So Below

Photo by Nina Jordan

Photo by Nina Jordan

By Poppy Tohill

Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin. Packed with heavy synths, ghostly-altered vocals and a beat you just can’t help but move your feet to, we caught up with Maddie for a chat about her fast-growing musical endeavour and what is yet to come in the world of So Below..

Written with the help of producer and friend, Brad Hale who she describes as “the nicest person on the planet” and fellow kiwi, Chelsea Jade, “the best lyricist I’ve ever met,” Maddie also reveals the popular Netflix series Stranger Things had a hand in influencing the darker, edgier tones of Ruin, a self-described five minute banger that is about relying on the people that always tend to let you down. “We wrote it just after watching Stranger Things, so we were kind of on that darker kick already, we just delve even deeper and darker into it,” she explained.

“When I go into a room and write with other people it always tends to start with a beat or some chords,” Maddie speaks of her songwriting process. When it came to Hard, she revealed it was the chorus that came first. “The ‘we push so hard’ line popped into my head and we went on to craft the song around that idea, but usually the process will be chords first, followed by the melody and then the lyrics.”

Whilst just a matter of months between releases,  the edgier undertones of Ruin highlight an obvious honing of crafts. From North’s creative songwriting talents to an undeniable increase in vocal maturity. “During recording my first EP last year, I would always demand more reverb in the microphone when singing so I didn’t have to hear my voice,” she explained with a laugh. “I definitely project a lot more throughout Ruin, and I think if anything, my vocal style has evolved and there’s a lot more confidence there now.”

With Ruin recently featuring on Spotify’s Emerging Playlist, a smokin,’ spooky video on the way and a New Zealand On Air Grant for follow up single Close under her belt, So Below not only kickstarted 2017 off with the support slot for kiwi favourites The Naked & Famous, but also set out on her very own headline tour throughout the UK in February and March.

“It was really fun!” she tells us of the experience. “The response to the shows was really cool. I had people coming up to me afterwards and saying really nice stuff, so it was definitely a very rewarding experience. I had two British boys from Nottingham in my band and my manager also lives over there, so I got to meet a lot of cool people and it was just a really fun trip, I can’t wait to go back!”

Admitting that the final London show of the tour was her favourite, not to it mention being sold out and on her birthday nonetheless, Maddie also confirmed that we kiwis can definitely look forward to some shows and possible festival dates throughout the summer, along with the release of another EP early in the year [EXCITE].

Speaking of travelling, we talk about her time spent in Los Angeles and the ‘fakeness’ that comes with living in such a big city. “There’s a lot of fakeness, which is a bit jarring at first but once you get past that and realise everyone here is climbing that creative ladder, or trying to climb that ladder, you can accept that fakeness and everything is a little easier. People here are still very nice and friendly, but it’s definitely very different to New Zealand.”

While we wait in anticipation for the Ruin music video, Maddie was kind enough to fill us in on her forthcoming single Close, a track we can expect to hear before the year is done. “I wrote that one with Chelsea Jade and Sam McCarthy. I’d say it’s the most upbeat song I’ve made to date, it’s very poppy and super upbeat, but the lyrics are still depressing, so don’t worry, it still retains some of my depressiveness,” she chuckled.

🌹\\ 3 FUN FACTS ABOUT EVERYONE’S NEW FAVOURITE: SO BELOW // 🌹

I. I really like the Backstreet Boys ⚡️

II. I really like Murder She Wrote 🔫

III. One day I’m going to marry Jake Gyllenhaal 💍