Maven Grace Interview on Nagamag
Which are the genres that describe your music style better?
Bands are extremely good at defining themselves by saying what they aren’t. It’s much harder to make positive statements about what you are. If there’s a genre which includes Marvin Gaye, Radiohead and Ennio Morricone then that’s our genre. Someone described us on the radio yesterday as ‘dreamscape space cowboy movie soundtrack music’. That’s a good attempt, I think – a bizarre amalgam of styles which somehow makes sense.
It’s a difficult one because I don’t think we have a ‘signature’ track. If we had one song that summed us up and encapsulated our creative ambitions, we’d probably have to stop and say ‘Job done!’ Of the music we’ve released so far, I think Lone Star has a good combination of our musical ideas. It has elements of all three of our voices, and I certainly hope that anyone who hears it will be intrigued to dig deeper.
Few words about your musical background and career?
We’ve all known each other a long time. Tom and I first met when we were in different bands signed to the same label as teenagers. My first national tour was supporting him, actually. I remember thinking that our dressing room at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire was even more spacious than the one at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen.
Mary and I also met on the gig circuit in London. I accidentally insulted her by saying I loved her band’s song with the lyric… ‘Condition’s normal, you’re coming home’. She said, ‘That’s Enola Gay by OMD, the only cover in our set’.Anyway, I hope she’s forgiven me. And it is a brilliant song. It has an indelible melody and great instrumentation. It can be enjoyed on that level, but if you want to dig a little deeper, you rapidly discover something very sombre and lyrically serious. I like that approach to songwriting. Let the deeper meaning and intent creep up on people.
Do you remember your first connection of love to music that was the right impact to be a music artist now?
I remember the Rolling Stones song You Can’t Always Get What You Want being on tv when I was a child. My mother’s ears pricked up and she said ‘Oh, I sang on that’. I can pick out her voice even now. She was in a brilliant touring choir, so I was familiar from a very young age with the idea that music meant travel. I was also able to forge a personal connection, albeit on a very small level, to a song loved by a lot of people. That was inspiring. In retrospect, I’m so glad she sang on the track she did. It might be a little trickier if it had been Under My Thumb or Brown Sugar – lyrics which have not aged very well.
Your single Lone Star is inspired by Clark Gable – and indirectly by Bryan Ferry. Tell us a little bit about Clark Gable that we should know, and what made you want to write a song about him?
The Roxy song title 2HB references Humphrey Bogart. For some reason, I immediately associated him in my mind with Clark Gable, and obviously the Golden Age of Hollywood in general. There is something fascinating about the tension between the glamour and deification of film stars and their real lives. The studios sold Gable to the world as an icon of romance and masculinity, but the real man behind the performances was deeply uncomfortable with his image. Also, real tragedies befell him, like having to give up his child for adoption and his wife’s death in a wartime plane crash. He’s a symbol of the gulf between dreams and reality, I suppose. I could’ve written it about Marilyn Monroe, but Bernie Taupin got there first.
Maven Grace album has contributing musicians from all over the world. Was that the intention when you set out? Has the vision for the band and album changed with these contributions?
The major contributor other than the three of us is our friend the violinist Diana Galvydyte. She is one of the great contemporary players, but, like a lot of classically trained musicians, she prefers to work from a score. So although her playing is amazing, she was largely bringing ideas to life that we had already worked on. To that extent, the vision always remained very much with the three of us in the band. But the difference between real playing and demo samples is inexpressible, so she helped bring everything she touched to life in a very vibrant and dramatic way.
Many artists listen to genres that they are not producing music for. Which track is your favorite that is NOT similar to yours?
Rachid Taha – Lli Fat Mat
Of Course Nagamag would love to listen also which is the track from a similar artist you admire?
Robert Stillman – Cherry Ocean
Discover & Listen to Maven Grace
Maven Grace on Spotify
Maven Grace’s Signature Track
Maven Grace on Social Media
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