We’ve talked with Mythie, a female producer whose trip-hop & electronica vibes convey powerful feminist messages
The trip-hop scene has made lots of waves in the 90s… yet, while being deeply rooted in that era, it keeps renewing itself in order to offer more and more hybrid tracks that blend music genres together. We all remember Tricky or Portishead albums ; well, let’s take a dive in the French indie scene & have a look at what Mythie does. She’s an artist from the North of France who’s made a striking debut with her very first single release last month : in addition to offering a dense and intricate soundscape on “Mermaids” by allowing her singular voice to take space in dark electronic realms, Mythie dedicates her first track to all of the “tired women” around the world, by quoting Emily Dickinson and Anaïs Nin in her lyrics. And in addition to the studio version released last June 14th, a dreamlike and ethereal live session was unveiled just a few days ago. In order to get to know more about this rising emerging artist, we’ve asked her a few questions !
1. Hello Mythie, and thanks for accepting our interview request ! Before we get started, can you introduce yourself for those who don’t know you yet ?
My first name is Domitie, I am a mother, musician, singer, and composer from Lille, and I like to write songs in my home studio, with my computer.
2. You’ve released your first single “Mermaids” a few weeks ago, but before that – and we can see it on your YouTube channel – you’ve recorded a few covers that have allowed you to showcase your love for electronic music instruments. Do you consider yourself primarily a producer ? Or rather a multi skilled artist ?
Before I thought that performing live was more my thing ! I did theater lessons for a long time, I was really passionate for acting and directing, but for a few years ago music production and writing have taken over.
Choosing to go with music production was a really difficult choice at the beginning, it took a long time to produce all of my tracks by myself, I tended to look for someone to do it for me, because for someone who is not well-organized and who has trouble making choices, making music can be a hard challenge ! But I love it, and I now have a very intimate and strong relationship with producing and writing.
3. I’ve mentioned “Mermaids” right before : this track tells of all the mental burden that weighs on the women of this world, a burden that is explained by the tremendous amount of tasks that women still have to take care of for nothing but the fact that they’re seen as “womanly tasks”. Where did the inspiration for this song come from ?
It comes from reading lots of things. During the first lockdown, I read a lot of texts by women authors, particularly those of Anaïs Nin. And there was a book about Witches by the French author Mona Chollet which also inspired me a lot. And also, I got inspired from everything I saw around me, including my experience as both a musician and a mom.
4. And why did you choose to represent women as mermaids ? What does this creature represent to you ?
At first, it was the image of the witch that inspired me, and the phrase “we are the granddaughters of the witches you have not burned”. And then I came across what Anaïs Nin said : “I must be a mermaid, I have no fear of depth and a great fear of shallow living”. In our minds, at least in what’s universally acknowledged, sirens are singers who, thanks to their magical voices, their lyres and their flutes, will bewitch men and devour them. It’s a myth which conveys a rather diabolical image of women. Same goes for witches. So it all came from a desire to reclaim in a positive way the image of the female musician, artist, creator who swims in the depths and who fights, silently, to stand still in a society that has not been made for her and that does not understand her. Besides, I also founded an association called Mermaids in order to support women artists and especially mothers, to support & help each other, so yes we can say that it is a very strong symbol for me & my art.
5. The sounds of the song are definitely reminiscent of the trip-hop era, but it also echoes more diverse influences, such as electro pop music and even experimental music. I even saw that you’ve recorded part of the melody with a stylophone on the second part of the song ! How do you produce your tracks ?
The melody is always what inspires me first, a melody that I hear in my head and that is paired with an emotion, a feeling that comes with it. And then, I try to decipher all of that, I try to find the words, the sounds, the arrangements, the musical evolution that will best serve the song. It’s a search : I get lost, I let myself be surprised, I play with what I’m given. I always have a direction in mind, but it’s often the little happy accidents that add some magic to the track. When you no longer have control over what you’re making. As if the machine was offering me advice, as if we were creating together. My computer is really my instrument, especially Ableton, the software I use.
6. As for the music that has been released with the studio version of “Mermaids”, it is filled with lots of symbols : we see you, facing the camera, relatively calm… except that, in superposition, we see you screaming in silence, as if you were expressing all of the discomfort felt by women across the globe. Was there anything in particular that inspired you for this music video ?
Yes ! As I was saying about my experience, I sometimes feel tremendously tired, and this is also the case for the women around me, I have several friends who have experienced burn out. I showed the draft of the music video to a friend and she told me that she recognized her mother, her sister in it. I thought maybe that was what we were all going through, on different levels of course.
7. And your creativity seems endless : two weeks after the release of the studio version of “Mermaids”, you also released on YouTube a live version of the song ; it was recorded in a place that greatly echoes the mystical side of the song : an abandoned church located close to Tournai in Belgium, not too far away from the French border. Can you tell us what pushed you to record & create this new version of “Mermaids” ?
As I said, I’m quite passionate about musical production and at the same time I always have difficulty choosing what I wanna go with. Therefore, giving a song a definitive shape, and giving up all the other directions that the song could have taken, is really difficult for me. I almost feel myself mourning all the other possible versions each time I finish a track. So working on another version, a live one, with more vocals, in duet with a theremin helps me deal with my loss I guess !
8. By your side, in this abandoned church, we can see Charlotte Dubois, a renowned thereminist – how did this meeting happen ? Do you still plan to work together in the future, in one way or another ?
I listened to a lot of theremin (and to Clara Rockmore in particular) and I love this instrument, both visually and musically. One day I saw that there was a thereminist near me thanks to a musician directory created by the Lille-based feminist association called Loud’her, so I contacted her immediately. We stayed in touch long before we met for real, at her place, when it was the right time, and it clicked right away. I loved doing this live session with her, she taught me a lot about letting go. So yes, I hope we will keep this great collaboration going, only the future will tell us in what form !
9. And I know you’ve only just released your live session, but what are you keeping in stores for the upcoming months ? An EP ? Live performances ? Remixes, maybe ?
Well, “Mermaids” is part of an EP called “Until The Fight” and whose release is scheduled for the full Moon of November 8th, which itself is part of a diptych (“Until The fight” / “Become A Dance”) and which is built around the theme of the inner self, but represented by animals. It is a cycle of two EPs built like an inner journey, guided by animal totems, and inspired by shamanism. So there will be other singles, the release of these two EPs, and also remixes, music videos… I’ve also always wanted to cover songs for a long time, always with this will to showcase different versions of a song, especially the different directions that the song could have taken. It’s a work in progress, I hope to release one very soon !
10. And I always end my interviews with this question, because I like to know what the artists I interview listen to, and it allows the readers to discover other artists as well : there is an artist that you’re keeping an eye on at the moment, and if so why ?
Even if I like to follow new artists and find out what’s happening around me, I’m still a little monomaniac and I can listen to the same song on repeat hundreds of times when I’m obsessed with it, in order to understand it and get to its very core meaning. For example, I’ve listened a lot to the song “Mary Magdelene” by FKA Twigs, which was produced with Nicolas Jaar, because it’s like a masterclass of music production for me. It’s actually a reference song for my next single called “Waves”. But right now, I listen to Max Richter a lot, for the texture of the sounds, and the emotional power of his music which carries me very far.
As a music web writer for several years, I have developed a particularly devoted passion for electronic and alternative musics. From the ethereal melodies of Max Cooper to the introspective music and lyrics of Banks, my radar has me listening to the wide French and international independent music scene... all of this between communication plans for independent labels and artists !