With an acclaimed EP “Vacant Space” under her belt and a captivating, slow burning sound, George Maple is commanding 2016. Sensuous and smooth, Maple’s sonic landscape is enrapturing, capturing the audience and resulting in sold out shows around the world, including London, LA, New York and her incredible home tour in Australia. Assisting and writing for other artists too, including Hayden James, Snakehips, Flume, her collective works have over 70 million streams on Soundcloud. Maple is a supernova waiting to explode.
Her most recent track “Lover”, whose video featuring male supermodel Jordan Barrett and is directed by fashion photographer Darren McDonald, explores life in the throes of an all-consuming love. She says “I wanted to capture the beauty in the primal obsession of love. Messy love. Destructive love. The dopamine effect. The power of loss or struggle and what it drives humans to do. I wanted to capture that feeling in a film, I wanted to feel the rage and confusion of complex love, or love you simply don’t want to have but can’t seem to get away from. It could be the wrong timing, or you could be involved with someone else, it could be forbidden love, they could be completely wrong for you but there’s a magnetism that drives you completely insane.”
How would you describe your sound?
I like to think I make pop music that lives in a strange sonic universe. Sometimes the sonic universe is the centre piece and sometimes the pop song is the star but I like to think they co-exist and dance around one another. But really, I don’t know how to categorise what I make, I’d be interested to hear what other people think…I’m sure everyone has a different version of truth and narrative.
What pushed you to begin making music? Has it always been a big part of your life?
I’ve been writing songs since I was 9. It just kind of happened. It’s been the cornerstone of my being since I can remember. It’s like its phantom limb. I grew up writing plays, songs, painting, drawing, dressing up and playing pretend for hours on end with my family and friends. Sometimes I would wander off into on my own in my own little universe…The whole affair is really just a child version of what I do now. Not much has changed really!
What do you think is key to writing powerful songs that listeners can relate to?
I think that it’s totally up to the individual. What one person may think is powerful, another may turn a blind eye to. I do think however that we are all built from the same matter and share so many of the same experiences. I’ve never written a song with the audience in mind, I simply write what I know or what I’ve observed. I think we are all different kinds of crazy, it unifies us, particularly when it comes to intimacy, love, passion and relationships. I think we all crave a sense of community. I was reading something the other day about the idea that we are drawn to art that fills a missing piece in ourselves. So perhaps that’s a part of what makes something powerful to an individual. I think we are all broken flowers, looking for some re-assurance and love.
Your latest video for “Lover” was shot by Darren MacDonald. How involved are you in the music video process? How much is your vision?
All the videos come from my brain to a certain extent. I’ve always had a big part in the concept development or the edit, or the look and feel. It depends. It’s kind of like songwriting to me, it’s always changing. I created a short film for my English major work in my final year of school, so it’s always been something that fascinates me. I often write songs and develop a visual at the same time. I seem to end up co-editing a lot of the footage as it’s something I’m really particular about. At the beginning of the project, when I had literally no money I created the original video for “Fixed” from a bunch of old youtube footage and footage of my cousin ice-skating that made sense musically for me. It was like a collage of my inspiration. For “Uphill”, I was really fascinated with the way ink moved in water and how it had a life of it’s own. The uncontrollable movement really spoke to me, so I had someone film ink moving in water…I’m becoming increasingly hands on with creating original, more complex videos now, like “Sticks and Horses”, “Lover” and “Buried”. I will probably co-direct the video for the next single. I have a really exciting concept that I want to explore. I’m in the process of setting up my production company so we can develop teams internally, maybe one day I will create videos for other artists. That would be really cool. I think the process is constantly evolving too. At the beginning of the project, I was really adamant about it being a faceless operation. I used to cover my face and was very camera shy and purely interested in the music and visuals external from ‘me’. Over the last few years, my artistic intention has transformed. I feel like I’m peeling back the layers to who I actually am and embracing my on stage character. It’s a new opportunity to express myself creatively and to perform. I have always been a little apprehensive about the idea of being the artist as naturally I’m a writer and I love being behind the scenes. Being the centre of attention is something I’ve had to adapt to. I’m very happy with this phase I’m going through, it’s a lot of fun.
