Interview by Heather McMillian
In excitement for his upcoming album, ‘Water Overhead’ we sat down with Maala to have a chat about the development of his sound, vulnerable lyrics and much more!
H: If you could describe what mood the album is rather than by genre what would you set it as and what made the sound come out feeling that way?
E: I keep going back to Introspective, I’m not sure if that’s a feeling or mood. I think that’s where a lot of the songs came from sitting in my bedroom and trying out some ideas and putting the lyrics together. it was a very insular sort of feeling. For me first.
H: I was thinking about music and genre and felt like it’s more like a feeling than a genre.
E: Yeah i think that’s where I sit when I write. There’s a part of me that really enjoys pop writing the sort of brash right in-front of you and then there are parts where it is at a distance.
H: There has been a lot of development in sound from the music you first released in 2015 to this new album. Do you have a sound inspiration going into writing and recording and creating that allowed you to know when a song was complete in how it sound?
E: I think for me the music comes first. So what made me really feel the song was finished was more to do when the lyrics were o top of it and that was when it found it’s home. I felt like it was set in that world. Bu then there are certainly across with writing an album it was a process of trying to find a linearity of production as well. It’s always those flourishes at the top; Those little air candy moment that’s when I’ve finished a song.
H: The name of the album and one of the singles water overhead has a real sense of overwhelming of pressures in life what themes were the most important for you to write about across the album?
E: i feel like the album took a f*cking long time.
H: That’s not a bad thing though. I think good things take time.
E: Yeah, I think that’s what i came to the conclusion of. It’s taken this long I may as well take this long. There was certainly a moment whilst the songs weren’t coming together. That frustration building the only way to overcome that felt like was to discuss that. The songs came together something because it was a son about how I can’t write a song. I feel like there was a lot of those moments where I was like f*ck it. This song is about feeling frustrated and that’s when it seems to feel like it seems to come together. it’s hard because I would love to tie a knot around all of the songs but each song had it’s own moment of frustration and I think that’s why I keep centring back to that as a theme.
H: The last track ‘time of your life’ is really raw and vulnerable in both it’s sound and lyrics, “I thought you were the only one who wanted to hear me” really hits deeply. just wanted to say how significant it was that you slowed it down and was wondering if you find recording and releasing those contrasting songs to your normal sound harder? Does it push you as an artist to explore more vulnerable depths of lyric and sound?
E: I really like that question. A lot of what you’re saying resonates with me. With ‘time of your life’ it was one of those songs that nearly didn’t make the cut because it was too raw. It’s because of how raw it was it left me feeling quite anxious. I don’t want to put it all out there. When we start it, it had a lot more production. it had drums and the full she band on there. But i felt like in order to reflect what I was saying, it needed to be really stripped back. It’s not something I necessarily feel like I have to do in order to feel vulnerable and raw. but for that song it was what I felt it needed. but you’re right when you do strip things down to the basics it does tend to really be from the heart.
H: This one is about time and how important it is to you to spend the right amount of time on your art and music. It feels like in the music industry that there is a lot of pressure to keep pressure to release new things all the time or are you happy to release things in your own time?
E: yeah I definitely feel that pressure. it’s hard to avoid. When everyone else is doing it you kind of question whether you’re right to take your time. you can look to some artists who do take their time where I really appreciate their music But just the same where they release music all the time which I enjoy just as much. I guess it just comes down to whether I feel as though the songs are in a place where they are worth listening to. I certainly feel the pressure but I am very willing to take the time because the moment for someone to listen to it. I feel like I have to earn that sometimes. I have to make sure I’m really behind it before I am expecting anyone to give a sh*t.
H: Do you think as well if yo released an album in say a year then maybe you’d think you could have done more on it?
E: Yeah, i think there was a lot of that on this record as well. That it could. You’re right the next album come be 6 months away because I’m just so confident in it at the time. That’s actually a good point.
H: It’s a good time to release the alum after Covid-19 and lockdown and the anxieties that came through that.
E: Yeah, it feels the perfect time to release it. For me it was perfect timing. I feel as though the songs make more sense now because of it.
H: Does that mean you’re going to tour then?
E: I think I’ve really learn’t to love my studio space. Every time I play a show I get far too nervous and I just don’t think that’s where I sit with music. It’s going to be a thing to do eventually. But I am enjoying just writing at the moment really.
H: If someone could only listen to one or two of the songs on the album which ones would you say most represent you both when you started writing it to now on releasing it.
E: It’s got to be Water Overhead, I think that one sort of put together a lot of what the album presents. Which is that frustration and trying to claw away through some pretty sh*tty times.
H: Have any of the songs changes drastically in sound from when you first wrote it to what it sounds like on the album now?
E: Time of your life was probably the one that ended up changing. But I think that’s part of how these songs started to actually come together. Was because there was a bit of intent behind the lyrics.
H: Thanks so much for your time all the best for the album release. I hope it all goes well!
E: Thank you so much!