EXCLUSIVE: "I've got some songs that I've never played live before, so I thought I'd try them while I'm here!" - MAALA

Meg DSouza , 07 Jun 2017
MAALA | Source: Sony Music Entertainment
MAALA | Image Source: Sony Music Entertainment

Relatively new to the world of pop music, Evan Sinton aka MAALA is a singer-songwriter from the lush land of New Zealand and he’s been making waves with his awesome, moody and thoughtful tunes. Best known for his hits Touch, Kind Of Love, In My Head and his rather stellar stint on the second season of New Zealand’s Got Talent in 2012, he released his debut album titled “Composure” last year for which he snagged the Best Male Solo Artist trophy at the New Zealand Music Awards last year. He’s got a unique voice and a modern synth pop sound that captivates right from the start.

Have a listen!

We’re hooked to him and lucky for Team MissMalini, we got an exclusive one-on-one with rising electro-pop sensation just a day before he kicks off his first ever tour of India.

Team MissMalini: Hey Evan! Welcome to India! Is this your first visit here?
Evan/MAALA: Hey… Thank you! Yes, it is my first time here. I just got to Bangalore last night (Monday night). I’ve flown about 17 hours… So I’m terribly tired. But it’s so exciting. It’s been one day here and it’s sunny and lovely!

Team MM: What are you expecting on your trip?
M: It’s tricky you know… People keep asking what I’m expecting and I have no idea! It’s so different already and I’m going in blind.

Team MM: Any particular things to do, food to try, places to see on your itinerary?
M: I’m a foodie so I’m really looking to try some different food — I’m in the right place for it! Hopefully after the shows I’ll have an opportunity to check out some of the palaces near Delhi… So that will be fun!

Team MM: What do you know about Indian music? Bollywood, pop, etc?
M: I’m slowly making my way through a long list that I’ve been given of Bollywood music and indie artists. You can hear the similarities but there’s also so different. It’s so fun to absorb a different kind of culture.

Team MM: Do you think this trip may influence any music you write while on this tour or after?
M: Yes! Exactly… I’m hoping I’ll have a flash of inspiration {chuckles}.

Team MM: We’re so psyched to see you play your songs live… What kind of set up are we getting treated to on your India tour?
M: My music is electronic pop, so I’ve got all my buttons on stage. I’ll be screaming at y’all and playing a whole bunch of my music. I’ve been writing my 2nd album and I’ve got some new songs that I’ve never played live before, so I thought I’d try them while I’m here!

Team MM: Score! Can’t wait to hear the new tunes! Any chance you’re going to be bringing out your guitar?
M: It’s pretty upbeat. I’m going for a party vibe!

Team MM: Mmmm… Just what we like! What was the first song you ever wrote called? What was it about?
M: Gosh! It’s seriously embarrassing {laughs}. Well… I wrote a song on my guitar when I was 10 years old, called Pinkman… That was probably the first full one I did. I have no idea what it was about! It was a bunch of random words but I quite liked the idea of a pink man and that’s about as far of a concept as it had. It was pretty rock and heavy!

MAALA | Image Source: Sony Music India
MAALA | Image Source: Sony Music Entertainment

Team MM: What artists have you looked upto, as a songwriter?
M: It’s always changing, but what sorta got me really digging music when I was a young teen was more of that classic rock sound — Led Zeppelin, Jeff Buckley – and artists that have these massive voices. But nowadays, especially with the new electronic sound, I love Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar.

Team MM: What about as a performer?
M: For me, performing is almost secondary. I feel like I’m a song-writer first. I’m terribly shy and so I like to showcase more of a musical side than a theatrical. I’m not so much of a Robert Plant live. Alot of the musicians I grew up listening to were all guitarists – Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl — very charismatic artists. I’ve always taught myself and I’ve honed my sound and singing over the years. Sometimes when I look back at those New Zealand’s Got Talent performance, I go like “Oh Gosh… Evan stop shouting!”. Live, I bring that sort of energy, which is different when I’m recording the album – Live, it’s very much about that moment and my perspective of the song at the time.

