Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin have been making music together since their high school days – however, it wasn’t until 2016 that they let the world know what we were missing. Their first post on their YouTube channel is a 3-minute music video for their cover of Tears for Fears’ massive hit ‘Head Over Heels’ in which the duo uses a VHS-inspired aesthetic and a retro sound to transport the viewer to an ethereal landscape, both sonically and visually.
Almost four years later, it seems quite clear that Magdalena Bay has been able to develop their sound fully, and the vision remains. Last year, they gave us a project titled ‘mini mix vol. 1,’ which could very well be mistaken for a 12-minute track due to its cohesiveness and the duo’s ability to create a world of their own in which synthpop is king and the people are stuck in a perfect combination of the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s.
As someone who has been a long admirer of their work and their concept of DIY pop, I couldn’t help but to reach out to them and find out more about their latest EP, ‘A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling’ which dropped on March 13th after several months of teasing through singles.
Federico Bongiorno: If there’s any label that correctly fits your style, it’s DIY Pop. There’s not many singers or groups doing everything by themselves like you two do. How do you deal with that? And are you planning to continue on that path?
Magdalena Bay: Yeah, it’s just the way we’ve always done things! I think we’re actually more comfortable doing things ourselves since we’re used to it, and we like having creative control. We have been doing more collaborations lately, but we still love being involved in every aspect of the music.
FB: Visuals are a huge part of Magdalena Bay. This EP artwork on its own is killer, and each one of the single covers have been quite different from each other. How do you come up with the concepts?
MB: I think every visual concept begins with the song and the vibe the music creates. We just try to capture the music visually as much as we can!
FB: Some artists say that picking their favorite song from their catalogue is like choosing a favorite out of your children — but I’ll ask anyway. What is your favorite track from the EP at the moment?
MB: It’s so hard to say, we’ve just heard them so many times they’ve stopped sounding like music! But if we had to pick one, Mica says she never gets tired of listening to Killshot and it’s her favorite to perform live.
FB: I want to stop for a second on ‘Airplane,’ the 4th track on the EP and probably the most personal one. Can you tell us more about the story behind it?
Mica Tenenbaum: I wrote “Airplane” in college when I was coming to terms with wanting to be a musician after graduation. I felt a bit isolated from my peers since they were all applying to corporate jobs. Airplane’s about being okay with doing my own artistic thing, in my own way.
FB: Mica, from a fellow Argentinian to another, we’re both well aware that the music you guys are putting out sounds nothing like what our people usually listen to. Is there something from Latin American culture that you’ve been able to take to the music you make today?
MT: It’s hard to say. Our music isn’t super influenced by Latin Pop – but at the same time, I grew up on Argentinian rock bands like Los Enanitos Verdes and Soda Stereo so it’s likely that some Argentinian essence has crept into my writing!
FB: Matt, your work on the production has been consistently getting better with each project. In this EP, it’s catchier, more diverse and more refreshing than ever. How have your skills and your vision gotten to the place where they stand today?
Matthew Lewin: Thank you! Well, when we first started Magdalena Bay we had never made a pop song before, so this whole time we’ve sort of just been figuring it out as we go. I hope at this point that we’ve found a bit of a niche and sound that works for us…but we’re always learning and evolving!
FB: In four years of Magdalena Bay, you guys still haven’t had any artists featured in your music. Is that something you’re purposely separating yourselves from, or are you looking forward to changing it?
MB: We have done a lot more collaborations since moving to LA, but those have mostly been writing and producing for other artists or working with other producers and writers on music that may end up being a Magdalena Bay song. We definitely don’t have anything against having features on our tracks; I guess it just hasn’t happened yet.
MB: You were about to start touring with Yumi Zouma and Kero Kero Bonito, and you were also scheduled to play in SXSW before it got canceled. How does it all feel for you?
Well, everything got canceled or postponed so we’re definitely a bit bummed out, but we’re staying positive and are taking the time to visit family and get back in the studio. We’re excited to start making some more music and videos!
FB: You’ve successfully put yet another EP out. Have you already been planning what’s next? Perhaps a second volume of the ‘mini-mix,’ or a full-length album?
MB: Actually, both of those!
You can now listen to Magdalena Bay’s new EP, ‘A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling’ on all streaming platforms.
Featured Image by Magdalena Bay and Luminelle Recordings.