Molly Payton is what we like to refer to as ‘a talent’, Dear Reader. Blessed with a glorious panache for emotive, heart-wrenching brilliance, she’s just dropped her brand new mini-album, ‘Slack’ – so we asked her to tell us all about it in her own words.
Truth be told, quite a lot of the music we’re hearing at the moment has in some way or other been influenced by Those Recent Events. Understandable, really. But for fast-rising Dork fave Molly Payton, that impact was perhaps bigger than for many. It wasn’t just a case of sticking around in her bedroom for a few weeks. Oh no.
“Slack is a collection of songs from 2019-2021, about growing up and self reflection and the things you learn from losing someone,” she explains. “Because of the pandemic, I went back to New Zealand for 8 months at the beginning of this year and ended up having to record the mini album working remotely with Oli Barton Wood producing from London.”
“We did four or five days where I’d go in with my friend Reuben Scott (who did the drums, bass and lead guitar) and we’d record from 10am-8pm and then Oli would wake up at 6 or 7am London time (6/7pm for us) and listen to what we’d done and then work on the songs while we slept,” she continues. “It actually ended up being a really productive way of working because we were doing almost 24 hour days between us. It was intimidating approaching recording songs that I wrote years apart from each other, but as most of them revolve around similar themes of loss and growth it ended up being the most connected and meaningful project I’ve worked on to date.”
That last bit definitely sounds the case for us. 8 tracks of genuinely impressive songwriting that manages to cut through the noise without the need to ever resort to anything but brilliant songwriting and an identifiable, connectable spirit – you can check ‘Slack’ out below, alongside Molly’s own words.
Honey is about that moment in a relationship where things stop working as well as they’re supposed to. This song was me taking responsibility for my part in the decay of it all, acknowledging that I’d been distant and that I’d try harder to make things work. There’s also an undercurrent of frustration with myself for letting my past interfere with my present. It kind of the beginning of the end, and sets up the rest of the album which goes more into the idea of growth out of loss and self reflection.
When Skies Were Always Blue
I wrote this one with Jimmy Hogarth and Benjamin Francis Leftwich, alongside honey and January summers. It was a really emotional one to write, I confronted a lot writing it and initially intended to end the mini-album with it but later decided it fit more at the beginning. I lost someone who was a huge part of my life and began to confront years of trauma, and then went through a breakup. Emotions were running high so I basically sat down and wrote this track about realising how much your past can influence your relationships and decisions, and learning how to cope with change when you aren’t ready for it
You Cut Me So Much Slack
This song was originally meant to be on my second EP Porcupine, so it’s funny that it’s ended up almost as the title track of Slack. I think that’s partly because it works as a bridge between the two bodies of work, but also because it’s meaning has changed over time for me. Initially it was this almost desperate plea to be taken back, but looking back it kind of perfectly describes my anxiety and how it used to affect my relationships; not being able to express your feelings to someone, that feeling that you’ll never be good enough and that everything is on you. To be honest listening to the song now I wish I’d cut myself some slack more than anything. This is the kind of thing you learn from losing someone and as you grow up and figure yourself out.
In Your Arms & How Things Change
These two songs kind of sit in the same world for me, when you feel like you’re stuck on someone or something and cant move forward and the efforts you take to get out of that place. How things change is the most stripped back moment of the album, it was written and recorded in about three hours and hasn’t really been touched since then. I think that makes it feel very honest and probably more emotional because there isn’t anything to distract from the emotion behind it.
I wrote January summers near the end of last year when I was missing New Zealand and all of the people id been close with before I moved to the UK. I was initially just wanting to write this joyous ode to being 15/16 and doing everything for the first time. Going to your first party, the first time you hear your favourite song, the first time you tell someone you have feelings for them and so on. Even musically I pulled influence from bands that my big brother used to play when he was driving me places at that age, like the really messy surf rock guitars and simple happy melodies. But it ended up also being about how complicated everything becomes the older you get – How I miss the joy and anticipation that came with the lack of direction I had when I was younger.
Like a Child
This song is probably the oldest one on Slack, I wrote it a few years ago with the Aquilo boys. I think that line “i let myself feel things like a child” is what made me want to include it in this project. Thinking about how much less you let yourself feel after going through a couple bad relationships and just experiencing the give and takes that come with living, It was such a beautiful idea to me. To just let go and love somebody for a second without thinking of the consequences.
While You’re Driving
This is my favourite track on the album. I really wanted to end Slack with optimism, and I really thought about that when I was writing and recording this song. It’s simple and messy and full of energy and excitement for the future.