08.06.2011, Words by Charlie Jones

Maya Jane Coles bends club rules, so stream her new EP!

Maya Jane Coles’ is a rare, clear-cut voice. Most notable for her house-leaning productions, including last year’s What They Say, which offered a fresh, peak-perfect, update on ’90s organ-using house, and the lovely languid depth of Hummingbird. She also records under the name Nocturnal Sunshine, a genre specific dubstep project, and collaborates with Lena Cullen as the live dub/electronica duo She Is Danger.

Her latest EP, ‘Focus Now’, is out on 2020 Vision. It’s perhaps not as instantaneous as either of the tracks mentioned above, but it feels less tied to a certain musical direction. The neat, sprung rhythms of the title track are familiar, and done as deftly as one might expect from her. The High Life and Little One are also wonderfully light on their feet, while still packing plenty of club-oriented insistency. The real shift here though is Senseless, a feathery pop song, all spindly textures, engaging in it’s restrained, rippling ways. ‘Focus Now’ emphasizes Coles’ capability with far more than just straight up house productions, a record that bodes well for the album she’s currently working on. You can stream the EP in full here, and also read a quick interview with an on-the-road Maya below.

VIS211 – Maya Jane Coles – Focus Now EP by 2020VisionRecordings

When and how did you first get into making music? Did you start off DJing?

I’m a producer first, I started making music when I was 15. The DJing came a couple years later after I started making House music. I’ve always produced all kinds of different stuff. I started out making Hip Hop/Trip Hop/Dub, I produced for mates that were R&B/Soul singers and MCs. I also dabbled in Drum & Bass etc. I still produce all kinds of music but most people happen to know me for my house productions as that’s mainly what I’ve had the chance to release so far. When I release my album people will see a more fuller representation of me.

How come you chose to record under the name Nocturnal Sunshine as well?

Nocturnal Sunshine is an alias I use for my dubstep stuff. As it’s genre specific, I wanted to keep the project as a separate entity so I chose a different name.

How do you approach working with Lena Cullen as She Is Danger differently to your solo work?

It’s always different when working with someone else, you can’t get lost in your own world. There’s a bit more pressure to get things done quickly which is good in a way… Things run pretty smoothly when Lena and I work together, we’re both pretty fast workers. I’ll usually start off working on an instrumental and Lena will start thinking of lyrics. Then we record just loops and bounce ideas off each other and things always flow well. Within the first hour we usually get a solid vibe going and we pretty much come out of every session with at least one new track.

Your new EP, while still having the obvious touchstones of house and techno, does seem to have elements and textures from some slightly different areas of music – dub is something I particularly hear. What kinds of sounds influenced this record?

I’m influenced by a lot of different genres of music. House and techno only makes up a small percentage of my musical output. I’ve always been a massive dub fan – I produced dub/trip hop before I ever started making house music so I think my roots will always be reflected in whatever I happen to be producing. I’m influenced by a lot of song based stuff, guitar bands, weird electronica, dub, jazz, 90’s hip hop and R&B…. the list goes on.

So you’re working on an album. What is that shaping up to be like?

I’m really excited about releasing my album. As much as I like to make tracks for the club, there are still so many rules and limitations. My album is a true expression of myself. Music I like to make without any boundaries. It might not be what people are expecting, but I’m looking forward to unleashing it.

What are your plans for the immediate future?

For me it’s mainly about finishing the current music I’m working on. Since I’ve been touring so much lately I haven’t had as much time in the studio, so now I’m trying to make some space to lock myself in there!

Tamara El Essawi interviewed Maya Jane Coles via email on 30th May 2011

2020 Vision released Maya Jane Coles ‘Focus Now’ EP on 30th May 2011

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