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A photo diary from... The Marías.

A photo diary from... The Marías.

"The swan is not only a symbol of beauty and grace, but also of perfectionism," explains The Marías frontwoman María Zardoya of the swan that graces the cover art of their debut album, 'CINEMA'. She adds, "While working on this album, we wanted everything to be perfect, sometimes to our detriment. This perfectionism is interpreted by the white swan in the ballet, Swan Lake and also in the film, 'Black Swan'."

Holding a mirror up to themselves, Zardoya and band co-founder Josh Conway say they poured their entire lives into the bold and magnetic album, working tirelessly to ensure no stone was left unturned in their endeavour to soundtrack hard feelings. "We want people to feel inspired to create anything, whether it’s music or art or whatever else they’re drawn to. Hopefully the songs will help them to break away from real life for a while and create some kind of dream world in their heads – something like the scenes to their own little movie."

Zardoya compiled the below photo diary for Coup De Main - and we also caught up with her to discuss the new album.

COUP DE MAIN: Last time we talked, María, you described the entire album as "a feeling" - what were the hardest or easiest feelings to write about and process in the making of this album?
One of the hardest songs emotionally for me to write and sing was 'The Mice Inside This Room'. It's a song about experiencing deep paranoia while being alone in the dark. To this day, if I’m alone in my bed or in a hotel room, I have to have a light on, a lot of white noise going, and accept the fact that I might die in order for me to fall asleep. That’s kind of dark lol, but it’s true.

CDM: You open 'Hush' by saying, "Don’t act so special / What I do is not for you, forget about it." It can be hard to trust in yourself when other people are forcing their opinions on you - especially, with social media amplifying this. What's your advice on how to reclaim your power and believe in yourself?
I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s easy to tell yourself to not care about people’s opinions and to completely shake off the haters, but it’s difficult to put that into practice. What’s interesting with this industry is that we make music to try to understand our emotions and discover what’s happening in the corners of our subconscious minds, but then the second we release it into the world, it becomes free reign for people to force their opinions on it. So what was once a real emotion and thought is now a point of discussion for some people. That’s going to take some time getting used to.

CDM: If 'Cinema' is the main course, what films do you recommend watching as an entrée and dessert to accompany the album?
One of my favourite films by Pedro Almodóvar called 'Talk To Her'. A couple of the songs on the album are also named after this film. And a more lighthearted but equally as amazing film, 'Garden State'.

CDM: I love 'Heavy', it perfectly embodies the heaviness of retreating into your mind when you feel like you're treading water and that life is passing you by. "Maybe I’m living to pretend," you say. What's the best route through / way to confront hard feelings like apathy, lethargy, and anxiety?
What has helped me immensely is my dog, Lucy. There are times when I don’t want to get out of bed, but I get up for her. She takes me outside on walks and forces me to leave my apartment. The change of scenery, being outdoors, and feeling a sense of purpose helps get my mind right. There are definitely still days when my body feels as heavy as molasses and wants to sink back into comfort, but I acknowledge that those days will inevitably exist and remember that they’ll pass.

CDM: What was running through your mind while writing 'Calling U Back'?
Josh actually started writing 'Calling U Back' while he was on the toilet haha. So it’s safe to say a wave of subconscious vs. conscious thought was at play with this one. But when we started working on the lyrical concept of the song, it was leaning towards a desire to not end a relationship that was on the rocks. For me, I was writing from the perspective of myself in a previous relationship.

CDM: Do you have a favourite anecdote or memory from writing and recording the album?
My favourite memory was at the start of writing 'Hush'. I felt it in my bones that this was our 'Britney moment' and that there was something special there. That feeling is what I’m always chasing when writing music.

CDM: What are your favourite lyrics on the album?
One of my favourites is in the song, 'Heavy'. The lyrics are: "Is someone telling me don’t get in the water? What have I done? I don’t wanna get lost inside the colour under my tongue." It reflects a feeling of helplessness that comes when you feel like you’re drowning in your thoughts. I also love the lyrics in 'The Mice Inside This Room' conceptually. The mice represent my internal thoughts and random external noises. "There are mice inside this room, so tender they run."

CDM: Are you looking forward to touring the album next year?
Absolutely can’t wait! It’s been too long. Bringing the 'CINEMA' songs to life has been really fun, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience them.

CDM: What's next?
More shows, more visuals, more songs.

This is us in our home studio that we built almost a year ago. As we were finishing the mixes of 'CINEMA', there was a heavy rain in Los Angeles and it flooded. Thankfully nothing was lost, but we had to build a temporary studio at Josh’s dad’s house to finish the mixes and masters.

Our dog, Lucy.

Almost every morning, you can find me in this little nook answering emails and on zoom calls with our team about the album.

This is our dog Lucy who has been in our life for four years! We adopted her as we were working on our second EP, 'Superclean, Vol. II'.

Our studio used to be a small 250 square foot studio apartment. We converted the closet into this vocal booth.

We’ve been incorporating a lot of new synth sounds in our music due to all of these synths Josh got last year during quarantine. One of our favorites is this little white Yamaha reface CS.

To reach anything on the top two shelves, I have to jump up on the counter top haha. I’m only 5’1” and when a lot of people first meet me, they’re always like, "Wow you’re so small, I thought you were way taller!" Haha.

Our apartment is in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, CA. It used to be an artist commune when it was first built in 1910.

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