When getting in the car to drive around the block, I always need to have music on, even though I may not get to listen to even one song in its entirety. Putting on Mallrat's newest EP, Driving Music, completes any drive whether it's around the block, a road trip that spans hours, or on your way to school. For the best possible effect make sure you have at least 17 minutes to listen to the six-song EP in full, or on repeat.
This EP is a new side to Mallrat that we are now just getting to know. The EP speaks to her own life, with the leading single "Charlie" sharing a name with her golden labrador and writing "When I Get My Braces Off" for her sister. Music that is specifically about an artist's life allows the listener into their world, but it takes raw vulnerability for that to translate into the listener's own life and that is what Mallrat does throughout Driving Music.
I had the chance to chat with her a few weeks ago about Driving Music, the Australian music scene, and her favorite song to listen to while driving with others, since she doesn't have her license.
OTW: Your lead single, “Charlie”, is named after your dog. Would you say that you’re more of a dog person or a cat person?
Mallrat: I would say that I'm not a dog person or a cat person, because I love every animal so much. I'm more of a butterfly person or a horse girl or something. I don't like that I have to choose one. I literally love every animal and also, why does it matter what I like? Because they're all special and have their own place in the ecosystem.
OTW: The song “When I Get My Braces Off” was written with your sister in mind. What do you hope she and others her age take away from it?
Mallrat: There's no message. I just wanted something that she could listen to and feel proud of. Cause I feel like there aren't many songs for…what's the word I'm looking for? How would I describe my sister? Edgy? I would say more than edgy. Rough maybe. There aren't that many rough teenage girl songs. There are so many boy ones and I just thought it would be cool if she had a song for her.
OTW: Compared to your last EP, In The Sky, Driving Music has a bit of a softer, melancholic tone. Was that a conscious choice when making the EP or did it come about naturally?
Mallrat: Well, it definitely wasn't conscious. I guess it's just the music I was listening to probably came out in the songs, which was a lot of singer-songwriter stuff and gentle, more country music. Yeah, definitely. It's hard to say, but I honestly feel like In The Sky is more gentle than Driving Music.
OTW: Is your writing and producing process similar across your work, or does it change from song to song?
Mallrat: I would say that it changes song to song, because sometimes I produce it, but other people have produced some songs, as well. And that usually happens in sessions where I go and I am there with them producing it.
OTW: Do you have a favorite song on the EP? If so, why is it your favorite?
Mallrat: "Charlie" and "Drive Me Around" are my favorite, because I think the lyrics in "Charlie" are next level for me and "Drive Me Around" is my other favorite because I produced it and I'm really proud of the production; it's like my little baby.
OTW: What do you hope people who listen to the EP take away from it?
Mallrat: I don't care what they take away from it. I don't know how to answer that. I hope that they feel comforted by it. Or it reminds them of something or it's like glue with somebody else that they can connect over. I don't really…I don't really mind.
Photo: Jenn Five
OTW: Where did you pull inspiration from for Driving Music, whether that be from life happenings, other musicians, or collaborators?
Mallrat: Well, when I was writing it, I didn't really know what I was being inspired by. But now that I have finished it, and I can listen back to it with fresh ears, I think that Lorde's Pure Heroine album influenced a lot. And Paul Simon, the song "You Can Call Me Al," influenced the songwriting, especially on "Charlie." Also, I don't have my license, so a lot of my favorite moments with people that I care about involve them driving me around.
OTW: Being from Australia, did you experience any obstacles breaking into the US and/or European market?
Mallrat: I mean, I wouldn't really say that I've completely broken it yet, but I feel like I'm starting to break it with radio play and stuff. I have done a couple of support tours there now. So, I don't know. I can't really think of any obstacles. It's just kinda a tricky thing to do, but we're starting to do it so that's cool.
OTW: It seems as though the music scene in Australia is really taking off. Is there a large sense of community among Australian musicians?
Mallrat: I would say yes, because it's kind of a small community. But it's pretty healthy and very collaborative, and people I work with I am a fan of, so it's pretty cool.
OTW: What’s your all-time favorite song to listen to while driving?
Mallrat: My all-time favorite song to listen to while driving is "Drive" by Gretta Ray. But if I had my own car and I could drive, I would just listen to my own music in the car, because that would be really cool.