I am upstairs in The Fleece, Bristol. Mamiffer mastermind Faith Coloccia, having enthusiastically introduced me to everyone, has made me an excellent coffee. She’s also released one of the most delicate and devastating releases of the year, The World Unseen. She seems pretty buzzed to be performing it, and her cohorts are in similar spirits.
Before she performed we sat down for a quick chat about her new record and some unusual influences:
So hey! So you’re out on tour -
How’s it going?
It’s very good! It’s better than we expected so that’s great.
Where have you played so far?
We’ve played, like four shows in Germany and Belgium and I think this is our sixth show, or seventh, yeah. We’re almost done with the tour.
So I think you’re only doing two UK shows?
Yep! This is the first time I’ve ever performed in the UK.
I was about to ask what you thought of the UK crowds but I guess that’s kinda redundant…
Oh I don’t know yet!
How was Germany?
Germany was awesome! Very good crowds, awesome venues.
I’ve never been to Germany but I’ve watched clips online of the crowds and they all seem crazy, crazy into it.
Yeah! They want you to play longer and stuff, yeah.
So you’ve had a release this year. How did that go?
It was pretty good yeah! I think it’s our – uh – it’s pretty well-received, it’s our best PR we’ve had and stuff like that. So pretty good! And it seems to have a long run so far so that’s good, yeah.
Mamiffer’s 2016 release The World Unseen – review by us here!
All the reviews I’ve read have been great.
Yeah! I think there was a couple weird ones but they’re good weird. Like sometimes it’s good to get a weird review or interview where someone doesn’t like it but for a good reason. I like that!
Yeah, like constructive criticism?
Exactly! Yeah I welcome that.
So what’s it like touring with a – I guess fairly sonically different – but with the same kinda vibe – band?
Oh it feels totally normal for me; ever since I’ve been performing music I’ve been performing with diverse bands and stuff, so for me it’s not weird at all, yeah. And I see so many similarities between the heaviness of beautiful music and the heaviness of heavy music so yeah. I can see a common theme.
Could you elaborate what you mean by the beauty of heavy music?
I think both kinds of music have a certain heaviness to them, whether an emotional weight or the actual sonic sounds so I feel like they both play off each other very well. Sometimes heaviness of pace also, there’s like a similarity there.
Is there anything on the recent release that you’ve been able to explore that you’ve not been able to explore elsewhere with other projects?
Uh on the recent one…yeah I’ve been singing a lot more so that’s definitely new for me, and I used song structure in a way that I haven’t used before where there’s actually a verse and a chorus. I’ve never experimented with that before so the new record has a lot of that, or more pop structures.
Are there any particular influence behind the new album?
Yep! Uh, definitely the influences of reaching outside of the body whether through dream state, hallucination, death, any form of transcendence and also the body itself trying to live – the body going through sickness or the body healing itself. So yeah that was the major inspiration for the record.
Cool! I can’t think of any bands – I mean musically particularly – who are trying to get that kind of image across.
So what kind of bands were a particular influence for that?
Definitely Arvo Pärt. I feel like the way that he experience spirituality through music was very inspirational to me. And Richard Skelton - I think he’s from here too. He dealt with loss and sadness through music in a very inspiring way.
So I guess a broad theme of the lineup tonight is collaboration.
A lot of people have come together from different projects – that’s really cool to see and on the recorded music I’ve heard there’s lot of really successful, really fantastic things that have come quite naturally through collaboration.
Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner
Who would be a dream collaborator for you?
Oh my gosh! a dream collaborator…there’s so many people!
Whenever I get asked this I just freeze.
There’s so many people! The first name that comes to mind would be…I would love to work with Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic) I think that would be amazing. Let’s see…it’s so funny, I’ve always thought about this question but I can’t think about it when it comes to it! I’ve already collaborated with people that I’ve been amazed to collaborate with such as Daniel Menche and stuff. Oh! Phillip Jeck would be amazing. That’s a dream collaboration, yeah.
I’ll definitely have to look up some of these.
Jeck is from here too I think.
Cool! Moving on; now you’ve had this release and you’ve had all this PR and everything and playing to great audiences – I know it’s very fresh that you’ve done the record but is there anything that you’d like to explore later on down the line?
With the record?
With future records.
Oh! I would definitely like to do a more guitar-based record where the focus isn’t so much on keyboards so that would be a good challenge for me. I’m learning slowly…
You’ve touch on other stuff that you’re interested in – what else are you interested in outside of music?
Mostly growing and planting food and herbalism – I make a lot of tinctures – and stuff like that so that’s like my main interest. I have side interests that I’m curious about of quantum physics and also archaeology.
That’s fantastic – do they, the quantum physics and the archaeology, come into the music?
They do yeah! But not in a way where I actually know what I’m talking about or doing, it’s more like a curiosity that inspires music.
That’s cool. No concept albums about quantum physics?
So are you working on anything else alongside this release?
Yeah we’ve written a new Mamiffer record we just haven’t recorded it yet. I have a collaboration with my friend Alex Barnett (Oakeater) and we’ve finished our record but haven’t mixed it yet. It’s our third record together. I have all the songs written for my solo project Mára but haven’t recorded fully yet.
So a full slate then?
Yeah! I also have a collaboration I’ve been working on with Daniel Menche for like five years that’s not finished yet so I have to finish that.
An ongoing project?
Yeah, a very long…yeah.
How do you find time to juggle all your various projects?
It’s very hard to do! (laughs) Yeah I just um…make time and make it happen somehow, yeah.
Following on from earlier, are there any bands you’re really into at the moment? Or bands that are good for the ‘scene’?
I really like Puce Mary a lot and I’ve been listening to a lot of Lungfish and Loop and Polvo, which is older so I don’t know if it’s relevant to the scene now.
I like Sumac of course! (laughs) I think…Also all of my friends that make music. Oh there’s an awesome woman called Monika Khot - she’s just starting to release music and stuff – so yeah, her too.
What would be your ultimate dream team of other musicians you’d love to hear?
That’s a really big question – let’s see, something like members from Oxbow doing something with the members from Black Spirituals. That would be completely amazing. Maybe like – I’m not even sure if this would work but something like Carriage – I think that would be so wonderful, like some kind of mixture of that.
To wrap up – you’ve mentioned plans going forward, do you have more tour plans after the UK shows?
Oh not for now, no – we’re definitely gonna tour next year, hopefully a longer tour in Europe and a longer US tour. We’ll see!
Have you got anything that you wanna say to wrap it up?
Um not really! (laughs). Thanks for the interview! It was nice.