The Brooklyn poet-turned-musician’s debut eP is A raw, relatable and (at times) darkly funny piece of work she hopes will “encourage people to know it’s ok to feel whatever they are feeling”
I first met Maladaptive Mistress via email in May and, like a maybe-fucked-up moth to a beautiful flame, was immediately drawn to her EP lunch (mental) break (down)—first for the (very good) title and then for the (even better) oh-man-that-strikes-a-chord content.
The three songs—“used to use,” “the ‘fuck you’ song” and “rx bb”—collectively clock in at just over 10 perfect minutes. Given the artist’s background in + penchant for poetry (her Instagram bio: “fulfilling my procreation compulsions one birth control pill and poem at a time”), it’s no surprise that the songs’ lyrics pack several punches, but it’s her inflection and creative delivery that really make the songs stand out as she offers the most lovely, sweet-sounding “fuck you” to ever grace the R-rated earth in one track and mmm’s and da-da-da-da’s her way through taking (but not snorting—”we’re not that bad!”) her little cousin’s Adderall in another. (The latter track she describes on bandcamp as “comical, but concerning.”)
All in all, it’s a charming, poignant, funny and, for me, at points, frighteningly relatable piece of work that makes me want to read + listen to anything/everything Mary-Louise Hildebrandt—the Maladaptive Mistress herself—has ever written. And I highly recommend listening.
And while you’re doing that, read up! Because a few months back, ML shot us some info on the project, told us what inspired her to put the EP out in the world and let us know what’s coming next.
On putting the EP together…
This EP just kinda came about! To me, playing music is quite literally an act of play. It just feels really really good. I’d fantasized about pushing past my stage fright but never really thought I would, especially coming from a friend group of musicians. It was hard not to compare my bedroom bops to their work that I love so much. To share music, or any art form really, is an extreme act of vulnerability. To perform, well that takes a whole other level of self-trust and is a role I am only recently stepping into. From sharing phone recordings to playing house shows and open mics, I eventually decided to record with a friend in a real studio. These songs weren’t actually written with an EP in mind. I write fairly often as a means of processing overwhelming emotions. The ones I chose were the ones I kept coming back to and they ended up fitting together thematically in a way that just felt right.
ON THE PROJECT + EP NAMES…
The EP title, “lunch (mental) break (down)” was born, not surprisingly, during a mental breakdown on my lunch break. The name “Maladaptive Mistress” is actually my poetry instagram handle that I created during yet another mild breakdown while trapped on a bus to Rochester back in 2018. I thought it was a funny yet accurate representation of myself at the time. Thankfully I’m in a much better place now and recently discovered, to my pleasant surprise, that the term “mistress” is actually defined as a woman of authority and control, not just its more degrading connotation.
ON WHAT’S NEXT…
As long as I am an emotional human I plan to keep writing. For my next EP, I’m excited to explore the production process, introduce more instruments and continue to develop my sound. As for now, I am proud of these tracks and hope they encourage people to know it’s ok to feel whatever they are feeling.
Photo (provided by the artist): Kira Metcalf