Maruja – ‘Knocknarea’ EP

Track By Track: Maruja break down their debut EP Knocknarea

Knocknarea
Album cover for Knocknarea by Maruja courtesy of the artist

Manchester England’s Maruja have released their debut EP, Knocknarea. The strikingly eclectic creation seamlessly blends elements of psychedelic jazz, punk, and a myriad of other genres. The result is a sound that is both ferocious and captivating, with moments of intensity tempered by a subtle restraint. The EP features four standout tracks, including the previously released ‘Thunder,’ ‘Blind Spot,’ and ‘The Tinker,’ and the dazzling new addition ‘Kakistocracy.’ In this exclusive track-by-track breakdown, the Manchester 4-piece reveal the inspiration behind each song, providing a fascinating glimpse into the creation of their impressive debut.

1. ‘Thunder’

The initial idea for ‘Thunder’ came from a jam we did over three years ago. The song took on many forms over the years and has been crafted with patience and precision until finally becoming the finished product. ‘Thunder’ represents war; lyrically, the inspiration was taken from what is happening in Ukraine at the moment. Using the wrath of nature’s ferocity as a simile for destruction, for example – “the rain falls like soldiers” or “flashes of lightning split the air like bullets.” ‘Thunder’ is truly representative of our diversity and taste. EDM and jazz-sprinkled punk combining elements of industrial noise rock and experimental – ‘Thunder’ takes the listener through a plethora of emotions and sounds.

2. ‘Blind Spot’

Taken from an improvised piece (the original of which can be found on our Soundcloud), ‘Blind Spot’ is definitely one of our more challenging songs. Pushing ourselves musically has always been a prevalent part of our infrastructure, which is part of the reason why people find it hard to define us through the genre. This track combines elements of soundscape, alt-rock and jazz-splintered chaos, creating a treacherous terrain of otherworldly noises. Lyrically this song is about the refugee crisis, a very prevalent matter considering the UK’s recent legislation, which, if passed, would amount to an asylum ban – extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how genuine and compelling their claim may be, and with no consideration of their individual circumstances. The subject matter is reflected in the dark, foreboding intensity that the instrumental provides.

3. ‘The Tinker’

‘The Tinker’ is an instrumental odyssey. Deeply woven layers of textual nuance, raging rhythms, and a myriad of melodic cacophonies set the tone for a symphony of cinematic soundscape and spiritual jazz. Again spawned from the depths of a gritty improv session in Salford, Manchester – ‘The Tinker’ reflects an emotive sincerity. We recorded the song at Giant Wafer studios; however, it was in the coming months after this session that the song really began to take on a life of its own, adding subtle layers of overdubs in post-studio sessions helped create the finished product, an approach that slightly differs to the rest of the EP. A big shout-out to Samuel William Jones (production) for his patience and hard work on this one, and to Alan Keary, aka Shunya, for laying the strings.

4. ‘Kakistocracy’

Similar to ‘Thunder,’ the initial idea for this song was written years prior to its release. We were looking for a 4th song for the EP and debating ideas when we played it for our producer, who said, “well, that just has to be a song, doesn’t it?” We were inclined to agree. The lyrics to this song were written almost four years ago, and they are still more prevalent than ever. Kakistocracy, by definition, means – governed by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state. The tension in this song really demonstrates a lot of frustration felt by ourselves, peers and friends alike who feel ignored in the face of British politics, drained by traditionalist values and undervalued by the capitalist mindset. The evidence upon evidence of deceit and fear-mongering are surfacing more than ever, and it is clear that the decisions made by our leaders are financially driven rather than based on morality and well-being. ‘Kakistocracy’ has become notorious in our live sets; the brutality and aggression in which we portray this song are reflected in audiences everywhere we go.

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