Producing a sound that occupies the sonic world where acoustics and electronics meet, MAPLES captures the marriage between two sounds. MAPLES has just finished her debut album, Two Worlds. Tomatrax caught up with MAPLES to ask a few questions.
What Made you want to become a Musician?
When I was young, I would sit at the piano, and play for myself. There was a sense of completeness, a sense of something transcendental when I would play for myself, or for others. It was that thrill that drew me in. I knew it was something I had to pursue.
Where did the name MAPLES come from?
I believe that change is the only constant. MAPLES is a natural representation of change. Symbolically it was an apt notion. Also, I can never place any particulars on my music, I’m always pushing barriers….the array of tone colours that are portrayed by a MAPLE leaf throughout time represents this.
What made you pick an alias rather than your actual name?
My name is Gabrielle Huber. I dont mind my name. But for me it didn’t have a certain ‘ring’ to it. I also knew I wanted to record music that was a little heavier on the production side, as opposed to a more simple singer-songwriter vibe. Also, MAPLES is a persona. A stage persona for me.
You’ve just released your debut album, whats it like to have it out?
Sweet sweet relief. I have been working on this album for over two years. Relief is almost an understatement.
You mix acoustic and electronic elements into your sound, is it hard to get them to work together?
Not particularly. When is comes to mixing them within a recording it can be very difficult. Thats why I recruited my great friend Timothy Whitten to mix the album. He is a sonic genius.
In a live sense, I think the two elements provide a sense of balance and sonic richness. Its interesting for me to come from a folk background and apply electronic production to an ambient-pop context.
You put the album together by going in and out of eight studios over a year, what made you decide to use so many different locations to make your music?
I needed the bigger studios first (FED studios, and Megaphon) to record the large and beautiful acoustic instruments. Pianos, marimbas, drums, percussion, vibraphones, bass…It was essential to capture those acoustic instruments in big rooms where they had some breathing space. The other studios were where all the synths and programming magic happened. I also chose to record my vocals with a close friend at his studio at TrackDown studios. For me, vocals are the most important. You need to feel completely comfortable and at ease with your surroundings.
Where did the name Two Worlds come from?
Primarily, this album is a breakup album. Its about two people pulling away from one another. Two people, that in reality, where so very very different and mismatched. Secondly, it is a sonic reflection on two sonic worlds coming together. Acoustics marrying electronics.
What made you pick ‘Stars’ as your debut single?
Stars was the track that resonated with me most once I had finished the mixing process for the LP. It captured the fighting mentality that once must adopt to embark on the challenge of suppressing negative forces. Writing, recording and releasing your first solo album is something very challenging. I hadn’t felt such support in the past from my musical peers until I embarked on recording this LP. ‘Stars’ is anthem to that feeling when fate kicks in, the stars align. It was also the first track I co-wrote with Julian Hamilton. Working with Jules was a HUGE thrill for me. He is an incredible musician and producer.
You’ve played in bands in the past, how does performing solo compare to being in a band?
It definitely is very different. I find playing solo very empowering. There is however, a certain kind of magic when you play in bands. A magic that can occur often or very rarely. A certain synergy when each musician is listening to the entire arrangement and understanding that they are a part of a unit, and the lines get blurred between who’s playing what….and its just fluid. For me the liberation is being autonomous and making every decision for my self outweighed this. I literally need to consult no-one with ANY decision I make with MAPLES. If I play a wrong chord, its pretty darn obvious…
Do you ever listen to your own music?
When I was recording I did, continuously. Every desk mix, over and over. Since the album has been finished, I haven’t revisited it. I need to detach myself from it now. Now that its released, I need some time away from Two Worlds.
I enjoy listening to bedroom demos…they often behold a magic that cannot be recreated.
What other music do you listen to?
I listen to alt-country. Folk and ambient pop also. The genre that I love the most is country. I remember reading somewhere that Ryan Adams once said, country is the only genre where you can display a full array of emotion. All of the emotions. I’m pretty emotional, so it makes sense that I can never grow tired of listening to Gillian Welch or Emmy Lou Harris. I love folk-pop….anything with a great melody and solid production.
Now that the album is out, what do you plan on doing next?
I’m going to launch Two Worlds at Newtown Social Club on 17th November! Give it a huge party. I’ll showcase at Australian Music Week this year…Then I intend to make my next album the absolute antithesis to Two Worlds. I will write, record and release it VERY quickly through my label Dream Gold Records. I also intend to travel overseas again with my music, aiming for Canada and hopefully the US.
Check out MAPLES Facebook page to find out more!