Elaine’s Mai’s first EP in three years, The Colour of the Night is being described by its author as “a cathartic piece of work which centres around the common human experiences of grief and hope.”
‘This EP is a snapshot of the last few years for me and each song reflects a different aspect of how I was feeling during this time. Enniscrone is dedicated to my cousin, who passed away in 2014 and it’s a celebration of all the amazing times we had as kids in the Sligo seaside town it’s named after. The Colour of the Night is about grief in it’s many forms and the melody and movement in the strings are a musical representation of the journey from sorrow and despair to acceptance and hope.
Pairing these very human emotions with electronic productions like ‘When I Go’ and guests like Temper-Mental MissElayneous on ‘Praise In The Cliché’ was a way of addressing those complex feelings and in the process, Elaine Mai is sharing a strong five-track extended player with the rest of us.
Upcoming Elaine Mai gigs:
26 May – Shindig, Letterkenny, Donegal
23 – 25 June – Body and Soul Festival, Westmeath
30 July – Galway Arts Festival – JFDR support
Daithí’s new EP Holiday Home features 5 tracks of electronic pop constructed with elements drawn from the real world. Recorded sounds of the west of Ireland, the songs of motion and colour were made in the far flung parts of the country. Hooking up with Sinead White on two tracks and Elaine Mai on another, Holiday Home makes a case for a rural Irish dance pop that stands tall on the world stage. Uundeniably Irish, but modern at the same time,” as Daithí puts it, via the track-by-track below.
At the start of 2016 I bought a field recorder and started recording the sounds of the west of Ireland in an attempt to build a library of samples completely unique to me. I started renting out houses along the coast for weeks at a time, bringing a make-shift studio with me to islands like Achill and Valentia. Once I had some music together, I brought some of my favourite vocalists out to the west, away from the pressure of the normal recording studio environment. The result is Holiday Home, a 5 track EP built completely in the west, using sounds from the west. Every sample has a backstory, every sound has meaning.
Falling For You
Falling For You was one of the first tracks I wrote using my own natural samples. The sea sound is from Inch beach in Cork, the bell sounds are cut up samples from a wind chime I found in an Airbnb in Achill. Sinead recorded these vocals on Valentia with me, and I think it’s my favourite vocal I’ve ever worked on. It’s so undeniably Irish, but feels modern at the same time, which is kind of my buzz.
Sinead and I wrote this song inspired by old Irish TV dramas from the 80s and 90s. True to the people of Ireland at the time, the characters in these shows all seem to have a hard time expressing their feelings, and we wanted to write a song that imagined what was going on in their heads, while they stumbled through talking to their love interest.
I do a lot of driving late at night after playing shows, and driving home to Co. Clare feels very solitary. There’s something interesting about playing to a room full of people, and then suddenly being completely alone in the middle of nowhere, with only your thoughts and some tunes to keep you company. This track is inspired by that feeling. The main rhythm is a recording of an 11 year old bodhran player who won the all Ireland feadh in the 90s.
I have been playing versions of the Coral Sean Nos vocal sample in my live show for years now, but was never happy with how it sounded with normal modern dance samples. All of the bell sounds in this track come from a steel lamp that has been in my studios since I started writing music, so it seemed fitting to use it in this track.
Wrap Up Tight
Elaine and I have written music together for years now, she’s one of my all time favourite people. We wrote the song about the Irish way of dealing with something upsetting; Joking about it, hiding our feelings, and avoiding the confrontation. A friend of ours had a brother who was leaving for a tour abroad in the army, and that featured heavily as part of the inspiration. The song was written in Valentia, and at the start you can hear an old recording of whale song I found, recorded off the coast of the island.
Elaine Mai follows up her nostalgic summer haze track from last year – ‘Enniscrone’ with ‘The Colour Of The Night’, the lead track off the EP off the same name.
The track is a song about personal grief shaded through an elegiac electronic production that offers light in the dark through strings and voice.
‘Over the last few years, I have encountered close personal grief for the first time and this track is about that experience. The melody and movement in the strings are a musical representation of the journey from sorrow and despair to acceptance and hope. Although the person you loved is gone, there is joy in their memory, solace in the time that was shared together and ‘The Colour of the Night’ captures that for me.’
The song is out tomorrow digitally.
