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Maripool: "I Find Sometimes When I Write Songs, They Just Take Another Form or Meaning, Like They Got a Life of Its Own"

Maripool is the moniker of Lisbon-born, London based singer-songwriter Natasha Simões, who will be releasing her sophomore EP A Day That Feels Like Nothing at All June 7th on tape via Smoking Room Records. Ahead of the release, we chatted with Simões all about the growth from her pristine early string of self-releases, recording the upcoming EP alongside Euan Hinshelwood in London, and how her bandmates have helped render her demos in the studio.

Paperface Zine: What have you been listening to, reading, watching, or spending a lot of time doing?

Natacha Simões: I've really been into instrumental music at the moment - listening to

a lot of Bondo, Aerial M and Satan Club. It's become my favorite thing to do while I read, on the bus and overall just going about in life. Speaking of that, I have recently started an instrumental band where I play drums. We're still writing music at the moment so hopefully by the end of year we'll be playing live. At the moment, I'm reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, I love dystopian novels but this one fell short for me, I'm only rushing to finish it just so I can start The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. I've never been that good at watching films or series, I can never find the time. Whenever I'm alone at home and not working on something I spend a lot of time just looking at my walls I should probably use that time to watch films.

PZ: Tell our readers a little about your background. Where did you grow up, what was your childhood like, and how did you get into recording music all by yourself when moving to London at 18?

NS: I was born and grew up in Lisbon, I absolutely love it there and I'm so grateful that's where I grew up. When I was younger not many musicians would come from abroad to play Lisbon, mostly would just be in the festivals that we would get to see 'cool bands' playing. So

from 16-years-old I started travelling around Portugal with my friends and attending every festival we possibly could. It's quite crazy we did that at that age, none of us had that much money but we always managed to make something work and always went to the festivals we

wanted. I think despite all that I always had a feeling that there was more out there than just festivals in the summer, so at 18, I moved to London. I got a full time job and got my first ever guitar. I was terrible for years, like really really bad. But I did spend every night after work for years practicing and recording and making things sound better. I think only now I'm like yeah okay I know how to do this.

PZ: How exactly did you land on the moniker Maripool?

NS: I was initially going to just use my name but my last name is a really tricky one so I thought a moniker would probably work best. At the time I was very obsessed with The Simpsons, I used to watch one episode every morning before work. So I would just watch every episode looking for something that I could use as a reference. Then one day came on the episode, "Bart of Darkness," where Bart breaks his leg and Milhouse signs his cast as Milpool before running off to the pool. Initially I was like yeah just gonna use Milpool but there were already a few bands with that name, so I just changed it to Maripool as my second name is Maria.

PZ: What do you recall about recording your first couple tape releases Adult Weakness, I See Everything I Know Nothing that also came with full-colored fanzines?

NS: I did not think anyone knew of these! My best kept secret! I did them when I first started doing solo stuff, I was learning how to play bass and drums while writing songs. I would write a guitar bit and then would spend hours going over bass and drums that could possibly work. Everything would get recorded on to cassettes, I have a whole basket at home with cassettes of me just trying things out. I should have just used my computer but I was very much in love with the sound of tapes. And yeah because my only way of writing songs was by recording them it just made sense to put them out. Looking back, I sorta wish I hadn't because they were a bit messy, I was still discovering my sound and what I wanted to do but it's also hard to just sit on music and wait for it to get better. Every time I release something I always think it's the best work I've done but after a few years I'm like hmm yeah that could have been better. I think every musician suffers from this. I did a zine with lyrics and photos with every cassette I put out at the time, I've never really done that again time to bring it back!

PZ: How do you think you've grown as a musician over the years and what are your thoughts looking back on your past releases?

NS: I think every year I grow quite a lot as a musician, by playing more live and playing with other people I learn so much. With every song that I write I always think I'm getting better, I do still write shit ones but like when they are good they are way better than what they used to be. I can always see improvement in regards to old songs, some I can tell that I was not so confident singing, some I think things could have been better performance wise or differently produced. I think it's hard to look back and think yeah that was perfect because I'm constantly evolving and changing. I go through phases of looking back at past releases and really enjoying them and then not liking them at all.

