While she is just recovering from a packed show at the Botanique, Olympia, the mind behind the project La Maja took the time to answer our questions following the release of her first album: “Insulaire“.
We can feel in you a strong connection with the arts in general, , how do you link these passions ?
I grew up in a curious family and have always loved drawing. Music was my childhood passion, I also dreamed of the theater and then I branched out into a school of applied arts. I then fell back into world music and the world of images. When I arrived in Belgium, I made music a real passion with the desire to write songs in french and to be inspired by what I could put in music with the FaonFaon project for example.
So you work in creative collaboration, is it not too hard to manage when you have tested so many fields ?
I like this idea of depth and meaning. As long as it vibrates in my guts, I know we are in the right. For example, I almost collaborated with a very talented artist on the video “Les Liens”, but it didn’t vibrate in my hearth. I try to let go and share the project so that it is rich with ideas.
It can become an obsession for me to find the perfect words and it is a very painful process for me until the last moment.
With your passion for poetry but also for composition, do you feel more like a writer or a composer?
Complicated question! I think it depends on the songs. Often the music comes to me first. Then I come to define the lyrics to make sense and then we move on to the arrangement and the production which is more of my final touch. Sometimes the words come quite easily and sometimes it takes years. It can become an obsession for me to find the perfect words and it is a very painful process for me until the last moment.
And when do you think the piece is finished ?
It’s when I can listen to the piece without any doubt.
How do you feel about this release ?
I am very happy to have been able to take him out after this period of lockdown and then to have filled the Botanique. The feedback from this gig is very good and it means a lot to me.
Has the Belgian live circuit changed since COVID ?
Yes, it has changed a lot. The competition is tough and the organisers prefer to play it safe and take big headliners or DJs. For emerging projects like La Maja, the road ahead is longer and I am obviously not the only one in this case.
How does a Maja concert work ? I heard that you have a new formula…
With this acoustic project, it pleased some of the heads in this field But with the release party I decided to replace myself on the drums to have more freedom. I surrounded myself with people and even a harpist to honour all the work we had done before. The quintet is still tricky to move around and the trio is still the lightest solution. These are realities that struggle between economy and the pure musical optimisation of the project. In any case, the project sounds very rock.
You are a lifelong traveller… Why did you choose Brussels and how do you live in this microcosm ?
It is rather Brussels that chose me (laugh). I come from noise music, and it took me a long time to get to the pop world and at that time Brussels was the place to be with even musicians building their own instruments. In this city, there are so many unusual and undeground places, all of which remain accessible.
When will you mix your noise roots with the pop music you are currently doing ?
It’s a transition album from my previous projects. There are a lot of things that were in my drawers that I wanted to put on there, like “Vertigo” which is the last song I wrote. It’s a song that’s close to experimental and i’ll see what comes to me afterwards but after this album it’s going to be my challenge to reach my truth as an artist. I don’t want to limit myself…
We talked about the collaborators on this project, but there are no featurings. Are there any people you would like to collaborate with on Brussels?
I never really thought about this question but it is a very good one. Rather in the remixes there is the artist R.O. As I worked for years with a partner in Faon Faon, the aim here was to find myself as an artist instead.
What can we expect for you in the future ?
That it intensifies. I want to expand a lot, collaborate, tour, why not a label ? I want the project to move. The feedback from the Botanique show is so optimistic that I think it would be great to share this energy with a wider audience.
“Insulaire“, La Maja’s first album is available online and we invite you to discover this great pop project !
Thanks to This Side up and Olympia for this great meeting.