INTERVIEW: Maius Mollis | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Why is it that certain singer-songwriters prove so effective in seizing our hearts, while countless others float by without leaving so much as an impression? It’s a question I’ve mulled repeatedly since first encountering Maius Mollis, a standout up-and-comer whose fragile ruminations have already secured their place among my own affections. “Maybe it’s a case of certain artists expressing things we can’t put into words ourselves?” The diminutive tunesmith (real name Maisie) surmises. “I like to think my own songs aren’t really about me. I’d rather listeners made them about themselves.”

However intangible that magic touch, it’s clear there’s a sizeable audience for whom Maisie’s writing will strike a potent chord – especially now she’s ready to roll with her maiden body of work. Showcasing the breadth and depth of her prodigious talents, new EP Waves is both an ideal introduction and the culmination of two formative years since the solo project’s inception. Captured with crystal clarity by Sam Grant (Pigsx7, Richard Dawson, Rubber Oh) at Blank Studios, its four songs each occupy their own distinct sonic space, with Maisie’s propensity to reflect upon grief forming key connective tissue.

“It’s the thing I keep coming back to,” she acknowledges. “I use automatic writing a lot – where you set a timer and write within its limits – so naturally a lot that comes out is what’s already on my mind. I really tried to resist the subject with my first single [The Tide Turned], whereas with this EP I fully embraced it. It felt a lot more intentional.”

I like to think my own songs aren’t really about me. I’d rather listeners made them about themselves

Certainly, there’s a palpable assuredness underpinning Waves’ golden quartet. (I Was Not) Brave, for instance, is the manifestation of Maisie’s penchant for slow, sustained sonic and lyrical builds; Rest Of My Life an “angry break-up song” spun into the EP’s most potent earworm; and the title track a cathartic hymn for “anyone who didn’t get to say goodbye.”

Along with her own experiences, inspiration was sourced from pioneering research on living loss by psychotherapist Julia Samuel. “We generally see grief as the result of somebody passing away, but while that’s definitely part of it and something I’ve experienced, it can also come from our expectations not being met, or things we see for ourselves not happening,” Maisie explains. “I feel like I didn’t really understand these tracks until they were finished. With [opener] Feel It Hard in particular, it took a while for me to understand what I was trying to say, whereas by the time I’d finished writing Waves I’d fully worked out the direction I was taking.”

While Arts Council funding, contributions from Chris McManus and Melanie Baker and Grant’s collaborative oversight aided Waves’ development, Maisie’s latest milestone has been the establishment of her new live band – comprised of Baker (guitar), Ceitidh Mac (synth) and John Lambeth (drums). “It’s a flexible line-up…” she emphasises. “They’re all absolute gems, but the problem with choosing musicians who are both really good and nice is that they tend to be very busy!” With further full-band shows and a collaboration with Sam Fender/Martha Hill producer Thom Lewis (Bramwell Bronte) in the pipeline, expect Maius Mollis’ cathartic sounds to tug plenty more heartstrings as we career into 2024.

Maius Mollis’ debut EP Waves is released on 1
st December.

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