The recent Crescent EP by Martha Theuma, released by her under the nickname Das Birthday Girl, is an ethereal collection of alternative music tracks that are directly linked to the artist’s lived experiences. Lara zammit talks with the singer about her music.
Crescent is a balanced collection of downtempo and synth enveloped in a reserved melody. How would you describe the sound qualities of the EP through its three tracks (and in Selene in particular)?
It’s really important that my songs sound delicate but full. I like to intertwine different melodies together and add a lot of vocals to make it more like a choir, which gives it a gothic and weird feeling.
I also like having a solid bassline in order to tie the song together and give it a solid backbone, while trying to give the song just enough space.
I like to think of my songs as little minds and I like that you chose Selene because it’s one of the songs that I really enjoyed writing and which I think really wraps around the themes that I have. have written so far.
Can you talk about your background in music? What is it that you find most convincing?
Music has always been my favorite artistic medium. I find the creative process very fascinating, I like the idea of having an idea in mind for a word or a chorus and bringing it to life little by little. I have explored several different art platforms, but nothing makes me feel the same as music.
I like to lose myself writing music
Ever since I was young I’ve always been drawn to music and playing different instruments, and to put it simply, music has really helped me a lot.
I like the idea of using music to describe the ineffable and the mysterious, having an almost mystical quality. Music and mysticism go hand in hand for me.
What musical influences (or non-musical ones) do you draw your inspiration from and perhaps you surreptitiously inhabit your music?
Musically my biggest influences are perhaps post-punk bands like The Birthday Party, Bauhaus, Swans and artists like John Maus and Molly Nillson. I’m interested in both rough and grainy and polished. I’m very inspired by people’s stories, and one of the things I love to write about the most is myths.
Selene, the second song on the EP, is about the moon goddess and an experience I once had when I was alone on the beach under a full moon. I write songs about anything that strikes me, whether it’s a painting, an idea, a person or a feeling.
I like to see my music as a portal that someone can get lost in, allowing them to discover the way I see the world.
The EP is supported by lyrics that perfectly assimilate its tone and texture. Can you tell us more about the songwriting aspect involved in its production?
The themes of the songs all revolve around different transcendental experiences that I had in my early twenties. When I have the idea of writing a song, it usually comes almost entirely formed in my head – I can usually hear exactly how I want it to be and that’s why, for this EP, I wanted to work mostly through myself when it comes to production.
I love getting lost in writing music and when I start working on the song I usually try to get the basics done by the end of my writing session. Although I love to write lyrics, they are always the hardest part of the process for me. It takes a long time for me to find the words to explain what I’m trying to say, especially since what I’m talking about is difficult to explain with language.
These songs were written in a span of two months, however, it took me a long time to get to record them decently.
Thanks to JOON and Hearts Beating in Time, who mixed and mastered my songs, they were able to elevate my songs from personal recordings to sound a little more professional.
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