I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking of the perfect introductory sentence for this artist, cool enough that it conveys the essence of exactly the kind of the effortlessly alternative and remarkably intelligent woman that Madeleine Bradley is. The conclusion was that I’d take a leaf out of Madeline’s book, and just outline my very honest trouble.
Madeleine, who releases music under the name deryk, a tribute to her late Grandfather, has been treating us with songs that perfectly reflect our own wavering thoughts and she’s just released her newest five-track EP WOMb written with co-producer Justyn Pilbrow, “fuelled by a desire to enjoy silence again” – as she has recently battled with the challenge of turning off her internal mental dialogue. The EP is extraordinarily stunning, with melodies that have the power to shatter your soul and then stitch the pieces back up with only the most delicate of threads.
Growing up in Hawkes Bay after being born in the UK in 96, Madeleine found a love for music at a young age, forever listening to CD’s with her sister. Her inspirations included PJ Harvey, Kurt Cobain & Esperanza Spalding. 2015 then saw her upload a Spooky Black cover to Soundcloud. Years of the music grind continued until it found her one day, meeting Pilbrow in an unsuspecting Auckland cafe. The journey to create insanely awakening music together began.
“Call You Out” was her breakout single, encapsulating so much incredible feeling into one three-minute track. Soaring, dark, angelic, beautiful and airily mystical, the single really set up the intentions for the rest of her career.
After the rapid success of her first few releases, paired with some incredibly puzzling Instagram posts, the intriguing and beautifully complex new rising artist deryk is most certainly one to watch on the music scene as she continues on her upward trajectory.
I sat down with the star for a candid Q&A.
To begin, I’d like to know what you did indeed name the snail:
Left field questions are great! A friend suggested LeAnn Slimes and I had to go with that, a perfect fit I think.
The music video for ‘Call You Out’. Can we talk about how you got the idea behind the visuals? Is it true you filmed it on your mobile phone?
I did! On my iPhone with the back falling off haha. We were only in week 2 of Covid-19 Lockdown in NZ so it made sense to use what I had; it has a great camera too. It all started with a glass on water, I noticed when I held it to take a sip my hand was magnified. I was intrigued because we’d had those glasses for years and I’d never noticed it do that. I took a photo and then when I started experimenting with potential video ideas, that popped into my mind and it made sense. I could only use what was in my house already because of lockdown and I had a huge vase I could fill with water so it all just clicked together.
Huge congrats on your EP WOMb! And how bloody fantastic that it’s out on vinyl. I completely resonate with the idea driving the story – growing up certainly is a rollercoaster and none of it was as picture-perfect as it was supposed to be. How was the process of working on this one?
Thank you. Growing up is chaotic isn’t it? But I feel like sitcoms and social media con everybody in to thinking you have to have it all worked out and shiny the minute you leave high school. I sound so pessimistic but it’s true, my late teens and early 20’s have been bizarre, but everybody’s is, I just happened to write an EP about my experience.
How would you describe Justyn Pilbrow in three words?
Wise, deep & gentle.
How did you work through the realisation that with Covid19 you had to stay in New Zealand? Did you have plans to take your music abroad?
I didn’t have plans to go overseas when Covid-19 happened, I was a full-time music student, had only just finished working part-time at a food shop I’d been at for years a month prior so although the EP was finished and on its way I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I was still thinking I’d finish school.
What have you learned from the music industry thus far?
Watching how the NZ music industry at APRA/AMCOS, the NZ Music Commission, NZonAIR, MusicHelps! and Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage with their Arts and Culture Covid-19 Recovery Programme acted in response to Covid-19. With the heavy income loss that impacted the entire industry, it taught me and reminded me what the NZ music industry is about and that is supporting each other, holding each other up. A bitter mind reading this will screw their face up at my response to this question but that’s certainly something I’ve learnt and seeing the industry try and provide and protect like that at a time of need was special to watch. All kiwi musicians are valued, and nobody is alone.
Where do you see the future of pop going?
Everywhere. It will keep expanding I think, there will be more and more sub genres to POP and suddenly nobody will know what POP really is anymore. The audiences for each category will be so huge it won’t even matter.
What would you like to achieve next?
Balance. I’ve been so hell bent on getting everything where I want it to be that I’ve really burnt myself out physically. I still feel very creative but I need to be a bit kinder to myself and find some balance in my life. If I do it, that’ll be a big achievement for me. A music achievement would be writing and finishing an album, I’d like to do that.
Who was your most recent call from and why?
My childhood best friend Craig, he called me because he moved to Sydney earlier in the year pre-covid and had tried to call several times recently for a catch up, but I hadn’t been able to pick up. When we were finally on the phone last night it was 3am NZT and we were laughing and reminiscing about a time we started harmonising with the synth menu sound a PlayStation plays when its waiting for you to choose which app you’re going to use. It was pretty funny, we created a whole song over the waiting menus synth sound.
I love the line in ‘One Star’ “if you never treat the wound, like coffee it’ll brew.” Have you experienced this personally? How did you set out to treat the wound?
Yeah absolutely, I’ve buried emotions many times and thought I’d gotten away with it. I always do think I’ve gotten away with it too until it rears its ugly head again and I’m forced to acknowledge it. I’m always grateful in the end, I can’t imagine the state I’d be in if I’d never allowed myself to process anything. It’s terrifying watching people close to me do that.
I feel like you’ve become a real safe place for your listeners. You allow emotion and thoughts to flow freely without shame nor restrictions. What would you have told yourself at 15 if you knew what you know now?
I’d tell her she was doing well and to keep going. I used to give myself a really hard time about not being very good at exams/testing or concentrating in general. I used to think it was because I wasn’t very clever but have later realised that it’s okay not to spend time worrying about subjects you don’t care about. Focus on the ones that you do like because that’s always a better investment.
What is one of your most precious childhood memories?
Sitting in the back of the car next to my sister listening to our Walkman’s our parents bought us, we were so stoked. We had to sit with a zipped-up CD sleeve with our shared collection on the middle seat between us, so we didn’t have a punch up about who was going to be the gate keeper (lol). We spent a lot of time in the car listening to music, I’m grateful for those days.
Who are your biggest music inspirations?
PJ Harvey, Kurt Cobain & Esperanza Spalding
So the real Deryk is your Grandfather? What’s one thing he’s taught you over the years?
He taught me to laugh and “get on with it”.
deryk’s EP ‘WOMb’ is out now.
Watch the video for ‘goodtimes’ below.