Maranta: 'We come alive at night'
Edinburgh electronic duo discuss their debut EP and future plans
Earlier this year, Edinburgh electronic duo Maranta released their debut EP Care ii Cure, which included their buzzed-about lead single 'Radiate'. The band then set about wowing audiences with live sets at festivals such as Doune the Rabbit Hole and Kelburn Garden Party. We talk to Callum Govan and Gloria Black about their past, their future and being named after a tropical plant.
When did you first meet and start making music together?
Gloria: We met on the moon, or so it felt. Callum got a gig at Sneaky Pete's in March last year but didn't have a set together yet.
Callum: Yeah, me and Gloria had always talked about making music together, and three weeks before the gig we decided that this was our opportunity, so started writing.
Gloria: We actually went to the same primary school, but didn't properly become friends until after we met at a friends 18th.
Callum: Glo's always been in bands so it seemed inevitable that we would eventually start our own project. And we have similar tastes in many respects, but I think it's our differing interests that bring something extra to our sound.
Maranta is a type of houseplant – right? Why did you choose to name your band after this?
Gloria: Hmmm … I guess you could say that, but really it's just Callum's favourite tropical plant.
Callum: Yeah, it's really beautiful. Maranta's are known as prayer plants because in the evening they lift up their leaves, as if in salutation to the night.
Gloria: We come alive at night.
Callum: Yeah, I'm not a morning person.
You have just played a bunch of live shows over the summer, and are supporting Free Love next week, can you tell people what to expect from your live show?
Gloria: Enjoying ourselves is paramount to a good live show, so you can expect to see us bouncing about and smiling a lot.
Callum: Yeah, the energy between us is one of the most important things when we are on stage. That translates to the crowd pretty quickly I feel.
I can hear a bit of an 80s pop and electronica sound to your music, would you agree with this? If so, who are some bands from that era that have influenced you?
Callum: I don't think you need to look that far back for influences and nor do I think we particularly take our influences from that era. Generally I don't like these types of questions about influences and inspiration, because ultimately anything and everything can inspire you, and even then, that may not necessarily translate into something tangible in the music. I'd prefer if people listened to it without any preconceptions. If I had to give some recommendations from that era though I'd say Yasuaki Shimizu and Suzanne Ciani.
Gloria: I find it hard answering this sort of question for similar reasons, because my influences are always changing and shaping my creativity in different ways. I'm lucky to have so many musical friends around me and there's an incredible community of musicians in Edinburgh that I would consider to be a family to me. I wouldn't be in the position I am in today if I hadn't been welcomed into this supportive network, so I would say that these people are my biggest inspirations.
What is the process of making music like between the two of you?
Callum: I'd say that the process is constantly evolving. We are both always trying to learn and so the approach can be new and different each time, it's always collaborative though.
Gloria: Sometimes we will write songs from scratch together and other times one of us will come to the other with an idea that we will then develop together. For example, our track 'Some Are Waiting' was a song that I wrote originally on guitar then Callum and I transformed it into what you hear today. Then we have tracks like 'Miss Dupé' that we wrote over a day together.
Callum: Yeah, we just allow things to come in the most organic way possible.
You have had some pretty big support slots in the last few months, are there any bands that it would be your dream to play before?
Gloria: I've never really thought about that before. My ideal sort of gig would be an immersive experience of light design, art projections and a stage covered in flowers. Bjork would probably be into that sort of thing. Yeh, I'd love to do a show with her.
Callum: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith would be pretty nuts. I'm a massive fan of hers.
What is coming up in the future for Maranta?
Gloria: We have some really fun gigs lined up for August that you can find on our Facebook page. We are writing a lot right now and plan to record some new tracks in the not-too-distant future. It's been an incredible feeling having our work online for the world to listen to, so we definitely want to do more of that.
Care ii Cure is out now on Paradise Palms Records.