Maylin and the Mad Machine
WildSpiritz met up with Maylin
Maylin and the Mad Machine are quite an eclectic band who are building themselves a great reputation. New album ‘Naked Truth’ is out now and we managed to get some time with Maylin to discuss the band, their various musical influences and where the name came from.
We get the first part of the band name but where did Mad Machine come from?
“In 2015, I was looking for more intensity in the music I was making. I decided to add an electric guitarist in the band and go for a more rock sound. I started working with a new group of people: Alex Sacleux, electric guitar and Ricardo Garatea, percussion came first and then Sebastien Tytgat on drums and Georges Dessaux on bass joined us. In order to make a point about this new phase in my music, I thought it would be nice to give a specific name to the new band. Going from an acoustic sound to a sound involving more technology made the word "machine" appropriate to me. Then I thought about calling it the “blues" machine or the “bad" machine. “Blues" was too specific and restrictive as far as genre and “bad”, meaning “cool”, might have been misinterpreted by non-native-English-speakers.”
“Mad" is a good adjective to describe my journey. I was an extremely shy child. In all honesty, I sang like a “pan” as the French say, which means really bad.”
“I decided to venture into a career in modelling first, then acting and finally singing in order to go beyond my inability to express myself.”
“What a mad challenge it was, attempting to turn my weakness into a commodity!”
You released Naked Truth in 2017. What is your preferred language to sing in and why?
“To me, languages express a specific relationship to the world they are linked with and so they reflect aspects of the culture.”
“I speak a few languages. I am fluent in French and English and fairly well versed in German and Italian as well. I feel that my relationship to each language, and consequently to the world it carries within it, is different for each one.”
“What I mean by that is that each language helps me express a facet of my personality.
For instance, English is the language I started expressing myself in as a creative artist as I came into my own.”
“So, I feel empowered when I speak English. It is a language that comes to me naturally when I need to express my feelings: being straightforward, direct, confrontational, decisive, to be in my power.”
“As a result, in song writing and singing, I feel I can be more more in tune with my inner feelings, sharper and more accurate with the images and the words I use. Even though my mother tongue is French. French is the language connected to my childhood. As I explained earlier, French used to carry many of my inhibitions. I was able to use it from a new standpoint only after having created a song in English. I use it with a certain humour, wittiness and playfulness now, because yes, the French do have humour after all.”
“German is the language of my grandfather for whom I have a lot of affection. He was a man of a few words; a man holding in an unsolvable mystery. To me it is the language of the water and the deep forest.”
“So, to answer your question, I don’t like to sing in one language more than another. Each one has a purpose and carries its own music. A language is music and music is a language. Underneath it all lies an intention: the intention to communicate and heal.”
Are you currently writing for a follow up and do you have a release date in mind?
“Yes! I am working on a new live project and album, it’s called “Buffalo Girl”.”
“It’s a "concert /performance" project with a conceptual aspect to it. For the past year, I’ve been developing a character in my stage performances, which is a mix between woman, crow and tree.”
“I call her "Buffalo girl". This almost shamanic character goes back and forth between an urban daily life; experiencing the trials and tribulations of a modern woman and aspirations to live an existence close to nature and animals. She is my alter ego, a sort of enhanced version of me. In short, with this project, I am diving deeper inside her world. I am using written songs that have never been recorded, and new songs that I’ve been writing specifically for her in the past months. All these songs will be linked in order to tell a story. I am working with my friend music producer Ladell Mclin who produced my last album. He is an outstanding bluesman from Chicago. We work well together because we have this common inner fire to push our limits. At the moment we’re still in the process of finding the bold partners, sponsors etc. to help produce it. The goal is to release album and the show in August 2019.”
You have recently been playing with The Laura Cox Band. How did that go?
“We had the good fortune to be the supporting act for Lizz Wright and the Laura Cox band this year. Both are powerful women with their own style and identity. They also have in common a certain ingenuity and sweetness as well. It’s inspiring to be around powerful, talented feminine ladies who hone their craft and own the stage. They both play with fabulous musicians, so it was a pleasure attending their show after ours.”
