Penyanyi, penulis lagu, sekaligus produser musik asal Australia, Jess Higgs -atau yang dikenal dengan nama George Maple- menggebrak industri musik dunia beberapa waktu lalu melalui lagu berjudul "Talk" (klik di sini untuk mendengarkan). Lagu hasil kolaborasinya bersama DJ Snake tersebut memiliki genre unik, yaitu Tropical House, yang kerap menjadi pilihan untuk festival musik masa kini.
CLARA pun tak ingin kehilangan momen hangat. Terbang jauh dari Los Angeles, Amerika Serikat, George Maple memberi waktu bagi kami untuk melakukan sesi pemotretan dan wawancara dengannya. Sarah Deshita, Brand Manager untuk ISMAYA Live, kami minta bantuannya untuk mewawancarai musisi yang telah aktif sejak 2012 ini. George Maple berbicara tentang perfeksionisme, industri musik kini, harapan, serta pandangannya terhadap perempuan.
Sarah Deshita: Alright. Hi, Jess! How are you?
George Maple: I’m very well. How are you?
I’m great. Good to have you back!
Thank you! it’s really nice to be back.
When was the last time you were here in Jakarta? We The Fest was 2016.
Yes that was such a wonderful experience, i really enjoyed the festival.
How’ve you been doing?
I’ve been really well thank you. I’ve been focusing my energy on creating balance in my life and refining and developing my craft. I’ve reduced the chaos of travelling excessively and building some solid foundations in my life and craft. I’m in a very good place at the moment, it takes daily maintenance and a lot of discipline and work, but i feel as though i’m entering into a new phase of my life and i’m excited
So you’ve moved to Los Angeles, basically?
Yep I’ve moved to LA. I really-really love the lifestyle and creativity there.
[Before Jakarta-red] you were in Japan.
Yes, this has been an intensive press tour for the last 10 days. We’ve crossed 7 countries in 10 days.
Did you do a show there?
Just promo, which was amazing and I’ve met the most incredible people. I was able to absorb the city properly because my attention wasn’t spliced by having to perform. It means I can be one hundred percent present with the people around me and really appreciate my surroundings.
Was that your first time there?
Yes. I’ll definitely be back. I think I would love to film some pieces there as well. It’s really magical and very cinematic. Same with Seoul, Seoul was very cinematic as well. When I first landed, from the airport to the city, it was about an hour drive, it’s very ‘2049 Bladerunner’, the neon signs, the fonts and the characters, it’s very inspiring!
And very comical in a way. Hahaha…
How does it feel being back here?
It actually feels really good, I stayed in a beautiful hotel. It’s my last night on the press tour which means I can just take a breath, relax, and it feels really nice. I’m hoping to see and do exploring tomorrow in Jakarta.
So what brings you here?
Promo this time around, I’ll definitely be back for performances.
I have been hearing you are going to do more stuff in the upcoming months?
We are leading to the second album. The details are still being finalised however I am excited to share the songs and creative with the world.
So you released ‘Champion’?
I love it, by the way. It has like all the vibes from all the decades. Wow she puts everything together! So what’s the back story of creating ‘Champion’?
When I wrote that record in LA, it wasn’t so long ago, probably only in June or July last year. I called it an amalgamation or a fusion of all these different components of my life and my experiences and the people around me. I was doing a lot of boxing training, and I was in this class, filled with these women that were just so inspiring to one another and really lifted one another up, but also be competitive in a good way.
I felt very strong every time I left the class and simultaneously, I was building all of these magnetic relationships with other women that I loved so dearly and really building friendships and I was just so inspired by the female movement that’s going on at the moment. So there were sort of all these different influences. And when I looked back on it, I said, “Oh, that’s where the song came from!”. But at the same time it was just very natural in the studio, written across this period of like a week or two.
That was quick!
Really quick! The whole record has just been really really natural and I’ve been really paying attention to the value of just putting a work out there that reflects the time and the space, when you were in the particular of the moment, not thinking too much about it, and then move on to the next thing, I like that at the moment. It’s like where I’m at creatively.
That’s great then. So, you're finally basically living your dream. Like living in LA, it’s safe to say that somehow LA inspires you to do all the stuff. Are you working with producers from LA?
I’ve got a main co-producer on this record, his name is Adam Pallin and he’s fantastic. I actually met him five years ago in New York and then, I guess fate kind of brought us back together and it all just worked out very very seamlessly. He’s been a God-send. I love working with him. And then I am about to get back to the studio with a bunch of different artists, it’s so funny, maybe it’s because I started releasing music in the end, just being hit with all of these sort of requests, and people wanting to collaborate, and I’m really open to it now. Now I think I’m ready, to really get back into the world, be in the song-writing community and in the collaborating community and all the rest of it. And these next couple of months will be really fun.
