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

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A living, breathing embodiment of the bedroom-pop aesthetic, Alice Rowan’s creative musings as Mayshe-Mayshe are an ever-dependable delight; a sonic shelter where an aptitude for perfect pop meets exquisitely tuned low-key intimacy. “Songwriting has always been like a diary for me,” she confides. “It’s a way of expressing what I’m going through and what my thoughts are – kind of like self-therapy, for processing the state of the world.”

To that end, it’s little wonder new album Indigo marks a departure in tone from Alice’s 2019 debut Cocoa Smoke, grappling as it does with a triple-layered shit sandwich of mental health, politics and the environment following a period where society’s wrongs have been magnified like never before. “People have quite often seen my music as twee and light-hearted and I do enjoy making things sound cheery and poppy, but this album goes to some darker places in a thoughtful and fun way. I enjoy the juxtaposition; it almost jars, but in a way which I love.”

Based in York, Alice has been a regular visitor to the North East in recent years (this month’s album launch tour includes no less than three local dates), with plenty of DIY show regulars already acquainted with her knack for a sugary synth loop and earworm chorus. Many will delight at the return of her trademark hairdryer over the stuttering bobble of Eczema, yet perhaps the record’s most striking, immediately accessible moment is Dark Mountain, a lead single whose origins stem from a Moomin tale concerning an ant nest, a perfect glade of grass and a can of gasoline.

this album goes to some darker places in a thoughtful and fun way. I enjoy the juxtaposition

“That song’s a stream-of-conscious outlet of where we are environmentally,” she reveals. “I’m constantly hitting against ethical dilemmas within society and the systems we live under. The clothes we wear. The food we buy. Whether I drive to a gig. Whether I get on a plane to see my friends in America… It’s overwhelming, so my response has always been about my little world and what I can do to make it better, rather than focusing on the bigger picture.”

While the core components of melody and lyricism will stand out to most listeners, it’s clear Alice is no less enthused by the nuts and bolts of music production. “I learned how to use an audio interface in Ableton just a few months before I recorded Cocoa Smoke, so I’ve 10-times the experience now. It’s been so empowering to turn the sonic landscapes in my head into tangible things that I can share with people. It’s something which, as a younger artist, I had no idea would be possible. I thought that to do that you’d have to be thoroughly trained, have worked in a studio for 20 years and probably be a bloke!

“It’s something that anybody who wants to can learn,” she continues. “I feel quite passionate about it – particularly as a woman, because you don’t see so many other women doing production. I’m not very techy, and I still don’t feel like it’s a particularly developed skill that I have, but it’s probably my favourite part of being a musician now. It feels like my biggest achievement with this album – that ability to make the final product completely what I want it to be.”

Indigo is released on 11th November. Mayshe-Mayshe plays live at Cobalt Studios, Newcastle on Thursday 10th, The Holy GrAle in Durham on Tuesday 15th and The Studio, Hartlepool on Saturday 19th November.


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