Interview: Maya Jane Coles

We’ve been giving 'Comfort' a decent spin in our office – it’s great. How does it feel to finally have your debut album finished?

It feels great. It means my mind is open to focus on making new music again for the next album. I’ve already got some ideas down that I am quite happy with.

Does Comfort take your sound in a new direction?

Probably more so in the eyes of fans and critics. For me, that’s been the music I have been making for years, but I’m glad that people realise I’m a broader producer than I was previously perceived to be in the press.

How was it working with vocal master Karin Park? That track is killer.

Thank you. I became friends with Karin after I remixed her track ‘Thousand Loaded Guns’ under my Nocturnal Sunshine alias. I loved her voice, so was really happy when she agreed to do vocals for my album.

She co-wrote ‘Everything’, did the two of you write well together?

I wrote the backing track and then Karin toplined the track. Karin is a very talented lyricist and topliner, so the whole track was completed very quickly.

And what was it like to work with Tricky?

I listened to Tricky’s music growing up, so it was an honour to get him on a track that I’d made especially for him. We worked on the track remotely so I still haven’t actually met him!

How do you select who to collaborate with? I just have to be inspired by that person, or I may have made a backing track and I think that a particular person’s vocal might fit really well with it. They don’t have to be a big name, just the right voice.

Dream collaborator? There are too many to mention. Robert Smith from the Cure, Thom Yorke, Bjork, Beth Gibbons from Portishead perhaps? Anyone really interesting and talented.

Any interesting yarns from your time at Coachella this year?

The airline we were travelling on lost my luggage – including record bag – so there was some nervous waiting until the next flight landed with my music about one hour before I was due to perform! Thankfully it all went well in the end.

How are you touring the record? What’s the live setup?

My chosen means of performance is DJing. I might do a big live tour in the future, but only when I’m truly happy with how I’d want to execute it. For now I really love DJing, so I’m sticking to that.

You pretty much made the album by yourself. How do you stay disciplined in that kind of work environment?

Making music is my favourite thing in the world, which makes it easier to stay disciplined. I wasn’t making an album because I had to, but because I wanted too. It’s a very different mind set to be in, and one of the reasons that I released my record independently.

What were you listening to at the time?

All sorts of music from lots of different genres. There wasn’t a particular sound in someone else’s music that I was wanting to replicate with Comfort. I just focused on making an album that I wanted to listen to myself.

Were you nervous to take on the vocals of some of the tracks?

I don’t really see myself as vocalist. I’m a producer first and foremost, so it’s more just a case of me using my own voice when I have a particular melody in my head that I feel that I can execute myself as its a much faster way to work and helps me realise the track as I imagined it to sound. I wouldn’t say I was nervous when recording my tracks, as I worked on them in my own studio environment so there was never any pressure. But it can always be a little nerve wracking releasing personal stuff for the rest of the world to hear.

You were here in Australia at the beginning of the year playing Summadayze Festival, any plans to come back soon?

I really enjoyed my trip to Australia. The Australian crowd were really warm and receptive, so I’m sure I will be back.

The video clip for ‘Everything’ is so creepy. Where did the idea come from? And do you think taxidermy fashion will take off?

[laughs] Maybe. There are plenty of people wearing leather jackets! The video is based on obsession, which is what the song is about too, and making something beautiful and transformational. We used Harriet Horton who is a London based artist who works in non-traditional taxidermy to do the actual taxidermy work, including making the final head piece. I felt it was important to make sure that the process was depicted as authentically as possible.

How would you describe the music that you make?

To be honest I don’t really worry about all these terms – they are so transient. Ten different critics will describe the music in ten different ways. To me there is just music you like and music you don’t like.

By Charlotte Casey of Pagesdigital