Written by: ROSS MARTIN

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all photos by: Emma Wahlstrom

It’s a cold December afternoon in London and it’s just mere days before ‘Holes In My Shoes’ will be released into the world. 5000 miles away and a few degrees warmer Alyssa Wilkens & Jillian Allen; the integral ingredients that form the sweet sounds of your new favorite band, Maple St, are ready for the world to hear them for the first time. 

“I’m so excited! I am over the moon but I’m also pretty scared cause you know we’re releasing our first song and it’s terrifying. I don’t know what to expect from it but I also know that we both love it, so that’s sort of the only re-assurance you can have – when you put something into the world.”

Since meeting at the age of sixteen, music has always been at the foundation of the couple’s lives, having been making music together before they started dating.

The first time we hang out, she (Alyssa) had a crush on me and I didn’t know. She lured me into her room to show me that she knew how to use Pro Tools, to impress me!” – Jillian

Since then they’ve been honing in on their sound, working together through multiple iterations from acoustic to EDM, before getting to the sweet spot that we hear today. With the boundaries of genre-breaking down in this modern streaming era, there are no limits to what an artist can be. However, songwriting has become more and more authentic and Maple St. are the bona fide package.

“‘Holes In My Shoes’ feels like the first time we wrote something that felt like a little bit of every artist we like, and that was perfect.”.

As someone who’s had a long-standing affection for the sounds of the ’80s, there is a touch of nostalgia pulsing through those shimmering synth lines. Topped off with a sucker punch of feelings, the song is begging to be played during the end of a queer coming-of-age film.

“We thought ‘Holes in my Shoes’ was about a relationship when we were writing it, and that’s not incorrect by any means, but listening back to it in the last few months it’s clear that it was written about our fears and insecurities regarding our futures in music. It does feel at times like you’re chasing something that will always be ten steps ahead of you when you pursue music, like it’s something you have to force, something that’s actively running away from you. It felt good to get that out through writing, and talk about that constant frustration.”

As pop music becomes more and more of a platform for discussing political, social and environmental issues, the rise of queer voices in music comes as no surprise.

“I think watching LGBTQ+ artists tell queer stories and seeing that people actually care to listen, has just been really inspiring for me. There is a place for it and people do care, even people who don’t identify as LGBTQ+, they listen.”

Maple St. are ready to deliver their own own stamp of candid and openly queer pop, that follows in the footsteps of a host of successful queer artists such as MUNA and The Japanese House. There’s a song on their forthcoming EP, ‘Love Me Less’ which is their first song using female pronouns in a story setting – “in the past, it’s something I’ve not felt brave enough to do…”. 

As we continue to discuss the place of pop music in modern-day we pinpoint what song would have been the one they wished they had written…

‘Love It If We Made It’ by the 1975 – I’m such a sucker for one-liners that encompass the entire song and I just think the sentence ‘Love It If We Made It’ is so clever. It is so perfect for what our generation is going through, in terms of how all of us feel kind of helpless to do anything about our society and the environment. Everyone has this attitude of ‘Oh Man I really hope this works out cause I just feel like it’s not going to’.”

You get the feeling that in 2020, Maple St is ready to lay their hearts on their sleeves for the world to hear;

“We just want to have any form of fanbase, I don’t care what size it is, who it’s made out of. We just want to know that somebody listened to any of our songs and thought I feel a little bit better or I resonate with this…”