Interview with Mauvelle

Melissa Hollick and Joe Sullivan are Mauvelle, an electronic duo hailing from Birmingham. With a multitude of tracks under their belt and support from the likes of BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio, we’re pretty excited about what the future holds for these two. We caught up with both of them to discuss everything from breakfast to influences.

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
Hey! We’re great thank you. We’re currently writing a new song and playing around with various synth sounds. I think we’ve just found the one.
 
What did you have for breakfast?
We both had Marmite on toast! Lots of Marmite on toast.
 
How did Mauvelle form?
Melissa: We have been writing songs on and off together for years whilst doing our own music separately. One day we just thought ‘Why haven’t we made this official!?’
Joe: We met when we were 14/15 and I haven’t been able to shake her off me since.
 
Where did you get your name from?
Melissa: My hair has been lilac/mauve pastel coloured for a few years and it’s a colour we both really like so we initially called ourselves Mauve, however we wanted to make it a bit more original. Mauvelle felt right.
Joe: Yeah, but Mel has had her hair all kinds of colours over the years. We could have been called Pinkvelle or Greenvelle… But Mauvelle took first place.
 
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
We find it’s hard to put an exact stamp on our style because each song has it’s own sound and story. Alternative Pop is the bracket we’d fall into if you had to describe it, sort of Pop but with an electronic ambient edge.
 
What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?
Kate Bush – The Whole Story
Crowded House – The Very Best Of Crowded House
Peace – In Love
Enya – Paint The Sky With Stars
The Cure – The Greastest Hits
 
What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?
Oh Land because of her wonderful catchy electronic melodies and she really puts on a great visual show live.
Agnes Obel because her songs will send you into a dreamy trance, so beautiful.
The Struts because Luke Spiller’s vocals are incredible. it feels like Freddie Mercury has come back to life through him.
 
What were the key influences that made you want to start making music?
Melissa: We’ve both been writing music since we were really young. I actually started by writing poems and then a while later grabbing my guitar and putting the words into songs. I don’t play my guitar as much nowadays; I’m definitely more into my piano and synths.
Joe: It couldn’t be further from what I listen to now, but growing up I listened to a lot of pop/rock, which got me interested in playing the drums. From then, guitar took over. As I started introducing myself to more genres of music, it was then that I started feeling inspired. It also got me very keen on the recording/production aspect of music, when I combined the two concepts of both writing and recording my own music, I felt unstoppable… 
 
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
Melissa: I was performing solo for quite a few years before me and Joe created the duo. My best gig was performing on The Symphony Hall stage in Birmingham to over 2000 people. I only sang one of my songs but the acoustics in there are incredible and it was a gig I’ll never forget!
Joe: You had to come to her first. I can’t top that!
 
What’s the worst gig you have ever done and why?
We don’t want to name and shame, but it has to be one of those pub gigs where they just don’t cater for bands who own anything more than a guitar. Our set up is just a little bit more complex than that and even though you tell them beforehand, you turn up and they seem dumbfounded.
 
Do you have any weird pre-gig rituals?
Is worrying a ritual? Because we do that an awful lot!
 
Who would you most like to go on tour with? 
Melissa: Oh Land. She is magical. I think Joe will agree with me on this one.
Joe: Yeah I do agree with Mel, Oh Land would be great. Also Alt-J – That would be fantastic!
 
What are your guilty listening pleasures?
Melissa: ABBA – In fact I’m not even ashamed! Björn and Benny are two very clever writers. It’s my favourite music to drive too.
Joe: It’s got to be Crowded House, I feel like a Dad listening to it, but I am in absolute awe with Neil Finn’s Songwriting. What a guy!
 
Out of the tracks that you’ve released, which one’s your baby?
Melissa: Bricks & Blocks. I love playing this one live on my Mini Nova, we usually make this one our last song.
Joe: Silk. It makes me want to fall asleep. I feel like I’m whirling around a giant washing machine on a short cycle.
 
And finally, If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

Melissa: Really difficult because I’ve never even contemplated not being one. I would still love to keep in the creative field and maybe go into Photography… I would also absolutely love to work with animals. Maybe photographing animals?
Joe: I would definitely like to be involved in film, perhaps in the filming/editing stage, I wouldn’t fancy myself an actor, I’ve got more of a face for radio.
 
Check out Silk below:
 
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