Hallo and welcome to Hashbrandnew's BEHIND THE MUSIC: Exclusive Interviews With Your Next Favourite New Bands! Today you get acquainted with Manchester's Maruja. Already establishing a growing reputation as one of the most exciting live acts on the UK underground circuit, psychedelic jazz-punks Maruja have just released their debut EP Knocknarea.
During a holiday in a remote part of Spain in a small fishing village, Harry (singer/guitarist) came across an old beat down shop with a sign that said 'Maruja' in dull print, hanging over the dusty shutters that was once the entrance. A simple 'that'll do' was spoken internally.
On the bass we have the one and only Matthew Buonaccorsi. As the majority of our music is spawned from improvisation, it's Matts playing that provides the backbone for the others to paint over. Jacob Hayes is the man behind the rhythm. Jacobs' playing encapsulates a raw energy that is integral to the Maruja sound. He also drives, which is by far the best thing about his presence as the rest of us can't. On the alto sax we have Joe Carroll who is a master of melody. His playing provides character to the stories that unfold within each track - creating a tsunami of hooks and licks that are fundamental in maruja's expression. Harry Wilkinson is the provider of experimental guitar sounds/lyrics and vocals. Whether it's spoken word/rap or singing - Harry speaks poignant truths that reflect culturally relevant topics.
We have been described in the past as psychedelic jazz punks, which to be fair is quite a good description however it doesn't mirror all of what we do here. We are heavily influenced by EDM, Rap and experimental/industrial sounds (more of which to come in upcoming releases). Art Rock/Alt rock/Post Punk have also been terms used to describe our music. We aim to create diverse music - whether it's grounded in jazz or punk etc, depends on how we feel on the day. Collectively our music tastes differ so much, it is only right that is represented in the way we play.
Thanks for the kind words! We tend to try and hype each other up as much as possible before a gig to get us in the zone. This pretty much involves dancing around the greenroom and chanting nonsense to tracks we like. We also never drink before we go on stage, this allows us to connect with the energies in the room as cleanly as possible. After a gig, it's always nice to share a beer with those that have made the effort to see us.
We actually started writing Thunder before covid struck, we got the idea from an improvisation session we had in an old run down Mill in Ancoats, Manchester. The setting was dark and gritty which I think is reflected in this track, the waves of lustrous melody you hear in the second half was created to allude to the concept of the 'eye of the storm', where chaos surrounds a peaceful sincerity. Lyrically the track represents war and its destructive nature, written in similes and metaphors that relates to devastating weather conditions, for example - "the rain falls like soldiers over stone river and barren lands'.
That is going to be a super difficult question to answer as each track represents an important moment to us. I think 'The Tinker' stands out as a track that we knew was going to be sick, however after adding certain overdubs in post studio sessions it really took on a life of its own. In saying that, it really is quite impossible to divide these tracks into a favourite as they all mean so much in different ways to us all.
We are planning on adding some more dates, yes! Keep your eyes on our socials and all shall be revealed soon! We hope to be over to Germany by the end of the year definitely, hopefully sooner rather than later.