Diving Deep With The Marías

Diving Deep With The Marías

By Erica CampbellMay 30, 2024

Submersible, fluid and deeply drenched with shades of blue: Submarine is an apt title for Los Angeles band The Marías' latest album. Out Friday, May 31, the album encapsulates a myriad of changes frontwoman María Zardoya, drummer Josh Conway, guitarist Jesse Perlman and keyboardist Edward James have experienced since releasing Cinema in June 2021.

For their album release celebration, The Marías connected with Spotify to debut their single, “Paranoia,” as part of their RADAR series — a program dedicated to spotlighting up-and-coming music talent. Talking to PAPER before the video release of the live recording, Zardoya tells us that the song “just came out of nowhere” as if “some external force put it there.”

“Paranoia” saunters in slowly, with a steady drum beat and echoing guitar parts. “Heavy on my mind/ Every time you cry,” Zardoya sings as the rhythm picks up and she asks, “Why would you think I’d have another when I have always been the one?” over trickling synth keys.

Below, PAPER talks to The Marías about their new album, playing “Paranoia” live and how they're feeling in this fresh era.

Before we dig into Submarine, I wanted to ask about your track “Paranoia.” I know last week you had a video shoot and got to perform it live for Spotify. I'd love to hear more about that. First, what inspired it?

María: “Paranoia” came to be when we were all in a jam session. Josh had the beat going and Jesse started some chord progressions and I was in the booth, just playing around with the melodies, and then it all just came out of nowhere as it does when we play as a band. Melody and lyrics, the whole song will just flow through as if some external force put it there. And that's definitely what it felt like. All the lyrics kind of flowed out. I wasn't really consciously thinking about them. But then after they were written, I went back and listened to them. I was like, “Okay, yeah, they make sense” for something I experienced in my life. Basically meaning wise it’s about feeling smothered and powerless to somebody else's fear. Like when you're in a relationship with somebody, or seeing somebody, you're in a relationship with that person's demons and that person's fears. At the end of the day, you can't fix anybody. “Paranoia” is just about how somebody's fear can become a funhouse mirror, and how things aren't really as they appear.

Josh: There was probably an hour-long [session] of us just jamming on the chords. Then we somehow migrated into a chorus that we jammed on for what felt like another hour because Maria was singing the melody for the chorus. It all happened pretty naturally in the room that day.

Edward: I remember when we got together to do “Paranoia” I'd been taking a jazz class. I started going over these voicing exercises. I think the hallmark quality of a good producer is being able to rein things in and simplify ideas. That’s what Josh is really good at in terms of just constructing and navigating the sessions. It's definitely my favorite. I think of all of all the songs on the album, especially live.

Is that your typical process as a band? Has it changed since your last album?

María: It goes both ways. A couple of the songs on the album started like “Paranoia” where we were all just together in the room and the energy of all of us being together just creates a song. And then you know, the other songs were pretty much the same process. With the EPs and Cinema it would be Josh and I in the studio sometimes starting with a chord progression, sometimes starting with the lyric or concept and hoping for the best.

Let’s talk about performing the track live for Spotify RADAR. What was that like?

Josh: It's amazing. I've seen so many other artists on the RADAR campaign that I love. It's really cool to be a part of it and be listed as another band. The actual performance part was really fun, too. That was actually our first time playing any of our new songs live with a full band publicly and having it be recorded and shot on film as well was special.

Jesse: I was stoked we got to do “Paranoia.” That was a lot of fun just because how that song came to be and how we do it a little differently live, and we jam with it. We make it a little bit longer than the actual recording and to do it in that cool setting on the set with the lights and that blue room... that was a lot of fun.

Josh: We definitely took — I don’t know if it’s a risk. But we definitely made a decision to play the extended outro version of the song, which is not on the record, and it's something that you would only hear live. It has this long jam halfway through the song, and I think it ended up being really cool.

María: I think that’s what's really cool when we play the songs live as a group: they can take on a whole new life and a whole new structure. We can really experiment with the way it sounds live. So, as Josh was saying, it was a risk to do that as a quote-unquote, recording. But at the end of the day, it's a live recording, it's us in the room playing it live, even though people are going to be watching it virtually. We wanted to still give them that live feel.

We’re getting close to Submarine being out in the world. How are you feeling in the lead up to its release?

The emotions go back and forth between excitement and being super happy to being really scared and being really stressed. With The Marías, from the beginning, we've always had this DIY mentality — being involved in everything about the band: the visuals, the creative direction. Josh is the musical director, we design the show, we build all of these things ourselves and we have a team, as well. But for the most part, we just have this DIY mentality. So leading up to this album, that mentality makes it a little more stressful, because we just want to see everything and know everything and be a part of everything. That's what makes it difficult. But I'm just excited for this to be out and fans to hear it, and playing it live. Then letting it go and moving on to the next.

Photos courtesy of Spotify