Exclusive Interview With Maribou State

With a sound as quintessentially British as the picturesque Hertfordshire village that they call home, Chris Davids and Liam Ivory aka Maribou State have steadily built a glowing international reputation via a string of well-loved EPs and a fistful of remixes (including Kelis, Lana del Ray, Ultraísta). 

Well-versed in the art of balance, the duo have been quietly yet mightily refining their touch in recent years, delivering a string of releases (including the much loved Tongue and Truths EPs ) crafted through an incredible studio ethic at their rural bolt-hole “The Shack in the Back”.

Far from your typical laptop-reliant producers; the pair are mindful to incorporate live musicianship and songcraft that imbue a soulfulness and character into their sound. As a result, they’ve already caught the attention of radio heavyweights (Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens, Annie Mac, B. Traits, Pete Tong and Gilles Peterson) and blazed a trail at festivals across Europe including Glastonbury, Warehouse ProjectBestival, and in Amsterdam on the weekend of 6-7 June at Amsterdam Open Air.

Intrigued by the dynamics of electronic music for the dance floor as much as the richness and human quality of live instrumentation and song craft, Maribou State has worked tirelessly to evolve and forge a unique, compelling and deeply soulful marriage of the organic and the synthetic, as embodied on the forthcoming debut LP ‘Portraits, setting up 2015 as perhaps their most prolific year yet.

How did Maribou State come to exist? Were you doing solo work before joining together?
Actually we’ve always kind of worked together. We used to play together in bands when we were at school. For a long time we wrote music that we were not completely sold on, it took us a while before we really found our feet musically; Maribou State was the result.

Describe your first steps into the industry? What were some highlights/lowlights from the “early days”?
It’s been very gradual for us. Starting out quite young we’ve always had this idea of being able to work in the music industry and have always been committed to having a career in music. When we were 16 or so, working under a different name, we picked up a remix for a band called Hadouken. Our friend knew the sister of one of the band members, so we just called up their house phone and asked if we could remix a track. It ended up being accepted and we were sent a cheque from Atlantic shortly after. The money didn’t stretch too far at all but we were so stoked to have an official remix, and to have been paid for making music!

The advantage of being a duo is that you can always learn form each other and enrich each other. What is one of the most important things you have learned from one another?
I don’t think there’s one standout thing that we’ve each learned from one or another, it’s just a continuous exchange and something that happens everyday, probably more than we are even aware of. Being a duo is most definitely our strong point, in many ways we act as Yin and Yang.

The release date for your debut album is coming closer! Did you have a clear idea of what message you want to convey with this album when you started working on it? Did this message evolve over time?
That’s not really the way we approach our writing. There isn’t any kind of specific message in there. Our main focus was to create something that represented our musical influences and produce a body of work that represented who we are and where we are from. Initially we sat down and tried to think up a concept or a concurrent theme to run through the LP but it just felt too restricting.

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