Right through the dream-pop sensibility and the swirling-synth psychedelia of Halo Maud’s debut album, something uncanny lurks. “I never did what other teenagers were doing,” she says, by way of explanation. “My father is a reverend but my mother rejected all religion, so I was always busy having a mystical crisis.” The record is rich with these contradictions, with the urge to be both precise and vague, wanting to be somewhere and wanting to run away. The music also has a delicate balance between English and French.
Maud Nadal grew up in rural Auvergne, in central France, and lives in Paris, but for years she wrote in English. “It took me a while to find my voice, to find my language even. I always listened to English music so when I started writing songs they were in English, too, and French came later. It’s difficult – everything sounds good in English, French is much harder.” That push-and-pull between the languages, where a song often contains both English and French, is another example of the stories lurking beneath the songs – “When I sing in English, the words float away from me straight away,” she explains. “When I sing in French, I feel something different, something more immediate, and I think the audience do too.”