Clash has gone and done itself an in-love-with on the debut studio album from house music manifesto re-writer Maya Jane Coles.
‘Comfort’ – Clash review here – is one of those collections that really translates the dancefloor rush of this music to the long-play arena, making the most of the format to comprise this, in the words of Clash’s write-up, “deepest of journeys”.
Clash premiered ‘Comfort’ on its iPhone app edition t’other day, alongside other platform-exclusive content – and more on that can be found here. But now we’re pleased as punch to share a stream of the set with you online readers. Check the album out via the SoundCloud player below.
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And now, an excerpt from Clash’s interview with Maya – about ‘Comfort’ and, of course, much more. The full piece can be read in issue 86 of Clash magazine, available now (details/order).
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“It’s been a long process,” admits the shy 25-year-old when musing on ‘Comfort’. “I wanted to build my fanbase and have people waiting for what I was going to do before I released it. I didn’t want to make a debut album for it to just get lost. You see good artists just disappear on the ‘net all the time.”
And patiently waited we have. In 2011 she caught our ear: voted either Best Producer, Best DJ or Best Breakthrough DJ by Resident Advisor, DJ Mag, Mixmag, and many others, she was on a roll. She pretty much repeated the feat in 2012, showing that she could really turn the screw on the male-dominated world of production and DJing.
Yet she’s a tiny powerhouse of creativity; a slight figure inducing large and lofty waves of music that now has tsunami effects on clubs all around the world.
Alongside her eponymous productions as Maya Jane Coles, there’s her more edgy side project Nocturnal Sunshine; and with a good friend Lena Cullen she remixes the likes of Gorillaz and Massive Attack under the nom-de-guerre of She Is Danger.
Crucially, throughout all these originations Maya produces and masters everything herself. She sings. She writes and hones her lyrics. On the day of her photo shoot with Clash she refuses to be styled in expensive new clothes and happily carries in her own neatly folded garments in a suitcase, enough to stretch across four photographic set-ups.
She even draws her own artwork, a task that chips away at the facade of calm she effortlessly carries off for most of our interview.
“That was a real last minute thing!” she frowns. “I always knew I wanted to do the artwork myself, because it’s just another side of things I do. But eventually I was like, ‘No way am I doing this myself. I should’ve got someone else to do it.’ But then, finally, I came up with something.”
She shrugs, and continues with a warm glow: “I like drawing and doodling. I’ve always had a sketch book with me.”
‘Comfort’ comprises 13 tracks and is released on her own label, I/AM/ME. These are sounds exploring the furthest corners of her beloved house music – an edifice of beats and bass that’s been born from her own hand, from production, mixing, mastering, as she explains.
“I much prefer working with vocalists, but the production I like to do myself. I find it quite hard working in collaboration; I’ve tried working with other producers, sometimes it’s worked…”
She trails off, leaving some undefined issues flailing in the air before moving on to defend her decisions. “I always have such a clear vision of what I want to do on the production side of things, so it makes more sense to do it by myself. It can be conflicting sometimes if you already know what you’re going for.”
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Interview: Matthew Bennett
‘Comfort’ is released on July 1st and is reviewed here.
Get more exclusive Maya Jane Coles content – including a behind-the-scenes video and a piece exploring the DNA of her music – on the (FREE) Clash app.