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“It’s still me, but a better me”, an interview with Mollie Coddled.

Lippy’s Sophie Fennelly sits down to discuss neurodivergence and the music industry.



If you’ve been a regular gig-goer in Leeds over the past few years and are into soft girl bedroom pop, it’s difficult to have missed Mollie Coddled. In case you have, Mollie is a self-produced indie singer songwriter who hit the Leeds scene through her attendance of Leeds Conservatoire.

 

Having not released new music in over a year, Mollie celebrated the release of her new single ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ with a launch party at Hyde Park Book Club on 17th February. I sat down with Mollie to chat about her new single before its release.

 

Discussing the gap between her previous releases and this one, Mollie divulged:

 

“I take so long to produce my songs, which is because I'm just such a perfectionist. Which is why it takes me two years to put an EP because a lot of artists just write the songs. But I also produce it as well. So, it's like taking so much longer than it should. But I just don't feel like I can give up creative control some random man. […] It's probably something to do with my autism, I'm not gonna lie. But I am just such a perfectionist. Because I know exactly how I want something to sound. And when other people get involved, it doesn't sound what I want it to sound. If I put something out, and it doesn't actually represent my whole person, like my personality and the music that I like, I'm just gonna really, really regret it.”

 

Mollie shared online that this single was about her experience forming relationships as someone with AuDHD (Autism and ADHD), and when I asked her about what inspired her to write this song, she explained:

 

‘I feel like in every relationship that I get into they have this like preconceived idea of this manic pixie dream girl thing that they've come up with in their head, like this person is so like, adventurous and like, outgoing and spontaneous. And like, it's so fun and nice. […] And then anytime you actually showed the parts of your disability that they don't like, they're like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, this isn't what I signed up for. […] I've never heard anyone talk about it from our perspective before because it's always shown from the guy's perspective of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who is always the side character, and you never get to see it from their point of view.’

 

The music industry, in its current form, is difficult to break into for anyone, but is inherently unfriendly to neurodivergent artists. The settings (usually loud and overstimulating) and expectations (of talking to strangers and being very comfortable) do not comfortably coexist with neurodivergence. Discussing this with me, Mollie confessed, “It's really hard to perform, I'm not gonna lie, I get really, really anxious, I can't eat before I go on stage, and it sounds bad, but I do have to like drink alcohol. And if I don't, I'm just a complete nervous wreck.”


 

But she also shared that she finds the stage to be a place of comfort:

 

“I feel like one of the actual places where I'm the most open and vulnerable is when I'm on stage, which is so strange. And I find it really hard to be vulnerable with like, people on a one to one or even friends. But I feel like when you have a roomful of people that are all neurodivergent, and they usually are at my gigs, it's so easy to be able to, like open up and talk about stuff. […] I guess it's kind of like talking to your diary. Because it's like, I can say whatever I want. And if people don't like it, they can just leave the room.”

 

This atmosphere of openness and honesty was evidenced at the launch party for the single at Hyde Park Book Club, where, whilst introducing her new unreleased music, Mollie talked frankly about her experiences with the audience, the solace that she has found in making music about it, and the comfort she hopes her music will bring others:

 

“When it feels like it’s only you, it’s too much, but when someone else feels it too, it’s bearable” she told the audience. Chatting with me, she said, “I want to make music that people can relate to, and that I love. And then if that ends up being successful, then it does. And if people don't like it, then at least I actually like it. And I'm happy with what I've spent my time and money doing.”

 

The audience’s positive reaction to the three unreleased songs Mollie played to the audience received, as well as the excitement around ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ shows that this dream is being realised.

 

When I asked Mollie what details she could share about her upcoming releases, she revealed, “It's still me. But it's better me. […] it's still Mollie Coddled, still sounds like Mollie Coddled, but there's a few twists. This project is a lot more refined, and thought out, and intentional. And so the project’s a lot more cohesive in a production manner. It's definitely a new era.”

 

The launch party took place the snug of Hyde Park Book Club, the room was quickly made cosy through a blend of the warm lighting and the influx of people. Both Mollie and her bandmates were in high demand before the start, with people lining up to speak to them, and someone even bringing Mollie a bunch of roses. She made her appreciation for this support clear, presenting the audience with a homemade vegan lemon drizzle cake to eat after the show, and encouraging people to bring their own clothes along to be lino printed with Mollie’s artwork for free – Mollie’s merch is also self-printed with her own artwork on thrifted clothing, with sustainability being at the core of her ethos. The performance was defined by the audience’s respect and admiration for the music, and a bit of back-and-forth banter between the artist and the crowd during songs. The party was undoubtedly a hit all round, and I imagine that everyone present will be waiting in anticipation of Mollie’s upcoming project.


Words: Sophie Fennelly, she/her

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