Formidable and full of raw, honest emotions, “Soak” is a six track journey through sadness that will lift you up and leave you feeling empowered. Kate Malanaphy’s latest project is brutally melancholic and awesomely expressive. Each song features Kate’s impressively emotive voice and piano creating an intimate and raw feeling to the recordings. There are also several other instruments on all the tracks, but while it can feel like well formed chaos at times and be difficult to discern what each individual instrument is, the sum of all these sounds wells up deep feelings of loss, heartbreak, and all around sadness. It might seem like my dwelling on how sad and emotional the album is as some sort of negative mark against the EP, but quite the opposite, I love it. Both versions of “Dirty Laundry” are melancholic and build to an amazing crescendo that is overwhelming and full of energy. “Naïve” and “Glue” are both about how we can often perceive ourselves in negative ways, finding flaws with ourselves where often it’s just how we find our way through life sometimes. “To Be Fair” starts with a peek behind the curtain moment where Kate asks if she can restart the recording. This moment feels so intimate and is another touch that makes this my favorite song on the EP. The lyrics of “To Be Fair” deal with a breakup, though not from the typical immediate aftermath/still happening perspective, but from “a very far post-breakup” point of view, according to the notes Kate sent me. I also love this note about the song “My parents really like it, so I did some takes in the studio where we recorded piano for the other songs, and we ended up keeping this one! You're welcome mom and dad (just kidding thank you if you're reading this I'm very grateful for your support this would not be possible without you I love you)!” “To Be Fair” and “Turning Blue” both have a feel of optimism and a hint of defiance, which really helps to balance out the entire EP, without these lighter touches the EP could have easily tilted too far into complete sadness and have become exhausting instead of leaving us on a more positive moment. “Soak” is pure, raw, and powerful. You can check out Kate Malanaphy’s “Soak” in full below and enjoy it for yourself.
(Melodic Noise) How's your day going?
(Kate Malanaphy) Not the best... woke up an hour and a half late for my morning job and didn't get the chance to make coffee so I'm kinda dead. But I'm going to the Science Museum for my afternoon job so I'm really looking forward to that!!
(MN) Band members?
(KM) Just me... I use she and they!
(MN) What is your origin story?
(KM) I had written in groups before, but I wrote my first song for my solo project the summer after my senior year of high school. I was chatting with a friend one night and they just casually wrote me a song. I was super impressed, but they assured me I could probably do the same, so I decided to give it a shot. I finished my song that week; it was called "Honey" and it ended up being my debut single as a solo artist! You can stream it just about anywhere ;-)
(KM) I don't even know haha.. lately I've been telling people "art pop," but I've also had people call me "classical pop" and "singer-songwriter."
(MN) What is the story behind the EP name?
(KM) "Soak" - When I was thinking about a name for this EP, I wanted to steer towards something that would kind of create an image, or call to mind an experience that paralleled both the emotional and sonic aspects of the EP. The music and production kind of remind me of water, and in the songs I've included on it, I do a lot of reflecting on and wallowing in my own feelings. I chose "Soak" because it conveys that notion of letting yourself sit and become fully submerged in whatever's surrounding you.
(MN) Lyrically what stands out on the album?
(KM) The thing that stands out to me about my lyrics is the imagery I use to convey how I'm feeling.
(MN) What was the inspiration behind the album?
(KM) I just write when I feel like I need to, so there's no single inspiration behind all the songs besides my angst!
(MN) What do you hope people take away from the album?
(KM) Personally, when I listen to very emotional music, I get a sense of solace purely because it helps me to understand that I'm not the only person feeling a certain way. Sometimes I even find out more about myself and my feelings through other people's music and perspective. I'd be very glad if my EP were to affect someone like this.
(MN) Is there something that connects the songs together?
(KM) There isn't really a deliberate connection between these songs, but I'd say that the use of piano on all of them definitely helps give them a sense of unity, as well as the emotional aspect as I mentioned before.
(MN) Are you a local or a transplant?
(KM) I'm from Hudson, Wisconsin but I've been a happy resident of St. Paul for the past two years!
(MN) Who are some of your influences and Minnesota influences?
(KM) My influences are largely not local; Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds, and Phoebe Bridgers are some of the biggest. I can't say that I draw much musical/writing influence from any local groups, but the production on the latest Happy Children and Baby Boys music was something I really loved (which is a big part of why I started working with Caleb from Normal Parents to make this EP!)
(MN) Favorite current Twin Cities artists?
(KM) Baby Boys, Laska, Why Not, Oftener, Juniper Douglas, 4th Curtis
(MN) What is your favorite venue to play & see shows in Twin Cities?
(KM) Honey Mpls is awesome. Small venue but it's got a great atmosphere and great food!!
(MN) What can fans expect when they come to your show?
(KM) I play solo or with minimal accompaniment, so it sounds much more stripped down than the EP does.
(MN) Do you have a favorite or crazy memory of playing a show?
(KM) I had a show at Acadia a while back. I was playing to a very small amount of people, most of which were my family and friends, and I was last, so I got to play some extra songs. One of these was the song Wagon Wheel, which my friend Bert requested I believe as a joke, but I actually knew it. So I played it, people were singing along, and it was super fun and wholesome!! I'll never forget it.
(MN) Who are your dream tourmates?
(KM) I'm having trouble coming up with a tour crew out of the blue, but I can't wait to tour with the folks in my band Keep for Cheap!! It's a really cool and easygoing group of people.
(MN) Other hobbies?
(KM) I like to draw/paint, embroider, and spend time outside!
(MN) What do you like about living in the Twin Cities?
(KM) I love the music/arts scene here, and I really like that there are a lot of bodies of water. I also like living close to my hometown; it makes it easy to see my family!
(MN) Anything that sets the Twin Cities scene apart from places you've toured?
(KM) I haven't toured :( hopefully I'll get to doing that next summer!
(MN) Favorite places to grab food or drink in the Twin Cities?
(KM) I don't go out to eat very often but my go-to is Black Sea because it's cheap, delicious, and within walking distance of my house!
(MN) Day jobs?
(KM) I've got two jobs this summer; I work at the Central Service Desk in the library of my school, Hamline University, doing (very basic) IT support and handling books. I also work with the McVay youth program, where I spend time with and mentor kids from low-income families. I'm a Music Associate at this job, meaning I focus heavily on engaging the youth in music-related activities.
(MN) What are your plans for the future?
(KM) My plans for this project are to just keep going with it. I hope to get touring next year, and my next release will hopefully be a full LP!
You can catch Kate Malanaphy live August 4th at the Fallout, and august 24th at a house venue. Readers will have to get in touch with Kate for the address of the 24th!
Review and Interview by: Andrew Perrizo
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