Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Moving Together”?
Moving Together was the last song that I recorded for the album, when I thought I had finished the record. I had actually sent everything off for the vinyl to be pressed, and then this song popped into my head and I knew that I needed to record it and add it to the album. It is the most ‘pop’ song on the record and is so much fun to play live too.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yes, it is about reconnecting with old friends. I moved back to Glasgow a couple of years ago after many years of living in London. I was feeling really nostalgic and was enjoying reconnecting with old friends – everything felt the same as it did before I had left. It’s the idea of ‘Moving Together’ in time with someone, even if you have taken different paths.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
The music video was shot with my old gymnastics partner Lorna. We had competed for Scotland as gymnasts when we were younger. I contacted Lorna and asked her if she would like to work on a gymnastics routine for the video. I had retired for a VERY long time. Lorna went on to perform in Cirque Du Soleil so was much fitter than I was. We trained for eight weeks together to get ready for the shoot. It was amazing fun to do and I was so surprised at the moves I could still complete after so many years.
The single comes off your new album I’m Not Your Soldier – what’s the story behind the title?
The title reflects much of the mood of the album – not conforming to what society thinks you should be, having resolve to do things your own way and having the strength of mind to overcome the negatives. The idea of not being anyone’s solider, not doing anything for others – but being your own master.
How was the recording and writing process?
I wrote a lot over the course of a few years, and I created beats, weird sounds and samples at home. Once I finally had the outline of the sound and feel of the record I knew that I wanted to work with Paul Savage on the recording. I was lucky to receive funding from Creative Scotland to allow me to record in Chem 19 with him.
What was it like to work with Paul Savage and how did that relationship develop?
It was a great experience working with Paul. He is very calm and makes you feel confident in your choices. I think it can often take time to build a relationship with a new person especially when it comes to trusting someone with your music. But I immediately knew that we were on the same page and I had every confidence in the way it was going to go. When I went into the studio I had lots of weird sounds and badly recorded bits and pieces. I thought he might want to end up re-recording, but Paul loved what I created and wanted to work with that as a bed of sound and build on it.
How much did he get to influence the album?
Paul played drums on all the tracks on the record, and bass on a few songs too. So he had a real input into the sound of the record, not just on the production side but the actual playing too, and although I had a really strong idea of what I wanted to do, I know it would not sound the same if I had not worked with him.
What role does the UK play in your music?
I guess it has a role in a way, I am very politically aware – I have previously written about everything happening in the UK along with the rest of the world. I don’t feel like I make particularly ‘British’ music, as I am influenced by sounds across the globe, but then again, maybe I do.
What aspect of your own personal life did you get to explore on this record?
With previous albums I would often hide behind another character or a political storyline – but this record was much more a reflection of me. I look at the balance of being a mum and making music, my mental health, striving for success, feeling worthless at times – but overcoming that. So a lot of my personal life is out in the open on this album.
Was this record always intend to be a very reflective album or it rather evolve into it?
I think it just evolved into it. As I said earlier – the move back home kind of awoke these feelings in me – nostalgia – but also a sense of what I wanted to achieve, reflecting on what had gone before and where things might go. It was a big step leaving London with my husband and kids and moving home and I suppose it is inevitable that I would feel the need to write about those feelings in some way.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
There are still songs that reflect on over people’s lives a little on the album, in particular there is a song about a friend that had a very tough time.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yep! I am on tour in March – I have a short run of dates starting with Glasgow and ending in London which I can’t wait for. I will also be heading to C/O Pop in Cologne with the band in April.
What else is happening next in MALKA’s world?
Hopefully more gigs, I will be promoting the album and releasing a new music video later in the year. I run the label myself – so it is never quiet – once the album is out in the world the real work begins!