With the aesthetic choices in the composition, lyrics, and arrangements heavily inspired by late romanticism, art-deco, and surrealism, Orphnē, the new opus from Maud the Moth, Madrid-born and Edinburgh-based experimental/dark-folk singer, songwriter, and pianist, reflects on the rootlessness and nebulous identity of the émigré, fragmented woman. Both powerful in its execution of an idea, this epic offering is spacious, ornate with dark atmosphere, alive with unique feeling, with backbone that gives it a weight and tone that justify heavy music comparisons. Today, we’re pleasded to give you its first full hearing, along with special commentary from Maud The Moth, touching on the spirit of her project, the subject matter of the new album, and plans for the future.
Maud the moth is my musical alter ego and is my longest-standing project. I studied classical piano and singing until my late teens and around age 13-14 I started getting into rock and metal. I could never understand why I had to pick between the two or why this divide was relevant.
𝑀𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑢𝑓𝑓 𝑖𝑛 𝑀𝑎𝑢𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑡ℎ 𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑢𝑙𝑡𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑙𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑠𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑧𝑜𝑝ℎ𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑖𝑐 𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑎𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑙𝑢𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑓𝑜𝑐𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑛 ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑎𝑏𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑒𝑠𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠, 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒 𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑎 𝑏𝑖𝑡 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚.
Maud the moth started as a solo project and has, for the last couple of years, gone back to this format despite having had a bunch of collaborators in the past. All of them have obviously contributed and brought a lot into the mix, but since I move around so much, I have been adapting my live performance in a way which makes sense as a solo act.
“Orphnē” is my third full length and I think I’ve really come a long way as a songwriter since my first cassette demos.
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑟𝑖𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘𝑠 𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑖𝑠, 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑒, 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑏𝑠𝑜𝑙𝑢𝑡𝑒 𝑓𝑟𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑜𝑚, 𝑝𝑢𝑟𝑔𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑝𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑛𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠. 𝐻𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑟𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑡𝑦𝑙𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑑𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑑𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑎 𝑏𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠.
I wrote this album intermittently during the last 5 to 6 years which have been quite turbulent for me. Lots of change, adaptation and personal conflict leading to a number of breaking points and where music was always there to hold me.
𝐼 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑔𝑔𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚 𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑑𝑎𝑟𝑘 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒, 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑚𝑜𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑓-𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑙𝑜𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔.
Ecdysis is the shedding of the old skin in some insects and reptiles, and this song exists as exactly a response to that. My music tends to be mostly autobiographical but also quite subjective and there are a couple of specific events here, lived by either myself or others who are close, which tap into this struggle to evolve; from dealing with addiction to repeated harmful patterns due to unresolved trauma. Visually, the song describes this surreal epic of a faceless character receding into their own body in search for this source of pain or “splinter” and losing themselves along the way.
The mirror door is a song about dissociation by attempting to recreate what dissociation feels like. Unlike some of my more progressive songs, this one has a more static vibe to it, like a hazy dream where everything has this whiteish hue. I don’t like to pick favorites, but this is probably one of my favorite songs in the album.
The stairwell is really an interlude for the mirror door. It was inspired by a recurrent nightmare I used to have as a child and which haunted me for years. In the ever-purging spirit of Maud the moth, I guess I tried to capture that feeling so that I could at least face it.
The abattoir is probably the most brutal song I have written so far. It is a song about culturally ingrained and normalized sexual harassment in Spanish society (Spanish, because that’s where I grew up, not because other countries are free of this). At the time when the “me too” movement took off I was going to therapy for depression and this together with the conversation and relatedness this movement opened up made me start processing years of baggage that I had just neatly stored away because I couldn’t afford to look in the face.
Finisterrae is a cape and ancient port located in one of the westernmost parts of Spain in Galicia, a region where I spent most of my holidays during my childhood. It was named like that by the Romans, who believed that this was the end of the world. It is a place full of dramatic cliffs which has always inspired awe and mysticism as well as terror and wonder for the unknown. The sea was a generous provider, but for many sailors was also a tomb. This song taps into that fascination for the natural world as a reflection of ourselves and the conflicts and sacrifices made during any process of evolution and renovation.
As above, so below. This is a song about the inheritance of trauma. Sound-wise it was the song that led me to experiment with distortion and piano reamping, so I see it as quite a significant evolution in my sound.
Mormo and the well. This track, together with the first half of Ecdysis, has the strongest focus on the instrumental side and the most ornate arrangement-wise. To me, it has this very strong cinematographic and escapist vibe to it, like the soundtrack to a historical epic film from the 50s.
Epoxy Bonds was the first song I wrote for this album, and it’s a song about my grandmother, who I am quite close to. She is a very practical woman who was born amidst the Spanish civil war and lived her childhood though the misery of those ruins. In a way, she has taught me the value of many things which tend to be invisible, for which I am very grateful.
Live shows & future plans
There are some gigs which remain uncancelled in late November and December. Both me and Dead Space Chamber Music from Bristol will be supporting Jarboe (who is one of my favorite artists ever), in London, so we organized a couple of DIY gigs together around the date in the UK. Fingers crossed!
I have started writing a new Maud the moth album too, so hopefully, I’ll have a new album in less than 5 years now that I’m a more focused individual (maybe). I have also started another band which is more geared towards shoegaze rock and we will record our first album very soon.