Interview with Amaya Lopez-Carromero

Amaya Lopez-Carromero is a musician currently residing in Edinburgh. Her project Maud the Moth began as a solo project in 2010 and through the years has grown and shifted in many ways throughout that time. She has released two full length albums with Maud the Moth as well as a recent EP Live at Reid Hall. She shares with us some insight into her creative journey and process.

Can you tell us about your process/work? 

I feel that to create something meaningful I have to allow myself to get obsessed with it to the point where I will even dream with details of the song and its environment. This isn’t normally too compatible that with real life, so these things tend to come in “bursts”. It’s very rarely a straightforward process where I sit down and write something from start to finish, and even after the songs are recorded they can continue to evolve as they get performed live. I like thinking of them as living entities in a way, as I see this temporality and evolution as part of the “magical” aspect of music.

How do you feel creativity plays a role in the work that you do?  Where do you feel your creativity derives from? 

I think it rules absolutely everything I do. Although I do have musical and artistic references, Maud the moth has always been a pretty lone creature. There´s no well trodden genre paths for it to slide down, as the whole thing originated as a forceful funneling of unlikely musical tastes (including metal and lots of trashy stuff) down a classical, voice and piano based, pipeline, so horizontal and trans-disciplinary influences are definitely a thing for me. Having the need to convey “ugly” feelings through classical tools, which are socially regarded as more polite, and often having had the limitation of a minimalist band structure has definitely been an important aspect in stimulating the creative process. There’s this quote attributed to Orson Welles; “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations”. I couldn’t agree more.

Describe music and its meaning for you.

From a very young age I was that kid that loved doing all the arty stuff. Drama, painting, dancing, writing, choir, playing, recording sounds on the home 2 tape track hifi… you name it. I would spend all my time off school crafting stuff, including songs, and despite music never being the discipline I was the most encouraged to pursue, it was definitely what made me feel the most alive and what I had the greatest drive for, specially writing songs. I would even do a crappy job at my piano exams because I would just spend the time writing songs rather than practicing the syllabus. Syllabus’, the mind killer, blergh.
Music has been there always. To write, record, and listen to something that didn’t exist before is the best feeling I can think of. It provides the ultimate solace when everything else fails.

How do you engage and attribute the strength of femininity in your life?

I have been analyzing this quite a lot lately, as moving countries has allowed me to contemplate lots of cultural aspects I took for granted under different lights. Growing up as a woman in quite a sexist society as the Spanish one (despite having had a relatively empowering environment compared to some of my friends) is something that brands you for life. The #metoo campaign, for example, shook me quite a lot off my axis for all the wrong reasons. Literally all of my close friends in Spain have been harassed to different extents during their lives, it’s something that you grow up with from the first time you get catcalled while you’re still in school uniform. You learn to harden, to distrust, to protect yourself, and after a while you even normalize it. What shocked me wasn’t the amount of tags I saw, but rather the fact that someone found this surprising. It made me think about what this normalization had done to me, the feeling of powerlessness, and superficiality of something as important as one’s body. All of these experiences are a pretty strong gravitational point in my creative life, especially since Maud the moth dwells in deeply emotional waters, and more and more I have started to view the feminine experience in our society as one that requires strengthening of the character. This is something I don’t view with pride but with sadness, and I can only try to do my part in smoothing out these differences for future generations, as I believe gender differences should just not be a thing.

Do you have a mantra or ritual that carries throughout your daily life?

I had this rock band for a bunch of years and I really clashed personality-wise with the drummer, who is now actually a really close friend. He was a really chill guy and I was pretty intense, so whenever I freaked out he would tell me: “Los marrones, de uno en uno”, which kind of means deal with crap one thing at a time. It’s a pretty obvious thing, but it just never gets old for me. It works in every situation, and although I don’t always manage to remain chill, it has helped me to break down apparently insurmountable tasks like organizing tours, recording albums, and stuff where shit just happens when you least expect it and need it to do so.

What are some important lessons or learnings you would like to share with those reading this?

Kind of linked to the above, but maybe something which has become more and more apparent as years go by is that nobody really has that much of a clue about what they are doing and that most things in life are played by ear. You are probably in the best position to make a decision for yourself, as only you know your environment well enough. Advice, specially from more experienced people, is great, but its always going to be subjected to their – and most likely not relatable – experiences and perspectives, so just always view other people’s advice under your prism of criticism. Whatever you listen to, read, or see; be critical, it’s the best safeguard.  

What do you view as extraordinary or inspiring?

I would say that I find humanity extraordinary, but that would be naïve and oblivious of all the things which aren’t such, or which are extraordinarily horrible, as humans can show both the greatest compassion and cruelty under the same nature. I guess I find extraordinary that we can be molded by our personalities or our experiences in such different ways and that what makes one person grow, stand up, fight back and create art can transform others into monsters.

What are you working on right now? 

Things have gone a bit quiet on the outside at the moment, for the writing and demoing of the third album. There’s still no solid plans for the production bit, but I’d like to sort that out before the end of the year so that there can be a new LP release in 2018. I’m also hoping to put up a multidisciplinary show around this album, but things are still in the works so I don’t want to say too much about it, apart from the fact that I’m very excited and have lots (probably too many) ideas I’d love to try out!


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