by the partae
Photo by Lewis Vorn


“One of my favourite new artists”
Arlo Parks

“Modern rock anthems…’Porcupine’ is a breakthrough moment”
Pigeons & Planes

“Her songs are rich, accomplished and instantly relatable”

“deliciously angst-fuelled…with a beast of a chorus”

Today, Molly Payton releases ‘When Skies Were Always Blue’, the latest single and video from her forthcoming mini-album Slack, out October 1 via The OrchardLISTEN HERE / WATCH HERE.

The London-based 20-year-old has recently returned from a long stint in her homeland of New Zealand, where she created Slack remotely with her frequent collaborator Oli Barton-Wood (Nilüfer Yanya, Porridge Radio, Sorry), as well as Grammy-award, winning producer Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse) and British songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich. She will also headline DIY magazine’s rescheduled IRL showcase alongside Pixey on September 24 at Signature Brew in London, play Pitchfork Music Festival Paris and Amsterdam’s London Calling, as well as joining Oscar Lang on his UK tour this October.

Starting out with Molly’s stripped-back vocals accompanied only by an electric guitar, the new track erupts into a soaring grunge ballad, mirroring the emotions explored through her candid lyricism. In her words, “‘When Skies Were Always Blue’ is about learning how to live with disappointment, and how experiencing pain makes you appreciate joy that much more. I wrote this song after dealing with some traumatic stuff and losing someone close to me, and I think in a way it was me trying to give myself a bit of hope and reminding myself that things would get better with time.”

The track is accompanied by a video directed by Taylor Mansfield, the latest in a series of music videos the pair have collaborated on in the run-up to the mini-album, following ‘Honey’ (recently BBC Radio 1 Introducing’s track of the week) and ‘You Cut Me So Much Slack’. The video expands on the themes of the song, namely loss and how to move on after tragedy, as Molly explains; “The video shows me coming back out from the inner chaos in Slack into the ‘real world’ after the relationship has ended. When you end things with someone it can often feel like you see them in everything, and in the video you see him popping up in every room of the house – I can’t escape him. From there it slips back and forth between reality and fever-dreamish scenarios like an anxiety dream come to life.”

Molly’s mini-album follows her breakout EP Porcupine, released last Autumn to wide critical acclaim, including Pigeons & PlanesDorkThe Line of Best FitSteve Lamacq at 6Music and Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1. It also caught the ears of fellow artists, including Arlo Parks, who chose Molly to appear alongside her takeover of Spotify’s ‘Our Generation’ playlist, commenting of Molly’s music “there was just this sense of rawness and earnestness that really reminded me of things that I’ve lived myself.” 

The upcoming project’s genesis came from a return to Molly’s birthplace of New Zealand. Originally intended to be a short stay, her time in New Zealand was extended as UK lockdowns prevailed. As well as spending time with the friends and places she left as a teenager, it also fuelled her resolution to reconnect with the memories and tribulations of her past, and process them through her songwriting. Revolving around  the adage of looking back in order to move forward, she describes her coming output as “honest, reflective and hopeful.” Her time back home also allowed her to rediscover the catharsis of playing live, with Molly performing a series of full-capacity headline gigs against the backdrop of New Zealand’s low Covid rates and eased restrictions.

Molly Payton’s first offering came in the form of her debut EP Messwhich was co-produced with Oscar Lang, who she met at her new school soon after relocating to the UK at age 16. This was followed up by 2020s Porcupine, which saw her strike up a new songwriting partnership with producer Oli Barton-Wood, embracing a fuller sound, a direct reflection of her contemporary experiences in London and changing tastes. Praised for her evocative lyricism and evolved songwriting, Slack compromises none of her edge, yet is set to offer a more personal look into the workings of the young songwriter, and forecasts bright things as she returns to London.

‘When Skies Were Always Blue’ is out now, buy/stream it here.

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