Growing up, we both had strong interests in music and it was clear from a young age that we both found a passion in it.
Charlie: I came from a very musical family to start with. Music was (and still is) so present in my day to day life. I started teaching myself how to play the piano at a young age and continued to be self taught from that point on. I always pursued music classes however and whenever I could. I participated in all the talent shows, auditioned for music contests–all that good stuff. It was clear early on that I wanted to do this for a living. When I learned about GarageBand and the possibility to record and produce music, that’s when it cued in that I just wanted to create music…always.
Emma: Funny enough, my family wasn’t musical at all. Somehow, I tapped into my artistic side at a young age though–I took singing lessons and guitar classes really early on. I always had an interest in music, and that interest turned into a passion when we started Mayfly. Everything about this project just felt so right.
How did you two connect and form as a duo?
We studied in the same arts program during college and that’s really what allowed for the birth of Mayfly. Not only was our friendship bond instant, but there was also this creative gravitational pull toward one another from the moment we met. We started our duo as part of a class project–initially, we were only posting covers on YouTube. Not long after, we transitioned into the full Mayfly identity and decided to start producing our own music during college. As soon as we graduated, we moved to Montreal to pursue this career.
Which artists were major influences?
In building our sonic identity for Mayfly, these are the main artists who truly influenced us: FKA Twigs, James Blake, Billie Eilish, Sabrina Claudio, Angèle, Joji, Charlotte Day Wilson, SZA and Tora.
What’s the music scene like in Montreal? What’s unique about it compared to other parts of Canada?
We’re still quite fresh on the music scene–we haven’t played much to be honest, and we haven’t played outside of Montreal either, so it’s hard to say. But one thing that sticks out whenever we see shows out here (or even with the few live experiences we’ve had with Mayfly so far) is how lively and invested the crowd is. The Montreal crowds are so alive and rowdy, in the best way possible. The synergy that’s created between the audience and artist is pretty wild.
How was the name Mayfly chosen? Is there any significant meaning behind it?
A mayfly is a short lived dragonfly that only lives 24 hours. The mayfly is a reminder that life should be lived to the fullest and that we must enjoy every moment because it may be gone sooner than we think. It also urges us to seize opportunities, as they may not last long. It also helps to keep faith in the idea that whenever you’re going through a rough pass, it is only temporary and there will be better days ahead.
When we learned about the spiritual meaning of a mayfly, we felt absolutely compelled by it–it resonated so much with the way we see life. Our music project is what allows us to feel like we are enjoying life to the fullest. This feeling is so important to us and it’s truly become the core of our project.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is constantly evolving throughout the different projects we take on. We feel very free in our creation and we believe there’s no right answer to making music, nor do we have to fit in one specific genre or mold. We often find it difficult to describe our sound. Although we like to experiment, there’s something constant in our sound which is that melancholic, vulnerable and emotional Mayfly essence. We like to call it the “sad girl” sound.
Right now we are adventuring towards a darker electro/indie-pop sound. We’re making music that people can actually dance to and feel mesmerized by, but in a different way than how we’ve done it before.
Our music is our own safe space. It’s what helps us heal and let go of things that we need to make peace with. We want to share this safe space with our listeners, so that hopefully it helps them dive into their emotions and try to make sense of what they’re feeling instead of shying away from it.
What’s your process when it comes to crafting a song?
We’re both in constant creation mode, but we do it separately at first. Em writes a lot of lyrics and creates base chord progressions on the piano or guitar to help with composition; Charlie almost always dives into studio music production and recording (on her DAW) to begin her composition process.
We find it more natural to write alone at first, and then join forces when the direction of the song is clear enough. At that point, we continue writing the lyrics together and find the strongest melodic lines and toplines. We also think through all the harmonies together. The music aspect then happens naturally; we spend a bunch of time just experimenting in the studio until we get the right feel and sound for each piece.
Specifically, since you self-produce, how is the production side of things handled?
We’re lucky enough to have a home studio, which facilitates the whole music production/recording side of things. We can basically make music at any given time. (Charlie is more in charge of this aspect of the project. She is the one driving and handling all the technical side of producing and recording music for Mayfly.)
We collaborated a lot with our close friend Jules Bonneville-Coulombe in the beginning stages of our career. He helped co-produce the first EP ESSENCE and some tracks from HIDEAWAY with us, as well as some other singles. For HIDEAWAY, we did all of the base production at home, and then we brought over the project to Homy Studio in Montreal (led by Gabriel Gagnon and Clément Leduc) to perfect the sound of each track with the help of their insane production skills.
Congrats on the release of your EP! How has the response been so far to the project?
Thank you 😀 So far, the response has been amazing, better than we could have expected. The track we were most hesitant to release (“Take Me Away”), is actually the one that’s doing the best right now in the release. We’ve also had so much support from Spotify and radios, which has increased our exposure so much. People seem to be digging this new sound and we couldn’t be happier.
What do you want listeners to take from the project? Any specific themes?
The main goal with HIDEAWAY was to create a safe space for our listeners, a bubble of fun where all emotions can roam free and where this notion of “letting go” prevails. We’re hoping our songs will allow people to feel something deep and true within themselves and to accept that vulnerability is key and that it should be celebrated.
Do you all have a favorite song off it? If so, why? I think “Passenger Seat” is mine, love the spacey, trance-like feel of it.
Charlie’s favorite track: “ALL DREAMS FADE” – There’s just something about this song that feels haunting, in the best way possible. We managed to create a soundscape that sounds like what our dreams feel like–if that makes any sense. It’s hard to explain, but I think it’s my fav track because of the way it immediately plunges me into a dream state.”
Emma’s favorite track: “Black Water” – This track holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written. Releasing it into the world felt like I was healing a part of myself. The song talks about this distressful state of mind that I was in, and I think we truly succeeded in recreating that sense of distress through the music.”
This EP is only Vol. 1, so how many more volumes can we expect? Can we expect it to be in the same style as this one?
There’s a Vol. 2 coming, perhaps sooner than you expect! The second volume is more colorful, it’s the release of all the emotions that have been pent up inside of us. Though less electro than Vol. 1, Vol. 2 has a few bangers that will definitely have our listeners wanting to scream out the lyrics and dance with us!
We like to say to be a creative and put yourself out there to the public eye that you have to be fearless. Do you agree with that?
Absolutely. It takes a certain level of guts to be that vulnerable in front of the whole world and to accept to just fully let go. Music is our #1 therapy, so in our case, the music we create truly is the portal to our thoughts and feelings. It’s scary, but also quite freeing, to have anyone and everyone connect with us on that level. Being an artist is totally badass.
What can people expect from you in the future? Shows?
Definitely expect more music, we’re currently writing some of our best and strongest material. Expect more awesome visuals, videoclips, insane photoshoots and whatnot. We’re also aiming to do a bunch of live shows this year. We have a few performances lined up in Europe next month (March 2023). And hopefully plenty more to come in Canada and elsewhere in the world! Stay tuned.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.