We interviewed electronic artist and producer Elaine Mai, who is releasing her new single “No Forever”, the first from her debut album, due out in late 2021.
Hey, where can we find you right now? How did you start your day?
I’m in lockdown in Dublin right now so I’m spending most of my time at home working on music, cooking and watching TV. I started my day by making some coffee, doing (half) a crossword and working on one of the tracks for my album – a pretty typical Sunday morning.
Can you tell us a little about your experience? Where are you from / how did you get into music?
I grew up in Mayo in the west of Ireland. I lived on a small farm until my parents split up when I was 12, then I moved to a nearby town. I settled in Dublin city about 7 years ago but I often miss the countryside, and I love getting out of the city when I can. I’ve always loved music and I joined a choir at a young age which gave me the confidence to explore music more. I was in various bands but I started taking it more seriously in my late 20s, and I’ve been writing and releasing music as Elaine Mai since then.
Who have been your main inspirations (both musical and in ‘life’)? And how have they affected your sound?
Alanis Morissette was a huge inspiration to me when I was growing up. I loved how unapologetic and authentic she was, and she inspired me to pick up the guitar and start writing music. I saw her live a few years ago and I felt like I was a teenager again, knowing every single word! While Alanis influenced my earlier music, acts like Robyn and Bjork have inspired me in more recent years. Robyn makes these emotional dance tracks that get you moving, while still tugging on your heartstrings. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s something I adore in music and I try to achieve it in my own work.
How would you define your sound?
Emotional dance music – I try to create cathartic music that people can connect with.
How would you define your work? What is the concept and story behind No Forever? What did you want to transmit?
I wanted to make people feel a range of emotions while listening to No Forever. As you start to experience grief, loss and everything else life throws at you, you’re changed and shaped into a different person. There’s duality in life and I try to bring that through in my music. MayKay brought amazing depth and a new story to the track, and the vulnerability and strength in her voice really comes through.
What has led you to emphasize this track in multiple genres? What draws you to these genres?
To be honest, it’s not in any way a conscious decision, I just write what feels good.
What other projects are you working on right now?
I’m working on finishing my debut album. I have some really exciting collaborations in the works as part of this and I can’t wait to get back to playing live!
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
Assume good intention. We can project our interpretations onto situations and people, and I mostly believe people have good intentions at heart.