Returning to re-introduce herself to the industry, Maeve has the kind of self-assurance that can only come from know-how. Following up her 2018 EP 'Beasts' with something different and a whole lot punchier, 'Caravaggio In A Corner Store' is the product of a quarantine spent in a home studio and a strong vision.
Cayman Islands born and London residing, the EP is entirely genre defying. Combining a mixed bag of musical influences picked up along her many moves and borrowed from a massive range of inspirations from Patti Smith to Eminem, no label or description can quite do her justice. Maeve’s technicality paired with her eloquence mirrors the thing she loves about her idol, managing to be both experimental and universal in her music. Owing the ability to her production skills, she keeps a firm hold over her work, creating almost entirely out of her bedroom and trusting her own ideas to lead the way.
After burst back onto the scene with 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl', Maeve’s been quickly gaining attention for her sharp message and strong sound. With big plans for the coming year, we caught up to learn more…
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The single 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' was your first release for a couple of years since 2018, what made you decide that was the track to reintroduce yourself with?
I feel like it’s a good song to start off with because it has the piano and the more intimate moments that I have in my music, but it also has the harsher sonic. I think that sound sums up this EP really well, having both sides of the spectrum.
What were you getting up to in the gap? Was it a constant process of preparation?
I feel like the first EP was just me putting my feelings out there and getting the right people around me, and then those two years were heavily spent writing and getting better at production. I spent a lot of time alone honing my sound to get together a lot of material.
I think it was really crucial that I had that time as I’m coming back with a vision that’s a lot clearer than where I started out. I think you can really see the growth on this new EP.
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Scrolling back through your insta and looking at the covers you made over quarantine, the range of artists incredible. With such a huge catalogue of inspirations, was it hard to pick a direction to go in?
It never happens consciously that I’m like oh I want to write a Bjork sounding song today but I want it to have Patti Smith lyrics. I’ve listened to such a range of music from living in different places and being from all over the world that just seeps in naturally without me thinking about it.
On 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' especially the instrumentals with the soft and harsh moments ended up perfectly mirroring the story in the lyrics. Did the whole idea hit you at once?
For that song it started with that crunchy synth at the beginning and an 808. I made that beat and looped it over and over then started singing the rap bit over it. It confused me a bit like ‘wait I’m not a rapper why am I doing this?’, but I went with the freedom of what was coming out.
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Obviously the title is a massive film and TV trope, bringing up characters like Skin’s Effy Stonem or Summer from 500 Days of Summer, what inspired you to write about it?
Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was one that really made me think about the trope and I went on YouTube trying to figure out if it was supposed to be a positive thing or a negative thing cause I really related to being this character.
I wanted to write about that realisation that I’d become this Manic Pixie Dream Girl character but I’m going to rewrite my life, take control, become the main character and live for myself rather than other people.
On your last EP 'Beasts', you used a lot of religious and mythological imagery, it’s almost as if the Manic Pixie Dream Girl has become a modern myth of femininity or a figure women are expected to live up to…
Yeah! Luckily now so many women are rebelling against those standards, especially in music you know. It’s feminine to be an amazing producer, it’s feminine to be an amazing mixer. There is so many different aspects of being a women and just because an industry is really male-heavy and we might have to shout more to get our voice heard, it’s totally possible to do so.
In production especially, I’m seeing more and more female producers every day which makes me really happy.
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Did any women especially inspire the track?
At the time I was actually thinking about how I’d never worked with a female producer which was crazy to me and I really want to collaborate with some more women. I’ve always been really inspired by people like Bjork. The way she took sonics and made them so experimental but also made really big and universal songs, she’s always inspired me.
With all the various lockdowns, when did you get the tracks all down and recorded?
During the first lockdown when no one really knew what was going on in the world, all I really knew was that I could keep making music so that’s what I did. I was back home in the Cayman Islands and I wrote 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' in my room with no real plans to put it out, just wrote it on my laptop and a mini keyboard and a synth. I got it all mixed when I came back to the UK but it mostly happened in my little bedroom.
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After all the time off to work on your sound and find collaborators, did you know exactly what you wanted this EP to sound like?
Yeah, being involved with the production has always been a big part of making music for me. But this EP especially was so heavily done by myself and luckily I had people I could reach out to and send stuff over to see what they thought.
It was basically just written online and in my room so by the time I came back to the UK after lockdown I had a bunch of songs that were pretty much done and then I reached out to some musicians that I really liked and said ‘oh hey do you want to finish off this song with me’, so it was all very organic.
With 'Caravaggio in A Corner Store' out now, what’s next?
I’ve just been writing loads and loads of songs so there’s going to be a lot of music coming out this year. This is just the introduction.
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Words: Lucy Harbron
Photographer & Creative Director: Cal McIntyre. Represented by Digital Picnic.
Stylist: Lauren Groves. Represented by The Magnet Agency.
Hair Stylist: Sheree Jourdan.
Make-Up Artist: Aimee Twist. Represented by Creatives Agency.
Talent PR: Cousin.
Photo Assistant: Alex Galloway.
Styling Assistants: Filippo Sandini and Thomas Brackley.
Hair Assistant: Natalie Angel
Production: Cal McIntyre
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