by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Goodnight My Darling

by Silke Hartung

NewTracks New Artist: Goodnight My Darling

Te Whanganui-a-Tara Massey pop graduate, singer-songwriter Maxine Macaulay performs under the project name Goodnight My Darling, something she can soon say to a small human she’s partly through growing within. Written during the first trimester her latest single Ruby was inspired by local sports legend Ruby Tui and is an ode to women; mothers, creatives, survivors. NZ On Air Music added it to their NewTracks compilation this June.

What’s your given name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

Maxine Macaulay, I am Goodnight My Darling. I’m a singer/songwriter and I play my ’60s limited edition, two-tone, seafoam green thin lined Fender Tele, her name is ‘Baby’. I will usually play with my band Kim Andrews (she/they) on drums, Mitch Kirk (bass) and recently Toby Lloyd on lead guitar. Previously with Ingrid Saker, and currently also playing shows with Bella Florence – BVs and percussion.

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

Singing has always been a big part of my life. I was a part of the first intake of Toi Rauwhārangi’s Bachelor of Commercial Music at Massey University. This was a great time to focus all of my energy and time on music, and make incredible lifelong connections.

Any other projects that we might we know you from?

No 🙂 I have released some self-produced lo-fi beats under GMD – and intend on getting my producing chops up to a higher standard in the near future. And for a deep-dive, I used to sing in a Kapiti-based band The Volunteers.

What’s the background story of how Goodnight My Darling came to be? 

Goodnight My Darling started as a solo electronic and vocal project, at the end of university my music degree in 2018. I would produce tracks and sing live, messing with my beats and other elements. After two years living in Berlin, and some seriously long lockdown stints, I had picked up guitar and have been writing more songy songs! Have since found my calling as a singer-songwriter. My partner and I moved back to Aotearoa at the end of 2021 and I began working on my debut album with producer Toby Lloyd of Tiny Triumph Recordings, with the intention of pulling a band together for the release – and that’s how it’s been so far.

How and when did you come up with the project name?

The brand Goodnight My Darling is still evolving. It’s a lot of collaboration visually in terms of photography and styling. I’m not a visual person, but am lucky to have had my partner who is a visual artist guide me with a lot of ideas and elements behind this aspect of GMD.

The band name was coined initially by a friend at uni, we wanted to start a shoegaze band called Goodnight. When that didn’t pull through, I started my solo project – an addition of ‘My Darling’ to ‘Goodnight’ came as part of some late, rainy night musings for my pseudonym. I can thank my guy for that. Sam was okay with me using the origin of the name… I think?

How has your music evolved from your beginnings in songwriting?

I started working on music primarily in Logic/Ableton because I didn’t play any instruments other than my voice! I found it easy to piece together sounds, and my writings/singing to create tracks this way. Now I play more guitar, although most of the time songs still evolve out of a lot of experimentation, as I am quite an intuitive, emotional writer. More often than not, my lyrics come from poems, written late at night or on the go as a way of expressing something that needs to be.

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

Releasing my debut album in 2022 was epic. I was able to get tour funding from the NZ Music Commission and we went to a few spots around the North island. I have also loved being back in Aotearoa, specifically Pōneke because the music scene here is so amazing and so supportive. I have had so many opportunities to grow and so much support from beautiful people.

What makes Ruby stand out for you as a single?

It’s honesty, quirkiness and uplifting chorus.

What is the story behind Ruby?

I wrote the chorus post Rugby World Cup 2022 – music and sports aren’t something that usually get paired together, but at a time when the Black Ferns were finally getting the attention they deserve, a lot more people were invested in that final for sure. My band and Ingrid & the Ministers were on our way back from a show up in Tamaki Makaurau when the Ferns won! We were listening to the radio in the van and it was super cool. The next morning I watched Ruby Tui sing Tutira Mai to the crowd and the chorus came then. The verses are focused around motherhood and creative repression, but I want the song to uplift which is why the music is more fun, chorus upbeat.

Who did you write the single with? 

The song was recorded at Tiny Triumph Recordings with my friend and producer Toby Lloyd. It is intertwined with my pregnancy, celebrates femininity and all that comes with it and the making of a music video in the final stages of pregnancy; which involves underwater filming of me and a synchronised swimming team.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

Honestly, probably the making of the music video! Cannot wait to share. Also, the fact I recorded the song while in my first trimester of pregnancy – so I have some funny memories of lying down singing with morning sickness for harmonies – it feels quite fitting to the song and Toby was very accommodating 😉

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

Women are incredible!

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

The feeling, baby. Also when I have something that I feel is worth saying.

Who else is in your team?

My publicist is the wonderful Kate Orgias from Lil Sister. Producer is Toby Lloyd from Tiny Triumph and the rest of the team is me. Also, the lil bean had been a key collaborator in this latest project. I usually have my mastering done by Robin Schmidt in Berlin. In 2022, I worked with Cushla Aston and a small crew of musicians as part of the Aston Rd mentorship programme – this helped heaps with working through everything that is entailed with keeping up with your own professional-grade music projects, and releasing music independently. 

Are there any other musical endeavors you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for? 

Many more Goodnight My Darling releases to come! I can imagine this new single being the baseline of an EP, but things are still up in the air with lil kiddo on the way.

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

NPR Tiny Desk – for live performance. Bad Snacks YouTube for producing tips. Annnnnd right now Pop That Mumma Podcast for positive birth stories, lol.

Any last words?

Love you so much NZ Musician. Thank you for still being here. It’s an interesting time for music globally and I love that we get to be part of the evolution and change and growth of the industry/movement. Thanks for your support, and advocating for musicians at all levels is so empowering and important.