“Also, I enjoy playing for crowds who are discovering us: they are usually surprised by our unique sound and the feed-back is fresh and spontaneous. There are a few female band leaders that I look up to immensely, like Beth Hart. I remember playing in the same clubs as her in L.A in the late 1990’s (I think it was). Now she is all over the map! It’s encouraging to see how she has grown into an internationally acclaimed artist. Man! She deserves it, she is intergalactic!”
What is 2019 looking like for the band and do you think you might make it over to the UK at any point?
“In 2019: I have dates playing solo: just myself and my guitars. It will be very simple and very straightforward as I work on the "Buffalo Girl" live show and album project. I am planning on the full band joining me for some dates when we tour festivals. “Buffalo girl" on the road would be amazing! I have a little tribe of people waiting for it. We have festivals that want to book it and supporters in the press.”
“Playing in the UK is not yet planned, but it would be fantastic! The UK has an impressive music history. I am looking forward to meeting that audience. It would be an honour to introduce my music there. The bottom line is that it is essential to create bridges and links between people, and in my case I do it through music. Even though a lot of connections are made virtually these days, there is nothing more powerful than human contact and feeling the vibration of live music!”
Living in such a beautiful country with great food, wine and a rich history, what do you do to relax when not making music?
“I do appreciate the art of living in France. I strive to maintain it and not get caught up in the overpowering illusions of our greedy societal tendencies.”
“My M.O is to "live an artful life while making art in the process".”
“Which means that first things come first: training in being a mindful human being so I can create music that lift the spirit. Not an easy task, but it is a journey that keeps me alive and kicking!”
“I have a son and so raising him with his dad takes a good amount of time: homework, taking him to his extracurricular activities etc. Although, that is not the relaxing part. To me relaxing is: cooking, baking. I always stay creative when I cook, I can never follow a recipe straight through: I change the ingredients to make the food healthier, spicier, and more flavourful. My middle name is ginger, curcuma. Cooking is very relaxing, and it is another way of giving love to your body, your family and friends.”
“Otherwise, I love making things with my own hands. For example, I had always dreamt of having a huge tipi in the garden in the countryside and last summer I finally decided to build one on my own. A cousin of mine helped me cut the 17 feet tall bamboos and then my 7- year- old son and his 9- year-old cousin helped me to do the rest. It took a little bit of time because it required some research as I wanted to build it the traditional Native-American way. It was a wonderful process: involving the kids, having them think with me and telling them about Native-American beliefs and culture. I find that whatever I do, it is more exciting when I throw in some storytelling.”
“The kids and I were very proud to be able to mount the bamboos all alone. Moments that I share with my child, where I can pass on what I believe in are invaluable. I sewed the tarp myself by hand outside, in the yard late into the night under the moonlight: no machine was involved, everybody had gone to sleep. In the morning the tarp was ready. When the kids woke up, we put it on the bamboo structure very quickly, and that moment of achievement was magical. The kids and I went inside the tipi: we remained speechless, there was no word for how connected and content we felt. I realized then why I always wanted to have a tipi. I am also well aware now that the tipi I built is the home of my alter ego "Buffalo Girl”. This is the place where I can go to connect with her.”
“I grew up in the countryside, I come from a small village, where I go back on a regular basis. When I’m there, I like being outdoors. It calms me down watching a horizon that is not blocked by buildings: walking in nature and feeling the energy, the sound of animals and natural elements is necessary to my mental and physical equilibrium.”
“When I find myself in nature, I look for material for my stage costumes. I make my stage headdresses myself. I pick up tree branches, bark, leaves, feathers etc…I love walking in any city as well. I love watching the flow of people and admiring its architecture. Living in a culturally dynamic city like Paris is a real asset, and I try to take advantage of that often. I go to see movies and art exhibitions as much as I can. They are food for the soul and a source of inspiration.”
“I also have a profound spiritual practice that fills and inspires my soul as well. Another fun activity I have: making short videos; I’ve been shooting a series of videos called "Maylin’s lab”, which I release on my YouTube channel and social networks. They chronicle my life as a singer-songwriter and mom. It is a way of staying creative as I’m taking a break from music. It is like a visual diary of my life: spontaneous, spare of the moment, no preparation, no make-up. It is a window into my world. I also practice Yoga.”
