Earlier this month, New York singer/rapper Maluca released the video for “Mala,” a synthy dance banger in which she details the essence of being a badass in Spanish. Through it, she’s perched in a super-fancy massage chair and misted with fog, before she has her face distorted and morphed by wig tape.
On releasing the video, she said, “massage chairs are the new “THRONES” and 2016 is all about self care.” Having a great interest in being pampered non-invasively by machines, and also a great interest in the selva party jams released consistently by the Dominican-American singer, who came up under Diplo’s Mad Decent label before striking out on her own, Jezebel phoned her at home in New York to learn her self-care tricks and discuss her forthcoming EP.
So what does your new work sound like?
I don’t know! Like when we did “Mala,” “Mala” doesn’t really sound like anything—like, it’s not really moombahton, it’s not reggaetón, but it has that Spanish flavor so a lot of the sounds are like that. I have another record called “Bodega” and it’s like, moombahton inspired, but it’s got a weird BPM. It’s at 90 instead of the usual 110.
“Mala” sounds like you, but it seems sharper, somehow.
Honey, I gave it a facelift, boo. I was like I need to get it together. I was just laser sharp-focused. You know, I do a lot of yoga, a lot of meditating. I was just telling my boyfriend, I was like, “Honey, I spend way too much money at the crystal shop, but that’s okay.”
Let’s talk about that, because in your video, you’re totally luxuriating, and you said it was all about self-care this year for you, and you went to yoga school.
Well, I got sober. Once that happened my mind was clear and I had more energy and there was just a lot of shit that I’ve been wanting to do and I just wasn’t able to do it, you know. And so I was like, you know what fuck it I’m going to do it all. When you’re so into like alcohol and drugs you don’t take care of yourself. But also in our society in general, taking care of yourself is frowned upon. Especially women, ’cause you’re “supposed” to be taking care of your family, you’re supposed to look out for other people. I’ve thought that a big part of like my growth is to slow down. I need some me time and everything is not about looking beautiful.
So for the video, the director, Shahana Khan, happens to be one of my best friends. And first of all, okay, I was in that chair for like 14 hours. After the first two hours, I was like this doesn’t feel so good anymore. But the chair is actually the Bugatti of massage chairs. It like, stretches you, it has all this movement. My girl was actually gonna do an art film about self-care, and she was like who likes to get massages? Oh, Maluca, she’s always getting a fuckin’ massage.
Your skin looks great in the video—very dewy.
That’s my fab make-up artist, mostly. But people are always saying, “Oh my gosh, your skin looks amazing, what’s your daily regimen?” And I’m like, “I just don’t do coke!” It works! Just don’t do blow and you’re gonna look fuckin’ fab!
What was the idea with the face tape?
I think it came out in the ’80s—you used it under your hair to give yourself like an instant facelift. But I asked the director, “Are we trying to make a big statement here?” And she was like, “No girl, you never played with tape on your face when you were like 10?” I was like, “Shit, you’re a fucking genius because you know I did.”
Amazing. Was there any overall concept behind the song, besides just being a badass and a bruja?
I just wanted to make it one of those “I’m a bad bitch” kind of records. It’s interesting, because people are telling me it’s very sexual, but that’s just because I just happen to be a sexy motherfucker, like that is just the energy that I give off. But it’s just about owning your shit, taking risks, being good to yourself, honoring yourself. I just wanted to make a record that was just like, “I’m the shit, and that’s cool to say that.”
Maluca’s next EP is out in Spring.
Contact the author at email@example.com.