Dolans, Limerick // 22nd April // Talos support
The Workman’s, Dublin // 5th May // EP launch
Roísin Dubh, Galway // 6th May // EP launch
Body and Soul festival, Westmeath // 23rd – 25th June
Liza Flume’s ‘Sheets’ is a sparse song that the now London-based Aussie released in late 2015.
That minimal song is used as a foundation for Mai’s remix, and via a video by Bob Gallagher which tracks the disintegrating relationship of two people between the sheets.
Elaine says ‘From the first time I heard Liza sing, I knew I wanted to work with her one day. I adored ‘Sheets’ when I heard it, and wanted to add another dimension to the vocal and emphasise the pain and loss in the track. I spoke to Bob about the possibility of doing a video and I was delighted when he came on board. He added another chapter to the story and all three of us are really happy with the end product, it’s something we’re very proud of’.
Elaine plays this years Body and Soul Festival at Ballinlough Castle, Clonmellon, Co. Westmeath on the Summer Solstice Weekend, June 23rd-25th 2017
Now, Mai is back with some new music in her own name from a forthcoming EP called The Colour Of The Night out in 2017.
‘Enniscrone’ is a warm and escapist electronic instrumental, named after the Sligo seaside town where Mai would spend her childhood summers. The track is a suitably hazy and positive mood to match the title – “the feeling of being young and not having a care in the world.”
Watch a suitably summery video by Paul Mahon right now:
Roisin Dubh, Galway / New Year’s Eve party / 31st December
Whether it’s anti-Muslim sentiment on Facebook, a terrorist attack on a music venue, or yet another over-reported Donald Trump quote, the world can feel like a hopeless place. It can be hard to counteract the hate and division happening in the world.
The internet is a miserable place right now. Understandably. Good people feel compelled to disseminate displays of ignorance and bigotry to shame, highlight and challenge it. We need to confront it all. But it’s hard on your outlook, it’s hard on your hope and hard on your faith in human beings. So we had a idea: take Friendly Fires’ banger about Paris, a city that ALL people deserve to love and explore, and Le Galaxie it. We wanted to take a tune we loved and make our own romantic, emotional and optimistic version with a big help from the one and only Elaine Mai. Nous espérons que vous apprécierez xx
Le Galaxie have some shows coming up and all are on sale now:
27th December – Dolans Warehouse, Limerick
28th December – Cypus Avenue, Cork
29th December – Tricky’s Mc Garrigles, Sligo
30th December – Roisin Dubh, Galway
31st December – NYF Street Fest, Dublin @ St. Stephen’s Green w/ All Tvvins, Wyvern Lingo & Otherkin
Hard Working Class Heroes today unveiled 100+ artists who will play the festival’s 12th year in Dublin from Thursday October 2nd – Sunday October 4th. This year the festival is sponsored by HMV Ireland and as is now established will feature a conference taking in mentoring, panels, advice and involvement from the tech space.
500 bands applied for the festival this year and they were judged by music people at home and abroad (including me).
Here is the list of bands that will play this year. Deeper delving into the lineup will commence here in September.
A Lazarus Soul
Carried By Waves
Cloud Castle Lake
Death In The Sickroom
God Knows + mynameisjOhn
His New Atlas
I have a tribe
I’m Your Vinyl
little xs for eyes
Maud in Cahoots
Me & My Dog
Me Auld Flower
Red Queen Contest
Sleep Mc Evox
Tell No Foxx
The Black Sea Fleet
The Boxing Plot
The Hard Ground
The Late David Turpin
The Loafing Heroes
The Run Ons
The Shaker Hymn
The Button Factory, The Workmans Club, The Mercantile, The Twisted Pepper, Bad Bobs, The Grand Social, Meeting House Square.
Elaine Mai is giving her new four-track EP away for free from today, citing musical progression as one of the reasons she wants more people to hear and download it. Mai’s music has become more dance-orientated and has featured more electronic production (as has her remixwork) in recent times and you can hear that progression in the four tracks below, including previously-shared track ‘EDC’.
“I’m really excited to be finally getting this EP out there. It’s been in the works for quite a while and I’m delighted to be able to share it with you all. This time around, I’ve decided to give away the EP for free and there’s a few reasons for that.
