Interviews

Sydney outfit Maari chat their incredible new single Breathe

If you haven’t already wrapped your ears around Maari’s new single Breathe, stop what you’re doing and go listen to it now. The track is a beautifully immersive slice of alt-pop that will envelope you wholly—it’s the kind of music you get lost within.

So, fresh off the track’s release, we caught up with the band to chat all about it, the importance of honesty in songwriting, and what the future holds.

Hot off the release of their brilliantly immersive new single Breathe, we caught up with Sydney-based alt-pop duo Maari for a chat.

HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?

MAARI: Hey! We’re going good thanks mate. We’ve actually been hanging out in the studio a whole heap lately. We’re recording, producing and writing more than we ever have before!

HAPPY: We’ve been loving Breathe! How does it feel having the track out there in the world?

MAARI: So glad to hear you’re digging it! Thank you! We’ve had the tune in the vault for a while so it feels great to just have it floating around in the world and hopefully resonating with some people.

HAPPY: Could you tell us a bit about the song?

MAARI: Breathe is a tune I wrote in the early hours of the morning when I was overcome with a wave of negativity. I Initially wrote the idea as a self lullaby, to try calm myself and help me drift off to sleep. Happy to say it worked! I showed Bronte Maree the idea the next morning and she was super keen to work on it, so we spiralled into a big session and finished writing it that day.

HAPPY: How did you approach the writing/recording of the track differently to past material? If at all…

MAARI: This was the first track of many that we actually wrote in full collaboration of all elements. We worked on lyrics, melody, vocals and production together; fleshing it out in a day. Although our past tracks are all collaborations, we kind of knew our roles in the writing process and would come in to help each other with ideas, but mostly complete our part in our own time. Breathe was about blurring every role and just building it brick by brick together in the studio. This is something we’ve really enjoyed and have done a lot more of since. We also recently moved apartments, meaning we upgraded to having a lounge room as well as a studio (loungerooms having previously being sacrificed for the good of the music)…so this was the first time recording vocals in a new studio space, which was very exciting!

HAPPY: Even though you guys only have a small handful singles released, it feels like you’ve got a pretty solid direction with your sound. How long had this project been in the works for before you first released music?

MAARI: Bronte Maree and I have been playing music together since we first met at Uni around 2012, so we’ve been creatively linked for quite some time! Maari actually came by as kind of an accident. The project started off as a solo project for Bronte Maree; she was writing tunes and recording them for a Uni assessment and I was assisting her with her production. The project was initially quite different. We both had such a love of Rnb and Soul, but by the end of the recording process we were starting to see our Pop sensibilities filter through. We were performing live with a full band (which was our most natural state coming from a performance degree) but then really wanted to start experimenting with electronic production. When the batch of 7 Original songs were completed, we both felt like we’d only just started tapping into our writing skills, producing skills and the sound we were developing…so none of those songs were released. Instead we went out and bought an iMac, Logic and Midi keyboard; and started writing a whole new batch of songs that became the first batch of Maari! There’s about 20 songs in there that may never be released, because we just keep writing!

HAPPY: Your lyrics always feel quite honest and raw. How important is honesty in your songwriting? And do you ever find it difficult confronting personal issues in lyrics?

MAARI: This is actually something we’ve talked about a bit lately. We’ve come to a stage in our writing where with each new song we’ll sit down with just the guitar or keyboard and sing it in entirety. It there’s an emotional energy there and it’s speaking to us then we know it might speak to someone else. We’ll then build it from the ground up. This is what we did with Breathe and it’s been like that ever since. When we write lyrics, they always come from a very personal and honest place. Sometimes they’re written about our own feelings, and then some songs (like ‘That Summer’) are stories inspired by something or someone that really touched us. Rather than lyrics being a message we want to be taken away, we write feelings out loud with the hope that these might be the words somebody wants to speak out loud themselves. We just hope that us being honest and real about our feelings might remind someone they’re not alone in feeling that way too.

HAPPY: Are there are any other artists you’re really loving at the moment?

MAARI: We’re always fangirling over Julia Michaels’ last two bodies of work. We love her brutal honesty and her ability to craft melodies and lyrics in this crazy magical fusion! We’re also obsessed with Soundtrack/Theatre writing duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Greatest Showman, La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen). Their story telling lyrics and killer choruses are just too much for the soul. We’re also big fans of all things Disney. If there’s a feels train, we’re on it.

HAPPY: What’s next for Maari? Any other exciting plans in the works?

MAARI: We’re actually in the middle of writing a film score for an Australian feature film called The Five: Earth. We’re also very lucky to have two songs of ours featured on the soundtrack. We’re currently in the finishing stages but the movie will hopefully be out early next year! We’ve absolutely loved the process and feel like our ears have opened up to a whole new world of musical texture that’s now infusing into our Maari songs!

HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!

MAARI: Thanks for having us Happy! It’s been a pleasure!

Breathe is available now. Listen above.