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Interview: 2020 Must-Know - Maude Latour

Interview: 2020 Must-Know - Maude Latour

"Isn't it amazing that people connect for a minute or two?" Maude Latour contemplates in 'Lovesick', the closing track on her debut EP 'Starsick', and just one of many heartfelt thoughts that she expresses in the six-track release from 2019, which she describes as "the voice of the world I've always had a vision for."

Currently quarantined in New York City, Latour is spending her time between online classes (she's studying philosophy and political science at Columbia University) creating as much new music as possible, and if you happen to find yourself watching an Instagram live of hers, you might just be treated to an acoustic rendition of a new song, or even witness a new song's creation process.

Unreleased fan-favourite 'Furniture' (listen to a snippet here) has already connected on Tiktok with nearly 300,000 listeners, highlighting Latour's ability to turn her own unique experiences into relatable and introspective pieces of work.

MUST-LISTEN: 'Lovesick', 'Plans', 'Superfruit'.
YOU WILL LIKE, IF YOU LIKE: Ryn Weaver, Gracie Abrams, Lorde, King Princess, MUNA, Ryan Beatty… and contemplating your own existence in the world.

COUP DE MAIN: It's been really fun to see you sharing your process through Instagram Live recently - often sharing songs as soon as you write them. Do you like the immediacy of being able to share them with your fans in their earliest stages?
MAUDE LATOUR: Sometimes I really appreciate it, because it'll give me a surge of confidence if it resonates unexpectedly with people. I am often surprised at which they like. Sometimes sharing it too early will make me sad, so I've been practising learning which ones to keep private for longer. Sometimes they hurt too much. I have hundreds of unfinished snippets of songs that probably won't ever see the light of day (which breaks my heart), so it's wonderful for them to bring any fleeting joy.

CDM: How is your songwriting process currently working?
MAUDE: Stream of consciousness, and when I'm in the mood, going back and sifting through it. Some ideas will itch me for weeks or days and those are the ones I know will turn into something. I don't force myself to do anything, I only want the songs that come out completely naturally.

CDM: We are very excited about the song with these lyrics: "I guess I was too much for you / Or was I just not enough for you? / I could never decide, so I analyse / replay all the scenes in my movie screen." Do you think it's human nature to over-analyse situations? That it's trying to understand something we can never be sure of?
MAUDE: Oh, I'm so flattered you like those. And damn, I'm impressed at your journalism because I wrote that like three days ago. Well, I definitely adore analysis. I'm notorious for it. It's a compulsion, it's circular. And of course, it is human nature to attempt to make sense of the past. But I've realized there are actually no conclusions ever to be reached. Every conclusion is only an illusion; comfort for the mind. I've gotten much better at comfort in the lack of closure; simply releasing. I recommend prioritizing it.

CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
MAUDE: Definitely both. Many things start as poetry, and then a few images will eat me alive until I do something about them. But many lyrics are tied to the melody and I can't separate them. The point is just to have as much output as possible so that you have so much to choose from. I realised that about a year ago when I was in a writer's block phase. Just to get as much out as possible. I definitely am a writer above anything, it's my passion more than anything else.

CDM: 'Lovesick' is our favourite song on the EP! It's so good! In the pre-chorus you sing, "When you said to me, 'Are we enemies?' / No baby, we could never be." When you have a shared history with a former partner, is there just always going to be some small part of you that is always in love with that person even if you have fallen out of love with them?
MAUDE: Oh man, I'm not ready to put out my final answer on that predicament. I think I need another ten years to figure that out. I have some past loves that I really am not in love with any more, and I know that. I think there might be a few people you love forever that you'll just have to come to terms with its failure. But those people, I think, become so painful that they bring too much hurt. Shouldn't love feel wonderful? I don't think we have enough words in the English language to describe the array of complexity of these states and feelings. Why do we lump them all together in an inadequate word like love? There are so many layers to it all.

CDM: You go on to say, "You are now my memory." Do you think that when people exist in our memories, it's through a rose-tinted lens of how we want to choose to remember them?
MAUDE: Oh definitely. The past is a complete illusion. The memories aren't to be trusted. At all. It's not worth even looking back, it hurts so much. I've been realising that my brain is simply addicted to the feeling of 'missing' - I've noticed it's the same feeling I've had for years, missing so many different things. I think we need to start knowing ourselves well enough to differentiate between when we miss a person versus just the wonderful debilitating painful reliance on wanting the past. The latter is an illusion.  

CDM: The line in 'Superfruit' when you sing, "Have I told you that I'm really fuckin' scared to die?", is such a powerful and relatable line. Why do you think that fear about what happens beyond our own lives is something that plays on your mind so much? Do you think those feelings are even more powerful when you're young, or do you think they exist in the same capacity throughout your life?
MAUDE: I was most affected by that feeling as a child. I know it very well. I think it's important to constantly remember our mortality, I think that awareness might be how we find meaning in everything in life. But, that line is a testament to the crime it is that we don't talk about it enough. That song is about truly being sick of small talk, and coping with these intense feelings and still finding lightness and joy in life. The song tries to explain that this reality of mortality can be juxtaposed with happiness. Those feelings don't have to be dark. Hahahaha I love 'Superfruit' because I think it's secretly my heaviest song and yet people scream that line. It does exactly what it set out to do.

