Having met in college, singer-songwriters Charlie and Emma formed a bond over their shared love of music. Today, they are releasing their debut EP as a duo. Completely self-produced, Mayfly’s “ESSENCE” is a mesmerising debut that will instantly make you fall in love with their sound. We talked to them ahead of the release about the start of Mayfly, their inspirations and singing in French and English.
RC: Hi! Can you describe the music you make in three words?
M: Soothing. Melancholic. Raw.
RC: How did the formation of Mayfly come about?
M: We met in College about 4 years ago. Our duo started as a school project through one of our College classes. At that point, our duo had a different name and we only posted cover songs to YouTube. We then switched to Mayfly and started making music more seriously. With our mentor, we co-produced our first three singles by the end of College. People were really vibing with our music at that point and it certainly encouraged us to continue doing music. When school ended, we moved to the big city of Montreal to kickstart our career as independent artists. We’ve worked really hard in the past two years to learn all about producing and recording music ourselves. Montreal has opened up so many incredible doors for us. We just got signed to a label and we have a whole amazing team by our side for our future projects!
RC: ESSENCE is your first release as a duo: how did you find the sound of the EP and what was the creative process like?
M: ESSENCE is our first “big” release, our debut EP! We wanted the EP to truly represent us as artists and as individuals, to let people into our world in the most authentic way possible. We decided to take it back to the root of our duo, the essence of our music, which is our voices. We didn’t want to get lost in heavy, complex tracks. Instead, we wanted the EP to be mainly acoustic and to feel like the most raw and vulnerable version of ourselves so that people could really relate to us and feel close to us, in a way. The creative process for ESSENCE was quite long because we had just started learning how to produce at home. It took us time to get to the sound we actually wanted. But it was honestly so incredible to feel like we were learning and growing with our music. The EP is us, it’s our emotions and thoughts and all the states of mind we have been in the past year.
RC: You’ve said before Mayfly goes beyond just music and that you want to ‘create a visual universe’: how did you come up with this idea and why is it so important to you?
M: For us, music isn’t just a matter of sounds, it’s also a matter of visuals. All the music that we make is accompanied by or influenced by a certain visual in mind. A song is not simply lyrics and music; it’s a whole storyline and it comes with precise scenes that we imagine, just like in movies. We both have a huge interest for cinema and photography and in a lot—almost all of—our songwriting, we base it off movies or TV series that we watched. Making videos or creating artworks for our songs is a way for us to let people see exactly what we see and feel when writing music. Visuals come naturally and instantly when we create music; they are an extension of our music.
RC: The EP is a beautiful collection of songs that combine both an indie and folk sound: what were your main inspirations (musical or otherwise) for the EP?
M: We were mainly inspired by TV series and movies we watched throughout the past year, like Euphoria and Call Me By Your Name. Both the narratives and the soundtracks from these pieces inspired a lot of songs on our EP. For example, Charlotte Day Wilson’s “Work” in Euphoria or Sufjan Stevens’ “Mystery of Love” in Call Me By Your Name. Both these songs were heavy inspirations for us musically, because they exude this sense of rawness and vulnerability that we wanted for the EP.
RC: Being from Montreal, you write in both French and English: do you have a different approach or feeling when making music in either language and how important was it for you to not just sing in English?
M: There’s definitely a different feel to each language when writing and producing music. So far, it feels like all the music we’ve made in French is way more electro-pop and upbeat, whereas our songs in English are much more emotional and tend to be sad. It’s easier for us to write songs in English that are really personal and heartfelt. That’s why the EP is mainly in English, because we wanted to EP to be focused on emotions. But we truly want to keep writing in French because it’s our main language and we recognise the importance of writing in French in a francophone province. It’s cool to have these two musical universes and we feel lucky to speak both languages. We’re constantly working on making these two universes feel more in tune with one another.
RC: How has the Canadian music scene influenced you and what do you love most about it?
M: Growing up, we mainly consumed and listened to music from Europe and the United States. Having been in Montreal for the past two years, it’s opened up our eyes to the insane music scene around us. We are listening to lots of French music now and some French artists from Montreal/Canada are actually some of our biggest influences at the moment. Being surrounded by so many artists has made us realise that there is a lot of talent and amazing music right around the corner. Montreal, especially, is a hub for music and it’s allowed us to be and feel the most creative we have ever felt.
RC: Apart from the release of your music, what are you most excited about in the coming months?
M: We’re building a show this summer with our new music and we can’t wait to perform it in front of people. We have some shows booked already and hopefully we get to travel outside of Canada to perform!
RC: If there is any venue you could play at, which one would you choose and why?
M: Madison Square Garden. It would honestly be such a huge flex if we ever made it there!
RC: Lastly, if you could perform with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
M: A band called “TORA”. The singer is absolutely mesmerising and their chemistry as a group feels so special. We absolutely love the music they make and if ever we could open one of their shows, our lives would be complete.
Mayfly’s debut EP ESSENCE is out now.
Photos by villedepluie.