Galore Darling: George Maple Is The New Sensual Sound
This past Saturday, Future Classic hosted its CMJ showcase at Webster Hall. It was there that I heard Aussie songstress George Maple live for the first time. With her sensual voice and pulsing beats, Ms. Maple (otherwise known as Jess Higgs) totally captivates you as a performer.
You may recognize her name from her smooth electronic single “Fixed” she released last year which totally took over Soundcloud, or her popular collaboration with Flume, or her huge tour with fellow Aussie DJ duo Flight Facilities. But with her latest single, “Talk Talk,” George Maple has grown into an even stronger, more bewitching artist. I sat down with George the day before her show and caught up with her about her growth over the past year and what’s up next.
Tell me a little about your latest single, “Talk Talk,” where did that come from?
I wrote that song in January of this year. It was Summer in Australia and everyone was partying. I wanted to write something very fun and pop centric. It came from a very real place. I’m so proud of it.
The visuals are wild. Do you visualize a song as you’re writing it?
I think this year I’ve taken a lot of time to strip back layers. I finally feel like I’m 100% where I want to be musically. When I was briefing the video and developing the concept for it, I don’t think I was completely honest with myself. I didn’t want to actually divulge the song’s meaning. I wanted to be more metaphorical or conceptual rather than barebones.
Check out George’s latest music video for Talk Talk here.
So you’re from Australia and used to live in London, where are you based out of now?
Kind of in a suitcase [laughs]. I’m going all over. I guess I call home right now Sydney, because that’s where Future Classic [my record label] is. But I’m not home there for another two months. I’m thinking of moving to LA next year. I’m in between a million different places right now.
Differences in the way British people versus Americans versus Australians listen to music?
I think a lot has to do with the tone of the music that comes out of a place. In LA there are all these subculture pockets of awesome indie music that are popping up, like your Kilo Kish and what have you. I think there’s always a connection between the energy of a place to the music that comes out of it. Like in London the music is darker and more rainy and moody versus Australia where it’s always sunny. It’s interesting to observe that when you travel.
When did you know that you definitely going to be a musician?
I think I decided that when I went on tour with Flight Facilities, about four years ago. I had a day job up until then that I quit for that tour. But music has been in the forefront of my life since I was about eleven. It was always something that I wanted to do, but when I took that step, that risk, I haven’t really looked back since then.
Collaboration that you’ve done that was particularly awesome?
There are so many. I love the people that I work with so much. There’s this guy called Gordon Voidwell that I’ve worked with a number of times who’s really special. I’m lucky to be able to work with my friends. The more a relationship builds, the better the music that comes out of it.
Anyone in the future you’re dying to work with?
Yeah. I mean I always say Kanye. Just cause, it’s like, Kanye.
Biggest musical influences?
I’m influenced by really great singers. Your Jeff Buckleys, your K.D. Langs, your Sades. Aretha Franklin. It’s really special, when you’re listening to real singers and the way they interpret music, even if they haven’t written it themselves. There’s a certain energy that they give to the music because it’s something that they’ve been born with. Listening to that helps me interpret my own music.
Going to Philly to start work on the album. Then back to Australia to do a show. A lot of writing.
Immediate goals for the future?
Someone who has been really important to your musical career?
My parents. They aren’t musical, but they never questioned me. I told them I wanted to be a musician and they were like oh no, as I’m sure every parent does. But as soon as I showed them I was serious about this, they’ve been unbelievable. I never would have done it without them.
How would you describe your sound?
I don’t know. I think a friend of my coined Future Pop. I’m writing Pop music but I think sonically it’s more. I’m using sounds that I couldn’t have used ten years ago even though I’m writing songs that could have been written. I think the sounds bring a new life to an old genre.
How would you describe your George Maple alter ego?
I think it’s a particular facet of myself. Slightly darker, a little bit sinister. I’d like to say commanding. It’s a strength that I feel has developed over the last year. The George Maple character has grown and is so much stronger now. It’s not as much focused on vulnerability and being afraid. It’s more about exploring the darker sides of life.
First song you ever wrote?
It was about a boy. I think I was like 12.
Most epic moment?
Biggest show I’ve ever song was at this festival in Australia called Splendor in the Grass. Which I played with Flight Facilities last year. That was pretty epic. Going out there and seeing that many people, I just remember being completely shocked. My show downstairs at Santos this week was so fun too. It was just rammed with people, you couldn’t move. It was really hot and sweaty. So loud and gritty.
How has your style evolved over time?
When my music was more vulnerable, stylistically, I wanted to be a bit more reserved. I’d only wear black. But I think as my songs are progressing I find myself drawn to more color, more drama.
Kendrick Lamar was in the studio room next to me one time. Our doors were open and I could hear him recording and just turned into a little school girl.
Routine before you go on stage?
I need to be alone for like fifteen minutes before I preform. I just put on Beyonce and get in the zone. Something about letting really good beats get into your head before your get on stage. Always works.
Tell us a bit about your next EP.
It’s out December 1st. I wrote it over the span of a few months so there’s a little distance between each of the songs. They come from different places in the world, some were written in London, some in America, and some in Sydney, but they fit together very well. It’s a reflection of exactly where I’ve been as an artist and a person.
Mantra that you live by?
Try and not worry too much. Cause I do worry. Just have to tell myself to keep writing music and the rest will figure itself out.