Yoko Ono glasses, an oversized denim shirt and dip-dyed hair: when I first meet Maud Reardon, front woman of up-and-coming band Maud in Cahoots, she seems to fit the ‘East-End-muso’ mould to a tee. With the cool-girl styling and a confident gait, she looks totally at home among the other locals enjoying Saturday morning lattes in the Broadway Market café where we meet. But as the sunglasses come off, the Irish musician’s open smile and friendly greeting makes me reassess my initial assumptions.
Ostensibly here to talk about her new EP, the conversation starts with fashion – something that’s close to her heart. Telling me about her favourite shop located just down the road, it’s clear her adoptive home of Hackney has influenced her sartorial choices.
“I think the city I live in definitely influences my style. I’m inspired by how people wear clothes and how that can tell the story of their characters. London is great because the people around here are not scared to try out different things, the fashion is experimental, and that gives you freedom. My style isn’t restricted by convention here and that’s goes for our music too.”
The music in question is a distinctive mix of sultry vocals and classical melodies, coming together to make some very catchy tunes of the alternative pop variety. Along with younger sister and fellow band mate Zoe, the duo write and compose all the music themselves, drawing on their classical training to add a strangely intriguing element to their sound. Supported on stage by a seven piece band, the combination of violin, tuba, cello and even glockenspiels makes for a big sound that’s totally unique.
Destined, in one music critic’s words, “to give Florence and the Machine a run for its money,” the sister act moved to London just over a year ago after winning a nationwide Irish showcase competition in 2010.
“After we won the Guinness showcase, it made sense professionally to move to London. Our new management was based here and the independent music scene is a better fit for Maud in Cahoots’ sound. But creatively and personally both me and Zoe wanted to experience living in London.”
And how did you end up in Hackney? “It was kind of really by chance. Our first rehearsal space was in Bethnal Green but this area is such big creative hub that I instantly felt at home. The feeling and the energy that I get by being surrounded by other like-minded people who are involved in art, fashion and theatre is what inspires me.”
Like-minded people such as Max Heyes, producer of The Doves and Primal Scream, who just produced the girls’ new EP? “Exactly, we’ve just finished recording our new EP with Max so that’s what we’re focused on at the moment. We’ve lots more gigs coming up and there’s a great buzz around the release.” With exciting times ahead for the band, something tells me this is one East End muso who will fly her Hackney nest very soon.
Listen to Maud in Cahoots’ new EP here.
Check out the band’s up-coming gigs here.