Team MM: We’re super keen to know what your experience on New Zealand’s Got Talent was like — Bet there’s nothing like it, in terms of getting your name to the right people in the industry, for networking and for just getting your name and voice some major airplay. But artistically, did it help you develop your craft/talent?
M:  Honestly, not so much artistically. It is exactly what it looks like — It’s a TV show. It’s entertaining and it’s upto the contestants to show their creativity and musicianship. You get a couple of shots at it on TV, and then that’s it! It was a weird process. As soon as the show finished was when I had to switch on, use my brain and think outside the box.

Team MM: Well, we wouldn’t say that. Your versions of “Blackbird” and “Bang Bang” (by Nancy Sinatra) were super!
M: Thank you so much! At the time, it was so strange because it wasn’t something that I was thinking about too much about. I just sort of went “Oh hey! That’d be fun to try..” and I went with it.

Team MM: We’ve read that you got the name MAALA from a thoughtful jumble of scrabble letters… Bet you had some other names on the list! What would you be called if not MAALA?
M: I have a terrible memory and they were all so random… But I loved the letter A. So I had to make sure it had to be featured alot and I reckon that’s where MAALA came from. I’m in love with letter A.

Team MM: Favourite song you’ve written and why?
M: There’s a track on my first album called Forget About You — When I wrote it, it struck a chord the most. It’s a break-up song and it was a good song to kind of help with closure.

Team MM: You’ve supported FLUME on his tour? If you could choose an artist, living or dead, to open for you or tour with you… Who would it be?
M: OH GOSH! Kanye would be amazing. Chet Faker aka Nick Murphy would be awesome! If we were doing like a throwback, Elvis would be all kinds of epic!

Team MM: What are you listening to these days? Any current underground artists in the NZ or global scene we should be getting on board with?
M: I should support and shoutout to my local scene — There’s a band called LEISURE from Auckland (New Zealand) and Matthew Young is probably the most talented New-Zealander I know… Gotta give these guys a listen!

Team MM: If a movie was made about you, which leading actor would you cast to play your part?
M: Oooooooh… I’d probably go with Kevin Spacey! I just finished the new season of House Of Cards and he’s amazing! I’d want a super boss dude to play me ;)

Team MM: Game time Evan! Let’s play a round of “Would You Rather”…
M: Let’s do it!
Team MM: … Wear wet underwear or dirty underwear forever?
M: Wet
Team MM: … Change things from your past or be able to see your future?
M: {Thinks…} Change things from my past. But if I was allowed, I’d say neither.
Team MM: … live near the mountains or on a beach?
M: The mountains… I’m way more of a ‘green’ guy.
Team MM: … have a third eye or a third arm?
M: A third eye, but maybe not on the front of my face. One at the back of my head maybe!
Team MM: … wear someone else’s underwear or use a used toothbrush?
M: Oh NO! Gosh… NO TRUTHBRUSH! It’s gotta be someone else’s underwear! Definitely…. What would you do?!
Team MM: Use someone’s toothbrush! Toothpaste might help in getting the used-ness off of it! And with that we’re off… Thank you for your time Evan! Have a great tour and we’re definitely going to see you at the show!
M: Awesome! It’s been lovely talking to you and see you soon!

MAALA India Tour 2017 presented by Sony Music India & Vh1 India
MAALA India Tour 2017 presented by Sony Music India & Vh1 India | Image Source: Sony Music Entertainment
MAALA starts his India Tour on the 7th of June 2017 in Bangalore at Koramangala Social with shows in Todi Mill Social (Mumbai) and antiSOCIAL Hauz Khas Village (Delhi) to follow on the 8th & 9th of June respectively. The tour is presented by the fabulous folks at Sony Music India and Vh1. Click here to visit his website and click to follow him on Facebook, Soundcloud, YouTube and Twitter.
Comment and tell us if we’ll be seeing you at the concert!

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