Within the opening bars of hearing ‘Under Her Sails‘ for the very first time I fell as head over heels in love with sound in a way that I’d never quite felt before. Though this may just be the opinion of a fool, I urge you to get out there and listen to Malpas as soon as possible so that you can gain a glimpse into this sheer aural delight. I caught up with the duo to help spread the good word;
For those who haven’t had time to check you out for themselves, who are you and what do you do?
We are Malpas, more specifically 2 guys called Ali Forbes and Andy Savours, and we create music using synths, drum machines and acoustic instruments.
When did you first take an interest in music? Who was your first great inspiration?
Since before I can remember, what probably first sparked my interest in playing and writing music was finding my dad’s LPs stashed in a cupboard when I was a kid and discovering some amazing music – in particular Led Zep II and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. After that I started trying to figure out the parts on an old Spanish guitar and ended up teaching myself to play.
How would you describe your sound? Who would you liken yourself to? (Go on, you don’t have to be modest!)
I’d describe it as fairly unique – not many bands seem to want to pair heavily processed synths and beats with mandolins and ukuleles, but they work together better than you might think! Imagine Aphex Twin meets Fairport Convention via the Cocteau Twins..
The minimal intro to ‘Under Her Sails’ and the way that the track builds is lovely, why did you decide to lay the song out in the way you did?
It was pretty organic, what you’re hearing at the start is essentially the old demo I recorded in my attic which I sent over to Andy right when Malpas first began – in fact it was the first thing we worked on. He developed it by adding some synth parts and beats to verse 2, sent it back to me and it just kind of evolved from there with both of us adding stuff as we went. We both loved the impact the synths make to what is initially quite a delicate song, and how as they grow in prominence they take it to a completely different place.
You seem to tread a line on the verge of electronic music, never entirely indulging yourself in ‘synthetic’ sounds – do you find it difficult to balance the acoustic and electronic instruments?
Not really, we tend to find that the acoustic and electronic elements compliment each other very well, and give us a pretty broad palette to create with. Mind you I don’t have to mix it, that’s Andy’s job and he’d probably give you a very different answer.
How do you go about the creative process? Is there a certain set of stages you go through every time or is each track created differently?
We tend to follow a similar pattern to that that which we used making Under Her Sails – the cut-and-paste approach seems to work pretty well, and we’ll always email each other ideas at a very early stage to get the other’s input. Then through the process of going back and forth, plus getting together to work on it the song often ends up somewhere neither of us expected at the outset. There are no hard-and-fast rules and we just try to be as creative as possible and make something both of us think is great.
Where should we be looking to find new artists?
I’ve seen some really great gigs by new acts recently. Its really exciting to see an artist you’ve never heard of play an amazing show. I suggest people get out there and support small venues and new acts rather than just going to the big shows. There’s some really great music to be heard if you get out there.
What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
To create a vast catalogue of amazing material and to get it heard by as many people as possible who might enjoy it.
Why do you think we care so much about music?
Because life without it would be unthinkable.
What can we expect to hear from you in 2015? Where can we see you live?
Our debut album is out this summer and over the coming months we’ll be playing in London, Birmingham and at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton.
Find out more about Malpas here.