Any new characters or looks you trying to bring out?
Definitely. I think I’m very inspired by cinema. So, I think particularly I call it minimalist post-apocalyptic sci-fi. Hahaha… But it is a very specific kind of landscape that I’m really gravitating towards. I think there are certain characters in the landscape that I have built in my mind. And those characters will start to come through. I think they’ll start to come through more in the cinematic form and also in the live show. So, I think over the next couple of months, there will be lots of embellishment.
I’ve been in one of the festivals, I think it was 2017, where you played The Great Escape, I was there! I think it was really a great show.
Oh, thank you!
Yea, it was friggin great because all the lighting and in a sense how people put their phones up and put things on social media, and the fact that the lighting was so bright and I couldn’t get anything, but I was just like in the moment and enjoyed.
That’s so nice!
Do you have any ideas like live shows?
The live aspect of my job has become a real focus in the last year or so. I’ve been fully immersed in all elements of creating a theatrical experience. It is a new medium for me so I’m surrounding myself with specialists in each department of the show. Directing a show is never something I planned on however I really love it, learning new skills and maintaining curiosity is really important to me.
I love it when an artist basically is being really perfectionist of their shows. That is what you’re doing with yours.
Yes, 100%. I am a perfectionist by nature however I really do enjoy the process of learning new things and I am a firm believer in appreciating growth. I love to see progression and change. I only now feel as though I’m entering into a phase where I’m able to transpose the images in my mind into reality.
"I only now feel as though I’m entering into a phase where I’m able to transpose the images in my mind into reality..."
That has taken a long time however I feel free and excited to take on the next challenge.
What’s been your most inspirational show?
One of my favourite shows of all time was I did this performance at Field Day, in Australia on New Year’s Day and it wasn’t a huge production, it was during the day time, so it wasn’t about the theatrics, smoke, lights etc, it was raw and honest. The energy of that show was electric and it was all about the audience. They carried the show and they were having the best time. It was incredible.
Any collaborations in the future?
Yes, however I’m not sure if I can talk about them at the moment. I’m very excited about writing lots of music across multiple mediums and genres. I feel very free and want to carry that energy into everything I'm creating. I’d love to work with artists from Asia in the future too.
So, this is your last stop?
Yea, so I’m going back to Australia for a week, hang out with family and then I will hit back to LA for couple of months to do a lot of the visual side of the record and to finish off bits and pieces and then get back in the studio. I’m planning on having two months of pure creativity to find more inspirations. That’s where I’m the happiest, when I’m creating new things whether it’s like developing a live show, writing a video, performing in a video and just enjoying that part of process. I’ll just be going to sing a lot of music and then the album and everything that comes with the album. There a lot of interesting shows, travel, shoots and collaborations and I’m just open to anything, really.
Cause you’ve been doing a lot of things, basically.
I know, like a lot. Hahaha…
Let’s say, if you weren’t a musician right now, what would you be doing?
I think that I would be and I will be developing artists, like talent development. It’s something I’m so passionate about. It’s something that are not intended properly in our industry, I think that it’s important that we nurture talent and the concept that are actually nurturing the talents and developing it. It’s about helping the to unlock what they want to say. It takes a little bit of time and takes someone to kind of supporting and believing in them. I think that’s what I am really really passionate about. So if I wasn’t doing this, I would be doing that, and I do, and I will be doing that, I hope, for the rest of my life. Because I think I wanna to contribute to this ecosystem that has me for so long.
What are you moments this year?
The record is very bold and confident, I think it’s a good reflection of where I’m at creatively and personally as well. So, I have a moment through this record.
Any words to your fans here in Indonesia?
I can’t wait to play some motions for you and to really give you a show that you can remember. And to give you a body of work that hopefully means something to you.
And for all the women in the world?
And for all the women in the world, just keep supporting one another. I honestly think that one of the most important trends of the current moment. It moves from just being a trend to just being a part of lives that we support and encourage each other and also work on our own insecurities and fears, to be able to being better for one another. Give back to the community and build a community. Because I think that is what is going to move us forward as a collective. And it’s happening. I feel it happening. I am surrounded by the most inspirational women, I am so lucky.
You know when you start to see people, and of their kind of shapes and how beautiful it is when you start to really see people for who they are, you start to see the flower bloom. And let that happen, instead of start of making judgement on who that person is. It’s about letting that person be all of the different types of people that they are. Keep letting each other be for who they are.