The former Brisbane musician has settled into her new home of Melbourne and is now ready to showcase the 'Still Bleeding' catalogue of songs to audiences: both old and new.
The move to Melbourne… how have you found the transition?
I have settled in now. It took me a few months to settle in, but I still feel fairly fresh; I am discovering new things all the time. I really love Melbourne and how busy, big and loud it is. People don't hold back with saying how they feel and I think that's pretty typical of big-city life.
Was your music career a major factor behind the move?
Definitely. It was the main reason for the move, but also I really needed a change of scenery and environment. I feel like I am growing every day. I think moving cities forces you to step outside of your comfort zone and you have to learn and discover new things every day.
And have you scoped out the best barista in your hood? Shout-out to?
Haha, I actually gave up coffee funnily enough. But there is a pretty hip place I checked out the other day in Brunswick called the Green Refectory. Do people still say hip?
The 'Still Bleeding' EP is out… the song titles relay a batch of new music influenced by a break-up? How did that emotional state influence the direction of your music and have you being able to reach a positive conclusion from that journey?
Yeah, 'Still Bleeding' was about re-entering an unhealthy relationship and just feeling like you are still in the same place. It's about feeling like you're stuck and like you can't get out of it. Haha. Well when I'm depressed and crying, I write much better and can really channel those emotions.
I definitely reached a positive conclusion from that journey, but I think it is a process and that you need to be at peace with yourself before you can be with another person. The artwork on the EP has a lot of symbolism. The back cover is a drawing of me standing on a plank of wood in the middle of ocean, which is meant to represent that freedom and liberation.
Do you feel comfortable with this batch of songs… particularly on stage?
I do because I performed them all of last year, so it feels very natural. They are all close to my heart.
You recorded with producer Konstantin Kersting (bassist for The Belligerents). What did he bring to the project?
He was a hoot to work with. He was very efficient and easy going to work with. It felt like a lot of fun recording the EP. He had a lot of ideas in terms of timbre, such as using the organ and different types of guitars that might give the music a certain flavour. I think it really contributed to the sound of the EP.
The EP features a rich array of instruments: organ, cello, violin. Is that an important element for your own creative process to draw upon a broader range of sounds and your classical background?
Yes, most definitely. I love string instruments in popular music. I'm also a big fan of piano because that's the instrument I majored in at university. I feel like piano adds a lot of depth and colour.
Are you already looking at another studio release, maybe an album in the mid-term future?
Yes, as soon as the tour is over I'm going to be aiming to get back in the studio to record new stuff very soon. I haven't worked out the length of it yet though, but I have a few songs up my sleeve.
The EP release will be accompanied by a series of intimate, solo shows; looking forward to this run of performances?
I really am. I am finding there's a real difference between playing solo and with a band. I feel a bit more free to share my personal experiences because there's no one on stage with me, haha. It's just me and the audience and you have to work much harder to get their attention. I love the challenge.
The tour will also see you play your first show in Adelaide… anything special planned for the locals?
Haha, well I have two special guests from Adelaide performing... Alana Jagt and Anthony Callisto from Cosmo's Thundercat.
Maja on stage… are you a natural, bundle of nerves or somewhere in between?
Haha! I think I am a bundle of nerves off stage but when I get on stage, I calm down. I'm trying to learn to be calm off stage too. My piano teacher once told me that 'if you have done the work, you have nothing to worry about' and I have always remembered that.
You were born in Serbia; are you a major consumer of Serbian music (both modern and vintage)?
Not particularly, but I do enjoy it. When I was in Serbia in 2015, I listened to what other Serbians my age were listening to and that was the most fun I've had in a long time.
'Still Bleeding' EP is available now.
Fri 1 Sep - Wesley Anne (Melbourne)
Sat 2 Sep - Babushka Bar (Ballarat)
Thu 14 Sep - The Milk Factory (Brisbane)
15-17 Sep - Nimbin Roots Festival
Thu 21 Sep - Grace Emily (Adelaide)
Fri 29 Sep - Handle Bar (Bendigo)