Bilingual Culture Magazine

Maylee Todd shares her impactful world of music and new experiences

Text/Interview:Karolina Höglind & Yukie Sato
Translation:Karolina Höglind & Narumi Watanabe
Photo:Joseph Fuda
EditorMariko Idehara

カナダの歌姫 Maylee Toddがニューアルバム『ACTS OF LOVE』をひっさげ、約4年ぶりに来日!以前の作風とは異なる、クリアーで硬質なサウンドが堪能できる今作の制作秘話や世界中で注目を集める彼女のエネルギッシュなパフォーマンスについて語ってくれた。
Canadian musician and conceptual performance artist Maylee Todd is coming back to Tokyo after 4 years this February! This time promoting her newly released album “ACTS OF LOVE”! Wooly had a talk with her about the stories behind her new album which with its clear, rigid sound, is completely distinct from her previous style. Furthermore, Maylee talks more in depth about her energetic performances.

 


  • JP
  • EN

音楽の世界に入ったきっかけは何でしょう?

そうね、家族だわ。家族の大半が音楽とアート系だから。例えば、父親がELVIS のものまね芸術家、お姉ちゃんタニャーがバンドでギターをやっていた。90年代だったから女性が音楽を自作することは私にとってすごいインパクトがあることだったの。若い頃からずっと音楽が大好きで、カセットテープや古いレコードまでも私を囲んでいたわ。それだけではなくて家のあちらこちらに色んな楽器が置いてあったから、たまにそれらをとって弾いた。すごく音楽に影響があった家で育てられてきたから、もちろん自分も強く影響されてたの。だから結局アーティストになったのはとても自然な道って感じた。

音楽を通して何を伝えたいですか?

今回3度目のリリースとなる『ACTS OF LOVE』は、心理学に基づいたコンセプチュアルな作品なの。過去によく、自分の置かれている状況について他人を責めたりしていたわ。でも、今回のレコードではもっと自分を見つめ直してみようと思った。このレコードの各曲に具体的なトピックがあって、例えばポリアモリー的な関係や、オープンリレーションシップが心理的に与える影響について。他にも、薬物中毒や彼氏彼女への執着とか。なんと言うか、色々な状態を全て確かめてみている感じかな。こういう生き方を強要しているわけではないけど、こういう経験を人生の過程として捉えているの。人生って結局のところ過程でしかないから。

『ACTS OF LOVE』は以前のアルバムと違いはありますか?

私自身少し大人になったこともあって、歌を通して伝えたいって思える事が出来てきたの。だからまず、以前よりもメッセージ性が強いところ。そして、自分のベッドルームで作られた自主制作だということ。このレコードを制作している時凄く寒かったから、家で一人ずっとソフトウェアをいじっていたの。以前までのアルバムは5、6人で共同制作していて、ドラマーやバス演奏者の生音を録音していたのだけど、今回は全て1人で行ったわ。

作品のビジュアルからもMayleeさん独特な世界観が伺えますよね。ビジュアル表現のインスピレーションはどこから受けていますか?

全て違う場所からかな。周りのアーティスト達からはもちろん、自分の実体験からも影響を受けているかも。それと、よくやってる瞑想もビジュアル制作の大きな要素になっているかな。瞑想って一旦視覚的情報から離れることだけど、そうすることによって自分の心体を見つめて心体が変化していくのを感じられるの。自分が死に近付いていく感覚。こういう体験って強烈で、視覚的にも精神的にも刺激的なのよ。

それでは、自分の内面からインスピレーションを受けていると言えますか?

ある意味では、そう言えるわね。自分だけでなく、みんなそうだと思う。視点を変えているような感じ。例えば、目の前の花の見方を少し変えるだけで、新しい何かに気付いたり。すでに生活の中に溢れているものを改めて違うレンズを通して見てみるの。そうすると、目の前の花が全く違うものに見えてくる。こういう説明をしたら、わかりやすいかな!

面白いですね。そういうインスピレーション源は見逃しがちですからね。

うん。他にも例えば、子供の時によく観ていた映画を大人になってからまた観てみると、子供の頃は全く気づかなかった物事が見えてくるでしょ。もう既に体験済みの物事から、真新ことを発見すること。視点を変えるだけで、物事は全く異なってみることができるわ。もちろん、信じ難いかもしれないけど日本文化からも影響を受けているよ!

確かに、HIEROGLYPHICSのMVは一部日本で撮影していましたよね!どうして東京を撮影場所に選んだのですか?

