NE HOT SEAT: MAIUS MOLLIS
This week we’re continuing our artist insight feature – ‘NE Hot Seat’ – where we sit down with some of the region’s brightest talent on a monthly basis, shine a spotlight on their latest work and find out what they have planned next.
Next up we have Newcastle based Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and performer Maius Mollis. With their debut single ‘The Tide Turned’ out now on Both Rides Records (Brighter Sound’s record label imprint), we sat down with Maisie to chat about their future plans
Tell us a little about yourself and your career in music so far?
Born in Leeds, I have been performing predominantly in the North of England for over ten years. I moved to Newcastle in 2016 to study folk and traditional music at Newcastle University where I honed my understanding of traditional and contemporary music, specialising in composition and performance. The pandemic hit in my final year of university, and lockdown gave me time to reflect on my career up until that point. I took some time out before easing back into writing and performing, finding my footing again and considering where I wanted to go with my career and what my values were.
Since then – though I still honour my foundational folk revival influences, I have found myself transitioning into more contemporary styles, swapping my acoustic for an electric guitar, and investing time into my writing as a practice. I rebranded my project Maius Mollis in December 2021 and since then have been slowly but steadily gaining momentum in the grassroots Northeast scene, supporting artists such as Margo Cilker, Junior Bother, Ren Lawton.
I was selected to work with brand new record label Both Sides Records on my debut release ‘The Tide Turned’. Both Sides Records put a call out for emerging artists who are women or from a marginalised gender and based in the North of England. With the support of Brighter Sound, Both Sides records are doing really important work creating opportunities for women and marginalised genders and celebrate music coming out of the North of England.
I have struggled with the intersections of being a young, neurodiverse woman with a chronic illness in an industry that often doesn’t feel like it was made for me. This has chipped away at my confidence over time, often without even being aware of it. ‘The Tide Turned’ remained my creative vision, and I was given support through the process and my voice heard on critical decisions throughout. Working with Both Sides Records reminded me that I have value as an artist. Producer Lisa Murphy has also been a key part of this project too. She has a special way of making you feel like you have something to contribute and making the recording and mixing process feel less daunting and accessible to everyone. I feel lucky to have worked with other industry professionals whose values align with mine, and where my input has been valued and taken on board.
What can you tell us about your latest release?
The Tide Turned came about as a result of a Hudson Unearth workshop run by Emily Portman last September. I was in a real rut with my writing at that point and also experiencing a lot of grief in my own life. The song came pouring out in an automatic writing task set in the workshop. From there I edited and put chords to words. Following this, I was approached after a gig at The Cluny by sound engineer Ross Lewis who, after finding out I didn’t have any music out yet. kindly offered to help me record some demos. Again, my confidence was in a post-covid rut. It cannot be underestimated the effect of one person being kind and supportive, and just genuinely wanting to help out. From there, I applied to the BSR callout with a demo of ‘The Tide Turned’ and was selected to work with Both Sides records January 2022. Since then I have been arranging, rehearsing, recording, mixing and everything in-between with the support of Both Sides Records.
What inspires you most when it comes to creating music?
The idea that it can make people feel something- sadness, peace, a release. The joy I get from music is feeling my hairs stand up, or a smile spread across my face, a grimace at a particularly spicy bit, or even a big cry. I love the way a collection of sounds can influence how we feel in our bodies and minds.
How did you find the recording process and how did it shape your sound?
I brought Will Hammond (drums) and Katy Trigger (double bass) on board to build on the arrangement. Before recording we had had only a handful of rehearsals, but the arrangement settled really well and I entirely trusted them on the day. They were a joy to work with and this really let me just focus on getting my parts right.
That said, the recording process certainly had its challenges for me. I was nervous with it being my first Maius Mollis release, and the song felt particularly emotionally charged on the day. Just the right balance of light-hearted crack underpinned by total command of the control room from producer Lisa Murphy remedied this.
There was a moment in the studio after set-up, a few takes in where I felt the tension in the room ease, and it felt like everything just hung perfectly in the air for seconds. Those are the moments I live for in the studio. The challenge of it was exciting in a way and was everything I love about the recording process; lots of variables, problem solving, and just the right amount of pressure. Both Sides Records ethos is to demystify the recording process, and something I worked to achieve with videographer and content creator Megan Savage.
The recording process shaped the sound in its own right. Production, overdubs and a subtle sample adding light and shade. Again, the mixing process had its challenges with a quick turnaround and a tendency towards overthinking found me losing all concept of music and sound. A stern and very much needed word from Lisa, and a playlist of Taylor Swift bops had me taking a break from listening, coming back with a clear plan, and a final mix that I feel really proud of.
What else can we expect from you this year?
I have plans to release a Kickstarter to fund an EP later this year and am also applying for residencies in the Northeast. Expect sharing my process, works of progress and perhaps some oversharing too…
Where can we find you on socials and keep up to date on developments?
Tik Tok: @maiusmollis
Check out Maisie’s top picks from the region in their personally curated playlist below.
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