An Interview With Singer-Songwriter MAE KRELL On New Music, Biggest Inspirations, Shooting Their Latest Music Video and More!
Posted On 18 May 2018
On the surface Mae Krell looks like your average teenager. They wear their hair occasionally pink and sport a band T-shirt whenever they can. They hang out at rock shows and love watching Post Malone’s early acoustic videos on Youtube. However, Mae posses a stark ability that is only apparent once you hear their songs. The 19 year-old songwriter touches on the most vulnerable parts of growing up in 2018. “I don’t want to be portrayed as too put together. I’m still working on myself. I’m constantly changing and growing and falling apart and coming back together.”
Mae Krell recently unveiled the first music video for the lead single “Monsters”. In the song, Krell reveals their inner demons with such finesse and honestly that the tune picked up over 250K streams on Spotify without any promotion or previous releases. It came at a cost, as Mae spent a year following the release of “Monsters” at a treatment facility in Utah battling addiction. Their new EP Anabasis is out everywhere and follows the story of a New York City teen sharing their journey through love, crisis, success and failure.
“Monsters” was the debut single that launched Mae on the path of critical acclaim almost two years ago, before the full EP, before the rehab and subsequent return. Now having released the debut EP in February, the 19-yo is excited to present their first-ever music video. “Monsters,” shot by Sarah Midkiff on a budget of less then $150, and featuring Krell’s sister in the lead role, exudes the intimate coziness of a child’s room, enveloped in the chaos of growing demons.
Connect With Mae Krell Here:
Learn more about Mae Krell in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
It’s 1am right now- so I guess sleeping is my next order of business! Other than that, my day tomorrow consists of a couple hours of work and some tour planning!
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
2017 was a mix for me. On one hand, it was the year that “Monsters” started picking up traction and plays, but on the other hand, I wasn’t really around to see it- so it’s definitely a hard year to define. In terms of 2018- I’m definitely most excited about heading out on the road this summer. After tour, my next goal is to work on formulating the details for a second EP.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have? Has music always been a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
To be completely honest- no, not at all. I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian, then a marine biologist, and then a literature professor. I played the piano a bit growing up, but it wasn’t something i excelled in or cared for. It wasn’t until I went to a concert that everything changed.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown?
There’s always this sense of urgency in New York. This feeling of always needing to do more, be more. I think that growing up in that culture has definitely affected the way that I look at myself and the situations i’m faced with. I am definitely quicker to doubt my value as a person due to it as well- but I also try to write about the uncertainty.
If your first ever cross country van tour has begun, what has it been like so far?! What made you decide to embark on this now?
It has not yet started! Soon, though! Our first date is June 4th.
Not to be cheesy, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about anything in my life. Getting to play a show almost every night for two months while being surrounded by two of my closest friends? It really can’t get any better. In terms of timing- I wanted to go on tour, and summer is a big block of free time, so we decided to go with that! It really was one of those “I want to do this, so I’m gonna do it” type of situations!
Let’s talk about your single “Monsters.” Where did the inspiration for this track come from? For people that haven’t heard the rest of your EP, how do you think it prepares them for the other songs on it?
It was written about those spaces in your head that are so familiar to you- but are also hard to explain because they’re so personalized. For me, it speaks to my mental health and the history with it. Of knowing exactly how I’m feeling, but also having no idea why I’m feeling that way. In terms of being the EP’s opener, I think it thoroughly sets the stage for the ascent that is meant to be shown in the track order. It starts in a dark place, where you’re familiar with your surroundings, but not comfortable- and then leads you to the light.
What was it like shooting the music video for “Monsters”? How creatively involved were you with the overall process? How did you shoot it on a budget of less then $150?
It was an absolute blast, to say the least. I have amazing friends and am very very lucky that they support me and my music. My friend Sarah (Midkiff) directed/filmed/edited the video, and we pretty much sat down together and brainstormed ideas. We borrowed some lighting from a friend of hers (Thanks Tony!) and had my other friend and my sister do all the acting in the video! Our budget was pretty much compromised of: Equipment rental, subway fare, and Mexican food.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows you would like to tell our readers about?
The ideal show is probably just having people there who want to listen. They don’t have to be fans, or even have any idea who I am, though. My favorite show I’ve played so far was probably at Sunnyvale in Brooklyn in April. In terms of upcoming shows- tour!! the poster and full show list will be released super soon, which I’m stoked about. Keep an eye out!
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
Music as a whole gives me so much joy- and knowing that I’m able to express my own experience of the world in that space is very special and I am super grateful for that. Every artist’s music is a reflection of their own experience in one way or another- I feel like a lot of music that is coming out and will come out soon will express opinions and much needed thoughts on a lot of the issues that are being brought to light.
#MeToo, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. are movements that are so necessary and important, and there are so many powerful voices within them. I’m a strong believer in the idea that the more we listen, and are willing to listen, the more we’ll hear, and the more widely heard all of these powerful voices will become.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Back to the roots- David Bowie, Simon & Garfunkel, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, The Shins, Santana, etc. are all artists that I grew up listening to and still listen to. Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I find myself turning back to one of those artists and re-listening to a ton of the discography.
I recently found out about Noah Kahan and have been constantly listening to his EP- I’d love to work with him one day. Mallrat is another one that I’d absolutely love to meet and work with.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What would you say is the overall message of your songs?
I’d like for people to hear my music and know that they aren’t alone. In the darkness and in the light- you never have to be alone if you don’t want to be and that it’s all going to be okay- that’s a big one for me.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
Just an official hello I guess! So nice to (kind of) meet all of you!