“My job is to try and absorb as much information, knowledge, be curious, to have experiences, develop new relationships, have conversations and to try and document my reactions to the world. Creativity is at the core of everything I do.”
How do you think your sound has changed over the last few years?
Everything is evolving together in a parallel universe to what’s going on in my life. So much of the universe I’m creating is a reaction to my personal development as a human and the environments I’m exposed to. I think that’s just being an artist. I am still fascinated by the same concepts, the underbelly of human intimacy, love, lust, sex, betrayal, fear, humans in general. I think sonically and musically I am continuing to return to my core a little more, bigger melodies, bigger production, bigger concepts…everything is getting a little bit bigger I think…or I hope.
Your tracks seem to focus a lot on romantic relationships. Is this a key theme for you? How much do you draw on personal experience?
I’m completely fascinated with human intimacy. I go through phases of various obsessions. It used to be sex, and the impact of ‘sex and desire’ upon humans and the world around us. I was intrigued by the relationship of sex and power and money and society. In more recent times, I’ve fallen into a more complex love affair with the broader concept of intimacy. I come from an academic background, my mum has a PHD and I spent a little time studying law and media so I am always curious and love to research. I think mostly to try and understand and cope with the overwhelming nature of the world. I find the power that love or intimate situations seems to have on me and the people around us really captivating. The way it controls our actions, our decisions, our emotions. Personally, my love life and relationship with intimacy has been a very complex series of events. I have been many lovers and played many roles, been a victim and a villain. I’m slowly learning my vices, weaknesses and channeling a lot of the trauma into songs. I never write consciously at the time, it’s always based on a moment, feeling, a reaction or an observation, but I spend a lot of time reflecting and trying to understand my own creative process.
Who’s your dream collaboration and why?
I have been saying Kanye a lot lately, however I completely disregarded my actual number one who is Kendrick.
What are some of the messages you’re trying to get across through your music?
I think the most important part of making music and creativity is freedom of expression. All I’m doing with my music is sharing experiences and writing stories based on the world around me with the hope that someone will find their own meaning and experience from the piece of work. Honesty and vulnerability is key in this whole process and for me authenticity is everything. I have no idea if it has any impact on other people but it’s all I can hope for.
You seem to be really in control of your own career. How have you managed to remain so independent?
It’s been a complex and bumpy journey so far but I have learned so much and that is a part of the beauty. A friend messaged me the other day who I haven’t seen in years and said how happy she was that I hadn’t ‘compromised.’ I really thought about it and If I’m honest, I’ve just been so in the thick of it that I didn’t even realise. I guess compromise wasn’t an option for me both creatively and professionally. You only have one life and I live and breathe my craft. I want to create an environment around me that nurtures that.
It’s certainly challenging at times. There are expectations, processes and protocol that exist in the industry as an artist. A lot of people aren’t as open to doing things differently or allowing the artist to be in the driving seat. I was lucky because I managed to make some successful decisions that helped build confidence in the people around me. That being said, I used to be far more of a micro-manager, and terrified of things not going to plan or being perfect. I have learned a lot about letting go of control in areas where other people are far better equipped to handle different aspects of my career. I try and understand everything however I’m never going to be good at everything. So much of it is about choosing the right people. I like to give responsibility to people who can bring something new to the table. A kind of expertise I haven’t even thought of. I love to collaborate in all areas of my art and business, so I spend a lot of time sourcing the right people, whether that be in a creative, financial, logistical or business sense.
If everyone works cohesively and can focus on what they’re good at, then it helps the whole operation run well. it’s basically just like any kind of business. If you have the right people around you, as an artist, then you are able to focus on creating, reflecting on the world around you. This ensures the vision is reaching its full potential. My job is to try and absorb as much information, knowledge, be curious, to have experiences, develop new relationships, have conversations and to try and document my reactions to the world. Creativity is at the core of everything I do. I like the idea that I can check on other parts of the operation n at any time however knowing that things are ‘handled’ gives me a lot of piece of mind and helps everything to move forward smoothly.
What do you consider your greatest source of inspiration?
I’m honestly inspired every day by something new. I could create a very long list of things that have inspired me over the years. At the moment I am completely besotted with the 70s disco divas, donna summer has always been my one true idol.