When Malena Zavala sings it sounds like a hazy summer evening glow, all murky and delicate. Her songs are alluring in their intimacy, showcasing a wide range of artistic capability and promise. I spoke with her (unfortunately not present up a mountain) before she embarks on her EU tour.
Featured in LDN Magazine
Image by Victoria Cranstoun
Hey Malena where in the world are you right now?
Right now, I am up in the Andalucian mountains just outside of Tarifa, Spain.
I adored ‘Aliso’. What was your mindset whilst writing the record?
Aliso was a whirlwind for me, I actually can’t remember making it. It was a catharsis of events that had built up before the summer of 2016 and ending up in me manically learning how to write and record music within a few months. A combination of obsession with writing and producing and a desire to prove my self worth.
Do you keep any sentiments with you whilst writing/ recording to help inspire?
The main thing writing this record was that all the songs are paired with a memory or visual idea I had. It’s hard for me to write music without visual reference. I make experimental short films and do all my music videos.
Is there a distinct influence behind your approach to writing or do you draw inspiration from everywhere?
Definitely a load of different influences. Every decision made are influenced by artists I love. For example, if I’m stuck on a transition between a verse and a chorus I think “what would Devendra Banhart do?” or “what would Beach House do?”. I slowly learn by what others have done and incorporate it into my own style.
Image by Charlotte Patmore
You’re signed to Yucatan who are pretty rad. Was there ever a moment when you realised fuck I think this is all going somewhere?
I don’t think I’ve had that feeling yet, I keep my expectations low as a sort of defence mechanism. It’s super early days for me but the moment I was able to do music full time was big. It was a goal I had in life and once I’d reached that my focus switched to working as hard as possible.
If you weren’t making music what do you think you’d be doing right now?
Something creative, probably [working as] a film director/editor, visual artist, maybe even a choreographer. All the things I love doing as hobbies.
You’re about to go on tour and some of those dates are Festivals. Do you have a preference between playing venues or festivals?
Definitely venues. Festivals are super fun but it’s a lot of stress and logistics. When you have a gig in a venue it’s all organised and you know what you’re doing. I love that you get to see other bands at festivals though. I often get to play festivals that my friends are playing at so that’s cool.
If there was anywhere in the world you could perform where would you pick?
Oh, I don’t know. Somewhere really hot, South America definitely.