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With a sound in constant flux, Brooklyn based artist Mal The Oddity began his artistic career writing stories and poetry in high school. Burrowing away in novels, these imaginative worlds have shaped and inspired his own works – providing a space for “people to daydream, reflect, and resonate.”

His latest release “Alone With You” plays into this fantasy, carving and sculpting a world for his listener to lose themselves in, if only for a fleeting moment. Written during the first few months of lockdown, its rumbling soundscapes and dark synths feel introspective and intimately close,  articulating the shared experience of isolation. 

“I believe that relationships are like mirrors. As much as ‘Alone With You’ is written about someone close to me, it’s also a self-portrait”, he offers. “I had a lot of questions while writing this song: how can two people feel lonely when they’re together? How do we bridge the distance between ourselves and loved ones, when things have gone bad in the past? Are these questions for my loved one, or questions for myself? The search for some answers resulted in this song.”

Tapping into the energy at the heart of his city, “Alone With You” is a cinematic view of lonely moments – yet still finding a way to create and connect. Check out our chat with Mal the Oddity below where he talks about the track, his songwriting abilities and inspiration, and much more.

You’ve just released your new single “Alone With You” – could you tell us a little more about the track’s influences?

Of course. So “Alone With You” came together during the months I spent trapped in Spain due to Covid lockdowns. It’s a long story, but being trapped in the house I found myself in a super experimental mood. I felt like stepping outside my comfort zone. At the time, I was dealing with a long-distance relationship and all of the baggage that comes with that. I was asking very real questions like, “How can two people feel alone while they’re together? What does it actually take to mend relationships?”

I like to ask questions with my music, and then imagine the instrumental as a sort of space for those questions to live. These questions are open-ended and deep, and I wanted the production to be dreamy, floaty, and ethereal. That’s how I came upon “Alone With You.” It was a long songwriting process, but it’s now one of my favorite tracks.  

What’s the Brooklyn music scene like? Are there any local venues that you’re missing over lockdown?

It’s just really fun. Before lockdown, there would just be so much live music happening all the time. Something I love about the Brooklyn scene is the DIY ethos a lot of the artists have. Most of my favorite memories are of intimate setups thrown by the artists in somebody’s home, or of moshing in some random warehouse in Bushwick rented for the night. The energy is just always bubbling. There’s usually something truly dope going on if you know where to look. I’d take that scene over the normal clubs/bars any night. 

As far as local venues, I’m definitely missing The Well. It was this venue in Bushwick that unfortunately closed down due to Covid. I performed there a couple of times. They had a great beer selection and outdoor space, and it really sucks to see them go.

You mention that you wrote stories and poetry at high school. How has this creative process influenced your songwriting now?

It’s heavily influenced my songwriting, actually. I feel like I write songs for the same reason that I wrote stories: to build worlds and distinct spaces. I think I have a bit of a curator instinct in that way – I just want to create a space for you to chill in, where you can be in peace. Back then, I used to live in fantasy books and that inspired a lot of my writing. I wanted to curate fantasy worlds. Nowadays, I live in music, in daydreams, and in a constant state of reflection. This translates to my songwriting process. I want to provide a space for people to daydream, reflect, and resonate. 

I mainly make music, but I learned my creative instincts from the enthralling worlds of Coraline and A Song of Ice and Fire. Movies and books were my first loves. There’s nothing like the feeling of starting a new movie and wondering “what does this world look like?” I want to tap into that feeling on a more personal level with my songs. Let me help curate your soundtrack!

Your single “Freaks and Wild Things” was an ode to your hometown – why is the city so important to you?

So, “Freaks and Wild Things” was the product of a really specific moment. I mentioned earlier that I got trapped abroad during the lockdown. I went to Spain in February and ended up having to stay there until early July. So I was really missing NYC and the people and community I have there. There’s something special about a community that is so young, self-sufficient, and creative. You’ve got to come through to see what I’m talking about, but honestly, I’m sure these communities exist everywhere. 

Anyway, New York City was going through the worst of the Covid crisis while I was away. There was also the movement in June where I saw so many fellow young folks standing in solidarity with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I wanted to be with my city during that time. I couldn’t be there, but I had “Freaks and Wild Things” which I dropped in June. The title refers to my NYC community, and to everybody who used their voice in that moment. It refers to me, to my fans, and to anybody else who has felt like a freak because of the context they exist in. Kind of reclaiming that outcast feeling. I think New York City is a place where freaks can come together to find family and build community.  

Which 3 artists do you think deserve more recognition at the moment? 

Wow, only three? Okay. First, Cleo Reed. She makes such dope, raw music. She’s an incredibly talented singer and producer. I’ve known her since high school and she’s definitely somebody inspiring me to pursue this craft to the highest of my ability.

Second, Richard Orofino. He’s a really awesome songwriter that I had the pleasure of meeting through social media. His lyrics are super vivid and his music is very catchy. 

Third, Zay Lewis. He has a very unique perspective as a producer/lyricist. He’s also a really close friend. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot from him next year. 

Your music sits in a dreamy bedroom pop/R&B realm. Why are you inspired to create music in this genre?

That’s a good question. I guess you could say that the genre found me? I’m a producer first and foremost and this year, I found myself making these more bedroom pop/R&B instrumentals. It works for me and my songwriting style, which tends to be pretty stream of consciousness and melody-driven. If a genre is like a songwriting language, then this language felt intuitive to me in a way that other languages didn’t. 

Now that I’m thinking about it, another thing about the sonic realm is how well it goes with the content I like to sing about: love, loneliness, material things, spirituality. These topics, my perspectives on them, and my audience fit pretty well into the lo-fi/bedroom/internet aesthetic. 

Honestly, I don’t really think too much about genres and I don’t feel married to any one genre. However, the stuff I’m making seems to be fitting pretty nicely into that bedroom pop/R&B realm and I’m not mad about it!

Do you have any further plans for 2020? What can we expect?

One thing you can always expect from me is more visuals. I’m always on Adobe Premiere/After Effects cooking up content for my current and upcoming music. 

I also have a bunch of music in the vault. I’m working on an EP that I’d like to drop in 2021. More details soon, but that’s definitely on the horizon. For anybody reading, just tap in with me on Instagram/Twitter to stay updated on that. Through the winter, I plan to continue a steady stream of singles leading up to the EP. So always more music and visuals!   



story /  LADYGUNN Staff

photo / Courtesy of Artist

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