It’s already been one hell of a year for writer, producer and all round wunderkind Grace Shaw, aka Mallrat, with a killer SXSW showcase and a full a Groovin tour, but 2018 is about to get even bigger now that the Brisbane native has released her second EP In The Sky.
Mallrat recently sat down with Music Feeds to chat inspo, writing, and yes don’t worry we asked about that whole Mark Ronson/Marshmello incident and it’s pretty toasty.
Music Feeds: You gotta tell me first of all, why is it that you like to make music?
Mallrat: Oh that’s a good question! I was actually really worried there for a second I thought you were going to say where did you get the name Mallrat from? (laughs). And I really don’t have a story or anything but I get asked that all the time!
But…why do I like making music? I think, honestly, there are so many reasons. But I think it’s the only thing that I’m really good at. I’m sure I’m good at a couple of other things but it feels natural for me and I know that I can make stuff that helps other people feel less lonely or more connected to somebody outside of themselves. That’s a really special thing to be able to do. I get to travel and I learn so much everyday when I’m making music.
MF: I love that you talk about the connectivity between yourself and your music and the people who are listening to it. I was just having a listen to some of your new EP, In The Sky, and there is such a sense of intimacy to a lot of your work. How does that feel when you then go and perform onstage?
M: Thank you! It’s interesting, it’s not at all scary performing to a large group of people, it’s more performing to a small group of people and playing for someone that I know, that’s what I find really nerve-racking. It just feels like they might be able to join the dots, it’s almost like somebody reading your diary. But when you’re performing for a big crowd it doesn’t feel as intimate but the lyrics are still really personal.
MF: I guess that’s a pretty good way to put it — I guess you can get lost in a sea of faces. I can only image what it’s like performing for a room full of six faces. It would almost be like “hey guys here’s me with my heart on my sleeve”
M: [Laughs] Yeah absolutely, and when it’s such a small group you are responsible for the energy in the room, like as the performer, in a situation like that. Whereas if you’re walking out to a packed festival to perform, the vibe is already there you know it’s going to be a good time, all you have to do is kind of just keep the energy moving in the right direction.
MF: What is your writing process like? Do lyrics come first or are you putting other elements together and waiting for certain other pieces to come together?
M: It’s different for every song. Usually I always have notes happening in my phone, just sentences that I find interesting that prick my ears up, but when I go into the studio I’ll often reference those and build them into verses or a hook for something, and go from there. Or sometimes I’ll make or co-produce a beat before I write anything for months, or sometimes I’ll have the melody or the lyrics at the same time and I just need to build everything around it. It’s different every time which is interesting.
MF: It must feel so good when you’ve been sitting on something for so long like a beat of a piece of music and suddenly you finally get the words to go with it, that must be so nice.
M: Yeah that’s always so amazing and such a satisfying feeling! Being able to listen back to something as well is so cool, that’s my favourite.
MF: Speaking of music, your new EP In The Sky has just been released, how long was that one in the works for?
M: I was kind of working on it as the first EP had just come out. It’s really been in the works for a while and it’s probably been properly finished for about six months. It’s been a while and I’m really excited for it to be released.
MF: I love ‘Groceries’ it’s such an awesome track! Can you tell me a little bit about that particular track?
M: I guess it’s kind of about having a crush but really wishing you didn’t have a crush, and it’s about being annoyed at yourself that you do. Like ‘eugh this is so annoying I love being independent and I don’t feel independent right now’ so that’s kind of what it’s about.
MF: You’ve had such a hectic year already with Groovin’ and you were at SXSW recently, how was that experience?
M: South-by was really busy but it was good, it was just really intense. I think I’d heard a lot of horror stories going into it, so I was kind of prepared for a bit of a nightmare but it was actually fine. It was really busy but pretty cool.
MF: What kind of horror stories are we talking?
M: Just like people playing showcases to nobody and spending all that money to try and get their band over and not getting anything out of it. It can be pretty hard especially if you’re a new musician, to take that risk. I’m just so glad it worked out really well for me.
MF: You’ve had such a huge year already, and with your EP coming out, what else is left for you for 2018?
M: I think my personal goal is just about becoming a better producer and building my confidence in that area, and hopefully writing for other artists as well. They are kind of the new things that I really want to try. I just want to play lots of fun shows, and keep writing music. I’m moving to LA as well so that’s a big one too.
MF: Finally, I have to ask about the Twitter banter between you and Mark Ronson
MF: Come on, give me the scoop!
M: I just straight out accused him of being Marshmello and he messaged me, this was when I was in LA about to play an LA show, he asked me ‘Hey what time are you on tonight I have tickets to your show’ I was like oh my god this is the coolest thing ever. He came to the show and he was so cool and he is just so lovely and gracious and introduced himself, and introduced me to some people, and he was amazing. I really hope I get to see him again, he was honestly like the coolest person ever! … You can just never really predict how these things are going to go, he was a pretty good sport about it, it was a pretty dumb joke I’m so glad he found it funny.
Mallrat’s new EP In The Sky is out now.