Track by Track: Maribou State – ‘Kingdoms In Colour’

07.09.18

Following the global sucess of 2015's 'Portraits', it's fair to say that Chris Davids and Liam Ivory aka Maribou State had a lot to live up to on their second record. It's lucky, then, that 'Kingdoms In Colour' is a widescreen offering packed with soulful house, organic sounds and tender yet danceable sonics that set the duo further on the course of greatness.

Listen to the full album below, and read their account of how each track was formed.

‘Beginners Luck’

“‘Beginners Luck’ was the result of a new approach to writing music for this album. We had never tried to write in a live environment before; so we got together with our drummer and started jamming ideas. The very first idea to come together from this session was ‘Beginners Luck’, hence the name.”

‘Kingdom’

“Kingdom came from a writing session with our friend and longtime collaborator Jack Sibley. We removed ourselves from the distractions of everyday life and set up a temporary studio in the Cotswolds. The isolation helped us explore the darker side to our creative process. The track contains a myriad of different themes, but the underlying concept is survival.” 

‘Turnmills’

“In April 2016 we played an all-night DJ set at a now-closed East London club called Shapes (which just happened to be below our studio). We were inspired by the reactions from the crowd to the music we were playing, and the following morning we channeled some of that inspiration into the initial idea for ‘Turnmills’ (at that time called ‘Judge Jules on a Friday night at Visage’). The idea started through improvising on a Roland Juno-60 mic’d up through a guitar amp, which we recorded and then spliced up to create the main baseline which runs through the track. The track then took us nearly two years to finish.”

‘Nervous Tics’

“‘Nervous Tics’ always felt like the Frankenstein moment of the album due to all the unorthodox parts that were glued together during the process. The final result was something that felt cohesive and exciting to us. The lyrics from Holly are about the low-lying panic of modern life. We’re all on our phones getting terrible news headlines and hyperreal Instagram images live-streamed into our brains, and it’s making us jumpy. This song is the realisation that no amount of mindful breathing or downward dog can replace some good old fashioned human contact and emotion.”

‘Glasshouses’

“The idea for ‘Glasshouses’ started while travelling in Kerela, India. The main guitar motif was written while travelling on a houseboat, inspired by the surroundings and the music that was being played along the riverbanks and by the villages we passed.  The riff was then fleshed out once we returned to the UK, with Holly Walker writing lyrics. We really wanted to find a way to collaborate and include our friends on the record, so invited them in to sing Holly’s lyrics together as a choir in the later stage of the recording process.”

‘Part Time Glory’

“Part Time Glory was inspired by a stay at Pikes Hotel in Ibiza with a group of friends. The song became about living for the moment and surrounding yourself with the right people.

The track began with a drum loop we had recorded on our reel-to-reel tape machine, which we then layered up with a guitar melody to create the spine of the track. The intention was to create something really cinematic on the record. The use of Stringed and Brass instruments give the track a triumphant air, which was also reflected in the tone of the lyrics.”

‘Feel Good’

“We first heard Khruangbin in late 2015. We became instant fans and invited them to support us at Koko in London. We subsequently became friends and promised to try and collaborate in the future.

The track was written over a number of writing sessions with individual members of the band, which all culminated to form ‘Feel Good’ – which we decided would be the first official single from the new album.”

‘Slow Heat’

“Slow Heat was the first track we wrote for this body of work that was intended for full Holly Walker vocals. For us it was exploration into new territories, crossing new tempos, time signatures, and rhythms. For Holly, it was living minute to minute – about being free and joyful no matter what happened yesterday.”

"Slow Heat is about trying to shake off regret and live like a four-year-old!” says Holly.

‘Vale’

“Our first-ever live performance was at Maida Vale in March 2015. We were there to record two tracks from our debut album ‘Portraits’ for BBC Radio 1. In between recordings Chris was playing around with a guitar riff which was recorded onto a phone during the session. We kept coming back to it over the next 12 months, and the riff ended up forming the backbone of Vale. It was the first track for the album that was completed in the London studio, where the rest of ‘Kingdoms In Colour’ was eventually created.”

‘Kāma’

“Kāma is proof that it’s not always the path of least resistance that prevails, and persistence often bears the fruit. We battled with blocks, both creative, and in the water pipes, in the day leading up to writing it. We were almost at the point of giving up, but pushed on a little longer and finally hit upon a moment of clarity. The sound of the track reflects the energy in the room when it finally came together.”

Here's where to catch the band this year and the next:

Maribou State Live in 2018
10/10 O2 Academy 2, Liverpool, UK 
11/10 Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK 
12/10 Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, UK 
13/10 The Art School, Glasgow, UK 
16/10 O2 Academy 2, Oxford, UK 
17/10 Concorde 2, Brighton, UK 
18/10 The Roundhouse, London, UK
14/11 Zonnehuis, Amsterdam, NL
15/11 Badaboum, Paris, FR
17/11 Saalchen, Berlin, DE

Maribou State Live in 2019
12/02 U Street Music Hall, Washington DC
13/02 Elsewhere, New York, US
14/02 Brighton Music Hall, Boston, US
15/02 Le Belmont, Montreal, CA
16/02 Velvet Underground, Toronto, CA 
18/02 Lincoln Hall, Chicago, US 
19/02 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, US 
22/02 Neumos, Seattle, US 
23/02 Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, CA
24/02 Holocene, Portland, US 
27/02 The Catalyst Atrium, Santa Cruz, US
28/02 Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, US 
01/03 The Roxy Theatre, Los Angeles, US 
07/03 O2 Academy Brixton, London, UK 
08/03 O2 Academy Bristol, Bristol, UK
09/03 Albert Hall, Manchester, UK 
14/03 CBE, Cologne, DE
15/03 Festaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, DE
16/03 MeetFactory, Prague, CZ
17/03 Grelle Forelle, Vienna, AT
19/03 Smolna, Warsaw, PL
20/03 Uebel & Gerfahrlich, Hamburg, DE
21/03 Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DK 
22/03 Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL
25/03 Mascotte, Zurich, CH
26/03 AB Box, Brussels, BE