What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I guess it all started the same way as for a lot of musicians and bands out there: A desire to express oneself combined with finding out that it’s actually not that difficult to learn how to play the songs of some of your idols on guitar. And then of course eventually develop that further into creating your own songs which already from the beginning felt incredibly satisfying for me. Mayflower Madame was founded in 2011 after a long search for some companions who shared my love for psychedelia and post-punk. We made our debut with the EP «Into the Haze» in 2013, which generated some buzz on a bunch of esoteric music blogs, but it was the release of our first full-length album «Observed in a Dream» in 2016 that really took us to the next level. It received excellent reviews and since then we have toured a lot in Europa as well as North America. We have also shared the stage with some of our favorite bands like Psychic Ills, Night Beats, Moon Duo and Killing Joke.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Our long-awaited second album «Prepared for a Nightmare» was released on all digital platforms March 27th while the physical release (vinyl & CD) has been delayed to June 12th due to the corona pandemic. The album title certainly turned out to be quite fitting for these times, but it’s also a reference to our debut «Observed in a Dream» and the new album sees us delving even deeper into our trademark blend of psych-noir and post-punk while also including elements of shoegaze and noise-rock.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
It’s a bit hard to pinpoint the bands I’ve been most influenced by, I’m not really aware of it while making music, but some of the ones I’ve listended the most to over the years are Sonic Youth, Bauhaus, Crystal Stilts and Clinic. I’ve also been influenced by art – especially from the early waves of expressionism and surrealism. Some artists I could mention are Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Ludwig Meidner, Giorgio de Chirico and Paul Delvaux.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe our music as dark and atmospheric, sometimes ecstatic and noisy, yet always indulgent to the soothing charms of melody. We feel ourselves that we have a distinctive sound and we believe/hope that our listeners agrees.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Crystal Stilts: «Alight of Night»
Bauhaus: «In the Flat Field»
Leonard Cohen: «Songs of Love and Hate»
«Metropolis» (Fritz Lang)
«The Godfather» (Francis Ford Coppola)
«The Shining» (Stanley Kubrick)
«My Struggle» (Karl Ove Knausgård)
«On the Road» (Jack Keroauc)
«George Grosz: An Autobiography» (George Grosz)
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I truly enjoy both very much! We often write the songs while recording and there’s maybe nothing that can be compared with the satisfaction of coming up with something new that you think sound really cool or finally figuring out the last pieces of a complex song. But given the right show, venue and vibe, I still have to choose performing live because the exchange of energy between yourself and the audience can give you a rush greater than anything else. We certainly miss playing live a lot and cross our fingers that the current situation will be better soon so that we can reschedule our cancelled shows in the US and Europe that was supposed to happen this spring.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
(Strange and/or funny things seem to happen on every tour, but for some reason I tend to forget most of it.) One of the first stories that do come to mind is from our first US tour in 2017. We had played in Boise the day before and were driving into the state of Oregon on our way to the next show in Seattle. We forgot to fuel up before we left Boise, but we were not really worried because gas stations always seem to pop up regularly along the highways. But not this time and after a while we realized we were on what must be the longest stretch without a gas station in the US. Our GPS showed that the closest was about half an hour away, but to reach it we had to leave the highway and drive to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. We drove for what seemed to be the longest 30 minutes ever – expecting that the engine would shut down any moment – and we were very relieved when we finally arrived at the «gas station» (it was a country store with one pump outside). But the relief didn’t last long as we were met by a hand-written message on the pump which said «out of gas». It didn’t help that the store was closed and that this place was like a ghost town with hardly any signs of life. We started to realize that the show in Seattle (and possibly also the following ones in Portland and Vancouver) were in danger, but after a while we finally found a living person and it turned out she knew a guy working on a marijuana farm nearby that might have some fuel. She called him and even though he was busy working he actually said he’d come by to help us. We couldn’t believe our luck! After waiting some more a shady-looking guy covered in home-made tattoos arrived on a four-wheel. He mumbled something we couldn’t understand with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, but when we noticed the smell of marijuana and the fuel can on the back of his four-wheel we understood that he was here to help. He started to do what he came for, but he soon encountered problems as there was some sort of security lock on our car’s gas tank to avoid anything but regular pumps to enter. He struggled with this for a while, constantly smoking (which made us a bit nervous since he was also spilling fuel trying to work it out), and at the same time a car came driving by. It was the sheriff. We expected trouble, but luckily it turned out that he had also stopped to help. With the aid of the sheriff’s knife they together managed to sneak the hose of the petrol can into our gas tank and we were saved by this unlikely pair of people. The marijuana farmer refused to take any payment for his help or for his fuel, he just wanted to know the name of our band so that he could check out our music. So maybe we got a new fan in the middle of nowhere in Oregon state. Either way, I’m still very grateful for his invaluable help.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
We like to think that all our tracks are unique, haha, so it’s hard to point one out, but maybe «Never Turning (In Time)» from our new album as it’s the only drumless track we’ve ever released. It’s therefore more quiet than the rest, but the guitars, synths and vocals still creates an expansive and atmospheric soundscape which I really like. For a more immediate track, check out the lead single «Vultures» which is, to quote a reviewer, «a propelled rocker with a hammering beat, a burning force, a tenebrous tension and a cutting chorus.»
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Most of our future plans involved touring so they are temporarily on hold due to the corona crisis, but we will looking to set up new tours in Europe and the US once we know when we are allowed to travel again. In the meantime, we are writing new material.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
What’s your favorite animal?
Orangutangs! They are so intelligent and I never tire of watching how similar they actually are too people, just much cuter. They also got awesome haircuts!
Photo credits: Sven Santelmann (1st one)
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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