日本は私のお気に入りの国の一つなの。すごく興味深い場所だと思う。日本文化にすごく影響を受けてきたから、ずっと住んでみたいなと思っているわ。HIEROGLYPHICSのMVはバンドメンバーやダンサー、それとスタッフメンバーたちと日本で撮影したの。他にもHEART THROBも日本でやったよ。日本はミステリアスで魔法のような場所。2月にまた行けるのが本当に楽しみ!日本には3,4回来てるんだけど、全部仕事関係だったの。初めの時も、もともと旅行目的だったんだけど、現地で急遽お仕事がもらえて結局ビジンネストリップになっちゃった。それはそれで素晴らしかったけど。

日本の音楽についてどう思いますか?好きな日本人アーティストがいたら教えてください。

日本の音楽についてはあまり詳しくないんだけど、前回日本に行った時J-POPの音楽業界を覗いてみて興味深かったのは、好きなアイドルのCDを買ってそれに付いてくる券で好きなメンバーに投票するシステム。前回日本のラジオに出演した時、きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅの「PONPONPON」のカバーをしたの。私が日本語で歌うのを聞いてみたかったみたい。もちろんボロボロだったけどね。あと、日本の80年代のファンクとかディスコミュージック好き。イノヤマランド、菊池桃子、坂本龍一とかよく聞くわ。他にもお勧めがあったら教えて欲しいな!

カナダや海外でVirtual Wombというコンサートとアートインスタレーションをミックスしたようなショーをやっていましたね。音楽以外のアートはMayleeさんにとってどれくらい重要ですか?また、あなたにとって一番重要なことや、あなた自身を定義づけるものがあるとすれば何でしょう?

私は一番に、自分がアーティストであるという考え方を大切にしてるわ。これは本当に忘れちゃいけない重要なことなの。私はクリエイティブな人間だからどんな状況に置かれても、柔軟にその場に対応することができるの。例えばコンセプチュアルアートを作ることも、音楽を制作することも、パフォーマンスアートを作ることも大好き。全て経験してみる事が大切。その経験から、実世界に存在しないものを想像してみたり。その時点ではただの空想かもしれないけど、目にみえるような形に落とし込めたときは感動するよ。だって私の空想が、皆が楽しめる経験にまるごと変わってしまうんだもの。

ライブやショーのときに理想的な会場はありますか?今までのショーを見ると聴衆たちと近い距離感でやっている雰囲気がありますが、やっぱり会場を選ぶときもそういうのを気にしますか?

広い会場でも全然構わないんだけど、オーディエンスの中に行って皆と一緒にいられるのが確かに好きね。私は、あがり症だから今でも舞台に上がると緊張しちゃうわ。あとは見た目っていうのも本当に大事なことだと思う。私が緊張しているのをお客さんがみていたり、私の緊張感まで感じてしまうとかそういうこと全部。人の前で自分の弱いところを見せるのは絶対にいい面もあると思うの。そしたらその人達も自分の弱さを隠さなくていいのを感じてくれるから。そこに癒しの始まりがあると思うの。つまり周りの人々に怖気づかず、周りの皆が仲間だと感じられるところから。

最後に、日本にいるファンへのメッセージをください。
今から言うことは、単純に自分のためにやっていることだけど、他の人たちのためになるんだったら、それは嬉しいことだから言うね! 私自身、ここ2,3年観察者になろうとしていたの。自分の気持ちを見つめたり、他人のエネルギーやオーラを観察してみようと。観察者といっても、審判者ではないわ(笑)。たしかに、まったくしないとは言えないかもしれないけど、せめて行動には出さない!行動を自分の気持ちに影響させるっていうより、そこで他の人に関して感じて、思ったことを自己反省に使おうとしてるの。日本人はもうすでにそういう考え方を持っているなような気がするから、私が言っても何も意味がないかもしれないかも、、(笑)あと、クリエイティブな人達に大切なのは、根気と辛抱だと思うの。それらが常に私たちを良い方向に導いてくれる。やめないで、やり続くこと。小さい頃母親に言われたアドバイスなの。あの言葉のおかげで沢山のことをあきらめなかったと思うわ。アーティストとして生きていくのは簡単な生活じゃないからね。常に何かにせき立てられるものなのよ。

■Maylee Todd(メイリー・トッド)
ソウル、ディスコ、R&B、エレクトロニック・ミュージックなど多様なジャンルを融合したサウンドと、マルチメディア・アーティストならではのエネルギッシュなパフォーマンスで2013年の公演も好評を博したメイリー・トッドが、約4年ぶりの最新アルバム『アクツ・オブ・ラヴ』とともにカム・バックを果たす。トロントを拠点に活動する彼女は、2010 年にアルバム『Choose Your Own Adventure』でデビュー。2014年にはアルバム『エスカポロジー』で日本デビューを果たし、「Baby’s Got It」「Hieroglyphics」がラジオ局でヘビープレイされ話題となった。

http://www.mayleetodd.com/

 

