“It’s a story about escape.” So says Marlae (born Maria Ohle) of her latest offering. “It’s about taking someone you need with you, and saying, ‘**** this. Let’s make a break for it.”
“Runaways” is the latest single from the Dublin-based synth-pop artist. The tracks features minimalistic yet lush electronic pulses, coupled powerfully with the soul-tinged lyricism of a storyteller. “It’s about hitting the road. And for me, it’s a good kind of escape. But I think the listener decides what they’re escaping from.”
Marlae’s imaginative production favours escapism, taking refuge in digital sound. Gentle but insistent rhythms are pierced with the entrancing invitation of Ohle’s unique contralto voice – the only analog element in her production. “This song – it’s more ‘me’ than what I’ve done before,” Marlae explains. The result is a steady current of gorgeous electronic orchestration and synth, with an intimate and personal guide for the journey. One is made to think of Damien Rice, caught in a melancholic post-club reverie.
“Runaways” was produced and mixed entirely by Marlae (Maria Ohle) in her home studio in Templeogue, Co. Dublin. Mastering was by Ben Rawlins. The minimalist artwork for the single was created by Chloe Keogan.
The stunning video for the track was created by Australian filmmaker Paul Dodd. Dodd heard Marlae’s work and reached out on Instagram in 2020. Forced to get creative with the restrictions of the post-Covid landscape, Marlae and Dodd opted to use a claustrophobic opening, with shots of protest and evoking a feeling of chaos and frustration. This opens out as the video progresses – the video goes from a tight square aspect to full lush widescreen, as the viewer escapes to the countryside and is given space to breath.
Marlae has performed widely, and crafted her sound over the past number of years. She performed at Another Love Story in 2016, and has since gone on to play at the Helix, Whelan’s, and the Workman’s Club, with featured performances at Starbuck Sessions, Polska Éire, and Dublin’s coveted Ruby Sessions.
She has been featured by Nialler9 and the Sunday Independent, as well as on radio stations such as FM104, Q102FM, and John Barker’s ‘Totally Irish’ show on 98FM, and is currently being touted as one to watch in the Irish pop scene.
Marlae’s music carries on the tradition of synth-pop as exemplified by M83, as well as taking influence from singer-songwriters such as Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, and contemporary pop artists from The Wknd to Florence and the Machine.
Just Push Play On Marlae
James Arthur Announces Headline Belfast Show
James Arthur today delights fans by announcing tours of both UK & Ireland and North America in 2022.
The tour includes dates at Ulster Hall on 28th March and Olympia Theatre on 29th March.
Today’s announcement lands on a special day – the fifth anniversary of the release of James’s global smash hit ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’.
James will be performing songs from his upcoming new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’ alongside his classic hit singles and fan favourites.
James says: “I’m beyond happy about getting back on the road and seeing everyone again. Playing shows for my fans gives me life and that’s been taken away for the best part of two years so needless to say I’m itching to get back out there and perform for them again. Coming to a stage near you soon!”
James has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has to date released three hugely successful albums ‘James Arthur’ (UK No.2), ‘Back From The Edge’ (UK No.1) and ‘YOU’ (UK No.2), alongside nine solo UK Top 40 singles. He has had two No.1 smash hits and was awarded a disc for reaching a billion streams on Spotify with ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, the No.1 global hit that brought the singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough back from the edge (it currently has 1.7 billion streams on the platform). James recently dominated the airwaves and charts with his storming collaboration with Sigala ‘Lasting Lover’. The track was a No.1 airplay song in the UK, No.1 on iTunes and Top 10 on the Official Singles Chart.
James recently signed a new record deal in the UK with Columbia Records, a co-deal with Columbia Records Germany, and announced his new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’, his 4th long play release, is coming later this year.
Foy Vance Set For SSE Arena Concert
Singer-songwriter Foy Vance is pleased to announce his largest ever headline show at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 02nd April 2022. Foy’s second studio album on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records and the follow-up to 2016’s The Wild Swan, Signs Of Life will be released on September 10 on CD, LP and digital formats and is available to pre-order.
Signs Of Life is the sound of a beloved singer-songwriter at the peak of his powers. It’s also the sound of a man – a husband, a father, a sinner, a drinker – belatedly coming to terms with his demons. Driven by powerful percussion, “Time Stand Still” features a soaring, emotive vocal from Vance, who was struggling with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers at the time of writing.
“I had my first extended period off the road after twenty years of constant touring,” says Vance. “And I realised: wow, I drink two bottles of wine and at least a half bottle of vodka a day. I’d start the day with codeine to get myself sorted, and I’d smoke joints throughout the day. So I realised: I have so many incredibly bad habits here. I’m showing all the signs of death, getting ashen, grey, smoking more, drinking more, smoking more…I hit a wall.”
“It was my manager that made me get help,” Vance continues. “And in those moments, you do wish time would stand still. Can’t I just stop here and sit in this moment before I have to take up that mantle?”
Signs Of Life was recorded in three locations: Vance’s Pilgrim studio at home on the shores of Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire, another recording set-up in a nearby Dunvarlich House, and at Plan B’s Kings X studio in London. The album was written and played more or less entirely by Vance, with able assistance from young Northern Irish producer Gareth Dunlop. Serendipitously, Dunlop had been inspired on his career path by a chance encounter with Vance many years before.
“When I was around 14 years-old I wandered into a coffee shop in Belfast and saw Foy playing in the corner,” Dunlop explains. “I was completely spellbound by what I heard. It was a lightbulb moment that sent me on the road of wanting to discover my own voice and musicality. I would never have imagined that I would be co-producing a record with him 18 years later, and that I would be just as inspired and spellbound by what he does.”
Created out of the grimness of 2020, Signs of Life is an album of dawn after darkness, hope after despair, engagement after isolation, uplift after lockdown. It comes in bold sleeve artwork that reflects Vance’s desire to embrace all sides of everything, all humanity’s textures. Shot on a 160-year-old camera which does arresting things with colours and shading, the back image is of Vance as a bare-chested, bare-knuckle boxer. On the front, he’s in a dress, blonde wig and theatrical make-up.
“They’re just mad, striking images, and I loved the fact that it was male and female. You know, life’s extreme, life’s volatile, life explodes into reality sometimes, and stops just as quick. So to be struck by images on the cover made sense.”
At any time, Foy Vance’s new collection of songs would be a tonic. At this particular time, they can’t arrive a moment too soon. “That’s a huge part of it,” says Vance. “Signs of Life is about re-emergence – me in my own soft revolution, the world re-emerging in what we’re about to see as we hopefully go back to some semblance of normality. But just life in general – flowers growing through the cracks in Chernobyl. Life finds a way, doesn’t it?”