THE MARÃAS RELEASE THEIR HIGHLY ANTICIPATED ALBUM ‘CINEMA’
On their highly-anticipated debut album Cinema, The MarÃas provide listeners an escape into a dynamic world that is alluring and mysterious while equally charming and inviting. In dreaming up their first full-length, frontwoman MarÃa Zardoya and multi-instrumentalist producer Josh Conway mined inspiration from such hyper-imaginative filmmakers as Pedro AlmodÃ³var, achieving an untamed emotionality that acutely amplifies the most intimate of feelings. When met with the exquisite nuance of their soundâ€”the lavish textures, shapeshifting percussion, lyrics sung in both English and Spanishâ€”the result is a body of work that bends reality and heightens the senses to glorious effect.
Co-produced by Conway and Zardoya and recorded in the coupleâ€™s L.A. apartment, Cinema embodies an eclectic aesthetic fitting for a band who cites influences as broad as Tom Waits and Bad Bunny. But while the album fully echoes their prismatic sensibilitiesâ€”Zardoya gravitates toward R&B and Latin music, Conway leans toward rock-and-roll and psychedeliaâ€”each song spotlights the sophisticated musicality
All throughout Cinema, The MarÃas reveal this undeniable gift for the elaborate specificity of world-building. After opening on the lush and swooning string arrangement of â€œJust A Feeling,â€ the album morphs into the moody urgency of â€œCalling U Backâ€â€”an anti-breakup song that transforms a moment of private longing into something fantastically glamorous
Another thrilling new leap for the band, â€œUn MillÃ³nâ€ finds The MarÃas expanding their sonic palette with the potent rhythms of reggaeton (a style of music Zardoya heard often when returning to her birthplace of Puerto Rico to visit family). â€œMarÃa introduced me to reggaeton a long time ago, and Iâ€™ve always been curious to see what it would sound like to bring that very unique approach to production and songwriting into our world,â€ says Conway. One of several songs in Spanish on Cinemaâ€”whose title The MarÃas deliberately chose based on its shared meaning across multiple languagesâ€”â€œUn MillÃ³nâ€ unfolds in swaying beats, spellbinding melodies, and lyrics expressing a tender affection for Zardoyaâ€™s homeland. â€œI wanted to pay homage to the island and its music and people, so in the song Iâ€™m calling out some of the places I used to go visit with my family when I was little,â€ says Zardoya.
In keeping with Cinemaâ€™s silver-screen grandeur, The MarÃas adorned the tracklist with a number of instrumental interludes that return to the same deeply evocative melodic motif. As they draw the listener further into the albumâ€™s atmosphere, Conway and Zardoya journey through a whole spectrum of emotion, taking on a raw intensity on tracks.
MarÃa, you gravitate toward R&B and Latin music; while Josh leans toward rock-and-roll and psychedelia. How do you blend these diverse sounds into a cohesive musical suite?
MARÃA: We go into each writing session with an open mind and just go where the music wants to take us. And even though we have such different influences and grew up listening to different types of music, when weâ€™re creating together, it just works. And I think itâ€™s to our advantage that weâ€™re drawn to different types of music, because it makes the process that much more interesting and we always have something to learn from each other.
JOSH: Itâ€™s really about finding the common denominators. Finding the sounds, melodies and lyrics we both like – and not just one of us – is the â€˜blendâ€™ process. Or, if Maria doesnâ€™t love the heavy distortion guitar line, weâ€™ll try blending it with something smoother and dreamier which creates a whole new sound overall. Itâ€™s a lot of fun.
Also those genres were what we both were listening to before we met, but our musical tastes have grown so much together since then and that plays a huge role in the sound of The MarÃas.
In dreaming up CINEMA, you mined inspiration from filmmakers such as Pedro AlmodÃ³var. What inspires you most about him and how do you feel you honor his work?
MARÃA: The thing that most inspires me aboutâ€‹ Almodovarâ€™s work is his attention to detail and freedom. Each scene in any of his films can be a beautiful image on its own. His subtle use of red in almost every frame reflects this attention to detail. Nothing is shot that hasnâ€™t been drawn up in his mind. I strive to have this same level of detail in our music and in our visuals. His choices of plots, story and casting also have this level of freedom that I wish to have in all areas of my life. He took a lot of chances and was OK with not playing it safe.
