Lockdown Diaries – Maud the Moth

In the latest episode of our Lockdown Diaries series, we chat to Edinburgh-based Madrid-born pianist, singer and songwriter Amaya López-Carromero, otherwise known as Maud the Moth, about what she’s been up to over the last few months.

Have you been making more or less music since lockdown began?
My latest album, Orphne, took so long to be finished that when things started to become clearer with the release, I instantly felt more and more focused on writing new stuff. The lockdown caught me in the middle of this process, and it, of course, shifted things a lot. I’d say, overall, it hasn’t changed much how motivated I am to make music as I live a pretty reclusive life anyway when I am in Edinburgh. It has affected, however, how worried I have been about life things, which is very distracting when you’re trying to get into a creative headspace.

Have you managed to collaborate with other musicians during this time?
I have actually, and that has been one of the few good things about this situation. I took part in a collaborative piece that Jo Quail put together. It’s a beautiful sonic kaleidoscope featuring 124 contributors, including people from MONO and Dead Space Chamber Music, amongst many others. All the proceedings have been donated to “Save our Venues” – an organisation set up in the present time to assist the small and grassroots venues, many of which are fighting to survive.

I also contributed to one of Dark Alchemy’s lockdown podcasts with a piece called “An Omen”: https://darkalchemybristol.bandcamp.com/track/inner-circle-episode-iii

These guys are an incredible collective in Bristol advocating for all things atmospheric, including the rehabilitation of churches as performance spaces. Really worth checking out all of the work and music projects surrounding them.

Have you got any links to share of music you’ve made or performed during lockdown?
During full lockdown, I played a couple of streaming concerts, which I really enjoyed: Apocaladies (an online festival drawing awareness to Spanish women in music) and Chaos theory live streaming concert. The social aspect and camaraderie of the events were incredible, and it was a really powerful experience that helped me feel less isolated.

After the travel ban was lifted, in July, I traveled to Germany to record another album with a parallel project, which we had to postpone in March. I really love the space where we rehearse and record for its insane acoustics, so I also took the chance to record an unreleased live song/video called siphonophores, which I wrote at the beginning of the year. It was premiered by Echoes and Dust, and can be watched here:

Are there any tools you’ve found useful for collaborating or broadcasting your music during this time?
Yeah, I had to acquire some video editing skills and learn a bit about live streaming, which was not an easy feat and yet another hidden task for DIY musicians. I also found out about OBS and how to use that to stream in multiple places at once. Bless the internet and YouTube tutorials!

What’s the best online music event you’ve experienced during lockdown by other artists?
There is a cool Edinburgh promoter, Fuzz Bat Gigs, who’ve been organising a bunch (14 so far…) of live streams, which have been totally making my day(s). It was so awesome to see some of my pals play live during a full-on lockdown and also to discover many other amazing acts that I had never heard of. I absolutely loved the creativity, freedom, and uniqueness, which, to me, should be at the core of all artistic expression.Check them out here.

I saw other streams from bigger festivals, which were great too; I really enjoyed Jo Quail and AA Williams on her home piano at Slay at Home and other studio-based live sessions that I really enjoyed like Yob or GOLD.

Is there anything you think the government should be doing to help the music industry at this time?
It has become even more obvious, if it wasn’t so before, that we live in a society where economic growth is the absolute priority and that therefore a risk to the population is not equally accepted for all activities. Most messages about safety are extremely hypocritical. The responsibility of controlling a pandemic has been placed back to the population, but yet many are asked to go back to work and can’t really afford to refuse.

True artistic activity, without economic considerations, is, of course, not part of that system and cannot be quantified economically. However, everyone turned to art and music during these horrible times, so it clearly has a huge value. In some areas of Germany as a self-employed person — including artists — below a reasonable threshold, you could apply and almost instantly get a relief fund or “Corona-Soforthilfe,” no questions asked. More established festivals, venues, or businesses also had further help to get them through this or cover specific losses.

The UK has been much more precarious in this respect, although multiple organizations, including the PRS, have made some effort. Other countries, like Spain, just had absolutely nothing at all, so it’s all a matter of perspective and it, of course, affects the cultural landscape of Europe where more and more artists migrate to countries where they can afford to live.

What are your plans now?
I am currently in Germany working on a new band (a shoegazy-rock trio called ‘healthyliving’) and recording stuff for that. When I get back to my keyboard, in September, I’ll continue writing the next Maud the Moth album, which is on its way.

Order Orphne on CD, LP, and Digital formats:https://maudthemoth.bandcamp.com/album/orphn

For More Info on Maud the Moth: