A Problem Like Maria - Bonsai

Band / Artist: A Problem Like Maria
Year: 2013
Genre: Indie pop, RnB, Hip-Hop

My Review: 
I got an email from the other part of the song lwuaxana from the Rabbit Hole Revelations post. I have been watching A Problem Like Maria for a good 6 months now. I dig her stuff, and would love to get a chance to chat with her. Turns out, she was totally willing to make that happen..

Jumbly Music: Hello howdy hey

A Problem Like Maria: Hi what's up?

Jumbly: Not much. I'm just enjoying a chunk of day off for the first time this week. How about you?

APLM: About the same. It's the weekend! there's time for me to recharge and relax, and that's good.

Jumbly: so.. where to start.. Whats the back story? Where are you from, and how did you get into making music.

APLM: I'm from the Philippines. I grew up part of a musical family, so it just made sense to make music. It's always been a creative outlet and a comfort.

Jumbly: Do you ever feel like your history has any influence on your music now?

APLM: Yes, of course. But it's all sort of funneled into this huge vat of ideas, you know? personal history is thrust against historical fiction. what I've been noticing more recently is that it's my perception of social interaction that stands out. my songs are almost always about misunderstandings or wanting to be understood.

Jumbly: I can understand that. (badum tss) Well, do you tour? Or have you any plans to?

APLM: I don't tour. i do play local gigs with a band I'm in called the cellar doors, and rarely, I'll play as just me. performance isn't a big thing for me, but I'm hoping to change that soon. i just don't don't really know which direction to go, you know? i love jumping from one genre to another, it feels like such a heavy commitment to suddenly think of a regular live accompanying outfit for APLM--but the more i think about it the more i want to find out how that will sound.

Jumbly: I can understand that completely. I've been trying to branch my own music out toward something a little new, and considering where I started and where I'm aimed, I'd imagine that it will be a fun experiment...   Who do you have doing your album art?

APLM: Felipe (of new motive power, a great musical act from Brazil) has done three: for the decompose remix LP, for 99 problems and for the new EP, Bonsai. I'm fond of working with visual artists, too, so there are really a lot more names I should be mentioning, but as bonsai is the newest EP, I'll just mention the names involved with that: Aspen Sañez, Wilson Dela Fuente, Tristan Yuvienco, Quincy Gonzales, Dean Africa, David Alegre, and Corpse Corpuz. Each song is represented by one of their works, it's included in the EP download.

Jumbly: Cool. I love visual influences. How would you say is the best way to experience your music?

APLM: Wrap yourself up in a blanket, have a hot/sweet beverage at hand, lean back, put your headphones on and close your eyes. Unless we're talking about my upbeat songs, in which case swaying back and forth might help, haha.

Jumbly: I imagine that on the more dancey tracks that a nice venue like the Publiq House near where I live would be a great space for you. its dark, well lit with colored show lights. They serve good drinks, and make tasty food.

APLM: It would be fun to see how people dance to songs I sing that are dancey, since I'm not a dancer myself... Hahaha now I'm imagining it, how odd! 

Jumbly: I come out of the goth scene. Nobody dances well.

APLM: When I dance, I sort of look like a plate of jello on a table during a mild earthquake.

Jumbly: Hahahahaha! So what are you happiest with as far as distribution of your music? Pay as you will? Free giveaways? Where would you like to take it?

APLM: When I was a lot younger, I got caught up in the idea of being a professional musician... and it really did nothing but stress me out. now I just make music because I want to, because it feels right, because not doing it will have me cranky for weeks on end. I like it that way! Sure, it's nice when someone actually names a price higher than $0 on my bandcamp, but it's not a requirement. 

Jumbly: Do you like collaborating with new artists?

APLM: Yeah! I'm always open to new ideas and collaborations, the only problem is time. Sometimes things don't fall in place. When they do, though, it's beautiful. Some of my favorite songs and releases are the result of collaborations.

Jumbly: If any artists want to collaborate, how should they contact you?

APLM: Soundcloud works. or my site: aplmaria.thehai.org

Jumbly: Do you have any projects on the horizon you're planning for?

APLM: I may be working on a solo effort much like my EP Saudade, soon. and WGWGSA and I are working on Decompose 2, too. Right now I'm actually working on a few collaborations that got sidetracked during the making of Bonsai.

Jumbly: What about music/bands you're into right now?

APLM: I cycle through favorites more than listen to anything new. right now on my playlist are Chvrches, Com Truise, Similarobjects, The Uncluded, run the jewels and a heavy dose of Bjork to round it out. And Dillinger's new album on a different player so they don't shuffle together

Jumbly: Which Bjork? Selmasongs and debut are my tops. I liked Medulla as a third choice.

APLM: Post and Homogenic! and Biophilia actually. I had debut in tape, though. It's probably somewhere in my childhood bedroom still.

Jumbly: Never got the chance to check out Biophilia. to be honest, I've been feeling less interested in music outside of the realm of music I'd promote on Jumbly

APLM: I feel the same. I keep up with my favorites and re-listen to old reliables but for the most part a huge chunk of what i listen to is music my friends make.

Jumbly: Speaking of the blog, do you frequent Jumbly? Got any suggestions or things you'd like to see?

APLM: Regular unique (to your blog) content would be nice. Like come up with a unique rating system or a weekly/monthly/arbitrary reason to make a list of songs or albums... stuff like that. I mean the music is all already there and it's good, but it think if you wanna compete with the other music blogs out there what your blog needs is for your identity and how YOU enjoy/curate your music to shine through.

Jumbly: Hmm.. i do wish i could work more on the blog. Its a matter of lack of time, and keeping myself from burning out on all that new music. My goal is to continue to grow, and i want to find ways to reach out to more things as possible options. Really I'd like to have the chance to make Jumbly stronger and more like itself, if that makes sense.

Alright, so last real question. Whats your favorite guilty pleasure? Mine is watching star trek.

APLM: Are you kidding me? That's not even a guilty pleasure for me. I love star trek. Finishing battlestar galactica now. I guess the only real guilty pleasure i can think of is the occasional well written pop song. the last one to work its way into my ipod is Selena Gomez's "who says." hahaha

Jumbly: Thank you so much for sharing your music. I really like it.


So here's a review. I had originally planned on doing a review of Lagniappe soon, but this one is good just as well. I'm more a fan of her singing tracks than of the hiphop duets. The beats are a little bit jazz, a little bit electro, and a really pleasant ethereal ambient. Altogether its a really wonderful sound, and i often wait for a moment where a symphonic part would rise up in the second half of a track, and she'd get a very diva-ish emotional part in there. Since I know you'll read this, you should totally do that in the future APLM.

She does a lot online, and keeps a tumblr for all those who are into that. Check it out.

I'm still not sure if I like bonsai more or less than the others I've been listening to. My favorites on this album are bypass, lutang, and DEFINITELY storm and the sea. That song is absolutely beautiful. That glitchy drum beat over such a mournful crooning is gorgeous.

Look up A Problem Like Maria, and then look up her friends. They are doing huge things right now, and they deserve the attention.

A Problem Like Maria - Bonsai