Premiere: Stream Memory Maze’s ‘From The Outside In’

Memory Maze’s music is like the place where Johnny Marr’s shimmering guitars meet the woozy, subtle electronica of Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips. Album ‘From The Outside In’ is out August 14 on Infinite Jest Records, and is a treat from start to finish. Here, we’ve got the premiere of it. Read on for mainman Gavin Ellis’ track-by-track guide.

‘Modern Spring’
Gavin Ellis: “It’s about emerging from a long, dark winter and finally being able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. It has a lazy, blissed-out feel, then towards the end it picks up and goes double time. I’d never been the lead singer in a band before, and in a way I found my voice with this track – the hazy falsetto – which set the tone for how I sang on the rest of the record.”

‘Dollar Eyes’
“One of the first tracks I wrote and recorded, which gave me the confidence to go on and make the rest. It has a sun-kissed, summery feel. It’s about London, which often feels like it’s only interested in money; this song is about not wanting to be a part of that world. I love London and it’s my home now, but I think it’s healthy to retain an outsider’s perspective on it.”

‘Like A Mirage’
“I’d been knocked off my bike, my leg was all bashed up and I couldn’t really move, so I stayed in my room and wrote this. It was written, recorded, mixed and mastered in a few weeks, which is impressive given the speed I normally work at. It meant I never got bored of it which can happen when you have a song kicking around for too long. It’s a breakup song; writing and recording the song was cathartic, almost like a form of therapy.”

‘The Closest Thing To Heaven’
“I wrote and recorded this one really quickly as well, at the end of last year. It started out with the rigid kraut-y beat, then I layered up synths over the top. I was going to clubs quite a bit at the time and, although it’s not dance music, I wanted it to have a driving pulse and narcotic swells. Lyrically it’s about an infatuation with someone which borders on obsession.”

‘The Spark’
“One of the tracks on the album that I recorded with Matt Cousins, a friend and talented producer who I recorded a lot of the earlier tracks with. We had a lot of fun recording this one, stripping it right back to kick drum and Fender Rhodes, then messing around with pedals, loops and reversing things. I like the way it almost deconstructs in the middle, then builds back up again into a frenetic climax.”

‘Left Right’
“I wrote and recorded a lot of the album in solitude, which makes it very easy to procrastinate about what you’re doing. This song is basically me telling myself to just fucking get on with it. Like a lot of the album, I kept a lot of the original demo takes and re-amped them, because there’s an immediacy and excitement when you play something for the first time which is worth keeping hold of.”

‘Wounded Eyes’
“This was the last track I wrote for the album. I wanted to do something unashamedly smooth and poppy with shiny harmonies – I’m a sucker for a good vocal harmony. Elements of it remind me of Fleetwood Mac’s ’80s album ‘Tango In The Night’, which I love. Like a lot of the songs it started with a bassline and I built it up from there.”

“I had a bit of a crisis of confidence about halfway through making the album where I almost abandoned it. This track is about the magnetic pull of making music and the part it plays in your life – you get the bug and it becomes something you can’t do without. It features ace, relentless drumming from Lasse Petersen who played all the live drums on the record.”

‘From The Outside In’
“A friend told me my voice sounds like Sade on this one, which I take as a compliment. The name of the song and the album came from the author Malcolm Gladwell. In his book The Tipping Point he explains how people’s emotions can be influenced by how others behave around them; if I act happy around you that can make you happy, if I act sad around you then that can make you sad. He describes it as emotion going outside in. I like how that relates to music, which has the ability to make you ecstatically happy or painfully sad.”

‘You Throw An Astral Light On Me’
“This is quite dramatic and epic. It probably owes a debt to The Flaming Lips, who I’m a big fan of. I’d had the verse for a while but I could never find the right way for the song to develop. I came up with the rest of it when I was cycling somewhere – ideas often come to me when I’m on my bike for some reason, maybe it’s something to do with the motion. I’m that annoying dick singing into his phone as he cycles past you, for which I apologise.”