Fallulah is the stage name of 26-year-old Maria Apetri, a former dancer and award-winning Danish musician who’s releasing her debut album at the beginning of 2013. To find out more about the gal we phoned her up and had a chat about what’s going down in Denmark, why she prefers music to dance, social phobia, and loads more…
You’re really popular in Denmark. What’s the music scene like there?
It’s been very bad for many years, actually. I feel like it’s been very boring but over the last couple of years it’s grown a lot and there’s a lot of genuinely good original bands coming from here all of a sudden, which is really nice.
Were you involved in the music scene growing up? Like, did you go to gigs and did you listen to loads of music?
No – the complete opposite, actually. I wasn’t involved in the music industry at all and I didn’t know anything about music. I grew up listening only to Balkan music because of my parents, so I didn’t even know the regular, popular Danish music. I never heard that until I went to school and I heard what the other girls were listening to. I was pretty oblivious.
You danced a lot when you were younger and you studied dance in New York for a bit, so when did you decide to go into music and what made you make that decision to switch from dance to music?
Well, it never really felt like much of a switch because I did both simultaneously – I just didn’t expect music to be a career for me. But I did write songs from when I was really young and I was self-taught, so I didn’t play any instruments or anything like that. But I loved writing lyrics and made little melodies for them. I wrote my first English song when I was eleven, and that was kind of the starting point for me. I’ve been writing songs ever since.
Do you find that you get something extra out of music that you didn’t get from dancing? Was it more rewarding?
Yeah, definitely. I feel like, in music, that’s where I can express myself completely and with dance you’re told you’re not doing things the right way or you’re not flexible enough or you’re not good enough and you have to do other people’s choreography. I just wanted to be my own boss.
Dance is more of an interpretation whereas music you can totally create something.
Exactly. And I had a big need to create myself.
You once said that “music is the bravest thing you’ve ever done”. Why is that?
I don’t think that many people would’ve guessed that I would do this because I was very shy and I had social phobia at one point, actually. I had very difficult times talking in public. It was a big thing for me – it’s like coming out of the closet, almost.
You said that you’ve been writing for many years since you were young. Is there anything you prefer writing about or a subject that you’re drawn to naturally?
I never think about concepts too much. I’m a very melancholic person so I tend to write about things I find difficult to deal with, and that just comes naturally to me. It’s my way of expressing that and those feelings.
Like a diary but you’re writing it in the form of music.
Yeah, and it’s not always completely spelled out what it’s about, but it’s more like you’re capturing a moment, or capturing a feeling. Sometimes it’s more of a story – it varies a lot.
Notion is a music and fashion magazine so do you think the way you dress reflects your music and taste in music, and do you have much of an interest in fashion at all?
I love clothes just as much as the next girl, but I don’t really feel like I’m very defined by it. I think music expresses me a lot more than what I’m wearing – I mean, I do play around a lot with my clothing and what I wear depends completely on my mood. I can dress completely differently from one day to the next.
Your videos are really cool and your press shots are very distinctive – everything’s quite arty in the way that it’s presented. Do you often get involved in the aesthetic side of things?
Yeah, that’s all me. 100%. For all my photos I just dress myself and everything, and nobody gets to really have a say on that. It’s not thought out by anyone.
What’s your favourite film?
I have a lot of favourite films; I’m a big movie fan. I think my favourite film is actually a newer one called Biutiful. It’s a Spanish film and it’s the only one that ever made me cry.
When I go to a country I always like learning bits of the language and obviously you’re from Denmark, so what’s your favourite Danish saying or a weird Danish saying that you could teach me?
It’s actually kind of difficult to think of one right now because my brain is tuned into English. But there’s something we eat a lot that’s like a very dark rye bread.
And that’s like a typically Danish food?
Yeah, everyone eats that. You have it for lunch with herring and good cheese, and it’s called “rugbrød” in Danish.
What are the last few songs or albums that you’ve put on your iPod?
I think the last album I bought was the new Gossip album, A Joyful Noise.
What’s been your favourite record of 2012 so far?
I’ve kind of been in a bubble ‘cos I’ve been writing, so I haven’t been listening to what’s been going on. I mean my biggest idol is Fiona Apple and she’s got an album out soon, so I’m very excited for that.
Yeah, I love her. What have you got planned for 2012? Are you coming over to England any time soon?
Well, I’m actually in London all the time ‘cos I’m mainly working with people for my next album.
Your album’s coming out early next year, right?
Yeah, that’s the plan. So I’m really focusing on my writing at the moment.
Awesome. Can’t wait. Byeee.