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NEW NOISE: WAX ON WATER

Maya Damaris, singer from the alt-rock band, talks about the creation of their soul-baring new album, The Drip.

Wax on Water
Wax on Water

The art of an album rollout is no easy thing to master, but we think that Wax on Water has done just that. Following the release of their EPs, “The Drip (Part 1)” and “The Drip (Part 2)”, the alt-rock band are treating us to the fully-formed project that has been anticipated by fans, album The Drip. Alluding to the fluidity of negative thoughts that can nest in the human psyche, the album’s title ushers in a vulnerable and honest narrative that touches on the world we live in and the powers of love, culminating in a project that is sonically captivating and emotionally candid.

Speaking on the new album, the band’s frontrunner, Maya, explains, “The title The Drip comes from the song of the same name, and it explores the effects of all the little voices in our heads that ‘drip, drip, drip’ negative self-beliefs that undermine you. I’ve always talked about personal vernacular – how I navigate the world and how I feel about myself have been central to my songwriting. However, on this record, I also wanted to explore other areas and so I have talked a lot about love lost on tracks such as ‘The Sting in the Raw’, ‘Seventh Son’, ‘In The Shadows’ and a yearning for real love and connection on ‘How Long?’, ‘You know When You Know’ – a lot of these songs and lyrics were written during lockdowns, so I think it intensified my thoughts on connection and love.”

Upon the release of the album, Maya sat down with Wonderland to talk through the process behind its unusual rollout, the themes that flow freely throughout, and how the band came to be. Head below to enjoy our chat with Wax on Water’s Maya Damaris…

Hi Maya Damaris? Where are we speaking to you right now?
Hey there – I’m currently in my studio finishing the demos for the third Wax on Water album.

First of all, how did you meet and decide to form a band?
I wanted to form a band way back over 10 years ago when I first started writing music in earnest, but I couldn’t really find the right people to play with, so for the first album, it was predominantly me playing all the instruments in my studio. Then, fast forward to being signed to The Orchard and Sony Music and meeting Steve (Blessing) – he was 100% the right fit. We bonded over our love of 70s rock and 90s grunge, and the rest is history!

And, how did you land on the name Wax on Water?
At the inception of WoW, I wanted a name that expressed how I felt in the world – that there was the contained – English – exterior version of me that I presented to the world and then there were all the big emotions underneath, which I channelled through my songwriting. So the Wax is stillness and immobility while the water is the movement that pushes against the wax seal.

You describe yourselves as an alternative rock band, but you also use a lot of musical elements synonymous with classic rock in your works! Who would you cite as your biggest rock inspirations?
Oh absolutely – I will always be listening to the likes of Led Zep, David Bowie and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young because the songwriting is so goddamn on point – let alone the brilliant performances. They are big inspirations to me along with Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and a lot of 90s grunge acts. If I put on Chris Cornell singing it blows me away every time.

You are dropping your new album, The Drip! How are you feeling about the world hearing your project?
It’s a weird thing being an artist – you sit in a room and emote and write what’s in your head and your soul for about a year and then at some point you put those songs into the world and that is both exciting – because you want to share your art – but also it leaves you feeling very vulnerable. It’s always been important to me to write honestly and push myself and with that comes the reality that you are opening yourself up and people might not get it or like it and that’s just the way it is. But you can’t live your life by other people’s expectations or views of you. Ultimately I write for myself and if other people are into it, then that is an added bonus.

Talk us through its meaning! What inspired it and the themes that run throughout?
The title The Drip comes from the song of the same name and it explores the effects of all the little voices in our heads that ‘drip, drip, drip’ negative self-beliefs that undermine you. I’ve always talked about personal vernacular – how I navigate the world and how I feel about myself have been central to my songwriting. However, on this record, I also wanted to explore other areas and so I have talked a lot about love lost on tracks such as “The Sting in the Raw”, “Seventh Son”, “In The Shadows” and a yearning for real love and connection on “How Long?”, “You know When You Know” – a lot of these songs and lyrics were written during lockdowns, so I think it intensified my thoughts on connection and love.

And this follows the release of two EP’s, “The Drip – Part 1” and “The Drip – Part 2”. What made you choose such a rollout for your album, do the two separate parts have two different themes perhaps?
I wanted to release the album in parts so that people had a chance to digest them bit by bit. At 16 tracks long, it’s a big album and there are a lot of themes. Part 1 is more about the disintegration of situations and looks at emotions like anger and loneliness. Then Part 2 is about looking inwards and accepting who you are and where you need to go and then the final few songs on the album move towards self-knowledge and redemption.

Do you have a favourite track from the album?
Yes – “The Tree” is my favourite track that I have written to date. Period. Sometimes when I write lyrics I know what that song is about from the get-go, in other instances – as with this song – it unfolds in its own way and explains my world to me. The lyrics in this song came as a stream of consciousness – which is very different to my usual style of lyric writing. I realised only after I wrote it that it’s actually about the death of my father and how my world and my perceptions were irrevocably changed thereafter. I like it because it harnessed the anger and chaos of that time, but it is redemptive and steeped in thoughts and sounds that are about universal connection and the higher self. I needed to know that the world was bigger than my little patch of sadness at that time and that song makes me feel stronger and better about who I am and how I handled that situation.

Talk to me about your creative process, how do you usually go about taking a project from start to finish?
I write most days and just record voice notes on riffs, chord progressions and topline melodies that I like the vibe on. Once I have a collection of songs that I think are strong enough, then I will create demos and Steve and I will sit down and work out the bones of the guitar tracks. Then it’s about working out who should be playing on that record – aside from myself and Steve. After that, we record in the studio before I then take the songs back to finalise the full arrangements and production before mixing and mastering.

Aside from all of the exciting stuff, we have discussed, what else do you have planned for 2022?
I’ve recorded a cover of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Mexicola” which I will release later this year – I’m excited for that to come out as it’s quite different to the original. I’m also working on sorting out tour dates and will announce those through www.waxonwater.com as soon as they are available.

NEW NOISE: WAX ON WATER

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