Voyage to Mars

MUNYA

Voyage to Mars

As a young girl growing up in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, Josie Boivin (aka MUNYA) contemplated the infinite nature of space. “I’m from the country, a place where it’s really dark at night, and I’d often dream while gazing up at the starry sky,” the indie-pop singer-songwriter tells Apple Music. “That’s what drew me to science fiction and the notion of extraterrestrial life. I remember the first time I saw Independence Day: I was both fascinated and terrified. I called one of my friends and told him that if I ever disappeared, it would be because of aliens, and he said that would be an awesome song title, so I started writing.” That childhood memory was the starting point for 2018’s “If I’m Gone Tomorrow (It’s Because of Aliens).” Three years later, her debut LP expands on those early inspirations. “I truly had the wind in my sails until everything came to a halt because of the pandemic,” says MUNYA. “It could have really got me down, but I didn’t want to fall prey to negativity, so I sought inspiration in my passion for outer space.” Here, MUNYA talks us through her interstellar journey, track by track.
“Maracuya” “I was in the bedroom at my little studio apartment one bright, sunny day, and the bassline was the first thing that came to me. I had this really clear image in my mind of a woman sitting on the balcony of her Parisian apartment, thinking about the relationship she’s just ended. As for the title, it’s the Spanish word for passion fruit, which I think is very appropriate for a song about love!”
“Boca Chica” “The title comes from the name of the small town in Texas where SpaceX launches its rockets. I’m interested in the whole process leading up to a launch: the hundreds of people working together, all the attempts that fail before a successful launch, it fascinates me. This song was written at the very beginning of the pandemic when the atmosphere was pretty grim. I first released it in spring 2020, along with a typical lockdown video filmed in front of a green screen in my kitchen.”
“Tonight Tonight” “Because I’m obsessed with space, I decided to rewatch Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon, which is probably the first science fiction movie ever made. It immediately reminded me of the video for ‘Tonight, Tonight’ by the Smashing Pumpkins, which is clearly a tribute to the film. They were one of my big sister’s favorite bands, and I remember the emotion I felt the first time I heard the song, that mixture of melancholy and hope. I stripped it down to the bare bones in order to reconstruct it in my own way.”
“Cocoa Beach” “Another reference to SpaceX, because it’s the name of the Florida city where they also have a launch pad. There’s a mixture of hope and melancholy in this song, which talks about persevering despite setbacks. There’s something about the chord progression that resonates with me. It’s also a good example of how I work: Once I’ve found the melody, I start adding layers and layers of drums and percussion. Then, I tidy up and cleanse until I’ve got the right balance.”
“Pour Toi” “It was inspired by a very specific image, a childhood memory. There was this old, red telephone in the basement at my parents’ place, and every time you’d pick up the receiver, you’d hear this kind of weird noise, as though we were receiving transmissions from another planet. I wanted to reproduce this strange phenomenon in the production, which is why my voice sounds very remote in the mix.”
“Voyage” “I wanted an uptempo, almost disco song, something quite lighthearted that would fit with the theme. Like everyone else, I’ve had my ups and downs since the start of the pandemic, but I often remind myself that I need to stay positive. The lyrics talk about the importance of achieving your dreams, but more importantly about how you need to stop along the way and feel grateful for all the small victories.”
“Life Is a Dream” “It’s the last song I wrote for the album, but it clearly had to come after ‘Voyage’ because of the ties between the two. I composed it on guitar and, right away, I started humming the melody without having the lyrics. It reflects the darker moments I’ve been through in the past two years, and it’s a reminder that I need to keep moving forward despite the failures. My mantra is ‘embrace failure.’ You have to accept that failure is an essential part of personal growth.”
“America” “This one was composed while I was on tour in Europe in 2019. I was having a great time. I was living out my dreams, but after a while, I felt a little bit homesick. I realized just how important my roots are, and I felt this sort of bursting love for all of North America. I love the place I come from, the Saguenay region, and Quebec as a whole, but I also like the rest of North America, where I spend a lot of my time.”
“Dove” “I released this as a single in 2019. It’s a bit different from the others and doesn’t exactly fit with the theme, but I wanted to include it somewhere on the album. It was inspired by a dove that made her nest on my window ledge. I’d go and see her every day, her and her three little eggs, and I loved listening to her sing. And then one morning, she just disappeared, leaving her eggs behind. I looked for her around the neighborhood, but I never saw her again, so I wrote this track for her.”
“Captain Ron” “It talks about long-distance relationships, commitment, and the importance of listening to your heart. The title is inspired by the film with Kurt Russell, which I saw quite by chance while I was composing it. I allowed myself to experiment a bit on this one, in particular with my voice. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. The bass is very prominent; it’s lively and I explore influences that are very close to R&B.”
“Perfect Day” “I feel like I’m repeating myself, but the pandemic really forced me to refocus on the important things. Happiness is often right in front of us, in the little things, and we’re often too busy or too stressed out to see it. During that period, I started doing yoga, I went running, and I actually created an album! You have to make the most of those moments; life is definitely too short to feel down all the time. The song started off with the bassline, composed on a bass synth, then all the chords just came to me quite naturally. I can clearly remember walking down the street listening to a working version and how it put a spring in my step. I ended up convincing myself that the day was, indeed, perfect.”
“Tresor” “It talks about turning the page and moving on, which aptly reflects my state of mind, because I’m ready to move on to the next album now. Musically, I drew on themes, sounds, and melodies that are reminiscent of my very first EP, so I see this song as a way of closing the loop. If I was to relate it to the album’s main theme, I picture this track as the return to Earth: the rocket re-entering the atmosphere like a fireball and then touching down in the ocean, and everything becomes calm again.”

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