We sat down with Madil Hardis, who I discovered through Sounds & Shadows (thanks Ken Magerman), and I immediately thought: “wow, this is unlike something I ever heard before”. Such a voice, such production! For the 20th Anniversary covers Madil picked the song “Lost At Sea”, the reasons for, she explains below in the interview and in this short video.
Madil Hardis combines classical and electronic elements with ethereal vocals and can be described as deep and soulful Weltschmerz music, sometimes slow, sometimes faster but always full of intensity and emotion.
Her most popular releases include the singles Slow Kill and Summers Lost. And lately with tracks like ‘Carry Me Away’ and ‘Make Up For Lost Time’. Recently I also noticed Madil’s production going in the direction of including more electronica & beats. So, it was a no-brainer for me to ask Madil Hardis, but with a very tiny heart admittedly!
“What drew you to pick the song ‘Lost At Sea’? And were there any other options on the table you were thinking about”
Madil: When I listened to the songs available for covering, I had two favourites right away: ‘Lost At Sea (feat. Mari Kattman)’ and ‘Aftermath (feat. Ellia Bisker)’. I wish I could’ve worked on both songs. With ‘Lost At Sea’, I felt an immediate connection, and it hit a nerve. Inspiration was flowing very naturally, and that’s how I ultimately made my choice in favour of this song. For me, ‘Lost At Sea’ is all about the confusion and noise of the world, of losing yourself in all of it, of never knowing if you will find your way back out.
Yves Schelpe (Psy’Aviah): I am honestly very happy you picked up this challenging vocal song, and stripped it down. It really sheds a whole new light on the song on how you slowed it down, and introduced minimalism into it. It’s dark, but light at the same time. And about the motivation of the song, you are absolutely right – it was written from a cry for help when feeling lost in this world…
“What did you think of the concept: letting bands ‘be themselves’ instead of letting them do just another remix? Were there times you had doubts about doing such a thing – as cover versions are sometimes looked down upon by some people?”
Madil: I actually love covering songs – especially when they’re a little bit outside the mainstream. So I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve recently covered ‘Don’t Leave Me’ by She Hates Emotions and ‘Spiders’ by Ashbury Heights, and have a Deine Lakaien cover in the works. So I feel on familiar ground here. Of course, covering someone else’s song is always a unique sort of adventure, and the process depends on how you connect musically and lyrically to the original artist.
“What I love about your production is the general atmosphere, the use of pads, and intricate layered parts that gradually build up toward a grand sound. I don’t even know what kind of genre I would label you, and to me that is a good thing! But, In what way did you go about making the song sound like ‘MADIL HARDIS’? What parts of the original did you feel you need to throw away, and what did you add yourself for example?”
Madil: With covers, I always try to get to the core of how and why I connect to a song. Then I decide what arrangement I’d like to go for. My goal usually would be to try and show a different facet of the musical material I’m working with – something that maybe is not as audible or prominent in the original track and deserves to be in the spotlight. In this case, I was aiming to create a song with reduced arrangement but same intensity. ‘Lost At Sea’ spoke to me on many levels – I absolutely adore the chorus and the build-up to it. So it was very important to me to achieve a similar climax towards the chorus and end of the song, like in the original. I wanted to give the track a sirenlike, hypnotic feel with lots of space and room for the audience to lose themselves in, to get swept away.
I think my music generally has an ethereal sort of quality, and so does my version of ‘Lost At Sea’.
“How was the experience for you to pull apart the original vocals as sung by Mari Kattman on this track and make them your own?”
Madil: When I cover a song, I try to avoid listening too much to the original singer, especially when it’s such a talented and expressive vocalist as Mari. It’s just too tempting to imitate the original! A song like ‘Lost At Sea’ is essentially perfect exactly as it is – and so my approach was to try something very different. I listened just enough to feel the emotional and musical message of the song, and to learn the melody and words. I was actually happy once I had completed the cover because now I was allowed again to listen as much as I wanted to the original with Mari’s vocals on it!
“Say, another universe, would you have written a song like this yourself – both in lyrics and music? Or does this stray too far away from your original concept as a songwriter?”
Madil: I think when you recreate a song, and it flows as easily and intuitively as was the case here, that implies a sort of kinship between the original artists and yourself. I do enjoy covering a song now and then that feels really out of my comfort zone, as it forces you to discover facets of yourself you didn’t know you had. In this case, it felt simply very natural and just wonderfully immersive to work with Yves’ music. I hope we will work together some more in the future.
Yves Schelpe (Psy’Aviah): I felt that same connection I must say when at first I discovered and heard your music, Madil! It’s why I asked you, as I already hinted at in the introduction – but with a tiny heart, as I really was overwhelmed by your sound and production. But I am certain we can and will work together in the future, we seem to share the same love for storytelling in songs – that is something dear to my heart.
“Last but not least, what are the plans for ‘MADIL HARDIS’ in the near future?”
Madil: There are a number of exciting collaborations on the horizon for Madil Hardis – some recurring ones, some new ones, and some more long-term. I’m also working on my first solo album that I hope to be able to release by the end of this year. (All the latest updates can be found on madilhardis.com).
Follow Madil Hardis via these channels:
– Website: https://madilhardis.com/
– Bandcamp: https://madilhardis.bandcamp.com/
– Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madilhardis/
– Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MadilHardis/
– YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfZr5iym6-vi4wYvzLPr52A
This song is part of the “Psy’Aviah Rediscovered” project, celebrating 20 years of Psy’Aviah with a brand-new album & cover versions of old songs by other bands – including the one featured in this interview by Madil Hardis. You can get a hold of the album via:
– 💿 CD: https://store.alfa-matrix-store.com/product/psyaviah-bittersweet-2cd/
– 💾 Bandcamp: https://alfamatrix.bandcamp.com/album/bittersweet-bonus-version