If you’re a fan of Melbourne artist Misstiq, then her unique place in our scene needs no introduction.
While covers of alternative tracks aren’t traditionally difficult to come across, a classically trained musician forging translations of metal tunes to piano hit different, seeing Misstiq carve out her own niche in a musical world that was on the verge of being sapped of originality.
“I wanted to have something on the side that I did for myself, rather than constantly doing the same thing as everyone else in my course”, she articulates of her beginnings. Studying musical composition, she found herself among a cohort of students that were competing on talent. Simmering with the proposition of conformity, she knew that her interest in heavy music could set her apart.
“I liked putting together piano covers of guitar solos”, she laughs. “That led to me doing full-length covers. And then I thought, ‘Why not just put a few songs out on Youtube?’ They were, at first, Parkway Drive covers. I think I’m known to be the ‘Parkway Drive Piano Girl.’”
She was nineteen at the time, but it was the beginning of a series of events that would eclipse her original timeline of expectations for her career completely. She was getting requests from clients for covers, which turned into song features, and eventually ended up in the studio to track piano and strings on The Amity Affliction’s fifth album, This Could Be Heartbreak.
“That was one of the things that made me realise that I had the potential to do more of this”, she notes. “Things are currently getting done behind the scenes between people in other bands and solo artists.” On her wishlist is working with metalcore force Architects, who recently did a piano reprise of their track ‘Doomsday’ in the same vein of Misstiq’s covers.
“Speaking to women in the scene and allowing them to share their voice, I think that’s something that could make it a bit better.”
That realisation of the magic that can spark from the fusion of classical with the heavy alternative tenets that we’re accustomed to has carried through to the popularity of her style, down to her most recent playthrough, which was of Bullet For My Valentine’s ‘Tears Don’t Fall.’
While punk has taught us that you don’t necessarily have to be talented musically to make a song, the craft of what Misstiq does is unmistakeable. She does argue, however, that erecting boundaries around the genres that she crosses between is unproductive.
“I really like Drake”, she boasts. “A lot of people know me for that. I like the energy behind that style. I play a little classical piano…I did enjoy playing those pieces, but I have more of a passion for heavy music and also beats, trap, a bit of R&B. Anything that has energy behind it. Everyone has their own unique, different tastes and the worst thing in the world is when someone puts someone else down for liking a certain style. Like hello, we’re just human. We like what we like.”
On the trail of discussing arbitrary boundaries, there is the inevitable misogyny directed towards Misstiq online. Like most incredibly talented women, she’s constantly under fire from assholes that disregard the fact that she’s a professionally trained musician to cite that she “wouldn’t get all these views if she was a guy.”
“I feel that it’s not putting me down”, she asserts. “I’ve got this thick barrier in front me. I simply just read those messages and say to myself, ‘Cool. That’s who that person is. That doesn’t say anything about me.’ It just tells me more about that person and zero about myself.”
Part of that barrier is going by her alias – Misstiq – which she describes as a “coat of armour” against her taking things personally. “I do accept positive feedback”, she caveats. But if you’re a dickhead with an agenda, don’t bother leaving a comment.
What Misstiq has been through online shines a light on the continued experience of women in our scene, from uncalled-for criticism based on gender to consistent allegations floating around that members of the industry have abused their power. It’s a constant battle to understand why women aren’t allowed to do the same things as men in a space that is made safe enough for them to exist in.
“Why shouldn’t we?”, Misstiq adds. “I feel that talking, doing interviews with women like this, helps shed light on the issue of negative treatment towards women online. This awareness could get through to those who feel it is okay to put women down online. Speaking to women in the scene and allowing them to share their voice, I think that’s something that could make it a bit better.”
Misstiq stands as an inspiration for young women to find their own voice, the same way that she has and is continuing to. Like all artists, she’ll continue to refine her style, blooming new ideas and expanding her collaborations. “I’d love to do stuff as a solo artist”, she concludes. “I have actually been thinking about what sort of style I’d have, what image, how people would describe me.”