Molly Payton shares her new single and video ‘Asphalt’ today, the first glance of her full-length project planned for 2024.
Here’s the blurb with more:
The new single was produced alongside her close friend and collaborator Oscar Lang, and follows on from their duet ‘Bandits,’ released earlier this year. ‘Asphalt’ opens a new era for Molly Payton after a string of EPs and mixtape releases, most recently with 3-track collection Compromise in late 2022.
In many ways, ‘Asphalt’ is Molly Payton’s ‘anti-single’, and was chosen intentionally when she was between managers and labels. Where most lead singles entice with hooks and heavy hitters, ‘Asphalt’ is a piercing slowburn, brutal and beautiful in its simplicity, building towards a crescendo across just two chords, four verses, and a looping melody.
“I picked it to be the first single and shot the music video before I met my new management or a label,” she explains, “because I knew no one would want me to make it a first single.”
The accompanying music video, conceptualised alongside Oscar Keys and Damin McCabe, serves as a parable for the pressures of coming of age within the music industry – capturing the tension between feeling like both a creator, and a product.
Having released her debut DIY EP shortly after relocating from New Zealand to London in her mid-teens, Payton soon carved herself out as a burgeoning force. Her music spans from heavy alternative rock to melancholic ballads, her voice as powerful quiet as it is in a raw belt, her lyrics as vulnerable as they are wryly funny. Having released a string of EPs and a mini-album across the last few years, it’s an output as prolific as it is impressive, and one that has seen one her earn wide critical acclaim Pigeons & Planes, i-D, Dork, DIY, The Line of Best Fit, Clash, Steve Lamacq at 6Music, BBC Radio 1 and beyond. Her equally captivating live presence has seen her share stages alongside the likes of Arlo Parks, Tom Odell, Beabadoobee and Alex G, and join festivals including Pitchfork Paris, Primavera, Laneway and SXSW Australia.
Her most recent collection, the Compromise EP, created with Oli Barton-Wood (Nilüfer Yanya, Porridge Radio, Sorry) and released in late 2022, signified that the rose-tinted spell has begun to shatter. After a huge loss drew Payton back to her native New Zealand for an unexpected stint, her return to the UK saw the harsher realities of London life and her cross-hemisphere existence set in. A disorienting period of near constant uncertainty saw Payton rack up a staggering 20 moves in the space of six months whilst balancing a hospitality job and packed touring schedule. Compromise was titled in wry acknowledgement of its unsettled origins, its mood epitomised in highlight single ‘Ruins.’
At the start of 2023, Molly Payton found herself back in New Zealand, and completely independent for the first time in her music career. Still just 21, the lack of funding and clear direction led her to work twice as hard. Properly taking the driving seat for the first time, Payton became present in every aspect of her creative process – from co-production to visuals to mixing, picking up a day job to fund it. Facing the chaos with unwavering ardency, ‘Asphalt’ sees Molly Payton forge steady ground. In her own words, she reflects; “Oscar Lang came to New Zealand to visit over the Summer, and it was the first time we’d worked together properly since we were in high school together in London. I knew I wanted to begin this project with something that captured the feeling of how lost I was feeling. I wrote ‘Asphalt’ the way I wrote when I was sixteen, in 20 minutes without any care for structure or radio playability or anything except capturing that feeling of restlessness and hope. Asphalt is the song that made me love making music again, and I am so grateful to it for that.”
Molly Payton live:
17 November | Auckland, NZ | Real Groovy Records free all ages gig & single launch
12 December | Auckland, NZ | Powerstation – supporting Alex G
06 February | Auckland, NZ | Laneway Festival 2024