MALORY THE ALTPOPOLYPTIC SENSATION
Malory showcases her altpopolyptic sound with the launch of her long awaited debut album ‘Cornucopia’ on Extreme Music. Having supported George Ezra on tour, gained endorsement from Radio2 (performing at their Hyde Park Festival in 2016) and John Kennedy at Radio X it’s no surprise the 24 year old has been hyped by the likes of Wonderland, The 405 and The Line of Best Fit. With syncs on Dancing With The Stars, Netflix’s “Battle” trailer and the new Ben Kingsley movie “Nomis”, 2019 is set to be an exciting year for Malory.
Interview by Rebeccah Love
In what creative activities do you remember taking part during your childhood? What are your first memories of making music?
All sorts! My sister and I were always making up dances and weird plays or catwalk shows for our parents (a la ANTM) any chance we got. We also used to paint and draw, I remember we once made an 'exhibition' in our garden showcasing works of art which were essentially magazine cut outs made into new 'beings', e.g. a babies head on a model's body, very weird stuff indeed...
How did music play a role in your teenage years? What were you listening to then?
I began to write songs firstly with my sister and then eventually on my own, my dad taught me a few chords on the guitar so I began to write at 13. I started out writing songs about my friends or random stories I'd make up 'Sailor Song' & 'Dracula's Daughter' being two early titles. Early on I was obsessed with the Juno soundtrack, so I suppose Kimya Dawson, The Moldy Peaches etc. but then a little later artists like Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michealson, Laura Marling and Marina and the Diamonds. I was always (and still sort of am) bad at listening to full albums and remembering names, so it was mainly melodies and specific songs that would stick in my head, my parents would play loads of Joni Mitchell, Dylan, Carol King and Ry Cooder in the house too and then my sister would show me artists like Bright Eyes and Young the Giant, so a bit of a mix really!
How did you spend your time after graduating from high school?
Mostly gigging and writing! I'd done my first 'professional' recordings at Tileyard studios in Kings X at the age of 16 and was sort of developing and touting my music around. My mom (who managed me at the time) and I would go to all sorts of networking events, seminars and shows trying to build contacts and get my stuff heard. Bit by bit I was getting better and playing at better venues and then at 19 signed my first publishing deal.
How would you describe the feelings expressed in your new album Cornucopia? How do you interpret that word, what does it mean to you?
The album is filled with a lot of emotion. I supposed it's really an array of the different feelings I've had over the past few years, from ecstatic love, to real deep vulnerability, to frustration and anger. The title emerged from the song itself. The line 'I'm always gonna be a cornucopia' just resonated with me really strongly, the image of all this stuff - songs, feelings, experiences, ideas - spilling out of me. I'm a very open person and definitely wear my heart on my sleeve and am constantly driven to express myself but I found in the past, I would bury things orsuppress ideas/feelings. So getting to know myself better and realising that this is who I am, I can't hold back the wave of stuff that's inside me, made me realise I better damn well get used to putting it OUT, whether that's through music, lyrics, poetry, illustration whatever. What began as self therapy (and still is) has really become true self liberation for the first time.
On the topic of language, your song titles all evoke such a richness of experiences and ideas: 'Blue Umbrella', 'Rugrat', 'Trickle'. Can you talk about your adventures in finding the perfect words for your songs? Do the words come first, or the music?
I'm glad they do!! I definitely love having strong visceral or imaginative titles and lyrics. Often it's a lot to do with rhyme actually, finding peculiar words first, which I kind of challenge myself to rhyme with and then the theme of the song emerges. Then again sometimes it's the other way around, I'll work off a title maybe. I like to have a emotional link to any song however, I mean, I love weird abstract lyrics but almost always there is a deeper meaning or thing I've been feeling at the time that comes out, so sometimes it's out of my control!
How did your album launch go?
The launch was incredible! A packed out venue with an amazing crowd completely ready to engage with my band and I, made it all the more spectacular. It was honestly a really special night and I felt so proud to showcase the songs from the album after having them under wraps for so long!
What does your work space look like?
Oooo haha that depends... I've got a bedroom studio set up which is quite basic right now but slowly being built up, above my desk I have this big crazy feminist painting which my parents bought in the 80's so that always inspires me. But aside from that my work space can be anywhere! Different studios, rehearsal spaces, cities even! If I've got my voice memos, a guitar or a piano, I can write anywhere.
Who are your current musical inspirations?
I've recently been super inspired by Rostam, I just think he is just beyond talented and his use of modern sounds with real/world instruments is just absolutely stunning. I've also been loving Tove Styrke and have her album 'Sway'. I've had it on repeat on most long journeys I go on.
How do you find living in London? Is it an artist friendly city? What are some of your favourite places to hang out?
I'm living in London but moving to Toronto in the summer! Can't wait. London has been awesome, it's just got SO SO much going on. If you love grime you can see grime, folk, there are folk nights, irish dancing you name it and you'll find it in this vast city. I'd say as an artist because it's so saturated I'd say it is AND it isn't an artist friendly place. There are hundreds of opportunities for artists but also hundreds of artists so it can end up feeling a little crowded and at times competitive...
Fave hangouts? I love Pop Brixton, especially in the summer and also a little place called Cafe Cairo in Clapham that puts on really eclectic nights.
What non-musical art forms do you turn to for inspiration?
Most definitely movies and visual arts. I love Wes Anderson and the Cohen Brothers, their weird themes and Wes's insanely unique aesthetic. Also books and illustrators, my faves being Haruki Murakami and David Shrigley.
Why do you make music? Why is music important?
I'm just drawn to write, it's just something I have to do.
Occasionally I'll describe it (often with the songs that I write super quickly) as though an Alien beam has entered my body and the aliens have taken control and written the song for me, as if I'm just the vehicle in which the aliens use for the song to be born haha... But when you're in the middle of creating a piece of music or song you feel as though you're transcending yourself and get this weird high and then once it's complete just intensely gratifying satisfaction. Music's always been such an innate human expression and elicited such intense emotion within people. Perhaps that's why it's still so popular and embedded in everything we do, you feel something, in a world that seems to be moving away from religion and faith, music can often give people this spiritual feeling of connectedness.
What are you looking forward to?
Putting out my next release! I've got another EP written and half-way produced. It's super different to this album, still 'me' but a really interesting shift I think people are going to love. I'm also off to Australia and then Japan with my boyfriend for a month!! Feeling very blessed!