*this interview was held on July 10, 2012 in Tokyo. Some situations are changed since then.
Now Maya is not a bass player of Montée anymore (check the official information of them –
that was not a fighting/bad breaking up, they says) and going on solo, quite successfully.
I apologize Maya and her fans who have been waiting for this.
live pic of Maya: Kaoru K
(Maybe I will add some more pix...)
- So shall we start the interview? M:OK. Let's go. - You were born in 1980 and you're only 32. M:Only...? Yes (laugh) - Because I'm going to be 48 next month (August 2012). M:48!? You guys look so young! It's very hard to tell your age.
- Of Asian people, yes....Anyway I found that you're very young. I
want to know a bit about yourself - I want to know your first musical
M:Well...that was er...Prince. My sister bought me my first CD. My sister is 5 years older than
me and she's always be like music-interested. She used to listen to a lot of Madonna, Prince,
a-ha and I was really influenced by her. She bought my first CD, that was Prince. A collection
of Prince songs. - So your first influence is Prince. What part of Prince influenced you, you think? I mean vocal
or music itself or... M:I don't know but it's just something about his songs were...... er... it's not very obvious to like
Prince. I know it's like lot of musicians say Prince is like an huge influence... I guess it's
just something about him caught me...it's just a sound and a guy.
Because I thought he was so handsome and I liked him but my girl friends said like
"Wow, nooo!!! What are you talking
about!?" (loud laugh) He was just like a cool guy and I really wanted to be like him.
- So when did you find you want to music by yourself? M:Well...I remember I was 14 or 15, I bought a guitar and I started to... I come from a really
small place outside of Bergen so it's not much to do there. So there's a rock club there cool
guys were hanging there to I wanted to hang around them. So I started to play guitar and I
started my own band with some of my girl friends. It was like an old girl-group. And I switched
to bass because there are so many guitarists.
- When did you switch to bass? M:I guess I was...16? 15 or 16? 16 I guess...and I was just sitting in my room and just listening
to a lot of songs leaning about playing them ourselves. We played the songs mostly for fun.
And then Furia asked me to join them because they needed a bass player.
- So before you joined Furia, they're already... M: A band. They're already a band they haven't been doing lot of shows and they did some
concerts in Bergen. We're only in Bergen and sort of like make a couple of songs. Yes.
- So you're all based in Bergen. M:Yes. Everybody's from the same place. We all knew them before. Because we are from a
small place and everybody knows each other. But they (Furia) are couple of years older than
I am. So I only knew them a little bit. But I knew about them so when they asked me to join
the band at my last year in high school. My plan was to travel around the world, just like being
a backpacker. So they asked me to move to Oslo with the band properly I said "OK!" I have
nothing to do then and I watched the travel radar. So I was in Bergen with them half a year
then moved to Oslo. Where the band had properly with the management, label. - So your first band was Furia? M:First pop band, yeah. - I find you're playing many instruments besides bass or guitar. When did you started to play
them? M:Guitar was the instruments I started with...when I pick up a guitar now I'm not very good just
like then...I even played a flute. - Flute?! M:(laugh) Yes, that was my first instrument I actually played when I was...9? And I started in
school band, do you know a marching band? - Yeah. M:So I learned to read music notes and that was actually like my first musical experience.
My grand father was a organist at a church so there was a lot of music in his home as well. - So your family is pretty a kind of "musical" family? M:Yeah, my grandfather was. He was very christian and all the hymns and stuffs like that.
But my parents haven't play any musical instruments. So it's mostly from my older sister.
- Well...I'm not sure about the ending of Furia. M: Ending? - Yes. After releasing this album ('Piece of Paradise'/Furia), you did some tour? M: No. We went to America, to California to record the album. Before that our drummer quit
the band. So we were just signed to EMI Germany and...but she had to leave the band just
by personal stuff. When we came back from America, our singer Stine, she got married, she
got pregnant. So when we released the album she was 6 months pregnant.
- Was she!? M:So she could not tour and we did not do concerts. She had a baby and it was hard to get
back on the road start to promote the album. So we did not tour after the album. - So it's not a kind of fighting and breaking up like that? M:No. It was not the bad break-up. - It's a kind of natural way, fade out or some... M:Yeah, it was sort of natural when you have a baby, it's hard to focus like 100% on the band.
