Mimi At The Puddles brings dance to Pygmalion


Photo courtesy of @mimiatthepuddles Instagram

Mimi At The Puddles lead singer and songwriter Amiel Cain speaks to WPGU 107.1 during a live session on Sept. 21. Cain speaks on being a Chicago based artist coming to Urbana for Pygmalion as well as the band and its genre of electronic dance music.

By Kylie Corral, Assistant buzz Editor

Pygmalion is a festival for all who search for art in Champaign-Urbana. However, band enthusiasts gather around this time of year to hear a variety of talent local to C-U, bringing about a community tied by music, entertainment and dance.

Amiel Cain, systems coordinator for the Center of Housing and Health in Chicago, is the lead singer and songwriter of the band Mimi At The Puddles, who will be appearing at Pygmalion on Friday at NOLA’s Rock Bar in Urbana. She said when it comes to the band, they all contribute to the creation of the music.

“I live in Chicago, and so part of the interesting dynamic and part of the blessings of having such talented folks working together is that the folks with the instrumentation practice together, and then I come in and do the vocals and practice with them,” Cain said. “I go to Urbana, and I immediately feel comfortable and just at ease and chill.”

Cain said she got involved with Mimi At The Puddles after attending one of their live shows. Although she had been involved in an older band called Sparks In The Dark, she said Mimi At The Puddles brings in more electronic dance music to the mix.

“I have a lot of personality, and I really love sharing the experience with people,” she said. “I basically sing all the time — I was raised by opera singers, and so I like to make people comfortable with music and get people involved with music. When I perform,  I love to just bring people into it and make it kind of just more of an experience.”

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Cain added that Mimi At The Puddles brings energy to the crowd — along with dancing, comfort and just a plain good time. She said her favorite thing about performing is seeing so many people come to see the artist they are interested in, as well as other artists that may be performing.

“So I feel like it’s an opportunity to connect with a new fan base,” Cain said. “It’s an opportunity to connect with your network already and basically just show out and have an awesome time, like share what you’ve been up to.”

Cain said Urbana is an incubator for musical talent, adding that there’s also more of an opportunity to present yourself to audiences. 

“I love it,” Cain said. “I love the live music here, like it’s so great. I feel like there’s that ability to experiment because you have these willing audiences who want to engage, and they want to have that experience, and they want to connect with you, and the venues that we have do have that storefront vibe, that like Cafe vibe, it’s like larger than a cafe.”

Anthony Santarelli plays bass for the band, adding that he “yells” on occasion in a bid to get people dancing and enjoying themselves.

“I enjoy entertaining and making people laugh, and I’ve been a part of a few bands over the years, and it’s really only fun,” Santarelli said. “It’s like people are also enjoying it, dancing and stuff. So I’m typically pretty mild mannered, but I kind of get this alter ego where I’m like, yelling at the crowd and trying to like, not force them but enable them to lose their inhibitions and just move their body.”

Santarelli is also excited for Pygmalion, saying that the music scene has really evolved over the years, with much help from music festivals.

“It seems like Urbana’s music scene has really evolved and developed in the last couple of years, and Pygmalion is really driving that,” Santarelli said. “I think there’s like just a number of new venues, growing venues in Urbana. So I’m excited to see Pygmalion take over Urbana, and I’m just excited to have fun.”

He added that there’s a kind of hunger for new artists, fueled by many new bands in the area.  “As far as the music scene goes, I think it’s like, the grass is greener where you water it sort of thing, and we’re really excited to be supporting and trying to contribute to the music scene here,” Santarelli said. “Stylistically or musically, I think we’re trying to bring more dance energy and more like kind of happy positive vibes on the music front.”

Micheal Linder works for a company where he tunes Indian instruments such as sitars and harmoniums, but he plays the sampler, drum machine, synthesizers, arpeggiator and vocoder. Linder also added that he was in the old band, meaning that he’s been playing music with Cain for 10 years, even before Mimi At The Puddles.

“Music for me is a sense of joy,” Linder said. “So I like to bring that sense of joy to other people, and this is the latest iteration of it. It’s easy work, and it’s fun. I grew up playing drums at church, so it’s kind of like something powerful about how people come together and sing.”

Micheal and Cain said that sometime before, and maybe after, their show at Pygmalion, Mimi At The Puddles will be getting music onto Spotify. Cain added that as the band is in the process of recording a new studio album. 

“We’re technically not humans,” Santarelli joked. “We are an alien vampire species, and we require dance energy to live and power our spaceship. If you would like to support aliens, and or vampires, please come dance.”

“If you’re searching for something creatively unique and sounds different than everything else, you should come to the show, it’s not gonna sound like any other stuff,” Linder added.


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