Madeline North, aka So Below, has amassed over 1 million total Spotify views and in excess of 100,000 Soundcloud plays to date. With her unique edgy form of pop, it’s clear to see why she’s gaining popularity. Since the release of her debut single Drift, So Below has opened for fellow New Zealand musicians The Naked and Famous, as well as releasing a self-titled EP and three music videos. Her enchanting new single ‘Ruin’ mixes heavy beats, synth and layers of vocals to give the perfect moody electro pop vibe. So, we caught up with the rising goth pop star just after the release of her new music video for ‘Ruin’ to talk about her inspirations and writing her first album…
WTYB: How did the stage name So Below come about?
So Below: I just wrote like three pages of name ideas out and I liked the fact that So Below rhymed and it had a darker feeling to it (smiles).
WTYB: You’ve just released a music video for your single Ruin, what was it like filming that?
SB: Super easy! It was just me and two (sometimes three) other guys, I find videos with like 20 people on set to just be a bit stressful and overwhelming. We shot over three different evenings at different locations, super chill!
WTYB: Where did your inspiration for the video come from?
SB: I just wanted something shot at night, and to have a lot of pace to it . We also talked about something water related, but the rest is all the director Sam Kristofski! He also did my first ever video, ‘Far’ which is really cool too (smiles).
WTYB: How do you go about writing the new track?
SB: I wrote it initially with Brad Hale and Chelsea Jade. Aaron Short later helped with production. Kind of funny (laughs) but Brad and I had just finished watching Stranger Things so we were like, “Let’s make a Stranger Things spooky song!” Chelsea, who didn’t watch it, just had to go along with it (laughs) but I think it’s such a jam of a song. I am pretty biased though (laughs).
WTYB: You describe your sound as goth pop, what other artists have inspired you and your sound?
SB: I was being a little facetious with that one, but it seems to have stuck (laughs). I would say so far some of the artists that have definitely inspired my project are Caribou, Moderat, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead.
WTYB: I’ve seen some comparisons between you and Lorde, what do you think about this?
SB: I think that’s a big compliment! I feel our music is pretty different but the comparison probably comes from us both being from New Zealand (laughs).
WTYB: You’re gaining in popularity – what do you think has been your most career-changing moment?
SB: Opening for The Naked And Famous in New Zealand was pretty cool ’cause it was like 3,000 people or something. And, now my parents think I’m cool so that’s probably the most important thing (laughs).
WTYB: What is one song you wish you had written?
SB: I’m sure I could come up with a much better answer than this but Nick Jonas’ ‘Jealous’ or Jason Derulo’s ‘Want U To Want Me’. Every time I hear either of those songs I’m just like, ” WHO WROTE THIS!?” Not me, that’s who!
WTYB: You’re currently working on a full-length album. What kind of sound/songs can we expect?
SB: I think there’s gonna be a good range of songs – sound is in the same vain…perhaps more confidence than anything though?
WTYB: Your songs are quite raw and emotive. Is this something you find easy to write about?
SB: Sometimes. If you have a clear idea in your head then it flows, usually pretty easy. Some songs – the lyrics get written [the] day of, and some it’s likesix months later and I’m still nit picking certain words (laughs).
WTYB: If you had to describe yourself or your songs in five words to someone who had never heard your music before, what five words would you use?
SB: Ahhhhh, ‘Super Cool Mrs Trent Reznor’ (laughs). I have no idea…
Photo credit: Nina Jordan