Everybody else thought that. It won't to be it should be not on way for people to wait to work
with her, you know it's like let's catch up when the right time to do it - I want to know about your current band, Montée. I think your band is pretty successful.
But you're doing the solo project right now. Of course you're not breaking up...
M:No, Haakon and Marius is actually a drummer and a keyboard player of Montée. - Oh yes. M:They play in Montée as well. And a sound engineer of Montée. So we are just missing two
guys here (laugh). - So they are...Montée is having a kind of rest now? M:No, no we're actually making the third album, so we are sort of in the studio we have our
own studio so it's easy to work on music and to do our own private stuff like solos. Because
the singer of Montée, he has his own band as well and he's touring with the band and both
Marius and Haakon are like session musicians without the band as well. Everybody's like
working musicians. So it's just like perfect opportunity to do my stuff because it's like working
period we're in the studio and making songs so it's very easy to combine it.
- So you're not having a kind of hard time or trouble to go solo and Montée at the same time? M:No, it's actually this year we haven't tour a lot with Montée because the album which we
released last year as a rock band. We played at couple of festivals, Norwegian festivals and
we went to Germany and Denmark. But other than that it's just a studio work with Montée so
it's not good. I think they're quite jealous of me going to Japan now (laugh). So next time
we're coming here with Montée. - Yeah, that sounds great. In Japan we have some festivals in summertime too.
Maybe I think Montée has a kind of opportunity to get on that kind of show at least...
You know, a-ha's last Japan tour was festivals in August.
M:That's nice. Maybe next year!
- About yourself - what is your musical opportunity right now?
You want to go solo? Your band too? Or any other...
anything you want to do?
M: I want to do both. But it's fun to do my own stuff. Because it's...
it's my own stuff (laugh) I hope to do both in the end and try to mix it
after all. Because it's so different. And when you're on stage,
I have to speak and...I don't know it's just different but it's fun to do it.
- The different fun. M:Yeah. With Montée, everything we played so many years.
Sort of everything is so worked thru and everything is safe and all
the stuff we have played for many shows it's very fun to do solo right
now. With lot of new songs which we haven't played yet but it's like
in a process -it's working on, it's like making stuff.
But with Montée it's very safe because we don't have any new music
we haven't played yet.
- How many years is Montée together? M: I think we've been together for 4 years? Is that correct? (asking her boy friend) - OK, 4 years with 2 albums. M: Yes. *** - Well...I'm going to ask you a bit about Pål. M:Yeah?(laugh)
- (laugh) Yeah. Well... anyway I knew Pål is singing on this album ('Piece of Paradise'/Furia) but I don't know
why did he get the chance to do with you? Was there somebody who know Pål actually privately or something? M:Yeah, yeah, I do.
- You do? Before this album? M: Yeah, because 'Savoy' album was out before recorded that one.
- Oh, this is after 'Savoy'? M: Maybe the same year but... - I have checked the credit of the album yesterday again but I could not find your name on it. M: No, I don't play on the album. - You didn't. So what did you do? M: I played on their tour. As a live musician. - So why did you join Savoy on their tour? M: It was Pål actually called me. I wasn't on tour with Furia and he just called me
"Hi, it's Pål Waaktaar-Savoy" - So he knew you. M: No. We didn't know each other. - So he tried to call you somehow. M: Yeah. So I went to home of Pål and Lauren's and played couple of tracks... - Maybe he saw you on stage? M: Because the drummer Frode, he's from Bergen as well and he saw Furia once.
He's been to one of our shows. So I guess he just heard about me from Frode and called me
to ask me if I was coming to try out couple of songs. The first show...we have couple of festivals
as well and a tour after Øyafestival in Norway. It was so much fun. He's so good and Lauren's
as well and a great band.
