Maya Jane Coles has seemingly come from nowhere over the last 12 months or so – one of the brightest stars in the current crop of club producers she makes house music that is equally thrilling to purists and older heads as it is to club kids raised on a diet of in your face bass and broken beats.
With releases on Hypercolour and Mobilee, one of THE tracks of last year under her belt (‘What They Say’) and a whole load of new music in the pipeline, I decided it was time to find out some more.
Check the bottom of the interview to listen to ‘Hummingbird’ – her deceptively simple house groover that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time I hear it.
Hey Maya, can you tell me a bit more about yourself? Where do you come from and where you live?
Maya Jane Coles – born in London town – still in London town!
How did you get started with music?
I was always around music when growing up. I learnt quite a few instruments when I was at school and my with my parents being massive music lovers I always had all kinds of crazy stuff playing in the house. Music really became a passion in my early teens and when I was 15 I decided to teach myself how to use Cubase. As soon as I made my first track I pretty much knew that it was what I wanted to do with my life.
What drew you towards house?
I was first exposed to good house music as a young party goer on the London club scene. Before I started going out I was never really into house music because all I used to hear was the commercial rubbish on the radio and TV. As soon as I was exposed to the deeper, more intelligent side of house and techno I was hooked. I already produced music before I got into house but I was more focused in Hip Hop/Trip Hop/Drum & Bass etc. But, it was natural that when I started taking interest in a new style of music that I’d try and create my own take of it.
What came first – DJ’ing or making music?
Making music! I’m a musician first and the DJ’ing came later.
You make house in a contemporary but also a ‘classic’ way – was that your intention?
I’m influenced by a lot of music – old and new so I guess that is reflected in my music. I don’t really intend to make house music in a specific sort of way, I just go with what naturally comes out and sounds good to my ears. I think if you listen to all the styles of music I make there is a similarity that carries through the sound.
What kind of things influence your music – is it other producers, or stuff outside music?
I guess everything influences my music. My moods and emotions are reflected in my music and anything can influence those! Anything from day to day occurrences to life changing experiences. Hearing fresh and innovative new music is always an inspiration to create something new myself, but then just having a good night out or being somewhere new can be just as inspiring.
Do you think you will make other types of club focused music in the future?
Yeah definitely. House is only a small part of what I produce. I’ve always had other projects on the go focusing on other types of club based (and non club based) music. It’s taken quite a few years for me to develop my sound and throughout the years my productions have seen a journey through many different genres.
What other musical projects are you involved with?
I have a live act called She Is Danger which is a collaboration between me and vocalist Lena Cullen and this project is more focussed on song based tripppy dubby electronica. I also have an alias – Nocturnal Sunshine which focuses on more dubstep based stuff and I’ve always got a million other projects that I work on in my own time.
You are releasing on a mix of up and coming and more well established labels like Mobilee – is it important to release music on a wide variety of labels?
For me it’s definitely an important thing cause of my different projects, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily important for all artists. If your music spans a diverse range of styles it generally makes sense to release on a wide variety of labels, but the most important thing is making sure the labels that you release on are delivering your music to the right people. As long as your music is reaching who you want it to reach and you have a good working relationship with the label it shouldn’t really matter who you release through. I’ve learnt from the past that there are a lot of labels that just treat their artists purely as a product and aren’t really interested in building a decent relationship with who they work with, so that’s something I avoid now.
How does having a lot of hype directed at one track (‘What They Say’) affect you? – do you pay much attention to things like that?
I take it as a positive thing because the hype only gains you new listeners. If someone likes one thing you’ve done, they’re likely to listen to the next thing you do so as long as you keep up the standard then people will (hopefully) keep enjoying your music.
What’s do you have coming up for the next few months?
Gigs, gigs, gigs, making music, gigs, making music, gigs, making music, gigs…. err… gigs, making music, oh, did I mention gigs?? err and maybe the occasional 10 mins here and there to chill out…
Published March 01, 2011.