MAEVE TALKS HER LATEST RELEASE, EARLY INFLUENCES & OVERCOMING CREATIVE BLOCKS
Maeve is a creative in all senses of the word – from her staggering on stage looks to the meticulous crafting of her lyrics, a lot can be learnt from the singer’s craft. Her latest release “Can we just get high” is nothing but a testament to this, with its lyrics calling upon a sentiment to be appreciated by many. Coupled with the song comes a music video – so, prepare yourself for nothing short of total visual satisfaction and immense creativity expressed flawlessly.
It was about time we met with her, to discuss the root of any early inspirations, her Caymanian storytelling and the style of her performance looks. This is Maeve.
The title of your first ep “Caravaggio in a corner store” shows an influence of art within your work – which artist first struck a chord with you?
Cindy Sherman probably had the biggest impact initially. I remember being stopped in my tracks coming across her work for the first time. All of the different personas in her self portraits all the different layers behind each photograph. A song is a bit like a self portrait so I feel like I relate to her.
I saw that you worked with William Orbit to make ‘Jonah’ – is there anyone else you like to collaborate with – or anyone who you think a collaboration would nicely complement your style?
Yes he is a legend and such an amazing supporter! There are so many people that I have dreams of one day collaborating with. I’m nervous about saying it out loud as I don’t want to jinx it but If I did something with Patti Smith I could die happy.
Your upcoming release “Can we just get high” has some fantastically crafted lyrics – alongside a rustic setting and dusky production for the music video. Were there any specific media inspirations for this aesthetic?
Thank you, and yes there were. I love referencing and taking inspiration from visual forms of media in my work and for this video I had horror films like Midsommar and X, and surrealist film 1960s “Daisies” in mind. I wanted it to seem a bit surreal to reflect what the song is about.
The symbol of Ottessa Moshfegh’s ‘My Year of Rest and Relaxation’ at the start of your Can We Just Get High music video has to have a deeper meaning. What themes were you trying to evoke by holding the book in the opening frame?
That was a last minute decision, I was reading that book around the time that I shot the video and I thought it would be funny for me to be reading it at the beginning of the video. I’m also using sedating as escapism in a way in this song too and wanted to make fun of myself a little.
The opening monologue of Can We Just Get High is really evocative. Can you offer some insight into the story behind this?
That is a poem that I wrote called Acid and God. It came around the same time that I wrote “Can we just get high”. I’ve always thought love wasn’t meant for me and I was happy being on my own and that’s what it’s about. It was about a time before “Can we just get high?” so it felt right to have it chronologically at the beginning of the music video.
When you are writing, what comes to you first? Is it the lyrical side of the process or do you have a more general idea or feel for how the project will look?
It’s really different each time. It either starts from lyrics that I have written and I’m writing the whole time. Or it’s a melody or chord sequence that comes from me picking up guitar or piano. Sometimes it’s a beat. It’s really messy and it’s always new so it never gets boring. Then once I’ve got the vibe of the song I envision the visuals in my head like a film.
You started out by going around hotels in your hometown of the Cayman Islands asking to play there – do you encourage other young artists to go out and take that same initiative to make it happen?
100 percent – no one else is going to do it for you apart from yourself. Also it’s good practice – I spent years in hotel bars playing in front of drunk tourists, some were big events and others were to one or two people in a crowd. I can safely say I am well equipped to deal with any crowd now and having gone from that to a sold out o2 Academy Brixton makes it feel all the more worthwhile.
Do you think we can spot any Caymanian influence in your music?
Definitely in my story telling – a lot of my new music is highly autobiographical so there’s references in the lyrics – names of iconic Caymanian bars, nature, and places that I used to frequent. I used to try and hide more behind characters but this new music is 100 percent me.
Was there a point when you were younger when you were listening to someone’s music and you were like ‘yeah this is what I want to do’ – if so, whose music?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember but there’s always times where I have revelations all over again that solidifies it. There’s this iconic picture of Lana Del Rey, Florence Welch, FKA twigs and Marina all having dinner together and I remember being like “I want a seat at that table!!” and this year I went on tour with Marina which was a dream.
Have you ever experienced a creative block – if so, how did you dig yourself out and what advice do you have for people trying to do the same?
Of course. I think it’s important to ask yourself where it’s coming from and look at the patterns. For me I find it difficult to write when I have listened to too many people’s
opinions and forget about why I am doing this in the first place. Sometimes it’s good to shut everyone out and write music without even thinking it’s going to be out in the world someday.
The outfits you wear on stage are almost as mesmerising as your music – do you have a stylist or is it all your own handy-work?
Thank you! I do all my own styling for shows and reach out to designers that I love on instagram. Most recently I’ve been wearing a lot of KNWLS, Di Petsa and Brian De Carvalho
Lastly, five songs you’re loving right now, and why?
Sidelines – Phoebe Bridgers
I relate to this song so much and think it’s perfect.
About You – The 1975
I’m listening to their new album at the moment and this is “Robbers” part two so obviously i love it.
Laura Palmer’s Theme – Angelo Badalamenti
I love the whole Twin peaks soundtrack and really want to re-watch it.
Sea, Swallow Me – Cocteau Twins
Nostalgic, beautiful, vocals.
Static – Steve Lacy
One of the rare tiktok-blown up songs that’s actually magic.