I’d heard Alice Rowan’s name mentioned in very positive tones around the Leeds music scene and after seeing a great video of her performing live under the Mayshe-Mayshe moniker I knew a booking for Youth Anthems needed to happen! Alongside swapping vocal/keyboard duties with Katie Harkin in the Leeds indie super-group Living Body Alice plays etheral, magical electronic pop music on a Bjork/Bon Iver tip (there’s probably much better/more relevant bands to reference but it’s a whole new world of music to me!). My Daughter is a massive fan and after watching several videos online she had a lot of questions for Alice. So once again in the spirit of encouraging inquisitiveness/being slack I let her ask the questions. So without further ado here is my four year old Daughter interviewing Alice Rowan AKA Mayshe-Mayshe:
How did you get good at singing?
I have a very musical family and I grew up singing all the time with my three sisters and brother: we sang before eating dinner, at bed time, at church – I think singing is something everyone can get good at just by doing it a lot. I also don’t think you need a ‘good’ voice to be a great singer; you just need to go for it and mean it.
What are your favourite foods?
Avocados, green tea, kale and very dark chocolate.
What are your songs about?
Lots of different things. I write about mental health and spirituality, about conflict and resolution – often a mix of all those things. In the past few years I’ve written a lot of songs about the Moomin characters by Tove Jansson, because they deal with these kinds of issues in quirky stories about adventure, acceptance and home. They seem simultaneously playfully naive and poignantly realistic, with a touch of darkness. That’s what I aim for with my music too, to capture moments like that.
Do you have a different hairdryer for music and for drying your hair?
Good question. I actually didn’t own a hairdryer before writing songs that included it as an instrument. Once I had a hairdryer around for music, I realised it was quite useful for drying my hair as well. I don’t have separate dryers for my hair and music, but I do have two different ones for different songs – they make slightly different sounds.
Where did you get your ring from?
I like it that you noticed my ring, because it’s one of my favourite possessions. It belonged to my mother, she was given it when she was 17, and I think I found it in her jewelry box when I was 17 and have worn it ever since. It’s a special ring, because whenever I lose it, it always seems to find its way back to me.
Why do you play all the instruments yourself and not get other people to help?
I used to be in a band with my sister Miriam, but she moved to London for a few years, so I had to work out how to play the songs without her. Once I’d started playing my songs like this, my music style changed and became much more meditative, immersive and introspective – when I practice and perform my songs it feels like I’m wrapped up in a sonic blanket – so it makes more sense doing it on my own. I may get some people to help in future though.
What do you like?
Woodlice, Dave, reading and tea.
What do you not like?
Worrying, celery and boredom.