CDM: Lyrically, what's your favourite song that you’ve written so far?
MAUDE: That changes daily. I'm definitely in love with 'Furniture'-- the chorus, the verses, "I cry on my birthday but you would make it up to me", "I'm slipping through the cracks in the floorboard to the apartment below us". Oh, I love it, I love it. It is the closest to me right now. But there are so many ahhaha. So many on the new EP, I can't wait to share it. 'Ride My Bike' I really deeply appreciate-- the world it creates is such a good reflection of its intention.

CDM: It's such a romantic sentiment you sing about in 'Plans' ("Let me cancel all of my plans to be alone with you / I know we’re moving fast / Too good to let it pass"), and it thematically reminds me of Feist's song 'Any Party' when she sings, "I'd leave any party for you." We spoke to her about that song and she told us: "It was the thought that if someone were to prioritise you above anything else that could have dazzle and could have a sparkle to it, then that would be the ultimate. It's no matter where you are, no matter who else is there, no matter what's going on, we're the closed circuit. Like the closed circle; the trusted two to leave that place together." Do you agree with her, that the idea of existing just with one other person and prioritising them is one of the most heartfelt and romantic things someone can do?
MAUDE: Oh man. That song has evolved in meaning for me. It was a love song about meeting someone for the first time and knowing that they will become exactly what Feist is describing. Yes, of course, that one person, who becomes the only person. Yes, that's definitely it. But, I realised that song was more about me than anyone else. That is definitely how I love so far in my life. Cancelling plans, putting them above everything. I realised that I caught myself admitting to this pattern. But actually, I've learned that perhaps that way of loving isn't always the best. In my most recent break-up, I was actually reminded of the power of NOT doing that. I've started to challenge those patterns in me. Spending time alone, making time for other people, realising all those people I missed out on while cancelling plans to spend time with my love. I now am in favour of NOT cancelling all your plans.

CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
MAUDE: Oh, you know when it happens. When you feel that lift outside your body: you're suddenly a memory, you're pining, your eyes are closed, I'm writhing, my body is out of my own control, it's streaming from my fingers, coming out of me as a conduit, it hurts so badly. I only listen to one song at a time, on repeat. It makes me cry, it takes me there completely. Honestly, it hurts. I can't really do it all the time. Sometimes I go weeks without listening to music. It's such an intense experience to me, when I do it I lose all agency. It's painful. It hurts. It really does.  

CDM: At what age did you write your very first song ever, and what was it about?
MAUDE: I guess there was this one little song I sang over and over as a fourth grader, and I sang it for the next few years. I guess the first one I put on paper was in eighth grade, I wrote a song called, "Barbie, barbie, you say you want a barbie but you can't find her anywhere"-- it was a dark song actually. Middle school was a little difficult for me. It was about beauty and bodies and dark thoughts.

CDM: What do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music?
MAUDE: Honestly, I've had to let go of this question. My music truly cannot have any purpose for its audience. It would be false to say that I want people to get something out of it, as if I write them in hopes other people feel *insert something*. Complete lie. I don't get why people say that. No, I wrote it for me. Because I needed it. I wrote it because I needed to bottle my memory up. I wrote it for me, alone. To capture my world, to get out this feeling. To deal with my mortality, to deal with loss. I can't believe nothing lasts forever, it crushes me every day. I can't believe I'm existentially alone forever. I can't believe how intense those moments of joy are. I can't believe everything becomes a memory. If the audience gets it, that's just a cool little side effect.

CDM: If M.A.U.D.E. L.A.T.O.U.R. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
More than you asked for
Unusually wordy and a little too quick to be chill
Dangerously analytical
Energetically a rollercoaster to the extreme of my own accord

Learning to cope with the fleetingness of everything
Almost in reach but never close enough
Terrible texter
Open. Yeah.
Underrated (come on, you KNOW my music should be UP there... it will, I know ;))
Rhetorically inclined.

This was hard.

CDM: What’s on your bucket-list?
MAUDE: Acupuncture. Making a pretty significant difference for green energy. Learning to drive. Owning a bike. Being a better person. Starting a record label. Writing many television shows, writing books.

CDM: If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
MAUDE: A Van Gogh.

CDM: If you were a country, what would be your national anthem?
MAUDE: 'What The Hell' by Avril Lavigne. Oh my gosh don't hold me to that, this is a fleeting decision.

CDM: What are your top five necessities for isolation/quarantine/lockdown?
MAUDE: Truthfully I am so eternally grateful and I can't even make light of this question without reasserting the utmost awareness of how painfully lucky I am. This crisis is so unfair, I literally don't need anything other than food and the ability to stay at home. So, unfortunately, that's the truth, there is nothing I need other than survival and it's the greatest privilege to be with my family and be as safe as I am right now in New York City. But, if I indulge the harmlessness of this question: I always need a piano near me, completely. Can't cope without it. All of my notebooks and colourful markers. My journal. A window. Coffee.

CDM: You’re one of our 'must-know’ artist picks for 2020… who are yours?
MAUDE: Soccer Mommy, WOW 'Color Theory' is my favourite album. Samia. I'll stan her always. Doja Cat's 'Hot Pink' got me through last year.

Watch the 'Ride My Bike' music video below...

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