I, The Mapmaker – “We write sad songs, just in a more challenging way”

I, The Mapmaker – “We write sad songs, just in a more challenging way”

By Christopher Lee

Jun 14, 2018 12:18

Nearly two years in the making I, The Mapmaker unleashed their fantastic debut EP ‘Searching’ on the world and it is undoubtedly worth the wait.

Yes, the EP is 6 tracks of beautifully crafted and well written lyrics coupled with riffs will blow your mind, married together with honestly some of the most beautiful melodies we’ve heard in a very long time.

But we wanted to delve a little deeper into the concepts and stories behind all this and who better to help us do that then the bands vocalist Ashley Emery. So, we caught up with him off the back of a ridiculously great live performance down at Teddy Rocks Festival for an insight into what makes ‘Searching’ more than just epically good music but also some of the very best story telling out there.

Sat in a living room full of mapmaker merch the first thing that strikes is just how happy Emery is, he’s almost radiant as he tells us just how much he’s loving life currently. And why wouldn’t he be, he’s had these ideas floating around in his head and to finally have them out there and being so well received must be one of the greatest feelings possible. Getting the introductions out of the way first he proceeds to tell us who exactly I, The Mapmaker are and what they are all about “We’re just five little lads from Bournemouth & Southampton who write sad songs but just want to do it in a more challenging way,”

Immediately we pounce on this wanting to know exactly what Emery means by this “first off, all our songs are double written which means that each one has its own concept meaning to our greater story but also has a deeper personal meaning to events in our own lives,” Now we’ve all heard a million and one sad songs about break ups and tough times. Take this past Christmas for example, we’re pretty sure every single song on Top of the Pops (yeah, people DO still watch that) was about heartbreak or relationships and there’s no doubt that these topics do get the creativity flowing but ‘Searching’ is at the same time, about so much more.

“The EP is effectively a non-chronological story about a cartographer called ‘Ordinants’ and all he’s ever done is draw maps. It’s his job and it’s all he’s ever known. He has a wife and a child, and they live in this little house in the woods. And then one day they just disappear and don’t come back,” if you love a good thriller then hopefully I, The Mapmaker have got you hooked already but trust us when we say it only gets better from here.

“So Ordinants is a very selfish person,” Emery continues. “And he thinks that his time is more valuable than anyone else’s so instead of going out and looking for them which is the logical thing to do, he decides that he’ll simply stay at the house in case they return whilst I’m out searching and then I’ll have just wasted my time,” now I’m sure we’ve all heard of some pretty selfish actions but surely that would top them all?

But this is just the start and it only gets a whole lot crazier from here as Emery explains “So what he does instead is get all of his maps out and tries to determine just how far from their home his family could have got in this time. Eventually he goes through every single map he’s ever drawn and begins to lose control of his thoughts and of his mind,”

Now it might just be us but the more Emery takes us down the path of this incredibly well crafted story the more we begin to imagine that this could quite easily become a book, a movie or even a computer game. It’s so engrossing and refreshing to see a new band burst onto the scene with the intention of not only selling records or making music about their lives but to just take their music back to its medieval form of storytelling. You could imagine a bard singing about this tale in an inn full of townsfolk.

Moving on Emery explains “he eventually starts drawing maps of places that don’t even exist and that he’s never been to and then tries to imagine what these places are like, beginning to hallucinate and starts to see villages and experience places,” what we love about this concept is that it literally has endless possibilities. I, The Mapmaker could continuously write songs and tell a thousand tales and no two of them would be the same.

We ask Emery if he wouldn’t mind telling us about one of these instances and he duly obliges. “So Ordinants finds himself in this village where two mysterious things have occurred. One, they discover a huge underground vault and two, a young villager is suddenly struck down with an illness that no one can explain. The villagers decide that the discovery of the vault and the strange illness must be linked. They start to discuss what they should do but quickly become embroiled in politics between themselves with many of the villagers having different opinions about what has caused these mysterious events. Some believe that the vault is actually a fountain of youth and that if they take the young villager to it she will be healed, and they will be granted eternal life. Whilst other members of the village believe that the young villager must be sacrificed to whatever resides inside the vault to protect the rest of the people,”

These are some extreme points of view but looking back at the history of humans, people have believed in much stranger things. “so eventually what happens is they argue between themselves for so long that the young villager dies and when they decide to enter the vault they find it empty with nothing to link the two instances and leaving them to ponder for the rest of their lives what they could have done to save the young girls life,”

Now this is just one of a multitude of stories thought up by Emery and I, The Mapmaker and is both thought provoking and engaging. We could literally go on for hours talking to Emery about the possible stories they have up their sleeves, but we’ll leave that for another day, another EP and hopefully soon a first full album. But honestly, we don’t care how we get it, we just want more. And if we want more we’re sure there are a whole host of people out there that feel the same.

Congratulations I, The Mapmaker you’ve got us hooked. Please don’t leave us waiting too long for more!

The bands debut EP ‘Searching’ is out now and stay tuned for news as to when you can catch them live, because quite honestly they’re as brilliant live as their storytelling.