Lately, I have had extra time to marinate in my thoughts and memories. The last ten months of lockdown have cut my social life to its barest form and my work life is almost entirely solo, so by necessity, I have had to think on my own. Over those ten months, I have seen myself shrink a little from the lack of social stimuli, but I have also let myself see the vast but unassuming beauty of my own memories, as so much I took for granted is now far from reach. It is in that marination that Ohio-to-Brooklyn transplant Maria BC creates their sonorous tunes with an iciness that reminds me just how alive I somehow still am with every listen.
Devil’s Rain is Maria BC’s first solo release, and each of the 5 tracks fill the room with a cinematic wonder and intimate emotion that brings my guard down. We caught up with Maria to talk about home production, icy seascapes, and giving into the overwhelming urge to create:
Slumber: 2021 is here! What are you looking forward to this 2021?
Maria BC: I’m looking forward to reading more, forming new relationships, getting back on my bike, and returning to live music hopefully?
Slumber: We’re pumped for the release of Devil’s Rain, it’s a really gorgeous project. You mention that the project came about in a period of “extraordinary urgency,” what inspired that urgency?
Maria: Thank you for saying that, I’m pumped y’all asked me to interview 🙂 To be honest, I’m not sure where that urgency came from. It might be that the DIY ethos – so inherently impatient – always lies dormant inside me, waiting for an opportunity to wake up again. It might be that the pandemic limbo gave me permission to spend more time making art. Or it might’ve been the onset of the narcissism and paranoia of my twenties. Who’s to say.
“To be honest, I’m not sure where that urgency came from. It might be that the DIY ethos — so inherently impatient — always lies dormant inside me, waiting for an opportunity to wake up again.”
Slumber: The album artwork is really appealing. What made this image really stand out to you for this project?
Maria: There’s a junk store near me that I like to go to for collage materials or for little charms to put in letters. They have crates full of old photos, and this photo of a glacier was in there and immediately leapt out at me. I bought it and kept it in a box on the kitchen table for a few months. Then when I needed cover art for this project, I dug it out, and it seemed like a good fit because the warm colors are unexpected, I think, while the subject evokes the hazy, oceanic qualities of the music.
Slumber: The cover’s muted colors really work on the record. If you were going to be a crayon, which color would you be? Feel free to get as specific as you want.
Maria: I wouldn’t mind living inside the color green. Green velvet or old green glass. Green is a very somber and musical color. I think that’s why Sibylle Baier’s Colour Green doesn’t have a green cover. It would be overwhelming.
Slumber: I was surprised to read that you recorded Devil’s Rain in your Brooklyn apartment, working overtime to record it quietly. How did you get into the right creative headspace for that? And what did you have to do to reduce the volume on the recording process?
Maria: Some days I got up at 6am because there’s less background noise at that time. Then I recorded all the vocals in the bathroom with the lights off (for mood/headspace purposes) and sang at a whisper. I’m used to belting, so this was new and exciting for me – a whole new voice. Constraints can be very inspiring. I’m grateful to be living with other people not only because it’s a privilege in the era of social distancing, but also because it puts me in a good creative headspace. I know I have to seize moments of privacy.
“I’m grateful to be living with other people not only because it’s a privilege in the era of social distancing, but also because it puts me in a good creative headspace. I know I have to seize moments of privacy.”
Slumber: If you could have a release party for Devil’s Rain and you could invite any person, dead or alive, who would you invite?
Maria: Klaus Nomi comes to mind.
Slumber: Musically, where do you want to go next?
Maria: I’m working on an LP right now. I’ve been messing around with combining digital and analog recordings (I got a four track a couple months ago). It makes for an eerie sound. I’m excited about what’s coming 🙂
Slumber: What’s the first thing you want to do when COVID precautions are lifted, and why?
Maria: Dance! I miss the intimacy of dancing badly with my friends.
Slumber: Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone looking to get into home recording?
Maria: Unless you have really fancy equipment, don’t worry about sounding “clean” or studio quality. Just make stuff. Accept that home recording comes with a lot of freedom but also a lot of constraints. Experiment. Try not to judge it right away.
Maria BC’s debut EP Devil’s Rain is officially out on February 5th. Take advantage of the exclusive stream below: