IT has been cool speaking with Aoife McCann of…
the Irish band, Æ MAK. She talks about their single, Glow, and how that song came together. I was curious whether she grew up in a musical household; whether the guys will be touring at all this year; how important art/visuals are to their music.
I learn more about the band's creative process and what the Irish crowds are like; the albums (Aoife) vibes to; how amazing 2017 was (when the band supported Warpaint); what advice she would give new artists coming through – and why this week has been an especially memorable/tipsy one.
Hi, Æ MAK. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi. We’re really good, thanks. This week has been a slow one! We’re recovering from a long week of recording in Leeds/a long week of hammering back too many brown ales. It's an exciting week too, of course! Glowin'.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Yes. So we are a four-piece Electronic, Art-Pop band based in Dublin. There’s myself, Aoife McCann, on Vocals; Daniel McIntyre on Production and all things Synth; Peter Kelly and Dylan Povey on Drums and Percussion.
All about that rhythm...
Glow is your new single. What is the story behind it?
The creation of Glow was a turning point for Æ MAK. It is the start of a new chapter, sonically, and it is also the first song conceived through a new writing and production process - that started between myself and Dan last summer. It is a beacon for us, embodying what Æ MAK now is after going through a line-up change and a tough year.
I wrote Glow after an argument I had with someone close to me. It relates to the frustration I, and everyone gets, when you see traits in others that you recognize and dislike in yourself. So; it's about denial, self-acceptance and turning to the ones that you love to accept the good and bad parts of yourself again. I brought the song to Dan and he created the soundscape. He brought it to life. Through our shared musical vision and love of Dance music, we created Glow. The first of many songs we are making together.
The artwork for Glow is striking and eye-catching! How important is it projecting stunning visuals? Do you think image and music are closely interwoven?
It is so, so important to reflect our music with striking and stylistic artwork - it deserves it. Performance and art are at the core of Æ MAK. You have to make conceptual artwork alongside your music to enhance the world you are striving to create. Through Æ MAK, I aim to build an otherworldly realm for our audience to get lost in; to escape in.
Can we expect to see new music? Will there be an E.P. later this year?
We will be releasing lots of new music throughout the year. We can't wait to share it. We're not sure in which form yet - but there is, most definitely, a long rainbow-stream of boppers coming in 2018.
Your music brings light into an ever-darkening world. Do you feel it’s important to keep that hope and ray of guidance burning?
It certainly used to; dark brooding Æ MAK songs are coming, don't you worry.
But, yes; it is important to exude hope and positivity, of course, as both performer/writer - and the listener needs that getaway. It's also important to write about the upsetting and challenging parts of the human condition. If done through an emotive, bright Pop melody then even better.
Did you grow up around music at an early age? Which artists made an impact on you as a child?
I did. Both of my parents are massive music fans and taught me everything they know about the world of Rock & Roll and Folk, which is a lot. The Clash's London Calling, The Rolling Stones; Talking Heads and R.E.M. would have reverberated off the walls day in, day out. I loved E.L.O...and Christina Aguilera, of course.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sigrid
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
You already adore her, I'm sure but...Sigrid. Holy lord. She is a ray of hope within the Pop music industry. What a songwriter! She's going to be an iconic star we all rave about to our grandkids: the real deal.
Aldous Harding. She's not a new artist but she's new to me. I am giddy over her. Paving another road for all of us fierce and theatrical female performers. Her songs are so simple and beautiful; her lyrics feel like they're from a hypnagogic land. Someone's obsessed. Check out her newest album, Party.
IN THIS PHOTO: Aldous Harding
If you had to choose the three albums that mean the most to you; which would you choose and why?
Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
This was the soundtrack to my childhood and early-teens thanks to my mam and dad - along with countless other iconic albums like Pet Sounds and Sticky Fingers. The melodies and harmonies are ingrained into the lining of my heart. This album, 100%, influenced all my writing when I first began in my late-teens. This is strongly reflected in our first Jungle-Pop E.P., I Can Feel It in My Bones.
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (2011)
Toss up with their debut album in 2008.
Robin Pecknold. Tears. Love. Help. Can’t deal...Every lyric. Every melody and harmony-line. Still trying to suss which cog I am, in which great machinery...serving something beyond...okay, sorry. I listen to this album every day. Every day. It fills me with sadness AND hope.
Little Dragon – Season High (2017)
We are all currently in love with this album. It has had a big influence on the synth sounds and production on our new songs. To me, it embodies how I feel about my youth and ours and our mate’s experiences. A yearning for more. It also makes us dance our butts off every day.
Can we see you guys tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
We have lots of festivals coming up this summer that we’re excited to announce. We also have some exciting shows in the works. We’ll be baring all soon.
What do you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
Me, personally; I’d like to become a real adult person and learn how to cook a nice stew; learn how to pay big important bills and post big, important letters. Soon, I hope: twenty-five is just around the corner.
2017 saw you support, among others, Warpaint! What did you learn from the gigs and big moments last year?
Yes, that was amazing - very surreal, but I think we learned that we can actually do this and we’re a lot better than we thought. We learned that people connect with our music and performances. People actually want to come and dance at our shows.
So; that feels super-fuzzy.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
We played Other Voices festival, December-time, 2016. It was one of the best weekends of our lives, musically and as a band, in the Irish music scene. It’s in the beautiful seaside town of Dingle, Co. Kerry. The sense of community and true love of music is magical there. We were very hungover so were in a fuzzy dreamlike state - this definitely enhanced the connection we had with the audience there. I think I morphed into some kind of tribal witch that night.
That festival is really special.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Find the right people to surround yourself with; people who bring out the best in you, creatively and as a person; be it collaborators, musicians; management…it takes time - but never settle for the wrong fit. Also; f*ck worrying about what people think: in the end, we'll all be dead.
Be whoever and whatever the hell you want to be - and be the best at that.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Ha! Okay. Myself and Dan are drooling over Lorde’s Supercut right now. Spin it! (Smiles).
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