An interview with Mau
A while back a couple of music teasers showed up on soundcloud from a band that calls itself Mau. Listening to them made us feel some kind of way. It also made us feel like we wanted more, they’re way too short. Here’s one:
Doesn’t it make you want to…? Yes. More.
Turns out, Mau is a music duo made up of Erika Bach and Barry Snaith, both known to those in the know of the SC underground music scene: Erika Bach as lolademo, whose haunting voice and gritty rock anthems sometimes reminds us of a less hopeful Patti Smith, and Barry Snaith as The Inconsistent Jukebox, whose productions move effortlessly between genres, often in collaboration with other artists, encompassing everything from trash-rock to french cabaret and dubstep. In other words, our favorite kind of party.
We especially loved how raw and bare and riot-y this new project sounded so we decided to track them down and ask them some questions about Mau, life, Rilke, and the impending apocalypse.
Riot Felice: Hi. What/who is Mau? It sounds like the name of some ancient and possibly wrathful God(ess).
E: Wrathful God.
B: We are Mau.
Riot Felice: We’ve listened to the music teasers and we like how mad they sound. They make us want to dance (riot). Like the soundtrack to the apocalypse or what might be playing while one is busy sacrificing a virgin (not that we have.) Is the world going to end soon?
E: Well I guess it has to end now seeing all the virgins have been sacrificed. Seriously? Not soon enough.
B: Yes it is. We will be the soundtrack.
Riot Felice: How would you describe your sound?
E: I’ll leave that for Mr. Snaith to answer in 10 words or less please.
B: Dark Gothic Industrial Electronic Noir. Half the requisite amount of wordage. (oh shit now I’ve gone over by one. Eight now!).
Riot Felice: That’s a lot of words. Let’s narrow it down. How would you describe your sound using only a kitchen implement? (Here’s a list of food preparation utensils)
E: I don’t know my way around the kitchen so, again, I’ll leave this for Mr. Snaith to answer.
B: Blow Torch.
Riot Felice: Terrific! You have collaborated musically before (we think we remember, though our remembering might be mistaken), but what made you decide to start Mau?
E: I begged Barry to.. oh no, sorry, he begged me to. Yes, Barry begged me : )
B: We fit. Which I suppose is why she begged me.
Riot Felice: To quote Artaud, that lovely crazy man: “All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar’s teeth.” What are some of your mutual influences, if any?
E: We actually have quite a few and we certainly feel the same about music in many ways.
B: Music. Film. Art. Fashion. Culture. Unvirtuosity (is that a real word? It should be). Dark places. Lack of form. Feel over skill.
Riot Felice: We like that word, unvirtuosity. Maybe that should be the name of one of our issues. What is something you admire about each other?
E: I admire his positive thinking.
B: I admire her force of nature.
Riot Felice: That’s admirable. If Mau was one person, what would she wear?
E: My leopard fake fur coat with a hot pink fluffy collar.
Riot Felice: Oooh.
B: Hang on, who said Mau was female. Mau is without gender. Mau would wear long black silk gloves. Womens.
Riot Felice: In a way we suppose we wear our gender like a long black silk glove. What would be the name of her drink?
E: Vodka, straight out of the freezer.
Riot Felice: We could go for a White Russian about now.
B: Hang on, who said Mau was female. Mau is without gender. Mau would drink blood. And vodka, straight out of the freezer. So, a bloody Mary.
Riot Felice: Have you ever drank more than one ounce of someone’s blood in one…? Nevermind. Moving on. It says that you are from the UK and Greece (which is like the high-profile of recent years top and bottom of this crumbling European experiment, coincidence?). In one of the teasers there’s also some German. That makes us think about how music and art has no borders (and nor does the internet, really, at least as an idea). At the same time the world seems to becoming more and more infatuated with nationalism. What the hell is wrong with people?
E: It’s hard to know what’s wrong with people. They have education yet refuse to learn, they have freedom and don’t care to have it taken away, have choices and choose to have their lives dictated to them. We seem to be desensitized to all sorts of atrocities, to war and to famine. We can cope with just about every awful thing that goes on in the world, but don’t let the internet go down and Facebook be inaccessible. We have been willing participants in being dumbed down. It’s crazy. We’re the cast of extras in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
B: There is a numbing and a dumbing down. People being spoon fed. They rebel but don’t know why and then regret the consequences. There is the death of art and culture as important forms. A de-socialisation through the use of ironically-called-social networks. Yes, desensitized voyeurs, watching everything on a screen, like a game. Nationalism is fear of the alien, where people mistake refugees for terrorists. Misogyny has reared its head of late (if it ever disappeared) and the election of Trump exemplifies both of these things. Or maybe all of these things. I embrace Europe and am ashamed of Brexit. Another victory for the ill considered. And yes, music and art do have no borders, but they seem to mean less nowadays. Footballers are the new pop stars and CGI blockbusters have taken over film, hence the slow death of European and World Cinema. Apart from that, the world is great.
Riot Felice: Give me Pasolini any day over this junk realism that passes for real these days! Us, we mean. What do you want your music to do to people?
E: Feel something. Be moved.
B: Feel, consider, explore, become interested in culture. Music did used to do that. Music journalism used to be a beacon and a guide for the youth towards culture, art and fashion.
Riot Felice: What do you want your music to make people do?
E: I don’t know whether I want to make them do anything, but I would like them to enjoy it, get lost in the 2 to 3 minutes without noticing.
B: Experience something that they enjoy.
Riot Felice: What do your parents and/or children think about your music?
E: I guess they never really see the value or need to create music. To them it’s something you put on while you drive or do housework. My daughter (Jessica Bell) however, she’s also a musician, loves it and is always supportive, as I am of her.
