Death and the Maiden

Death and the Maiden

By Courtney Sanders

Thursday 18th July, 2013 8:40AM

Named after an Edvard Munch painting (and not after that famous song by a famous Dunedin band that you shouldn't ask them about) Death and the Maiden are a Dunedin-based three piece who write slacker electronica: ethereal pop with a garage shtick. They're heading up to Auckland this weekend and Under The Radar caught up with them to chat about their sound, their future plans and why great bands come from Dunedin because there's nothing else to do except to jam.

Contrary to popular belief, your name comes from a painting and not from The Verlaines' song of the same name. Tell us about how the name 'Death and the Maiden' came about.

To be honest I probably would have discarded the name Death and the Maiden straight away if I had realized it was the name of The Verlaines song. There have been many an artwork, music and writing related to Death and the Maiden, including the Edvard Munch painting that Lucinda grew particularly fond of to the point where she carried a print of it around in her pocket, and the Paul Verlaine poem whom The Verlaines named themselves after. All these works bring on a similar aesthetic that we all like, light and dark, life and death that felt suited to what we were trying to make. Of course, it didn't take long till the relation to The Verlaines song became apparent but we stuck with it. It is at the point where it's kind of annoying so don't be surprised if by the time our albums done we have a different name.

How did you guys form?

I moved to Dunedin at the start of last year into None Gallery, where Lucinda was living, which is an artist in residence/studio/art gallery space here. I commenced to noodle around making tunes and got Lu in to help with writing them and singing. We never really thought about playing them live or anything as I was just more about wanting to work on my production skills, some people must have liked the idea as we started to get asked to play live. We did a couple of shows playing bass and singing to backing tracks but it kinda sucked and felt weird so we got Hope on bored, who plays with Lu in Bad Sav, to liven things up a bit. Eventually we started to write more with Hope and evolved a bit, and still evolving, and hopefully don' look like such dicks when playing live anymore.

When you started out did you have a particular sonic direction you wanted to follow? Who are your major influences?

I've always been a fan of electronica and dance music but find it can sometimes become a bit soulless. I like music that conjures emotions; if it's a melancholic sound it makes you feel that way or if it's uplifting it makes you jump around and be ecstatic. I always want to be making stuff that is an outlet rather then 'check out this fat bassline dude, woooh wah wwoh. That's cool man but I'm not on heaps of drugs at the moment, actually I'm really depressed so I'm gonna go home and make sounds that would make your want to rip you heart out'. Superpitcher changed my view on dance music - he made me realize it's ok to make house music about being sad.

How would you describe your sound?

Slower than norm feely dance post something or rather wave house garage.

You are based in Dunedin which has a pretty famous musical lineage. Do you think it still embodies the principles of the Flying Nun movement?

I'm not 100% sure what flying nuns principles were, if it's about giving underground non-mainstream bands a platform you definitely see that still happening. Not many people leave Dunedin so you do get a glimpse into the past here and there, it's not always glamorous but you do get a sense that something happened and is happening now regardless.

How would you describe Dunedin as a music community today?

As it's a very tiny town everybody gets on and is helpful regardless of what you play which is really cool. If your a musician your a friend, there's no room for music racism.

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now we are chipping away at an album, writing and recording as we go. We have four songs that we are gonna put up on the web very soon and have to hand out as a wee taster for the album to come. Always writing, always recording, always evolving really.

Why do you think Dunedin as a place is responsible for breeding such phenomenal music talent?

There's not much to do in Dunedin. You have to make your own fun, this makes for lots of jams etc. There's also fuck all jobs which makes for more time to jam and make music. Suits me.

What are your future plans with Death and the Maiden?

Finish an album by the end of the year, play some more shows out of town, go fishing, tour the world, get rich, blow it all on drugs, move back to Dunedin, try do a come back tour, probably fail, go fishing instead, die.  In that order.

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Seven Quick Questions... Madison Van StadenLove your lyrics and sounds! ...Seven Quick Questions... Madison Van Staden

Seven Quick Questions... Madison Van StadenLove the stage name, enjoying your sound cloud MvS. ...Seven Quick Questions... Madison Van Staden