me. “If she likes it, then I don’t really care if anybody else likes it.” They also cite their own wide-ranging music tastes as part of what makes them unique among the bands that frequent punk and DIY spaces.
As performers, Del and Najamoniq put their charisma to good use. Last month, they opened for S’s final show at Chop Suey. The first of four acts to perform that night, they single-handedly transformed a near-empty bar into a dancing mass of punks and queerdos. “Y’all look sensual!” Del yelled from the stage at one point. Most telling of their ability to get a party going was the moment when they encouraged everyone in the room to move closer to the stage, and the normally frigid, standoffish Seattle concert-goers obeyed immediately. It was, to quote a friend I ran into that night, “completely magical.”
At 9lb Hammer, Del and Najamoniq both laugh appreciatively when I comment on that performance. “That’s what we want!” Del exclaims. “When people listen to our music, we want them to feel like they’re at the best club, full of queer people, and black people, and fat people, and everyone is having a great time.”
“We also want our music to inspire people to feel good about themselves,” Najamoniq adds. “It doesn’t matter who you are, you can walk in the room and be that girl that everybody’s looking at. Del and I? We walk in and it’s like ‘Damn, they’re fly.’ It’s about attitude and knowing that you’ve got it.”