Birmingham duo Malpas are to release their debut EP Promise on September 23rd. Their single Charlemagne drives you into an enjoyable daze of noise which suddenly comes together with tender vocals contrasting with (what we like to call) Malpas’ mechanically-atmospheric tangled folk. Before the release of the EP, AMBY caught up with Malpas to discuss their unique sound, Promise, and a song about spiders.
AMBY: Hello Malpas, we appreciate you chatting with AMBY. Please introduce yourselves to our readers!
Malpas: No problem, hi readers we’re Malpas.
AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
Malpas: I quite like your description in Q5 – I guess as a reference I’d say we fit somewhere between M83 and Nick Drake if that’s not too vague..
AMBY: Your EP Promise comes out on September 23rd. Which songs are your favourite off it?
Malpas: Mine’s probably a song called ‘Us Afloat’, which is about the birth of my daughter
AMBY: The build-up to the chorus of Charlemagne is gorgeous. How did the song come to be?
Malpas: Thanks! Verse 1 and the chorus had been knocking around for a while – I made a loop out of that typewriter noise and some mandolin, added the vocal, then Andy and I started experimenting with other parts and sounds and it just evolved from there. Lyrically it’s about getting left behind by an old friend.
AMBY: What’s the inspiration behind your mechanically-atmospheric, tangled folk sound? We haven’t heard anything quite like it.
Malpas: We started out with a different approach to how we had previously made music – i.e. write a song, play it, record it. Most of the songs came out of me recording little riffs and snippets on a variety of instruments and messing with the results, then Andy introduced processed beats and synths and we fired the sessions back and forth at each other over the internet, adding layers as we went – this method proved so fruitful that we soon had over an album’s worth of material we were really happy with, so we decided to figure out how to play it and Malpas was born. In terms of other artists that have informed the sound, Andy brought influences like Talk Talk and Aphex Twin to the table whereas I guess my input is on the folkier side, stuff like Fairport Convention and late Baech Boys, although there’s plenty of crossover.
AMBY: There’s been a booming music scene in Birmingham happening. Which artists should we keep an eye on?
Malpas: Yeah not sure where we fit into the whole B-Town thing, if it is even a thing.. There’s a few decent bands in Birmingham which sound pretty dissimilar to one another. We played with the Bombergs recently and enjoyed them.
AMBY: What’s a lyric you’ll never get enough of?
Malpas: Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie – Bob Dylan.
AMBY: If you could invite any three people to record an album with, who would you pick?
Malpas: Hmm.. Annie Clark, Merrill Garbus, and Andy Savours.
AMBY: What part of the world would you like to play most?
AMBY: What would the fortune teller predict about Malpas down the road?
Malpas: They’ll do some gigs with Nadine Shah in October, release a debut album in the not-too-distant future and be massive in The Philippines.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Malpas that nobody knows yet?
Malpas: We have a song about spiders.
Thank you Malpas, for giving us your answers!