interview. Malummí unveils musical independence with ‘The Universe Is Black’

"As a songwriter, I try to create a world of sounds and pictures in which the listeners can get to explore new sides of themselves"
19 December 2023

Originating from Basel, Malummí embarks on a daring evolution with their eagerly awaited second album, The Universe Is Black (now available via Irascible Records). This release marks a departure into a fusion of minimalist, experimentally grunge-tinged indie rock, and inviting folk-pop, showcasing the band’s diverse musical exploration. The result is a fierce and blissful exploration of various forms of relationships, from the personal to the societal.

Following the success of their debut album, Blood, in 2021, Malummí embarks on a new sonic adventure with The Universe Is Black. While their debut album showcased a calm and gentle electronically infused pop sound, the sophomore release embraces a broader alternative rock sound. However, the intimate folk-pop elements and distinctive, expressive singing that characterized their debut are still present, demonstrating the band’s evolution while retaining their signature style.

With The Universe Is Black, Malummí showcases a newfound musical independence, breaking away from stylistic conventions and exploring innovative forms of composition and arrangement. The album is a reflection of the band’s personal experiences, addressing themes such as different forms of relationships, self-love, mental health, rebirth, and vitality. Additionally, the album critically examines social constructs within a patriarchal, white society, adding depth and substance to the ten tracks that make up the immersive soundscapes of the record.

The title track, The Universe Is Black, captivates listeners with ethereal vocal harmonies, surf guitars, and dynamic drums, creating a mesmerizing sonic landscape. Bones takes on an uplifting tone, driven by dreamy guitar riffs that blend elements of shoegaze and modern alternative rock.

There Is No Thing injects a burst of energy with its fast, catchy, and punk-vibe, while Society channels the folk-rock spirit of Big Thief with strong-willed lyrics that challenge societal norms (“society, let me be free”). Closing the album on a comforting note, You’re Not Gonna Ruin My Day features soothing piano melodies and gentle guitar sounds.

Having built a solid reputation through various club shows and festivals in Switzerland, including BScene, B-Sides, m4music, and Rock Altitude, Malummí is poised to share their latest creation with a wider audience. 

We are humans, we evolve and our music does so with us. Everything is changing constantly and that is the beauty of things.

How would you describe the musical evolution from the debut album, Blood (2021), to your sophomore release, The Universe Is Black?

Without Blood, The Universe Is Black would not exist, for many reasons. Thanks to the live experience, our language had the chance to develop: it became louder and harder…more electric, more analogue, less electronic. It gives the feeling of being in a more awake state. If you listen closely, you can still hear the soft dreamer-like colors from Blood, underlaying everything.

The Universe Is Black marks a shift from the calm and gentle pop sound of the debut album. Could you elaborate on the decision to venture into a broader alternative rock sound and the stylistic conventions the band chose to break away from?

I wouldn’t call it a decision. We are humans, we evolve and our music does so with us. Everything is changing constantly and that is the beauty of things.

In what ways does your personal experience shape the themes of the album, particularly regarding relationships, self-love, mental health, rebirth, and vitality?

As a songwriter, I try to create a world of sounds and pictures in which the listeners can get to explore new sides of themselves. Because of that, I tend to avoid explaining my own interpretations, for not taking people’s freedom away, letting them understand the songs in their own way.

What changes would you like to see happen in the music industry?

More FLINTAS! And the end of the use of the word “exotic“ and “urban“ to describe music!

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

Caroline Polachek, Mitski, Adrianne Lenker, Jamila Woods, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

If you could open a show for any artist who would it be?

Big Thief 

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Keep going

How would you describe your perfect day?

Every new day can be a perfect day 🙂

What’s next for you?
A couple of gigs and new singles

Dec 21 — Luzern, CH — Konzerthaus Schüür
Jan 10 — Brugg, CH — Odeon
Jan 20 — Flawil, CH — Kulturpunkt
Feb 22 — Zurich, CH — GDSFM
March 12 — Zurich, CH — Helsinki
TBA — Thun, CH — Mokka