Maria & the Mirrors - Interviews - Soundblab

Maria & the Mirrors

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

As soon as you hear Maria & the Mirrors' twin-drum, synth 'n' shout assault on their new Travel Sex EP, you'll want to know more out this band of otherworldly helliens and the seriously out-there sounds they make. Soundblab caught up with synth-basher Charly to find out about upsetting hedge fund managers, playing a gig at a decommissioned nuclear reactor and why pop equals win.

Your sound is very unique. How did it come about? What are your influences?

We all believe in the primacy of percussion, from the folk music of Novaya Zemlya to a bleak obsession with double drummer groups; The Fall - Perverted by Language and Glitter Band stomp - such a good feeling! Then harness percussive action to gnarly power electronics and found sounds... so the music has a sense of place... everyday events collated on tape and re-arranged to create something otherworldly, with evocative and frantic vocals. As we've been together we've moved from more of a doomy tribal Boredoms on codeine doggerel to further up-tempo dancehall/UK funky type rhythms but still with gnarly tape scree & skriking vox. Our influences range from Costin Miereanu, Hanatarash and DBX to Elephant Man, Funkystepz and Joe McElderry.

How did you guys meet and start the band?

I met Keira at a party in a hotel somewhere in West London. Goldie Lookin' Chain were having a rhyme battle. It was a bad situation. A very bad situation. We managed to strike up a conversation about ESG. Quite an achievement given the amount of crystal meth knocking around. Crystabel jumped on me in Homerton. Our friend Sailor was also in the band and sang the song 'The Story of Jack' about her dead cat. She left during the first gig, leaving a trio. She has a dog called Bandit now.

Do you have a particular method for composing your songs?

A) Choose song to plagiarise.

B) Plagiarise the chosen song.

What music are you guys into right now? What would you recommend Soundblab readers check out?

I've been listening a lot to Heresy, the hardcore band from Nottingham - their 85-87 LP is amazing, and I just got Underground Resistance's 'Sonic EP' which is totally ace. A lot of rave. (I have an) obsession with Altern-8; Drexciya - 'Dr Blowfin's Black Storm Stabilizing Spheres', Sleezy D 'Trust', just discovered the brilliance that is George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice, what a masterpiece, and very emotional too. Conrad Schnitzler - Con 3. I got the compilation of Felt's Cherry Red material, Gold Mine Trash, which is just great - wall-to-wall twee bangers, indie the way it ought to be... Oh, and Lil Wayne - '6 Foot 7 Foot', oooh laird.

You used a photo of Amanda Lear on the ad for the launch of your fantastic Travel Sex EP. Are you fans? Would you ever make a disco record?

Amanda Lear is a constant inspiration everyday. Travel Sex is disco music! Certainly we are looking to make our next releases more explicitly danceable, whilst still remaining completely unlistenable.

Hypothetical: You get a call asking you to collaborate with Madonna/Christina/Britney etc on her new album. Do you accept? What would you bring to a collaboration like that?

Pop = Win. With pop music we can all win together. Femme Fatale is banging! It would be a privilege to work with artists of such renown. We would all emote through an auto-tune and work out all kinds of cool new dance moves to cause Selena Gomez sleepless nights.

You use two drum kits and electronic devices to make music. What was the reaction when you started playing live? Did people get it or react negatively?

I looked round and the lady in the front row was weeping real tears - and not in a good way. The obese man in the Chelsea shirt threatened to kill me.

What equipment do you use to get the sounds that you do?

I have a sampler and tape decks, a 707 drum machine through some pedals and an oscillator I made. And I parp the soprano saxophone... and electric cymbal.

Do you have a favourite place to play?

We played the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt which was quite bizarre and a fun way to profoundly upset hedge fund managers underneath an illuminated blue Euro sign (Some incredible footage of that gig is below). And we played a decommissioned nuclear reactor in Minsk. They were much more receptive in Minsk.

What were your first musical loves?

I wanted to be a hip hop DJ, would hang about in Southampton listening to Mobb Deep and Company Flow. Keira was really into Kate Bush and all the many works of David Sylvian. I think Crystabel was into Da Brat and Uriah Heep. We were all into Elastica though. Justine Frischmann brought us together. Their second album The Menace is amazing! (It is! - Ed)

What's next for Maria & the Mirrors?

Welsh Tour 2011. Cardiff! Wrexham! Swansea! And we are playing Upset the Rhythm Yes Way fest in Peckham and Supernormal Festival in Oxfordshire with Teeth of the Sea and Skullflower, then Mother Festival in Berlin, and we have nearly finished our next single, so that should be appearing in the fall sometime.

Travel Sex is out now on Parlour

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