Copenhagen babe Fallulah — a.k.a. Maria Apertri — is the latest woman spear-heading the rise of avant-garde pop music. Her debut album The Black Cat Nieghbourhood stands out from all of the rest because of its Romanian roots and distinctive melodies that are woven with sinister energies, folk guitar riffs, Balkan beats and explosive lyrics. — Emily Marucci

FAULT: When you were growing up you were immersed in the world of dance, even moving to New York to go to the Broadway Dance Center.  Is dancing still apart of your life?  Do you want to make music that forces people to want to move?

FALLULAH: I grew up around dance, and it will always be a big part of my life. Only difference is that it’s now not the first priority in my life. My dad was a choreographer from Romania, and brought the Balkan culture with him when he moved to Denmark in the late ’60s, and so, rhythm and vocal harmonies and moving to music is something completely second nature to me. I want to be able to pass that feeling on to my audience. So yes, I definitely love seeing people move and feel the music.

How does the music and dancing scene in New York compare to Denmark’s?

I think the main difference between New York and Denmark is owning your ambition. People in New York know that if you want to achieve something, it takes a lot of hard work, and they aren’t afraid to dream big. Where I’m from, people work hard too, but it takes a lot of courage to step out and speak about what you wish to do with your life, because if you fail, you’ll look stupid. In Denmark there’s almost this unwritten law that it’s selfish to be very ambitious, or at least you shouldn’t talk about it too much.

Do you think an album is another way of telling your life story?

It’s absolutely my way of telling my stories, and finally feeling like as if I’m being heard. I was very timid and shy earlier in life, and coming out as a musician and an artist to everyone took a lot. My songs are deeply personal, and I’m still learning not to take all people may have to say to heart. If you really listen to the lyrics, you will know everything about me.

Does writing music come organically to you, or is it something you really have to work for?

Most of the time it comes naturally to me, but as an artist you do experience periods of time where you feel emptied out, or uninspired — especially in stressful times, where you have to deal with a lot of practical work regarding your career. If you get tired of waiting for the music to appear, sometimes a new approach can be a good way to get the wheels turning again. For me, traveling is often a good method.

Tell me your favorite line of lyrics you have ever written?

“We’ll pour it in a cup / Try to drink it up / Pour it in a well / If we go to hell / We’ll get it on the way,” from my song “Give Us A Little Love.”

You describe your music as being Indie / Folk with Balkan beats. Can you describe to us your idea behind Balkan beats?

That’s often other people’s descriptions. It wasn’t ever a conscious choice, to mix genres the way I do. The music just comes along, and quickly, I will have a clear idea of the visual landscape in my head. It’s all about finding the right sounds to help paint that picture and tell that story.

How do you feel about being compared to other artists like Florence + The Machine?

I’m totally fine with comparisons by now. I’m so used to it, and I just don’t pay much attention to it. They have nothing to do with me, and I have nothing to do with them. We’re all artists in our own sense. But at least I’m happy to be compared to artists that I like.  

Tell me the criteria that you use when picking your favorite artists to listen to?

I’m very open minded when it comes to the music I listen to. I find great qualities in old Brazilian music, film scores, top 40 pop hits and indie bands from Brooklyn. It just has to strike a chord with me, and speak to some part of my body or mind. I haven’t found anything that can make me feel as euphoric as music can.

Summer plans?

I’m in the process of writing my second album, and am taking my sweet time. I wrote my first album over a period of five years, and that was perfect, because I knew exactly what I wanted it to be like when I got to put it out. I’m traveling a lot between Copenhagen and London to write, record and have meetings. Hopefully I will get to come back to the states to tour soon, as well.

What is your FAULT? 

I’m an open book. I don’t know how to play games, and if people ask me something, I’ll answer straight from the heart. That’s not always good in my business, as some people aren’t trustworthy, and will try to use your vulnerability against you.