Bridging current and retro elements of electronica, Irish artist ELAINE MAI is one to keep an eye on. She combines the best beats of 90s ambient dance with contemporary synths and arrangements – take one listen to her current single ‘Praise In The Cliche’ (featuring the talents of rapper and friend Temper-Mental MissElayneous) and we challenge you not to be hooked. The track gripped us so much that it was imperative that we find out more. Read on to discover more about the collaboration, Mai’s new EP The Colour of the Night, and her activism in the LGBT community.
You’ve not long unveiled your latest track ‘Praise In The Cliché’. What was inspiring you lyrically at the time of writing?
I played off Temper-Mental MissElayneous’s rap for this track and followed her lead when it came to writing the lyrics. Her writing is incredible, I really think she’s one of the best lyricists around at the moment.
How did the collaboration come about?
I played a gig with Elayne – quite a few years ago at this stage – and was struck by her passion and drive. I had it in my head that hopefully we’d collaborate one day and then I started writing [‘Praise in the Cliche’]. As soon it started to take shape I knew she’d be the one to bring it to life.
Why was she the best voice to contribute to ‘Praise In The Cliché’? Did she add a different dimension to the track that was perhaps unexpected?
She really did. The track is quite dark and I wanted there to be a strong female voice to amplify that and pack a punch. She certainly does that on the track.
‘Praise In The Cliché’ is quite different from your previous effort ‘The Colour of the Night’ which is a more classic electronic track. What made you want to mix things up with ‘Praise In The Cliché’ and is it something that you may do again in the future?
I think my style can vary and this track came about naturally. I’m always open to trying different things and ways of writing. My main goal is always to write music that has a meaning and purpose and that I myself enjoy listening to.
What was inspiring you in the writing process of new EP The Colour of the Night and did you encounter any difficulties?
I wrote this EP at a time when I’d experienced close personal grief for the first time. Writing it was a great distraction and really helped me to deal with my emotions and work through everything that was happening at the time.
You are also a producer; how important is it to you to maintain creative control of your work? Do you produce for others?
I love producing, I have so much fun when doing it and get totally lost in it. I also really love remixing, but I’m yet to properly produce for others. It’s not something that’s on the cards at the moment, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t in the future.
You are a prominent figure in the LGBT community in Ireland. How important is it to you to combine your campaigning with your music?
I campaigned for marriage equality in 2015, before the referendum. I think music played a vital role in Ireland at the time in uniting people for the cause. So many people I know, clubs, bands, promoters put shows on to raise money and it really was such an amazing thing to see it pass so decisively in the end – it’s something I’ll never forget.
You are a critically acclaimed performer and like to experiment with your live show. What do you do to keep your live show fresh and what do you enjoy most about performing?
The great thing about deconstructing tracks in Ableton (which I’ve used for about four years now) is that you have free reign to change things as you go. If something’s not working you can instantly try something new. I use Ableton Push, which more than anything else is just really good fun to use. I’ve also started doing live visuals for my shows now which I really think adds another dimension to my show.
You’re set to play Body and Soul Festival in Ireland in June. Why should audiences come and see you?
I’ll be playing the tracks from my new EP which I’m really excited about and will have Liza Flume and Temper-Mental MissElayneous as special guests. I think this is my best work to date and this show in particular is one I’m really looking forward to!
What else do you have in store for 2017?
Hoping to do a tour later in the year and I’m looking forward to getting back writing also!
Elaine Mai’s The Colour of the Night EP is available now.