IT has been cool speaking with Portia and Jay of Mauwe...
about their new single, Balcony Dreams, and what its story is. They tell me how Mauwe came to be and what sort of music they are influenced by; the rising artists we need to follow and whether they have anything lined up for 2019.
The guys select albums important to them and tell me about how they chill away from music; what advice they would give to any musicians coming through and what they would each like for Christmas.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Portia: Great, thank you! Just recovering after a couple of shows this week and looking forward to continuing with writing in a few days.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Jay: Sure. We're Jay and Portia, A.K.A. 'Mauwe', and we make something between Electronica and Indie-pop. We released our first E.P. earlier this year and just released our newest single, Balcony Dreams, in November.
How did Mauwe get together? When did you start making music?
Portia: Haha. Well, we'd known of each other for years - having both grown up in the same town in the Midlands. We played a couple of the same shows with separate projects, worked at the same restaurant for a little while and I think maybe even did the same course at college but never really talked about music or writing.
Then, we ended up in Bristol separately about two years ago and decided to just jam together for the first time. We recorded a cover of Elvis' Can't Help Falling In Love for fun that first day and decided we should see what we could come up with. I think we wrote our first song, Smoked a Pack, about two weeks later.
Balcony Dreams sounds like a positive song! What inspired it and does it relate to personal experience?
Jay: Yeah, definitely. We naturally tend to write mostly from experience, like, things we're going through at the time. This one's about chasing that dream, whatever it might be, and having the strength to defy anyone who says you should 'get a safe job' because it might not work out. I based the production around that recording of the London Underground and we kind of grew the lyrics around that.
Do you think there will be more material next year?
Portia: 100%. We've got a few new tracks that we can't wait to share as well as some that we're currently working on. Definitely feeling pretty inspired at the moment.
In terms of music; which artists are you drawn to?
Portia: It's quite eclectic; especially combining both our tastes. But we love Jon Bellion, Vallis Alps and Louis the Child to name a few. Definitely going through a massive Nao phase - I never caught on when she first burst on the scene.
How important is Bristol and a base and its music scene?
Jay: Love it here. It's always got something going on but there's also space to chill and be yourself/clear your head, which I think is pretty important for creativity. So many great artists come through here too and it's got its history of introducing really good music to the world. Generally, a really inspiring place.
As Christmas is coming; what one present would you each like if you could have anything?
Jay: Haha, I don't know. Is a tour bus too much?
Portia: I keep getting bullied by various friends saying I'm a musician who doesn't have a Hi-Fi in their room, so I'm planning on changing this once and for all!
Do you already have plans for 2019?
Jay: Yes! As we mentioned, we've got some new music on the way, as well as a couple of music videos. We're also in the midst of expanding our live set-up, which we can't wait to show off in the New Year.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Portia: I think our show at Sixty Million Postcards in Bournemouth was pretty spectacular. Some people had travelled for several hours to get there and it was the first time we really saw how the music had actually connected with real people. It's one thing to see plays on Spotify and YouTube or whatever, but it's obviously amazing seeing real people singing our songs back at us.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Portia: That is such a hard question. I'd say probably either the first or second 1975 album. When I first learnt to drive and I was going through a break up, I would only listen to those two albums on-repeat and I feel like they saw me through exciting times (peaceful times) and also gut-wrenchingly sad times. They were both the soundtrack to freedom for me in so many senses.
Jay: This is impossible to answer, but if I have to choose it's probably Jack Garratt's Phase. It's got such a good balance of energy and great song writing, and most importantly I'm still yet to get bored of it.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Portia: Oooh. Jon Bellion? And rider would include hummus at the very least. Probably some honey J.D.; a couple of meal deals and definitely some chocolate. Maybe some pain au chocolate for the morning? (Jay's obsessed).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Jay: Don't sit around and wait for inspiration to hit you. Those moments do come and they're magical but so many great things have happened when we've just sat down and started creating or writing. Sometimes, nothing comes of it but at the very least it keeps your head in that space and keeps you practicing your craft.
Portia: Believe, believe, believe in yourself and focus on your own journey.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Jay: Until we've finished creating our new set-up, everything live is on-pause, but we've got some great plans for the New Year!
IN THIS PHOTO: Another Sky
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Portia: Pinegrove. They're not particularly new but I don't think enough people know about them.
IN THIS PHOTO: Pinegrove
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Jay: I kind of feel like music IS unwinding. There's a whole lot that is connected to it that requires what could be considered 'work', but crafting, creating and writing...that's all stuff that I feel most relaxed and at home doing.
Portia: We both love books and films too. There's a lot of inspiration to be found in escapism as well as real life.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Portia: Haha, thanks - and thanks for having us! California by The Lagoons
Jay: Stephen - Fly Down