- Words Mike Vinti
Argentine-born and London-raised, Malena Zavala offers a lavish new take on the DIY world with her sun-soaked ballads, we catch up with the singer-songwriter for this week's Internet Crush
Social media has changed the way we interact with our favourite artists. More than just musicians, they’re now personalities, people we can interact with on the daily. Now more than ever we’re aware that musicians are pretty normal people, they just have a weird job. Every week we get to know one of our favourite SoundCloud heroes, internet dating style, in our new column, Internet Crush.
There are a lot of songwriters in the world but there’s almost no one like Malena Zavala. Born in Argentina but raised in Britain her music is a psychedelic fusion of Latin American rhythms, dreamy West Coast pop and off-kilter folk ala Devendra Banhart. Her debut album Aliso, which she wrote, recorded and produced entirely herself, is anything other than lo-fi. Rich in tone and deep with melody it’s a journey into a world that exists only in Malena’s mind, a utopian combination of London, Argentina, Spain and California.
Malena is responsible for all of her own artwork and videos as well, which, often shot on a handheld camera and packed with snippets of Malena’s life and memories, offer more of an insight into her deliberately DIY world. We’re hooked on it all and if you’re looking for an escape from the endless drizzle you’d be hard-pressed to find a much better way to spend your afternoon watching her videos and immersing yourself in Malena’s self-created paradise. Aliso landed last month and ahead of its official launch at the Bermondsey Social Club next week we caught up with Malena for this week’s Internet Crush.
What’s something that no one knows about Argentina that they should?
This thing called Chipa that you get in the north of Argentina. It’s a sort of cheese bread thing. Best thing on this earth.
Kevin Parker or Devendra Banhart?
Your music inspired by a lot of locations – Argentina, California, Malaga – where’s would be your dream place to record/live?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Definitely a place by the sea to record, big windows, lots of sun, all my gear. I’ve got my eye on Barcelona at the moment, but this might change.
Did you set out to write and produce the record yourself or did it just happen that way?
Totally set out to do it myself. I think at that time I sort of had to start life from scratch, so I really had to prove to myself that I could do it.
You’re making a lot of your videos as well – where does the inspiration for them come from?
I’ve always made films, and that comes hand in hand with the music. Each song started with visuals that fed its development. It was either one of my film photos or a memory or mood in my mind. Then after the music video would be the visual representation of the music.
Who do you roll with?
I’m super lucky to be surrounded by great musicians and creatives. My bro on skype, my bandmates, Label mates and loads of wonderful creative women in London who I love to make things with. My parents are chill too.
Probably a soft blood orange colour.
Don’t have just one. Do love a psychological sci-fi though.
What’s your star sign?
Have you ever been in love?
Have you ever had your heartbroken?
How do you deal with a broken heart?
Write a whole album?… Nah I sleep a lot, then exercise a lot, then I try and become really awesome at something. I sort of picked up guitar that way.
Last book you read:
First single/album you ever bought?
Christina Aguilera – Stripped. Oh yeah.
First band/act you ever went to see live?
It’s too embarrassing to say.
Me riding my tricycle into my garage in Argentina. I must have been about 2.
What do you do in your spare time?
Go to shows, see friends, watch films, write music.
Are you a morning or evening person?
Definitely evening person.
First song you ever wrote?
Favourite song of your own?
They’re all my babies. My favourite one is always the newest one I write.
“Tu imagen me llegó a las seis menos diez y no pude dormir ni un instante después. te confundías con mis sábanas, te me enredabas en la sien.” – Silvio Rodriguez. In English, it translates to “Your image came to me at ten to six, and I couldn’t sleep, not even a moment later. I confused you with my sheets; you entangled my mind.” It sounds better in Spanish haha.