Interviews

Gabriella Cohen and Maple Glider talk upcoming music and external forces

There’s nothing quite like two artists divulging the inner workings of their minds. Gabriella Cohen and Maple Glider talk about upcoming music, professional relationships, and a recording session ghosting.

Gabriella Cohen and Maple Glider sat down and spoke about their experiences listening to each other’s latest music.

What unravelled was a conversation filled with support and mutual understanding gained from working in the music industry. The artists spoke about the impact of external forces, their duty to reflect the world in their music, and some of the tracks on Gabriella’s upcoming album, including the muse behind her latest, single Frangelico Dreams.

MAPLE: I’ve just been listening to your album all day.

GABRIELLA: Oh, really? Jesus.

MAPLE: All day, I just kept on playing it. Was like ah, I just need to listen again through my monitors and then through the computer speakers – it sounds amazing. So good. I keep going through all these lyrics. I keep picking up new things.

GABRIELLA: Same here, I’ve listened to your record, I don’t know, over 20 times. I absolutely love it. I’m addicted to it. I feel like it’s helping people make sense of the grief in the world.  Yesterday I was sitting by the ocean in Brighton, painting seagulls and listening to it on repeat. Did you spend a lot of time perfecting each song?

MAPLE: Actually, I did. After pre-production, I just changed heaps of things last minute. I just took out bits and moved things, like the chords of Swimming, for example, because it had started as a love song to my ex and I just was like, this is not what this song is. I’m actually kind of bitter about this relationship. I needed to change the feeling of it and so I took out these almost cushiony parts of the song that I’d put in to make myself feel better originally, and then just sort of stripped it back to be what I actually felt.

GABRIELLA: When you say you did those last-minute changes on Swimming, were the chords behind the chorus a last-minute change by any chance?

MAPLE: Yeah those chords were a last-minute change.

GABRIELLA: Oh my god! That chorus absolutely floors me, every time. Tom did such a fantastic job with the production on this record. Will you work with him again on the next record?

MAPLE: Yeah. He is so good. Also just so lovely and really awesome to work with, so accommodating, so open. I was really nervous going in to record with him. I’d had a kind of funny experience the last time I’d recorded with someone. I’d recorded like three songs in Brighton but was ghosted – I never got the songs.

GABRIELLA: Really?

MAPLE: Yeah, never to this day. I felt really awkward after that, like, I think I had a bit of self-doubt. I was like, ‘why did that happen?’.

GABRIELLA: That is awful! Shall we soil his name?

MAPLE: I thought we had a pretty fun time, but I do remember having a conversation with him about my ‘pants’ because they broke whilst I was in the studio but in England, trousers are pants and pants are actually undies so maybe there were some awkward bits.

But then I got to work with Tom which was great. He made me feel super comfortable really quickly, and I felt I could be totally in charge. He’s also just such a great musician and producer. It was probably one of the first experiences I’ve had recording with someone else where I felt like, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re recording my music and it can be, you know, what I want it to be.

GABRIELLA: Yeah. I felt that way when I worked with Sam (Cromack). We recorded Frangelico Dreams, I Just Got So High and Just For The Summer together. It was a super positive experience, totally creative and fun. The songs reflect that. It was like Christmas for me. I skipped away from each session, elated at the sounds we were producing, and how efficient it all was. When it ended, I was like, ‘no…but why?’.

MAPLE: They are very fun huge songs and they’re all at the beginning of the record, which makes me feel really good…and then it gets to Water, and I’m like, ‘ohh shit, my heart’, and Seagull as well, far out. The lyrics are incredible. There are so many lines in there that just really got me. Like “there’s a spider on the ceiling trying to catch a breeze”.  And “It was the Summer of love, I couldn’t get enough of you, we ate mangoes in the bath, I still have that photograph”  in 24 Sexton Street. I felt those moments with you. Anyway, this is your third record, and that’s a pretty amazing achievement. You’ve already got two incredible albums out, and this third one messed me up. Every time you’ve put out an album, I was like, ‘Okay, what the f*** is this? I need more of this.’ Full Closure and No Details and Pink Is The Colour of Unconditional Love both felt so refreshing for the time. What was it like producing your third album in comparison to your first two?

GABRIELLA: Yeah, totally different. Kate and I and the band parted ways a few years ago, and I think I spent a few years recovering in a way. I’m telling myself that’s why this album took so long, ha. But in a way, it’s the most empowered I’ve felt with the direction of my music and production. For this record, I worked in multiple studios with different friends and producers which coloured the whole experience. It’s funny, I don’t know about you, but as a musician, I feel I’m rarely in the studio, recording and collaborating. And I feel like that’s all we should be doing; living in studios.

MAPLE: It’s like a treat time of the year, to record. I feel like outside of it there can be so much fumbling about. Maybe that’s just how I feel because we’re in lockdown haha. But it’s funny like when you are in the studio, how quickly you have to work because you’re conscious of time, in a way. I mean, it depends on your situation. But yeah, it is a factor that often drives you to work quickly. I remember when I was recording the album, I was actually doing so much work after I’d come home from the studio because I’d feel so full of energy and have all of these new ideas and things that Tom and Jim did that were inspiring me and I was like, in my bed recording new harmonies in my phone and be like, ‘okay, tomorrow, we’re changing the bridge of a song.’ You know what I mean? It’s such a good feeling.

GABRIELLA: Yeah. It’s like no other feeling. Are you quite disciplined with finishing songs?

MAPLE: Funny you ask that. I’ve always been very disciplined when it comes to writing songs. I would sit and I would work on a song all day, every day, or in any spare moment I had until I felt like it was done. And that’s just how it’s been forever. But in the past six months or so I’ve found myself so outside of that. I have had to become so gentle with myself in terms of how I approach writing. It’s a weird feeling, but I think I’m still processing so many things. I was sitting in the backyard in the sun the other day with my guitar. I started off playing around with this cool idea that I liked and then it just ended up turning into yelling. And I was like, ‘okay, well, I’m glad that came out.’ *laughs*.

GABRIELLA: I had the exact same experience yesterday, I was trying to write a nice song and then the end just turned into full shouting, at the state of the world. But I think that’s a good thing…and it kind of leads into my next question. Before, it was easier to write, you know, love songs and unrequited love songs or what have you… and we probably still can, but now there’s such grief and unrest in the world…I feel like more than ever, it is our duty to reflect on these times as songwriters.

MAPLE: Yeah, there’s this fear of being too shallow during such a complex time.

GABRIELLA: Totally, but at the same time, people need pop… we need to be distracted by pop music and to feel hopeful again.

MAPLE: I agree. We all need a good dance. It was so good to put on Frangelico Dreams the other day when it came out.

There was this lyric I wrote down, it was talking about loving the picture of yourself under the blankets and feeling really disconnected from your friends…and people not looking each other in the eyes. I don’t know what that’s written about, but it just felt so prevalent for the time!

GABRIELLA: *laughs* I can’t believe how prevalent it is. I wrote that like a year and a half ago largely about how Brian Wilson spent five years in his bed, depressed, wouldn’t leave his house because he was so paranoid, and also, in our present day how people are looking down more…on their devices…and it’s a little sad…..less connections. An ode to Brian. It seems so fitting now, you know – “don’t listen to the press…”. So, maybe I was tapping into something.

Frangelico Dreams is available on Bandcamp and Spotify!

Gabriella Cohen photos supplied
Maple Glider photos supplied