Maia, aka mxmtoon recently announced ‘plum blossom (revisited)’, a reconsideration of the early songs that propelled her to fame. Following the release of “feelings are fatal (revisited)”, mxmtoon shares another taste of the reimagined project with “the idea of you (revisited).”.
“When I was first deciding to do ‘plum blossom (revisited),’ one of the songs I was most excited about revisiting was ‘the idea of you,’” mxmtoon says of the track. “I always felt that song had so much potential to feel bigger than I could make it when I was 17 and I’m so glad I was able to make that happen on the revisited version. So much of the lyricism still rings true to me as an adult, so it’s so fun to have this version that still thematically feels relevant to me but is so much more sonically exciting! I’m so stoked for people to hear this one and hope they feel as much joy listening to it as I do.”
Working exclusively with women on the production was incredibly important to Maia who tapped Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs) as co-producer, as engineer as well as Laura Sisk (Lana Del Rey and Lorde) for mixing. She spent two weeks at Oakland’s Tiny Telephone Studios. Garbus is a playful collaborator, and at one point, had Maia bang out a beat by slapping two books together, which wasn’t a far cry from the original techniques employed on plum blossom. “I wanted the production on this new version to be elevated, but I also didn’t want to lose the childlike sense of wonder that limited resources can produce,” Maia says.
While Maia is only 23, the amount of growth in the five years since ‘plum blossom’ debuted is unmeasurable. She came out as queer, moved to Brooklyn, and experienced a year of familial tragedy. Her grandmother, a visual artist who has inspired Maia throughout her life and encouraged her music career, died of cancer. In the aftermath of enormous loss, and in the midst of another close family member’s illness, Maia found a sense of wholeness by reimagining the music that made her.
Her instrument of choice was a ukulele and she wasn’t above using common household objects (a hair straightener, for example) as a percussive tool. After uploading a stream of one-off singles to various social media platforms, mxmtoon’s debut EP, ‘plum blossom’, dropped. It garnered the attention of a broadening fan base with sold out tours and multi Platinum records, but also earned the stamp of approval from mainstream media outlets like The New York Times and NPR. Since then, mxmtoon’s output has been prolific. Last year, she released her sophomore LP, ‘rising’, which followed 2019’s ‘the masquerade’, all while maintaining a creative practice outside of music.
Leveling up the promise of her 17 year-old self became the project, and in no place is that more obvious than on the remaking of “1-800-DATEME,” the first song mxmtoon ever released. In keeping with the old, the new maintains Maia’s charmingly self-deprecating interludes, but now she’s accompanied by rhythmic hand claps and vocal doubling that suggests she’s less lonely than she thinks she is. In the process of recording it, Maia chose to change the opening verse to better reflect her queer identity. “I wasn’t out of the closet yet when I wrote ‘1-800-DATEME,’” she says. She flipped the lyrics changing to “Girl after guy, crush after crush, never really figured it out with someone,” she sings, her voice gaining confidence as it goes. “I also had never actually been in a partnership when I wrote that song, or any of these songs, which definitely changes my relationship to them,” Maia says.