Maylee Todd: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyor of: An array of genres, exploring electro this time around. Soulful vocals taking on a haunting yet direct tone with a really good beat. Lyrics that will have you singing along while dancing around the kitchen floor one moment, sobbing over the sink the next. SO REAL.
File next to: A lot of the laidback electro of the day, but with much more depth and subtlety.
Playing: Wavelength New Year’s Eve at Markham House City Building Lab. Get tickets here!

Maylee Todd continues her evolution as a musician and artist with her latest 7” titled Lonely / Poetry (of Intuition) as well as her increasingly experimental performance experiences. The new release is half danceable, half downtempo jam, but don’t listen to the lyrics. Or do! The songs demand a kind of nuance from the listener. Can you dance through loneliness? Can you make peace with the slow drift into routine as you spend a lazy morning after? I think you can. Who doesn’t like a little yearning ache along with a soft voice and infectious rhythms? On the performance side, Maylee has spent this year further embracing eccentricity and blurring boundaries as a performer, collaborating with dancers and artists to create shows with a multidisciplinary, community-oriented vibe.

Your video for “Lonely” has been getting so much love. It features contemporary (more like genre-defying) dancer Minae Omi dancing like we do when we’re home alone, mirrored in an almost kaleidoscopic kind of reflection. Asides from being visually fascinating, what was your vision for the music video?

Well, truthfully when we started shooting the video, it was for another song. We shot all this stuff in Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. There were so many beautiful locations and interesting hidden gems that Minae and Kyoko took us to. We had an insane amount of footage. At that time I was learning Ableton, so I was experimenting with songs, genres, etc. I had this sense that the tune wasn’t going in a direction I really liked so I canned it. We reused the footage for “Lonely,” and it would only make sense to have one person in the video. Minae is an incredible dancer; I love how freely and fluidly she moves. We wanted to honour her movement, and the backdrop has a lot of water present, and mirroring that backdrop with the fluidity of her dancing was the component that brought it all together.

You just celebrated the launch of your 7” Lonely / Poetry (of Intuition), as well as your upcoming album Acts of Love, with a multidisciplinary show at the Great Hall called Maylee Todd’s Virtual Womb. What made you want your performance experience to take place in a womb?

In a womb we are not yet defined; no nationality, no race, no gender (early stages), no experience, just being. I like the idea of people leaving their roles: lawyer, artist, baker, etc.… behind them. At least for an hour.

Do you feel like your experimental aesthetic bridges beyond the experiences you create and into the creation of your music? How has this evolved? 

Absolutely. It’s constantly evolving and is all one of the same.

Your latest output is definitely more on the electro end of the spectrum than most of your work outside Ark Analog, but your voice is undeniably soulful, especially in “Poetry (of Intuition).” What brought you in this direction? 

It’s easier for me to produce, and most importantly it’s fun to produce.


Between the vaginal entrance to your Virtual Womb and the hopes and dreams you put in your vagina at Camp Wavelength, have you purposefully engaged with gender, sexuality or the body?

I don’t think I’m making a specific conscious effort, but it’s totally happening. Ha ha! I am genuinely interested in people’s hopes, dreams, fears, and wishes. I am interested in the topics of gender, sexuality and the body. I find it interesting that just based on your vessel (body) you have advantages and disadvantages, even though we are really one and the same.

Named for your forthcoming album (or possibly the other way around), you included a call for people to share their acts of love, which are often focused around self-care and kindness. Much of what you’re doing involves warmth, community, and collaboration, perhaps as an antidote to some of the lyrical elements on your 7”: loneliness, boredom, exhaustion with routine. What are some of your favourite acts of love, both your own and ones shared by others?

My favourite act right now is collaging. I’ve just spent three days for seven hours each day cutting and pasting. It’s so relaxing and fun. It’s also fun to do in a group setting too. This is a practice my Mom does. It’s beautiful, each page is a work of art.

You’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve with Wavelength as part of the party at Markham House with MATROX, the Holy Gasp, Delta Will and Man Made Hill. Reflecting on 2015, what were some of your favourite moments of the year?

Camp Wavelength, Virtual Womb, the first time I did mushrooms alone, SXSW, and maybe some other great experiences I can’t quite explain on paper. Ha ha!

And looking forward to 2016, what are you hoping for in the coming year, and what do you have planned? 


Okay, and one last thing: you’re all about the goats. What’s your favourite thing about ‘em?

I love the goats. It’s old man jargon talk and I love old man jargon talk. I am appropriating old man jargon talk and I love it.

— Interview by Sophie Delancey