■LIVE Information
日時: 2018.2.13(火)
1st Stage Open 17:30 Start 19:00 / 2nd Stage Open 20:45 Start 21:30
会場:Billboard Live TOKYO
〒107-0052東京都港区赤坂9丁目7番4号 東京ミッドタウン ガーデンテラス4F

http://www.billboard-live.com/pg/shop/show/index.php?mode=detail1&event=10797&shop=1/

 

What made you get into music?

I’d say it was my family, as my family is pretty music and art heavy. For example, my father is an Elvis impersonator, and my sister Tanya played guitar in her own band. This was in the nineties, so it was a big deal for me to see a woman writing her own music, and it had a huge impact on me. I’ve always been a lover of music from a young age, surrounded by cassettes, and even old records, as well as instruments laying all around the house that I would pick up and play at times. It was a very musical house, which had a huge impact on my upbringing and later me becoming an artist, which felt like a real natural choice.

What do you want to convey through your music?

This time, for my third record that I just released, “ACTS OF LOVE”, it’s a conceptual record rooted in psychology. The idea is based on how I used to blame myself, my content, and blaming people for my circumstances and so on. But also how I was trying to kind of tell people how they should live. Instead of doing that, I thought that in this record it would be interesting to be more self-aware and more self-reflective. Each song on this record deals with one specific topic. One song is about polyamorous relationships, open relationships and the psychological effect of that. Another is about addiction, which could be an addiction to compulsive thinking, drugs, an addiction to relationships or anything else. It’s kind of checking all these different ways of being. And me not saying that this is the way it should be, but that this is just my experience. I’m not married to how things should be, instead it’s a process. Because guess what, it has changed quite a bit for me as well, due to all my experience. Life is just a real process.

When working on “ACTS OF LOVE”, how did you feel it differed from your previous albums?

I think that now that I am a little bit older I do have things that I am more passionate to talk about. And then from an audio level, this was a bedroom-produced, self-produced record. When I wrote this record, I was just really getting into the software. Since it can get very cold in the winter here, I spent a lot of time by myself, just learning the software and being very creative with it. It’s a real kind of solitude record. My other albums I’ve done were more collaborative in terms of playing, and all the sounds were organic. It involved around four to five other people. So it wasn’t just me programming drums, but a real drummer, a real bass player, other people, you know. And then this record is kind of just a solos vibe.

The visual aspect of your works really shows your unique world-view, and something unique that’s coming from you. But where do you generally get your inspiration from for the visual part?

It all comes from different places. I’d say I’m being inspired by artists around me, but also other experiences from my life I guess. I’m also really into meditation, and I’d say it is a huge factor in a lot of my visual process. With meditation, apart from the visual, there is also a mental game that comes along with it too. To see yourself go through these changes, and maybe even see yourself die. These are all things you will eventually some to terms with and make peace with, but through these intense experiences it kind of puts you on a fast-track. These experiences are pretty intense and really impactful, as well as they are visually stipulating and mentally stimulating too.

So you could say that you find a lot of inspiration from inside yourself?

In some way yes. Although at the same time, I think this is a part of me, and I also think it’s a part of everybody and everything. It’s like, okay maybe I can put it this way- maybe it’s like flipping perspective. It’s like looking at a flower differently and then that becomes an inspiration. It’s like the stuff in the world that you have been taking for granted on a regular basis, taking that, and seeing it for the first time through a new lens. You’re looking at the flower, and the flower doesn’t look like the flower you saw a year ago. Maybe that’s a good way of putting it!

It sounds really interesting and a source of inspiration many people might overlook.

Yeah. Something else I could relate it too could be if you ever watched a movie when you were a kid, and as an adult you re-watch it. Then you see all these things you hadn’t realized was happening before. It’s something like that. Seeing something new, experiencing something new, but you’ve actually already experienced it. Just that now your perspective is flipped so you can look at things differently. It’s a familiar-new. And I am also definitely inspired from a lot of Japanese culture, believe it or not!

Yeah, because In a Music video from a while ago, for your song HIEROGLYPHICS, you recorded parts of it in Tokyo! Was it some special reason why you wanted to use Tokyo and Japan as a location?