B: Parents think music is trite, my girls love it. Laura Marling, Joanna Newsom, Ramones at 8 and 9. And Mau of course.
Riot Felice: What was the last thing you bought?
E: A ferry ticket.
Riot Felice: Beetroot. Sometimes you just have to go out and buy one. What was the last thing you destroyed?
E: My health.
B: My dependability. And some rules.
Riot Felice: We find it best not to think about our health. What was the last piece of art/music/writing that moved you?
E: I just came across this video from Carly Simon and James Taylor. So far from what I’m influenced by, yet this song (Close Your Eyes) moved me on one very early morning, chatting with a friend online.
B: French duo Erotic Market, Gimme Danger – Stooges movie by Jim Jarmusch, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close , a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Riot Felice: What is the ideal time and place to listen to Mau?
E: Alone in a large room with a good sound system or on the train through your headphones on the way home from work.
B: Night time, having sex, full volume (the music, not the sex. Although….)
Riot Felice: Speaking of having sex in a large room, in one of Rilke’s letters to a young poet he writes: “This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.” Which sounds really high and mighty like getting advice from one’s alcoholic stepdad, but do you agree with this sentiment and if so, MUST you create? Why?
E: Yes I do agree. My life is in every lyric that I’ve ever written. Music is my obsession with digging deep into the pit of emotion, even when it screams to be locked up in the basement not to be seen by absolute strangers.
B: I agree. It’s an affirmation of life – to create. It’s a very human thing. We are the gods and goddesses. We create. But it’s ok to be a satellite too, and live vicariously, as long as you can enjoy and appreciate what has been created by creators.
Riot Felice: If you could play a concert anywhere in the world (and beyond), where would you want to play?
E: Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Athens Greece) or Epidavros, Greece.
B: Yeah, I’d like the former but I also like dark, sweaty clubs. The Korova Milk Bar would be cool.
Riot Felice: Lyrics on computer or paper?
Riot Felice: Drug of choice?
B: Was psychedelics and speed. Now it’s love.
E: I was never fussy. That WAS my problem. No drugs now.
Riot Felice: Poet of choice?
E: Jessica Bell (esp her publication Twisted Velvet Chains)
B: I like her work too. And Leonard Cohen, Dylan Thomas, John Cooper Clarke.
Riot Felice: Breakfast?
E: No thank you.
B: Yes please.
Riot Felice: So far this year we’ve heard people and bands like Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Soundgarden, The Pixies and more appear in different commercials. Will we all be swallowed up by Apple Trump & Co in the end and used for selling phones, cars and anti-depressants?
E: Unfortunately I can see it happening. Nothing is given any worth unless it’s consumable and profitable.
B: I think that’s already happened. Music as product. Minor product at that. Hideous.
Riot Felice: What product would Mau end up selling?
Riot Felice: Sorry. So will there be a rebellion? Like we keep waiting for the next large scale pissed-off political youth anti-establishment anti-consumerism musical movement (like the 60s, punk, hiphop, grunge) to come along and be like, Fuck Your Facebook God We’re Not Doing That Anymore. Are we waiting in vain? Is any large scale politically charged musical movement even possible anymore? Or is it happening and we just too old to see it?
E: Politically, the rebellion will come from the elderly. They’re the only ones who remember life pre-80’s and the possibilities that were ripped from society once bankers and profiteering killed off everything that didn’t make money. If you want to know just how pissed a pensioner can get, come to Athens for a demonstration. Nona and Pappou know how to kick ass. As far as a musical revolution, who knows, people’s memories are so short, someone could start a band called the Beatles and people will go Wow! and faint.
Riot Felice: We like to faint.
B: There won’t be a rebellion until its too late. The political youth have voted for all the wrong things consistently but so have the older generation. Maybe we’ve been apoliticised and become Beliebers. I don’t see music being a viable unifier for an anti-establishment youth any more.
Riot Felice: What was your very first record that you couldn’t stop listening to?
E: Joni Mitchell, Blue.
B: Clear Spot, Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band.
Riot Felice: That would be some duo. We can see them, Joni and Don, out in the desert somewhere, playing a gig for no one….
Riot Felice: So… growing up, who did you want to be?
B: No one.
Riot Felice: Who did you become?
Riot Felice: We don’t want to ask about the creative process because we like mystery, however, do you find that when you get it right, any creative endeavor, but mainly perhaps one in which you are very physically involved, like singing, that its almost a spiritual experience? Or is it something else? What is that thing?
E: I don’t know about a spiritual experience, but it is all consuming. I don’t sleep, drink or eat while I’m making music.
B: Speaking about music is like dancing to architecture, is a quote I like. I think it was Elvis Costello. But making music is an obsession, a love. And other things are of no importance to me.
Riot Felice: What will people be listening to 100 years from now? How will they listen to it?
E: People will be thinking music and listening with their minds.
B: They will be brains only, kept alive in fluid, floating in a void, still interacting with people they will never touch, yet still having viable conversation, love, intellectual discourse, entertainment. Music will be an app, built in. They will be listening to music randomly generated by zeros and ones.
Riot Felice: Your video teaser for Drain Them looks like a trailer for a horror movie we’d want to watch. There should be a question here but we’re not sure what it is. Just say something.
Riot Felice: What are your plans? Are there plans? Is there an album? Is the album as an art form dead? We like albums. Will there be a party? A show?
E: Our plans are to make music we like, to not step on each other’s toes and to have an opportunity to live and make music. We like the idea of an album, so yes there will be one. There will also be a party at Barry’s house, and personally I would love to do a show. We’ll see I guess.
B: They are our plans. Party at mine. Show with fashion, art and motion graphics by George Redhawk.
Riot Felice: Ok. Final question. Should Felice riot?
E: Everyone should riot!!
B: Fuck the Felice.
And stay attuned.