Maple Glider ist das Projekt der australischen Singer-Songwriterin Tori Zietsch. Auf ihrem Debütalbum To Enjoy is the Only Thing findet sich eine beeindruckende Reihe an Vignetten aus ihrem nicht unbewegten Leben: Aufwachsen in einem restriktiven religiösen Haushalt, verlieben und wieder entlieben, Reisen quer durchs Land und ins Ausland, Sehnsucht, Entfremdung und vieles mehr. Momente, die sowohl unscheinbar als auch lebensverändernd sind, jedoch immer tief empfunden werden und durch die Schönheit von Toris Kunst und ihrem besonderen Sinn für schwarzen Humor zum Leben erweckt werden.
Nach der Auflösung eines früheren musikalischen Projekts Anfang 2018 verließ Zietsch Melbourne und zog in die Küstenstadt Brighton, Großbritannien. Dort begann sie, an Solomaterial zu arbeiten, wobei sie von Heimweh geplagt wurde, ausgiebig die Sonne genoss und ununterbrochen schrieb. Ende 2019 kehrte sie nach Melbourne zurück – ihre SoundCloud randvoll mit neuen Demos – und engagierte Tom Iansek (Big Scary, #1 Dads, The Paper Kites, Hockey Dad), um die Songs zu produzieren und aufzunehmen, aus denen schließlich To Enjoy is the Only Thing werden sollte.
Anlässlich der entwaffnenden Schönheit ihrer Songs haben wir ein Gespräch mit ihr über ihr Album, dessen Entstehungsprozess und das Leben geführt.
A song is a funny thing. It’s part of the writer/singer, but somehow also a distinct entity outside. How do you bring them to life and do you have different “relationships” with your songs?
For me a song can often feel like a memory. It’s a version of something I was thinking or feeling at one moment in time. As I have new experiences, my perspectives naturally shift, and so might my relationship to the music. I was drawn to creating because of how emotionally evocative it can be, and so it always feels a bit challenging to write and to share. These intimate details are what help me be able to have a connection to what I’m performing. Some songs are harder than others, because they include personal details about relationships with people I am still working out now. I am still learning to feel comfortable with being exposed in that way.
About ‚Good Thing‘ you said: „I think that over time the connection I have had to this song has become stronger. Somehow I feel like there is more emotion in it now than ever.“ As a listener, you often get exactly that impression – one can listen to you feeling. It’s not easy in the beginning, you have to get used to it because it feels so intimate even though we don’t know anything about the specific people, situations or experiences you’re writing about.
The thing I love about writing is how vulnerable I allow myself to be. I didn’t always have a space outside of music where I felt comfortable to share in this way. Now that I have these recordings of the songs it almost feels scarier. I can’t imagine not feeling a bit awkward about sharing such intimate details of my experience. I just hope that it is nice for people to feel a bit connected in this way.
For you, your record feels like “walking past tinsel-covered trees in mid-September, swimming along the calanques in the south of France, frost on the hood of a car, darkness at 4pm, lightness until 10pm, Sibylle Baier’s ‘Colour Green’”. When the narrator in Proust’s ‘In Search Of Lost Time’ eats pieces of a madeleine dipped in lime blossom tea it triggers something and brings a specific part of his past to life. He discovers supposedly long-lost memories of his aunt, her house, the gardens and so on. Are your songs – or parts of them – also directly connected to specific times, places, people, records as you described above?
Yes. The list of things I wrote about the album have direct ties to the songs. I had a lot of new experiences and visited a lot of new places whilst writing the album, so it feels incredibly visual to me. I had the experience of walking past tinsel covered trees in mid-September right before I moved overseas and began writing a lot of this music. I remember finding it really odd. Was someone really eager for Christmas or had it been left over from the year before? Winter in England was the darkest I’d ever known. I lost my favourite ring jumping from a little rock island into the sea along the calanques, and I tipped over our kayak. It’s a memory I think about when I play Swimming. I feel very connected to it all.
Most of your songs have a normal structure: verses, choruses, bridges, etc. – but as a listener you don’t usually notice that. It seems that the individual parts and also the songs glide into each other, creating a large organic whole, woven from different feelings, moods, scenes, fabrics.
I get very absorbed in the story of a song, and how it feels to play. I want the mood to be right, to swell where I need it to, to be quiet and vulnerable where I want something to be really heard. The structure is always built this way, so it kind of feels like a subconscious decision. Tom (Iansek) challenged me with some of the structures when we began recording the album. He got me to pick apart things and put them back together again to make sure that the most impactful parts of the music really resonated. Aside from the drums and percussion, it was just Tom and I performing on the album, so I think in that way it was quite easy to make the songs on the album feel cohesive.
You have traveled far. Through the world and at the same time through your own self/past. Does „To Enjoy Is The Only Thing“ feel like you’ve arrived, or is the record another chapter in your travels for now?
I don’t think I’ll ever arrive. I’m not really certain of the place where I’m meant to end up. I guess I perceive every experience to be an opportunity to learn and to grow, to be more informed, more compassionate, and more understanding. I’m still amazed I had the opportunity to make this album, I’m thankful for the privilege of being able to do the thing that I love. I plan to always be listening, self-reflecting and being challenged. I hope that I get to continue to make records along the way.
You said that you write to make sense of your experience and that your songs center around your lyrics. There are incredibly dense lines of lyrics on your record, more like poetry. For example: “You pressed your hands against the darkest spaces of my skin / Tell me my body has been so beautifully lived in.” Do lyrics come easy to you or is this a long process of feeling, thinking, writing, modifying?
It varies depending on what’s happening in my life at that time. I might be stuck in a really weird space and be unable to accurately portray the experience through lyrics until I’ve processed things a bit more. Alternatively, I’ve had times where they’re spilling out of me. It is usually paired with a deeply creative experience in general- I may be drawing, playing lots, writing heaps of poetry, reading, moving heaps, cooking lots of different things, and overall feeling quite energized. I think this usually happens when I’ve had enough space to be inspired, whether it be by a person, a place, a book- and just sit with that for a bit. Recently, I’ve been so busy that when I sit down to write, I play with a heap of different ideas all at once, and have to gradually refine things, carefully beginning to narrow down what it is I am trying to say and why. I know that when I give myself enough space to let things out it’s going to make more sense.
You probably wrote the songs originally on guitar over a longer period of time. Now the record is fully orchestrated but has this airy, delicate character at all times, your voice has huge spaces to breathe, you hold everything together in a very gentle way. You seem to have met the right people …
I actually don’t know if I’ve told him this yet (haha) but when I was in London I was asked who I’d ideally want to record an album with, and my response was Tom (Iansek). It was kind of funny because out of everywhere in the world, I wanted to come back to Australia and make it. It’s actually pretty wild that it happened the way I had envisioned. I would change nothing about the entire process. I’m so grateful.
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