I feel like Japan is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s such an interesting place, I’ve always wanted to live there, and I am super inspired by Japanese culture. Like the music video Hieroglyphics, we shot it in Japan with a bunch of dancers and a bunch of people who at the time were band-members, and some in-studio stuff there as well. I also did a music video called HEART THROB, which is like a satire on a movie HOUSE (HAUSU). Japan is such a world of mystery and magic, and I’m excited about going there in February! I’ve been in Japan 3-4 times and it’s all been work-related. Although my first time I was just going to go on vacation, but then some people said that they could hook me up on some things, so the trip ended up being for work. Which was nice too!

What do you think about the Japanese music scene? And do you have any Japanese artists you like?

I don’t know that much about the Japanese music scene, but last time I got some idea of how it goes down in the j-pop world, with idols you can vote by buying their CD’s with ballots in them, which you use to vote on your favorite member. One time I actually did a cover on Kyaru Pamyu Pamyu’s song ‘PONPONPON’ on the radio in Japan because they wanted to hear me sing in Japanese! I was terrible of course, but I guess that was the whole point… Otherwise I love a lot of old, boogie music from around the 80’s, so I love all the Japanese boogie artists, as well as the funk/disco kind of music from Japan. Some musicians I listen to are Inoyama Land, Momoko Kikuchi, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Apart from this I don’t know much else the Japanese music scene, but I am open to recommendations!

In Canada and some other countries you held the show ‘Virtual Womb’, a mix between a concert and an art-installation. How important is the creating of non-music art for you? what is most important to you, and what would you define yourself as?

I think I consider myself an artist, number one. It can mean a lot of things, so I’ll define what I mean by it. I feel like I am a creative person first and foremost. If you put me in a certain context I feel like I can adapt and improvise very well creatively because I am a creative person. I love making conceptual work, I love making music and producing music. I love doing performance art, but loving getting into themes. And producing like a world or creating an experience in that theme. And why is it important? I think experience is kind of the way of the future. And I’m having a lot of fun with coming up with ideas, things that don’t exist, and taking the manifest in like a physical reality. And the best part is if people join me on these physical manifestations born from just a thought, and just of an idea that was once dreamt about. But that has now fully turned into a physical show an experience that people can enjoy.

When doing a concert or a show, do you have an ideal type of place in mind? Especially since from earlier shows it seems as you lay a lot of importance on being close to the audience.

I don’t mind big spaces, not at all, but I do like being fused in the audience. I’m still a nervous person and I still get stage nervous. And there is something really important about visibility, about people seeing me feel nervous, feeling my nerves and all that. Because there is just something really nice about being vulnerable in front of people. And people feeling that it’s okay for them to be vulnerable too. There is where a lot of the healing begins. Where people feel that they’re not intimidated by this separate person, it’s as if we all feel like we are all sort of in this together.

And finally, do you have any special message to your listeners in Japan?

Well, this is what I do for myself, and if anybody can find this helpful in any way, then it would be great.When it comes to myself, for the past couple of years I’ve just been trying to be an observer.An observer of my feelings, and observer of just other people’s energies. When I say observer, I don’t mean a judger, haha. Well, there might of course be a little judgement in there somewhere, but I won’t act out on it. But more as that I won’t be reactionary with my feelings too much. More self-reflective. But I feel like the Japanese already have that down, and I’m kind of preaching to the choir… haha. But who knows! That’s just my very Canadian experience.Also for the people interested in creative expression, then patience and perseverance is always a good go-to. Just be in any situation patient and persevered. Just keep at it. That’s the advice my mother gave me when I was very young. And I never gave up on a lot of things because of it, I’d say. Living as an artist isn’t the easiest life-style, it’s always a hustle.

■Maylee Todd
Maylee Todd is a multi-media artist and musician based in Toronto. Her creativity derives from a wide range of artistic disciplines: songwriting, production, film, performance art and 3-D projection mapping. Maylee’s themes are inspired by science fiction, human development/psychology and unconventional thinking. She also produces conceptual shows to create an alternative experience to the audience. Her music is an amalgamation of soul, r’n’b, electronic, and experimental.

http://www.mayleetodd.com/

 

■LIVE Information
DATE&TIME: 2018.2.13(火)
1st Stage Open 17:30 Start 19:00 / 2nd Stage Open 20:45 Start 21:30
Location:Billboard Live TOKYO
Tokyomidtown Garden Terrace 9-7-4, Akasaka , Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052, Japan
Price: Service Area:¥6,000 / Casual Area:¥4,500

http://www.billboard-live.com/pg/shop/show/index.php?mode=detail1&event=10797&shop=1/

 

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