- Before you played with Savoy, you knew a-ha of course and maybe you have listened to
Savoy? M: Yeah, yeah. - So you knew him, not directly yet but thru his works, right? So what was your kind of
impression of him or about his music before you meet him actually? M: In Norway, Pål is... of course he's famous with a-ha and everybody sort of looks up to
him like he write the nice songs and he's a really good songwriter. And when he called me
I was like "Are you kidding me!?" And of course I wanted to tryout but I was getting really
nervous at first time. But eh...he's sort of just like... nice, you know, he's really a down-to-earth
guy...and with Lauren...everything's just like really right. - Have you seen their show before that? M: No, not before I joined the band. But I used to listen to a lot of their music and I have their
first album 'Mary is Coming' and I used to love a lot of their songs. It was just weird to play
the songs I used to listen to when I was younger, standing on the same stage.
That was strange. - Yeah, because I found you're so young and he's like a young father of you (laugh) M: Yeah, yeah, that sort of age(laugh) It was going on tour as a family because we had
Augie as well, the son was on tour which is like family tour. Like the tour I used to with Furia,
after we played the show, we used to go out drinking but with Savoy it's like
"OK, bye--! Good night... See you in the morning!"
It seems like very quiet tour and very good.
- Yes. So...what was the actual reason that he joined 'Piece of
Paradise' ? M: I sent him e-mail and talked to him just because we wanted
to make it duet. - So you invited him? M: Yeah. Just asked we wanted him to play on the song. We
sent him the song and he really liked it. So he sent it as a
sketch(???) because he could record it in New York where he
lives. We were in California so he just sent us the track back.
We send him back the track couple of times just with a different
kind of lyric and er... just...turned it very good.
- Yeah, this is a kind of very nice duet. M: I think this is the only other band he's done like a collaboration
as well at that time. Very good for us.
- Many people said it was kind a "too much gorgeous" to have him only for vocal (laugh) M: Yeah, only vocal. But I think he is kind of a liked it as well just to be asked if you wanna sing
this or something instead of like playing guitar or write a song or... - I, myself think he's a very good singer. His singing is very sexy and totally different than Morten Harket
or other singers. So I think it was very nice to have him on this song. I listened to other songs of Furia
and I love it too anyway but this duet is so nice. So I just wanted to know the
reason why Pål is singing here. M: I think he liked the song so he just wanted to do it. - I did not know you invited him. M: No(laugh). We talked a lot of times and we really liked the track in the end as well I don't
think he wouldn't have done it if he didn't like it. Because I think he only does things that he
does think it's good. - You know, Savoy is now having taking a kind of rest...it seems... but how do you think about
it if he invites you again to go for tour or something? M: Yeah. Well, I would definitely do it. I will love to play with them and er...No time at the
moment, yeah (laugh) but I would probably take time. For me it is just a nice band to play with
and I love their music so definitely do it and go to Japan! *** - Is this the first non-Norwegian stage for you solo? M:Yeah, I've played one show in Germany. But this is like the first tour outside of Norway. - So do you have any kind of ambition to success in Japan? M: Of course. Otherwise I would haven't been here. But it's always fun to be around different
countries. We hope to come back very soon. Just like first tour, a promotion for the album...
then a new album in October and Flake Records will do some job so. - I've heard they're already ready for a new single.
M: Yeah. So I think Japan is like a cool country to go touring many times and er...yeah. - People in Japan have a kind of friendship to Scandinavian people, and maybe
Scandinavian music. People have some sympathy with Scandinavian melodies...a bit
melancholic and melodic. But not a lot from your country yet. I know many good bands and
musicians there but many Japanese people only knows a-ha from your country. M: Many bands from Bergen are quite like EMO and down...mellow kind of music coming
out of Bergen and I don't know...a-ha is always like the biggest band from Norway and still is
but a-ha is retired. So a lot of good bands coming around from Norway now. And a lot of
artists, like singer-songwriters and...lot of them are actually making it in different places like
in Germany. I think a lot of good bands are coming from Norway and the level is getting
higher and higher. - I found many good music, singers, bands from your country as I listen to Norwegian radio
thru internet. M: And many Norwegian musicians want to go to Japan. And I know some do. I know Flake
Records are working with some Norwegian bands. It's a different kind of market and very
exciting for us. - Thank you so much for the interview. M: Thank you! Special thanks to Mr.Dawa/Wada of Flake Records, Osaka