In the latest edition of our interview series, we speak to US-based experimental artist DON MARAE about lockdown, aspirations and new music.
PW – Welcome to Pastel Wasteland! So, first question- as a brand new artist, ‘Crema’ will be the first track many people hear from you. How would you describe your style/ musical vibe?
Thank you! Happy to be here! I would describe my style as edgy, dark, and unpredictable. Our music especially in our first couple songs ranges anywhere from trap to pop and techno. The element that ties these genres together are the industrial and experimental details that give us a bit of consistency.
PW – Talking of ‘Crema’, I thought it was absolutely brilliant, especially in its experimentation with the music and vocals. What inspired you to make this track in particular, and release it as a debut single?
Thank you so much! It’s a funny story actually we started the song based on my producer Tony Cleptòn liking the way I ordered my a coffee at a cafe in the town we work in, Cava de’ Tirreni. We then began to explore the idea of sensuality in the use of unconventional ways such as texture and subtle movement, and tied that into the allure of danger and femininity. We chose this to be our debut single because it encapsulated the overarching themes in our character development, and signature sounds.
PW – The use of both English and Italian is a great match on this track- do you envision the use of both languages as you move forward with new releases?
Yes I definitely plan on incorporating more Italian in the future. I think it’s a really interesting combination both audibly and as a part of our artistic identity. Intertwining the two worlds into this character that is sort of American Bond girl meets Italian mafia is the main aesthetic that we strive for so using certain dialects really gives us substantial material to play with. In the extended future we hope to incorporate some French as well as that is my second language.
PW – What would you say are your top three goals as an artist, in terms of your long-term career?
My main goal is to acquire the means to create our art in such a way that we can truly create a realm in which our supporters can experience even more in depth with our videos and live performances without limitation. I would also love to be known for iconic live performances, and go on a world tour!
PW – Lockdown has obviously been very difficult for everyone, and artists in particular have struggled through loss of live event income, sponsorships etc. How have you dealt with the new limitations, and how has it affected your near future plans?
The lockdown has been particularly limiting for our project mainly because my team is in Italy, and I have been confined to Southern California. Therefore, the editing of the Crema video was quite challenging and extensive but thankfully, we have planned ahead to make up for lost time in the music creation so that when I return we are both organized and thoroughly productive.
PW – Which artists, from any time period, would you say are your main inspirations, and why?
Interestingly enough, I didn’t really start off with such an emphasis on music necessarily, but more visual arts through my life and in my studies. Although I did always have a secret hobby of singing, Tony helped me to translate that creativity into audio. So in terms of inspiration, I would say Quentin Tarantino’s work has been influential in our process. It’s difficult to name a musical artist, as each song we make is relative to someone different.
PW – In this kind of industry, it can be tough to feel like you’re moving forwards sometimes. How do you battle these feelings when they come up, and do you have any advice to other people who might be struggling in a similar way?
This project has taught me incredible value in patience. It’s a delicate balance between having the fire and passion whilst also learning to accept the obstacles that inevitably emerge. My advice would be to focus not on what isn’t happening, but instead observe what is, and what could be done better here and now In order to progress.
PW – Now for a fun one- if you could do a dream live show/ gig in the future, post-lockdown, what would it be any why?
That’s a great question. I would love to play at Coachella for a number of reasons. To bring my Italian team to my home state and have that experience together would be incredible. Also, the stage is huge and for what we have been idealizing for our set in terms of visual elements, I think some of our upcoming songs especially would absolutely shake the festival up.
PW – And final question! It’s more of an invitation actually. Use the next few sentences to tell us what you’re up to next, and where we can follow you online 🙂
We have a rather ethereal single coming out quite soon, exploring the idea of an antagonist’s perspective on love. After that we have a total powerhouse of a club song with a video that will rock your world! To keep up with the project you can subscribe to our Youtube channel: https://bit.ly/2CaAIvY + Spotify https://spoti.fi/3fuE8Yy and follow us on our Social Medias! @donmarae and @tonyclept_n