First things first. How do you properly pronounce your name?
M: Mélat. The month, and a lot.
That’s easy. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever been called?
M: I was called Maalox for six months. Like the laxative. That was pretty bad.
What kind of kid were you in middle school? What clique did you roll with?
M: Oh god [laughs]. It’d be terrible if any of the people from middle school read this. I’ve always been a choir kid. Definitely was not in the popular group. I was very quiet, I was very awkward. I was kind of a nerd.
So what would you tell your younger self?
M: Don’t be so scared. At the end of the day, all this stuff will happen today, but in a year, in two years, in a week, it’s not that big of a deal. Speak up. It’s not that big of a deal. In the big scheme of things, who cares? Even the things that seem to blow up with social media or whatever, they’re over with within a week.
You always rep the south. Where are you from specifically?
M: Austin. I’ve been here my entire life. Born here, raised here. Still here. [laughs]. Will probably continue to call this home for a long time.
What’s your favorite hobby outside of music?
M: Two things: I love DIY stuff, like taking old pieces of furniture and old frames and stuff and painting them, and repurposing them.
Also I have an obsession with coffee shops, so I kind of blog about them sometimes. I love going to coffee shops and taking in the entire experience — I’m not really a coffee connoisseur, though. I’m becoming one by doing it. It’s really more about the place and how it makes you feel, and what the ambience is like, and the food that they offer that kind of creates the entire environment.
So, the environment you create music in, what’s that like?
M: It’s very contrasting. Like, whites and very dark chocolates, or whites and very black. I really like symmetry. I like to have that kind of balance around me and everywhere I go. Just in general, I like my environment to feel balanced. I don’t want to feel like something is out of whack. Because then I can’t really get into the groove of things. I can’t really just vibe to whatever. I really like being able to have that balance.
Gotta get the Feng Shui poppin’.
M: Yep! Very important.
Describe a perfect day for you.
M: The perfect day would probably start with waking up and watching the sunrise because I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I don’t know why, but it’s so amazing to watch the sunrise. It makes you feel so small. Something huge is happening even though half the world is asleep. So wake up, watch the sunrise, probably be somewhere near a beach, and be able to go and write. Just sit there and write and read.
M: Most of my songs start off from diary and poetry entry type things, so I can sit down and write and write and write and write and write. Whatever is going on in my mind and whatever I think of, and then from there I’ll pick out pieces and turn that into the song. That’s usually how it goes. I would just sit on the beach and write. And then probably have some tacos, at least once. Bean, cheese, and potato tacos. And a cup of coffee. And then, probably watch an old movie, and probably record something. And probably stay up, play some video games and go to sleep.
What’s your favorite video game?
M: [Me liking video games] is kind of new. I’m kind of obsessed with Hyrule Warriors right now. I like Bayonetta. I’m trying to finish up two other ones.
Do you normally record at night?
M: I don’t really like recording during the daytime. Maybe because it just feels so open with the sunlight everywhere. That’s cool sometimes, but most of the time I like to feel like I’m in a totally different world, and feel like I’m cut off from everything else. Obviously, it’s easier to do that at night than when it’s light out.
What’s the best song to wake up to?
M: The first song I thought of was “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” If you’re asking me out of my songs, I would say “Good Morning.” I literally woke up and wrote that song. It was like that. “Good Morning” is the perfect wake up song because it woke me up.
You’re a musician but you don’t listen to much music? Why?
M: When I made my first project, Canon Aphaea, I was having a really hard time coming up with my own sound. [My manager] suggested that maybe I don’t listen to as much music as I was. I was listening to music constantly, so I always had somebody else’s voice in my head. When I stopped [listening], I felt like I created something that was genuinely of me. Maybe there’s pieces of things that influence me that are in there but it wasn’t really like, here’s a Frank Ocean song, here’s a Drake song, it was just really like, this is how I feel, this is what the beat sounds like, and this is the song that’s gonna be made from it. And this is as raw as I can get. It was like this purification process and I felt like I was actually making something that was of me. Ever since then I haven’t really listened to much music. But I know what’s going on, it’s kind of impossible to cut yourself off completely from music.
Tell me about it.
M: It’s nearly impossible. But I’m not constantly listening to music. And even if I am listening to music, it’s usually something like Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald or something of that time period. It’s just how I feel like I can create the best art possible, the most genuine form of art possible.
That really should be the goal. You have some artists that are very plugged into the blog culture, but how do you keep up with that scene without going crazy if that’s your job as a musician to create that kind of stuff that goes up for critique?
M: You’re kind of trying to keep up, but you’re trying to be better, make something cooler. But then it’s like, this never ending cycle. So for me it was like, look, this is my form of release, this is how I get stuff off my chest, this is how I do that. And I’m blessed enough to have people who relate to it. Like when you asked me who I was in middle school. I was the person who didn’t speak up, I was someone who didn’t really share my thoughts, I didn’t do that kind of stuff. I kept a lot of stuff to myself. So for me when I started being able to see people reacting to the stuff that I felt, and reacting to the music that I was making it was like, this is my process. This is how I get stuff. This is how I get my message out and try to touch people.
WORDS / ASHLEY REED
PHOTOS / PAUL RAMIREZ