When you and Josh first met, you began writing music together for potential film and television placements. Is this something you had had your sights on previously? What is a film you would have loved to have produced music for?
MARÃA: Not at all. It was a serendipitous thing that just kind of stumbled in our laps that weâ€™ll be eternally grateful for. It happened at the very beginning of our careers as creative partners and set the stage for everything that happened next. I would have loved to write the soundtrack for films like Garden State, Virgin Suicides and the 90â€™s Romeo and Juliet.
If you could imagine a new movie for which you create the soundtrack, what would the movie be about?
MARÃA: My movie would definitely be a love story, with a lot of beautiful moments, a lot of drama and also a lot of comedy. Maybe a movie about unrequited love. It would take place in the late 90s or early 2000s. Maybe a love story where the lovers thought the world was going to end when the millennium started. I donâ€™t know â€“ something silly but also romantic and dramatic. I think this encapsulates The MarÃas as a whole.
MarÃa, you were born in Puerto Rico and raised primarily in Atlanta. Do you remember the music you grew up listening to? How would you describe the first songs you wrote?
MARÃA: I grew up listening to a lot of Latin music from both of my parents and through my diverse group of friends who were from all parts of Latin America. Weâ€™d share artists and songs with each other of artists from our home countries. I also loved going out and dancing, and Iâ€™d be introduced to a lot of music that way too. But, also being from the south, I listened to a lot of country music. I remember making a mixed CD that jumped from a Wisin y Yandel song to a Lonestar song. The music that I most gravitated towards, regardless of genre, was the music that simply put me in my feels and had a lot of soul.
I read that after winning $5,000 in a costume contest, you bought a car and drove from your familyâ€™s home in Georgia to Los Angeles in hopes of launching your music career. This is such a bold decision! How did your family support you in your journey and process?
MARÃA: My family has always entertained my crazy ideas, and I think they always knew that I could never live in a small town and had my sights set on a career in entertainment. I donâ€™t think they were surprised. Of course, they tried to convince me to stay in Georgia because family and community is so important to us, but in the end, they understood.
Josh, I saw that you joined your first band at the age of 12 and quickly became enmeshed in the L.A. rock scene. What about Rock music inspires you? What do you hope to evoke in your music?
JOSH: Rock music doesnâ€™t really inspire me as much as it used to. I still listen to a few bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Nirvana when Iâ€™m feeling a certain type of way, but rock music for me now is mostly nostalgic and less inspirational. But Queens of the Stone Age and Nirvana still inspire me. I hope to evoke emotion in music. Hopefully some songs make you feel cool, some make you want to cry and everything in between. Depends on the song really.
Josh â€“ what did it mean to you to be recognized by the GRAMMYâ€™s for â€œBest Engineered Albumâ€?
JOSH: It felt absolutely surreal when I found out. It still does. Itâ€™s such an honor to be recognized by the Grammyâ€™s, especially for a category that means so much to me. The hardest part about making CINEMA for me was making it sound good, and it feels amazing to be acknowledged for that!
What does Latinx solidarity mean to you?
MARÃA: Iâ€™ve always found it important to show the world where I came from and show glimpses of my familyâ€™s culture. But I think whatâ€™s the most special to me throughout my career so far is seeing how many Latin fans come to the shows. I want them all to feel the love and be proud of their cultures, too.
If you could organize your own festival, who would you want to perform with?
MARÃA: Bad Bunny, Billie Eilish, Erykah Badu, RosalÃa, Beach House, Homeshake, L’ImpÃ©ratrice, Radiohead, Khruangbin, Don Omar, Men I Trust, the list could go on and on.
JOSH: Dâ€™Angelo, Tame Impala, and Kendrick Lamar would be my headliners for sureâ€¦
Interviewed and Edited by SHIRLEY REYNOZO @moyamusic_
Art Director Carlos Graciano @sadpapi666
Photographer Peter Nikolai
Fashion Editor: Harper Slate @harperslate
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