Today sees the release of the hotly anticipated second single by the Manchester-based genre merging group Maruja. The buzz created by their first single ‘Tao’ and their energetic live performances (prior to lockdown of course) means Maruja have gained notable attention in the past months. With over 190,000 Spotify streams already under their belt, we caught up with them this week to hear about the inspiration behind this latest track.
RC: Hi Maruja! Can you describe the music that you make in three words?
M: Bold, distinct, vibrant.
RC: Despite only having one single officially released to date, you’ve accumulated over 190,000 streams on Spotify alone! How does it feel to have achieved such success so early in your career?
M: It’s great to have received support throughout such a tumultuous period. We were all confident Tao would do well, as it always goes down well at gigs. That being said, it’s done better than we thought and proves we can be successful releasing and promoting ourselves without any management or label backing.
RC: Your newest single ‘Rage’ comes out this week; it’s been a turbulent few months since the release of your first single. What is the story behind ‘Rage’ and how do you think your sound has developed since ‘Tao’?
M: We wrote this song before all the Covid malarkey went down, so for a pandemic to hit pretty much right after we had fully written a song called ‘Rage’, it has only added fire to the song’s meaning. Our sound since ‘Tao’ has, coincidentally, gone down a darker route; taking inspiration sonically from the current post-punk scene.
RC: Do you think that the rich musical history of Manchester has shaped your approach to making music, and do you feel a pressure to live up to the city’s legacy?
M: Not at all, actually. While we appreciate the distinct Indie-style of Manchester’s music history, it’s not something that has directly influenced our creative process, nor do we feel pressure living up to it. In fact it has inspired us to push more in the opposite direction. We want to bring something new to Manchester, without being boxed in by traditional music scenes.
RC: What bands have been dominating Maruja’s speakers over lockdown?
M: Black Midi, Squid, Swans, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Gibbs. On our Instagram we have a series called ‘Track of the Week’ where we promote artists we think are worth listening to and on Spotify, ‘Isolation Station’ which showcases all our personal choices for spicing things up during Lockdown.
RC: ‘Tao’ appeared earlier this year on the compilation ‘The Big Plan’ alongside tracks by The Orielles, The Lounge Society and Courting. This compilation raised funds for both the Music Venue Trust and Help Musicians UK. Why did you feel it was important to get involved in supporting these organisations?
M: We felt it was important because we were gutted after finding out that Deaf Institute and Gorilla were closing down (at the time). We attended some great shows at both venues, and highly respected them. We also deeply sympathised with all the artists not just in Manchester but the entire country who had to cancel their entire years’ worth of work. It’s been tough on everyone, so being part of a project that supported them meant a lot to us.
RC: Finally, if you could collaborate with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
M: Easy choice: Captain Beefheart. Why not, let’s go down the rabbit hole and make something truly bizarre.
Listen to Maruja’s latest track ‘Rage’ here.
All images sourced via.