Name: Maya Medvešek
Occupation: DJ, Producer
Current Release: The Journey on Musar Recordings
Recommendations: ‘Zig Zag Zen’ by Allan Badiner is one of my favourite books out there-it explores the relationship between Buddhist dharma, psychedelic experience and visual art. It’s a fantastic collection of essays, interviews and images. I would also like to mention one of my favourite records - ‘World Galaxy’ by Alice Coltrane. I am absolutely obsessed with her.
If you enjoyed this interview with Nightwave, visit her facebook account or soundcloud profile to stay up to date with her music. You can also buy her latest releases at her bandcamp store.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
My father is a musician so I’ve been around music from the day I was born and it was a big part of my childhood. I studied music theory and played the flute as a kid but that quickly lost its glitz when I discovered electronic music and rave culture.
I started playing around with production in my teens but properly committed to it in my early twenties. My early passions are still there - Detroit techno, electro, Chicago house, acid ...
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
This is very interesting … is a work of art ever truly original? I absolutely learned by emulating music/artists I loved and experimented with blending influences and as I grew more confident I actually found listening to others’ music less helped me find a more original path (this is tricky when you’re a DJ and need to know thousands of tunes!).
Now that I’m older and spiritual practises are a big part of my life I believe that all works of art are channelled from a source outside ourselves through our own individual lens and as artists we have the privilege of tapping into this beautiful, powerful mystery.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Aside from the technical aspects I had to learn about arrangement and how to ‘tell a story’ with a track, how to weave in elements to create a certain experience for the listener. This is something I really love diving into now I feel confident and have been releasing music for over 10 years. It might not appear possible with seemingly repetitive dance music but I really feel electronic music can be very emotive.
What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
For myself and many others the challenge has always been money. When I started out, production was by all means elitist, as was DJing. Equipment, records etc all cost a lot and I lived in Slovenia where it was even more difficult.
Since I was a teenager I built dream studio setups in my head but the reality was that I could hardly afford anything to work with. This changed massively with the arrival of affordable software that democratised the situation and really shifted the whole paradigm. Suddenly I really felt I could create a lot with just my ideas and inventiveness. I still use mainly software for my production.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
To me, the idea and intention is everything. We all know many people with massively impressive studios that make uninspiring music. The passion behind the creative process can be felt in the final work. Technology is beautiful but often we give it too much credit and feel it’s over-necessary for the final product.
Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
I like to work fast and I like it to be fun. I love plug-ins, sampling, chopping things up, fun effects … I always focus on the final result and not much on how I got there. However this has definitely come with time - it’s all about confidence and not taking life too seriously.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
I have to admit I’m one of those people that works best alone. I do ask peers for feedback once the music is done but I find I flow best on my own.
Saying that I really value feedback and am lucky to have friends I know will be honest if something isn’t quite right in the track.
Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I have no fixed schedule and I’ve learned you can’t force creativity, so it’s really important I don’t give myself a hard time if I don’t work on music for a while. I just do what feels good and follow my passion without the expectation of the outcome.
I used to work better at night but now I just open Ableton whenever I feel like having fun. Music is present throughout my whole day though, every day - whether it’s producing, playing guitar, singing, listening to all types of records ...
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
My life has changed a lot in the last few years as I’ve dedicated myself to studying shamanism and different healing modalities. I now connect to music a lot more spiritually and hope to capture some ‘medicine’ in each of my tracks, whether it’s through its name, the sounds used, changed frequency (I sometimes tune my music to 432Hz) … it’s very personal to me now and the main behind is the intention I want to share with the listeners.
Can acid and rave music be spiritual? I think so! From a process point of view - I usually start with drums and layer over melodies and sounds.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
Creativity is a funny one … it can be born from joy or equally from pain … I think art and creativity is what makes us human and helps us through the human experience in this life and existence. It’s a necessity.
For me personally again - it’s something that can’t be forced but there are tools that can help us bypass the ego to get into that beautiful creative flow state, be it meditation, yoga, plant medicines, a good beer with your friends and the most powerful of all for me - being in love. With a person or life in general.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
I absolutely LOVE playing life, I love to see people dance, I love to feel the energy and the vibration of loud music. This is where I feel I can give something directly and there’s a beautiful reciprocity between everyone. The Q’ero shamans in Peru call this ‘ayni’ and I love that concept.
For me the studio is the slow ride up on the rollercoaster and the club is the amazing fun ride downhill.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
I’m all about simplicity and experience. If it sounds good and makes me feel good I’m happy. And I don't really care how I get there. I don’t really see any rules - what is considered percussion or melody … the sounds are very interchangeable and harmony can be achieved in many ways.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
The visual and auditory senses are very powerful for me personally, especially after experiencing music in shamanic settings where they are in a symbiotic relationship and can manifest forms of outer body experiences or visions and it’s truly a form of magic. Sound is frequency and so are we. Matter and reality in many ways is sound and light. It’s so incredibly powerful as a tool of healing, connection, exploration ...and so is the absence of it. Silence is very powerful as well.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
Nowadays it all seems extremely blurred and there are high expectations of anyone even remotely in the public eye. It comes with a lot of responsibility and as much as I agree it should all be intersectional it can be a big strain on someone just wanting to promote a new tune.
Not everyone can manoeuvre that space well but I absolutely agree art and music is political and we have a duty as artists and people to be sound (excuse the pun, it’s very Glaswegian). I believe we shouldn’t support art by bad people as good as it might be and we shouldn’t support artists that cover their eyes, mouths and ears in times like now.
I’s an immense privilege to be an artist with a platform and anyone that doesn’t use it for good doesn’t deserve to be in that space.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Where could it go? We are biologically limited to experiencing certain frequencies but who knows - perhaps there will be a different delivery of music so we could experience a wider spectrum, perhaps entangled with other senses … a more physical experience? I’m sure Elon Musk will come up with some sh*t!
I just want to see more people opening up their consciousness and using music in its sacred form. This can also apply for hedonism - it’s what humans have done for tens of thousands of years after all.