You have been an actress, a model and now a musician. Which do you prefer?
“Being a model, then an actress, then a musician represents my journey through life up to now. These different stages have been a process for me to peel off the layers in order to access my true identity and cultivate my authentic creative inner-life. Each step has been important in my development and I still use these different ways of expressions in my life and art today. Modelling is the aesthetic and visual aspect of how I present myself and my “character”.”
“I use acting in my music performance. In song writing, I tell my story, my life, and my point of view but the way I present it is auto-fictional. I actually use "Buffalo girl" as an alter ego. She is a fantasized and poetical version of me to speak in my name. Music is a very instantaneous and powerful tool to change the vibration of any atmosphere, or your own state of mind. I find it very direct and it is healing. I wouldn’t feel whole if I didn’t sing and play music on a daily basis. It is a profound medium for me to connect to my core. It helps me go through the thick and thin of life’s challenges and joy. Currently I feel I need to sing more than any other art form.”
Naked Truth is your fourth album. Are you where you want to be now or are you still developing?
“I am very proud of "Naked Truth”. Naked Truth “opened another door into my world. I went exactly where I wanted to go. Today, I have reached a point where I can say: “Here I am. This is my voice. I have skills. I have experience. Let’s get to work! “I feel I’m beginning anew again. I have acquired more freedom through self-knowledge and acceptance, exploration, experience and honing my craft as a singer and a songwriter.”
“I want to go further, but it doesn’t mean that I want to change style or do something else. I just want to go deeper. Right now, this character “Buffalo Girl” that I have created thanks to "Naked Truth", is telling me to find out more about her, which is really about me. And also, as change is an essential part of nature, developing and adapting to this change is natural. I imagine that will always be developing within my own style or emphasizing an aspect of my style.”
“I am looking to explore more of the world and of who I am, I don’t think that will ever stop. We human beings have vast potential, why not find out about it?”
You are listed as Rock. Would you say that is accurate? Where would you put yourself?
“I call the style of music we play “Tribal Blues Rock", I had to find a designation that describes best our sound and I find this one pretty accurate. Blues and Rock are self-explanatory, but Blues is also understood as a state of mind, a way of being and not just a musical format. Tribal refers to indigenous music and influences. It brings the earthy, rootsy colour and spirit in the music we play: like the ginger and curcuma in my cooking.”
You have a fabulous heritage. Have you ever played in Madagascar?
“I have worked there as an actress, model, filmmaker but not as a musician. Funny enough, I was the face of the national airlines (Air Madagascar) at some point. Connecting to my roots is necessary for me to grow new branches into the future. I have my ways of staying in touch but going back there in person on the wings of my music would actually be powerful. Wait and see.”
Having been all over the world will you remain in France as an artist or would you like to relocate?
“I want to explore much more of the world, and it is true that if you really want to find out about other cultures, the best is to experience them for extended periods of time. Connecting with people from around the world, expanding your world while discovering theirs is a true treasure. I want to build bridges through friendships. I can’t relocate at the moment, for many reasons, and this idea can be very frustrating at times. However, France is a good base to travel from and come back to right now. I don’t give up on the idea of relocating though.”
“I’m drawn to different cities of Europe or wilder environments in North or South America. When the time comes, I think it will be obvious to me. Then I will have to convince my little tribe at home. In the meantime, through my music "I’m going to keep on travelling until I find me a place to go!" as Lightning Hopkins says.”
Is there any message you would like to give to your growing number of fans?
“Show up at our gig with a line painted across your face and imagine that you are in my tipi.”
What do you see as the future for Maylin and the Mad Machine?
Adopting 3 wild crows and having them sing on stage with us, we need backup singers!
Having this opportunity to speak to Maylin has been an amazing experience. Should they ever get to the UK then we will be there front and centre. Failing that we will go to a gig on the continent and bring you that review. Maylin and the Mad Machine are an exciting band and we very much look forward to the next chapter in their career.