TEN QUESTIONS WITH MOLLY PAYTON
Molly Payton’s music masters the sweet spot of relatable, clever songwriting and powerful production. The 19 year old artist from Aoteroa, now London-based, is gearing up to release her mini album ‘Slack’. The grungy indie rock ‘You Cut Me So Much Slack’ is the first single from the upcoming project, a song driven by “the frustration and desperation of wanting someone but not being able to tell them.” We spoke to Molly about the song and her sound:
We love ‘You Cut Me So Much Slack’. Tell us about this song. What was the process? What did you want to release through this song?
"I initially wrote this song for my second EP Porcupine, but decided just before it came out that I wanted to save it for this mini album as I felt it would fit better in the ‘Slack’ world. I wrote this song during a time where my anxiety was particularly bad and a relationship was coming to a close, I couldn’t communicate or express my feelings and I was frustrated with myself because I knew I had to if I wanted to make things work. I think you can really hear that longing in the song. I recorded it with Dominic Ganderton (superfood) who’s an incredible musician and producer. I showed him ‘you cut me so much slack’ in what was supposed to be a songwriting session and he was kind of just like, ‘fuck it, lets do that’."
The music video feels like the perfect depiction for this song. Who did you work with? What did you want to convey?
"I was in New Zealand for the first 6 months of this year and while I was there I met Taylor Mansfield. He’s such an awesome guy, as soon as we met we had a million ideas for videos which never usually happens to me. We ended up making a four part series of videos that all run into each other and have an overarching story. Part one, the Honey music video, looks in through the window of an apartment and sees a relationship form and then start to disintegrate. The last shot of that video is the start of the you cut me so much slack video, me looking in and watching my own relationship going sour. Then suddenly I’m in this forest and I can see him in the distance but I cant catch up with him, which Is how it feels when you cant communicate properly with someone I think, always one step behind. When I go through the curtains into the black space during the choruses it’s like I’m giving up and letting my anxiety take the wheel. When I go back to the forest and finally catch up with him there’s nothing to say, and so I fall back into the dark space."
When did you begin making music? What did it feed you that made you pursue it?
"My piano teacher taught me how to write sheet music when I was 12/13, so the first music I made was background music for childrens books. I didn’t actually write my first song until I was about 16 which was when I picked up the guitar (and after I’d had enough singing lessons that I didn’t sound completely awful). From then on it became the only thing I wanted to do. Growing up quite awkward and anxious, suddenly having this medium to express every feeling and thought I had effectively and to be able to share that with other people was so freeing."
How did growing up in New Zealand influence your sound?
"I’m not sure, I’m definitely influenced a lot by the music of my childhood- the artists my parents loved like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Johnny Cash etc have become real staples for me. Growing up, my parents and their friends all shared a love for music. We always had every instrument we could get our hands on around the house - I remember lots of summer nights in the garden where there’d be all these people outside singing and playing anything from bongos to banjos. Not well a lot of the time, but it was always about the love and the fun of music."
What did you learn about yourself during your time in London? How did your writing evolve?
"I love being here, I think moving here so young was a blessing because Its much easier to meet people and settle in when you’re still growing up. I was incredibly lucky to be able to befriend so many artists that I’d looked up to when I was in New Zealand and who helped me get started and become a better musician. I guess the main thing I’ve learnt is to be grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had. There’s so many musicians out there who are probably 5x better than I am who just haven’t been given the chances I have, its all coincidence I think and I’m grateful for every gig I play and every song I release because I know I was just in the right place at the right time."
Who are the artists that inspire your sound and songwriting? Who’s on the ultimate Molly Payton playlist?
"I actually just made a playlist today on Spotify with all my favourite songs on it HERE . At the moment my top four artists are probably Big Thief, Sonic Youth, Pinegrove and Bob Dylan."
We love your style. How would you describe it? If a brand could dress you for a tour, who would you love to work with?
"God knows. The last month I’ve been really lazy and mostly just worn my boyfriends clothes. I wear lots of baggy trousers and baby tees with heaps of jewellery, my best shopping tip for baby tee lovers is to shop in the little boys section of charity shops. Its either that kind of low effort boy-cool or if I’m feeling extra I love a little skirt and my cowboy boots or knee high combat boots, or just lots of layering. If I could have one brand dress me it’d probably be Heaven by Marc Jacobs."
We have read you came back to New Zealand during the pandemic. What have you learned over the last year and a half?
"I spent the first year and a bit of the pandemic in London, through three lockdowns and various different curfews/limitations. Going back to New Zealand after that was crazy. Sometimes you forget covid exists there, besides a few blips the countries almost completely back to normal in a lot of ways. I was lucky enough to be able to do a few gigs while I was there, and go to a lot of them too. I really have a new appreciation and love for live music which I don’t think I had before, and I’m really grateful I’m in the UK as live music picks up again here so I can share that appreciation with people as they all enjoy live music for the first time in ages."
What is something you’re extremely passionate about?
"Films, I watch way too many of them. I’m no connoisseur, I love shitty films as much as I love the good ones, it’s more about the way you can just press pause on your own life for a second and hop into someone else’s. My favourite thing ever is when a movie has a great soundtrack. I’ve found a lot of my favourite songs from movie soundtracks."
What’s next for you?
"In terms of what’s next, my Mini album ‘SLACK’ is out this October. I love these songs so much, they’re all very special to me and I can’t wait to share them with you!"