Rising indie electro-pop outfit Magdalena Bay has released their new single “Killshot” (Luminelle Recordings). The hypnotic track about a torturous love story eases glimmers of eighties transmissions with an intimate vocal performance from singer Mica Tenenbaum.
“’Killshot’ is a song about unfulfilled yearning, about getting so caught up in romantic suspense that you feel your heart may burst,” shares the duo of Mica Tenenbaum (singer/songwriter) and Matthew Lewin (producer/songwriter). “We wanted the song to be as enveloping as an all-consuming romance that builds up to dreamy heights.”
“Killshot” is the latest offering from Magdalena Bay following their recent singles “Good Intentions,” a glitchy dance track about the end of a relationship, and “Venice,” an indie-pop song encouraging listeners to live in the now as the end of the world closes in.
The Los Angeles-based, Miami-raised duo infuse a throwback spirit into 21st century cinematic pop as they gleefully keep their D.I.Y. edges intact. Under the influence of Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX, and Art Angels from Grimes, Magdalena Bay, who’ve been making music together since high school, picked up a thread from their early prog band roots a la the “the eighties key changes” and developed a handcrafted sound and vision. Magdalena Bay has kept up a steady pace over the last few years via a series of original singles and videos, including their hit single “Neon,” which has generated over 2 million Spotify streams.
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Learn more about Magdalena Bay in the following All Access interview-
Thanks for your time! So, what does a typical day look like for Magdalena Bay?
On a typical day, we get up and drink iced tea with half-and-half (Matt doesn’t drink coffee). From there, it depends– we’ll either have a songwriting session, work on our music or videos, or just take a day off and drive to some new LA neighborhood we haven’t been to yet. If we’re inside all day we try to take a walk around our neighborhood and grab a coffee for Mica. Lately we’ve been going to shows at night but we usually end the day with some Zelda Twilight Princess and an episode of Jeopardy.
Now that we are at the end of the year, how would you say that 2019 has treated you both so far? What are some goals that you have for this year and how close are you to reaching them?
2019 has been good – it’s really the first full year that we’re living in the same city while doing Magdalena Bay! 2019 started with me (Mica) getting laid off from my 9-5 office job haha, which ended up giving me more time to make videos and songs. Highlight of this year has probably been solidifying our vision for Magdalena Bay and gaining a small but dedicated (and growing!!) fan base who gets us! We’re proud with how many songs and videos we’ve been able to create this year (11 so far), and signing with Luminelle Recordings halfway through the year has been awesome. We also just played our first headlining show, in Hollywood, which was full of people singing our songs. There’s endless goals we want to meet but we think we’re on the right track!
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this band together? How did you come up with your name?
Yeah! We used to be in a rock band which sort of broke up when we all went to different colleges. We got together in Orlando one winter break and after a few glasses of wine we both started joking about writing pop instead of rock…and then we wrote our first pop song long-distance a week later!
Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
It’s honestly been surprising how hard it is. I guess at some early point in the journey you might think some faceless industry exec will appear and hand you the golden ticket to success but it’s really more like a blindfolded crawl up a steep mountain that also has glass shards on the ground. We now know it takes a lot of work.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you both carry yourselves in this group?
Miami is definitely in our blood! There’s been some sort of tropical, neon-sign undercurrents in our look and sound since we started. Also, being in possibly the only prog-rock band in Miami throughout our high school years made us pretty comfortable with being out of the mainstream. We didn’t fit into the typical Miami music scene in those years and we’re solidly to the left of mainstream LA pop now.
Why would you say that you two work so well together? Where is one of you weak where the other is strong and vice-versa? Why does this duo work?
Great question! Matt has a more technical, theory-based background while Mica has a great natural instinct for pop. Hopefully our music embodies these two worlds. We’ve been writing together since we were 15 and are incredibly aligned when it comes to what we like, but our brains work in completely different ways.
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Killshot.” What was the inspiration for this track? How would you say that it compares to anything else that you have released?
This song started with a beat that Matt made, then I (Mica) laid the chorus melody over it. It sounded very 2000’s and a bit spooky so I wanted to tell a melodramatic story about deadly romance with the lyrics. It’s definitely one of our darker songs but also a bit more funky and groovy than anything else we’ve released.
How have you gone about selecting which songs to release as singles? When do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of new songs?
Most of the songs we finish are released as singles, so there’s not much of a selection process. But when we make an album it’ll probably be really hard to select them. We’ll have new music very soon and will be releasing a collection in 2020!
How do you think your sound has grown over the years? What about your songwriting process? How has that changed?
Our sound has definitely changed! We first discovered pop when we started Magdalena Bay, so as we’ve gained influences along the way we’ve hopefully developed a sound that we can say is distinctly “us.” Our writing process is different with each song, but I think there’s a confidence that’s gotten stronger with each song we write.
Where do you think you are both happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
I think we love the writing process more than anything, that’s where we feel the most excited – even though playing live has been amazing!
What has been a favorite show of yours to date? What do you think makes an ideal performance for you? Do you have any upcoming tour dates to wrap up the year with?
Our most recent show in LA, right before Halloween, was definitely our fave so far, everything just clicked. We made a ton of background videos and felt like the audience totally connected. An ideal performance is totally dependent on the crowd. When the energy is right, the crowd feeds off us and vice versa. When the energy is off, we can play everything right but we still feel like dying. We’re looking forward to playing some east coast shows in 2020!!
How do you think being musicians and in this band gives you the most joy in life today?
I think we get a lot of joy out of having a part in every aspect of Magdalena Bay. We do everything from writing, production and recording to graphics and video. It’s fulfilling to see the project grow because we know it’s a true reflection of us and our creativity.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now, so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that?
Our music’s not overtly political but there’s some things like themes of feminism that come through in what we write. I think we worry that writing about political issues will come across as pandering—I don’t know, is there a way to successfully speak to serious issues with dance pop? Would be interesting to try!
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this duo?
We’ve been into Caroline Polachek, Shura and Paul Cherry recently! We’d love to work with sick alt-pop artists like Rina Sawayama but also mega mainstream pop producers a la Max Martin…interested to see what we would make!
Where would you love to hear your music being played? A TV show, a movie, in your favorite store, etc…?
A movie would be awesome, specifically that upcoming Nicolas Cage sci-fi horror film. Or really any Nic Cage movie…
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
We’re just trying to make good, fun, vibey songs! Hopefully people fall in love with our DIY synth-pop universe.