Firstly, I am so lucky to have been able to work with some extremely talented and generous friends while making this EP so it didn’t cost me a fortune to make. Secondly, my music has changed considerably since my first EP so I would like as many people to hear it as possible. So please… have a listen, download if you like and share it around. I would only ask one thing of you if you do. Go and check out another artist, give them a listen and maybe a download. There is a such wealth of talent out there, and making music and getting it to the people you want to listen to it does not come cheap. Every penny makes a huge difference to the artist and allows us to keep doing what we’re doing.
Elaine Mai’s‘EDC’ is a sweet aural dedication to a partner so it makes sense then for the video, made by Bob Gallagher to focus on that human bond. It’s not necessarily about romantic lovers, as the people featured in the video range from those who are that level of relationship, to family, to close friends, old friends and man’s best friend.
Elaine and Bob told Elaine Buckley some of the background of the video too:
Q: What inspired the concept for the video? They lyrics obviously lend themselves very well to it – but, was their something from ‘the wider world’ that triggered the idea?
Bob: Elaine had initially approached me looking to do the EDC video and the brief was to do something simple, and she had come up with the idea of having couples write thoughts on a board for the camera. After talking about it a bit we broadened it out to be about relationships where the people involved weren’t necessarily couples, but people who were important to each other, and who would have a degree of intimacy in their interactions. The boards then became more of a reveal for what each relationship was, and the idea would be that the interactions would keep you guessing. To me the song is a very sincere and honest declaration of love, and having someone important in your life, and I think people find that love or that comfort in all different types of relationships.
Elaine M: The song itself is about relationships, the value of them, the people in our lives and what they mean to us, so I wanted to make a video that echoed this and I think Bob really hit the nail on the head. In terms of the wider world, I think nowadays we can be so busy and caught up that it’s easy to forget how amazing it is to have someone important to us in our lives, to meet up with or come home to. I think the video manages to capture intimate moments between people who clearly mean a lot to each other. It’s feel good and I think we can always do with a bit of that.
Q: Personally, I love the simplicity of the video – a battered old couch, a backdrop of fairy lights, handwritten messages on blackboards. In an age of constant connectivity it’s refreshing to see a ‘back to basics’ example of people interacting & sharing stories face-to-face – less is definitely more. Is this something that you think is important?
Bob: I think physical interaction is very important in all relationships. Since a lot of our day to day communication now can be quite removed and disconnected, seeing that physical interaction in motion makes you consider the importance of it that little bit more. The decision to shoot at 100 frames a second was to try and capture as much as possible of the fleeting, complex communication going on underneath every conversation. With people who have an intimate relationship there’s an awful lot of communication that’s done through body language, looks and gestures, the kinds of things you need to watch closely to really appreciate the significance of. When you’re the ones in the relationship of course you’ve established your own codes and you know how to read each others signals very instinctively, but as an observer you need to pay more attention to really read the situation. The video has a back to basics approach in the sense that there’s a simplicity to having two people talking face to face, but I also think that even in the digital age, the empathy you see in real life interaction is still the most sophisticated form of communication we have.
Elaine Mai started out as a singer-songwriter who used loop pedals to achieve a desired fuller sound. As the past 24 months has progressed, Mai has delved further into the world of beats, both in a live context where her set can really get going and as a vocalist, as a remixer and most obviously on Le Galaxie’s ‘Love System’.
So with that all in mind, it’s no surprise that her new EP Known/Unknown will probably go further in that direction as can be heard on the decidedly electro-pop swerve of ‘EDC’ which is a sweet aural dedication to a loving partner. The single is on iTunes on February 10th.
Daithí’s recent single ‘Chameleon Life’ was the Irish pop sound of the summer and as a close peer, who better than Elaine Mai to show us what she can do on the remix front. The two are good friends and have played a lot together of late, and Mai’s live set has become increasingly electronic, like Daithí. This is a bit of an electro-banger.
Both are playing Hard Working Class Heroes this weekend. Elaine Mai in the Button Factory on Thursday @ 8:40pm and Daithí in Meeting House Square on Saturday at 11.40pm.
She’s just guested on Le Galaxie’s stonking new EP but she released an EP of her own called Dots back in April and the focus is back on that release as the Bob Gallagher-directed video for the EP’s last track ‘Live’ is out and featured a multi-screen Elaine singing the songs walking around the streets of Dublin at night.