PZ: What has it been like translating these recordings live with a full band?

NS: Everyone in my band is extremely talented and they all do their solo stuff as well. They definitely helped me improve the songs in many ways. Sometimes it's hard when it's just me in my bedroom writing everything by myself, it gets to the point where everything sounds dissonant. But then I take it to the band and they will play what I did but just change a note or play an octave and straight away the song will make sense again. I love bringing songs to them and experimenting, the songs always sound slightly different live, they gain an edge that I can't really get by myself in my bedroom.

PZ: Your upcoming six-song EP A Day That Feels Like Nothing at All will be out in June on Smoking Room Records. What can you say about the making of the album and when/where it was recorded?

NS: I recorded the album with Euan Hinshelwood in London around May last year, I always record all my music with him. He's the absolute best and puts some much work into the songs, we spent like a week in the studio doing the songs. When I'm recording it always feels like time is not real, it's a real magic experience. We always mix it together which is probably my favorite bit, it's always so fascinating how songs can change and evolve. At the time we only did five songs, and then when Smoking Room got involved and wanted to release it I decided that it wouldn't be perfect without another song. So I went back to the studio in January this year and recorded another one. I did it mostly for me, sometimes when you've been sitting on something for almost a year it feels hard to still be excited about it, so the new song was mostly for me to be hyped up about the EP again.

PZ: How did its lead single "Not Today" come about? What were the inspirations behind it?

NS: This is probably the oldest song on the EP, I wrote it when I was releasing singles for the last EP It All Comes at Once. I just felt a bit drained from music stuff and how it always feels like I'm playing a game in order to do well. It's kind of like whatever I do everything just stays the same. It’s a pretty sad sounding song I guess. I was listening to a lot of Midwest emo and wanted to adopt that structure of no chorus or verses, like the song is just a journey kind of vibe. That's what I had in mind when I started writing it.

PZ: Did any of the new songs progress from their initial demos? Were there any that turned out entirely different than you had expected while experimenting with ideas?

NS: I experimented quite a bit with these songs, with previous songs it was quite straightforward and very similar to the live set up. On this EP every song is different to how we play it live. André Mâncio, who plays drums in Maripool, plays violin on the single I just released and in two other songs of the EP there's saxophone by Josh Evans-Jesra

of Leather.head and Piglet. There's one song that the lead guitar just ended up being played on a piano instead and that really changed up the song. We spent a lot of time seeing how we could improve the songs, I didn't want them to be as bare as the last ones. It was also good to have other people come in and play. Normally, it's just me in the studio doing guitars, drums, bass and vocals  so it felt really amazing to have people come in and change things up a bit.

PZ: Which song from the EP means the most to you (and why)?

NS: Probably the next single that is coming out on May 8th called "Isn't it Funny." I wrote it almost a year after a friend passed away, it was the first time that I was like okay this is real this happened. Grief is a strange thing, a lot of the time it doesn't feel real and it takes a long time to recover from. The song doesn't feel that sad though, it's a really beautiful sounding song, probably one the most beautiful I've ever written. In the end of the song I start screaming in the background and to me is what makes that song so perfect. The song really encapsulates how I was feeling at the time, I find sometimes when I write songs, they just take another form or meaning, like they got a life of its own. But with this song, it is literally just the soundtrack of that time in my life.

PZ: We’re huge fans of The Tubs, Grazia, and Es, but who are some of your favorite bands in London right now that our readers should check out?

NS: My favorite band in London is Leather.head absolutely insane band, most of the members also play in Piglet which is another incredible band. Other amazing bands are Baggio, Symbol Soup, flypaper and Bloody Death. There's so many good bands in London, especially in South London where I'm based. The scene is amazing and everyone is so talented, it's really an incredible thing to be a part of.

PZ: Lastly, what else is on the horizon for you later this year that we should keep an eye on?

NS: I will probably start writing an album, feel like maybe the time has come for me to stop doing EPs and to do an album.

A Day That Feels Like Nothing at All will be out on tape June 7th on Smoking Room Records.


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