Having already released three albums, toured all over the world and played in a band with a member of 80's favourites A-Ha, Maya Vik certainly knows what it takes in order to make it in music. Her unique, somewhat eclectic style ensures she remains a breath of fresh air in an industry where individuality is often lost and forgotten about.
PopWrapped are delighted to EXCLUSIVELY premiere her latest track "Spend My Time Losing You," which you can listen to below, and she kindly agreed to an interview with our staff writer Rebecca.
PW: Tell me a little about yourself, please.
Maya Vik: I’m from a small place outside of Bergen on the West coast of Norway, but lived in Oslo for a while playing with many bands, including my solo work. Lately, I’ve been spending most of my time in NYC for the last 2 years. I have curly hair.
PW: Was music the career you wanted from childhood or did you have other ambitions?
MV: I started playing the guitar when I was 14, but I don’t think the ambition about a music career was there that early on. I think that developed through the years when I developed as a musician. I wanted to travel and see the world, get out of the small town where I grew up. That was my only ambition. Music was the only thing I cared about and I spent most of my time rehearsing and listening carefully. I was super shy when I was younger (still am), but I think spending all my time on rehearsing made me grow confident, while playing in a band forced me to be “out there” on stage.
PW: Which band or artist would you say most influenced you growing up, and have such influences changed much over the years?
MV: My first CD ever was a Prince compilation, and he’s one of my biggest influences today. My older sister taught me well: Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Janet. I knew their lyrics before I knew how to speak English! When I started to play music, I was very much into artists like Bjørk, Ani Di Franco, and PJ Harvey, and other women who played instruments and made their own music. They were emo as hell, but I loved that! I was like seriously girl crushing on all good female musicians, especially if they were angry and sang about being independent and about love, which I knew nothing about, since I was only 15.
PW: Is there any band or artist you could say you're similar to or are you your own artist?
MV: I’ll leave it up to my listeners to decide that.
PW: What made you decide to pick up the bass rather than say the guitar?
MV: I did play the guitar for many years, but moved on to the bass when we needed one for the band I was in. I thought it was fun to learn something new, and thought 4 strings was easier than 6, right? It honestly all came about very randomly.
PW: You were once the bassist in Savoy along with Paul Waaktaar-Savoy of A-ha. What was that experience like and did Paul give you any useful tips or advice?
MV: That was my first experience playing with other musicians than my band, Furia, at the time. I grew so much as a bass player during that period. The challenge of playing with people I didn’t know, with one of the biggest songwriters from the biggest pop band in Norway ever gave me a chance to show what I could do and to develop as a bass player outside of the comfort zone in the band I was in. It was really an honor to get that gig.
PW: You've toured with the likes of Lenny Kravitz, but if you could choose three bands or artists to share a stage with, and they can be living or dead, who would you pick and why?
MV: Prince – because we can all dream right? Janet Jackson - I would die if I got to do that - and finally, Drake - he’s the best artist at the moment, and his dance moves are insane!
PW: Have you noticed any similarities or differences between U.S. and European audiences, or are you just happy to get out on stage in front of people and play?
MV: The audiences are different at each show. My energy and what we deliver is more important in terms of how the audience react than the countries we perform in. Japan, though, is completely different. I absolutely love to tour Japan! I don’t think a more polite audience exists anywhere.
PW: Which venue would you most like to play and why?
MV: I’d love to play the Super Bowl halftime show, wherever that takes place.
PW: How do you think your sound and style has evolved during your career so far?
MV: I’m constantly reminded by my producers that I have to sound current, and not fall into my retro bubble. I’m a sucker for old music. My first album, Château Faux-Coupe, was very strict in that sense. We wanted it to have that 1984 vibe, no compromises. For my second album Bummer Gun, we loosened some of that and included other producers and newer sounds. Beyond the Basics, my latest, has a good mix from both worlds. These days, the pop scene has a lot of that 80s vibe, like synths, Linn drum, and what not. So maybe my sound is now current? I like making music that I can hear my influences in. What has grown, though, is my vocal ability. I started singing while recording my first album four years ago, and I can definitely hear the progress I’ve made throughout my records.
PW: Is there a story behind your new track "Spend My Time Losing You"?
MV: There is, but I like seeing people make their own opinions and interpretations. It might mean something completely different to a listener. That’s the beautiful thing about music and lyrics, letting it live its own life, having the listener making it their own. The song is produced by my fellow Oslo Records label artist and producer, Proviant audio. He also produced the song “Can I Feel” on the Beyond the Basics EP.
PW: Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
MV: Most of my songs are about things I’ve experienced without getting too personal. I can find inspiration everywhere. Traveling a lot on my own gives me a lot of lonely moments that can inspire me to write cheesy love songs, some used and some not. It all depends on my state of mind, really. There’s no set formula for when or where I write. I can try to force it and sometimes I feel I do, but most of those songs will never see the light of day – or maybe they will.
PW: What can fans expect to feel when they listen to your music?
MV: Hopefully something good!
PW: How much of a help has social media been in terms of helping introduce you to a wider audience?
MV: In the end, it all comes down to your music. If your music doesn’t connect with people, I don’t think Instagram will fix that. However, using social media as a tool for promoting stuff is absolutely important, so I do try to be as active as I can.
PW: Would you say it's a necessity for bands and artists today, or is it possible to succeed without it?
MV: I can’t help but think about Lorde in order to answer this question. People didn’t even know who she was, and yet her song “Royals” was a huge hit via SoundCloud. They didn’t push that 'til they knew there was an audience for it. So I don’t know really… I think a hit song finds its way through in the end. At least I hope so. The whole social media game is such a pain. I think using numbers as a measurement to determine if an artist is good or not is kind of stupid. I’m guilty of doing it, though. Checking artists’ Facebook pages, and if their numbers are low, I can’t help but wonder if it they’re any good. We need to stop that!
PW: What are your future tour plans?
MV: I’m currently planning a U.S. tour and will keep you guys posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and via my website. I might even be social in-person and tell people. People can also check out my music on SoundCloud and YouTube.
PW: Finally, what's your ultimate ambition? Where do you hope to see yourself five years from now?
MV: Playing the Super Bowl halftime show!https://soundcloud.com/mayavik/spend-my-time-losing-you-prod-proviant-audio/s-qnvXS