Origin: United Kingdom
On top of winning numerous awards, 29-year-old British-Japanese DJ/producer Maya Jane Coles has amassed millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify, and can boast a staggering 3.2 million Soundcloud followers! 2017 sees Maya release her most substantial body of work to date; her sophomore album ‘Take Flight’ on her own label, I/AM/ME.
Maya has played in over 40 countries. Gigging from the Tate Modern to MOMA, Brighton Football Stadium, cranes, hotels, car parks, bridges, deserts, fashion launches, mountains, muddy fields, beaches, not to mention the most prestigious clubs in the world. Critical and fan support have closely followed her career with Maya picking up multiple awards including Beatport’s ‘Staff Pick: Artist of the year 2011′ and ‘Best Producer’, ‘Best DJ’, ‘Best Compilation’ or ‘Best Underground Track’ from a variety of media from Mixmag and DJ to FACT and SPIN!
Indeed, Maya has already graced the cover of over 20 magazines in 8 different countries including twice for Mixmag (UK), DJ Mag (UK & USA), Village Voice (USA), Trax (France), Groove (Germany) and Vicious (Spain), alongside coverage as diverse as Vogue and Nylon through to Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal and GQ. Maya even found time to front the international campaign for Dr. Martens AW15 collection. So why all the fuss?
Well, Maya is somewhat of an enigma in today’s music world; on a typical Maya Jane Coles record, Maya will have written, produced, engineered, arranged, mixed and performed every element of the track; some times top-lining and, on many occasions, even designing the sleeve artwork too. Maya is no overnight success, rather someone who has been paying their dues and honing their craft for years…
First intrigued by the musical mixture of sounds from dub to punk to soul to jazz to world to classical music played at home; Maya began to pick up a few instruments herself and started songwriting.
Production felt like the natural next step to realise her own vision at every part of the process from beginning to end. First producing hip-hop at 15, Maya migrated to dubbier electronic sounds aged 16 and following the experience of exploring good underground house in the clubs and warehouses of East London she started to make house records, culminating in her first release ‘Sick Panda’ on Dogmatik back in in 2007. The release led to gigs at events like the BBC Electric Proms and Bestival.
Maya created a live electronic duo She is Danger alongside vocalist Lena Cullen. She is Danger remixed artists from Gorillaz to Groove Armada with an acclaimed Dub re-working of Massive Attack’s ‘Girl, I Love You’ included on ‘Heligoland’. Despite acclaim and growing success with a memorable live performance at Torture Garden, Maya’s solo production and DJ career escalated and the band went on hiatus.
Whilst earlier tracks were all well received it is arguably ‘What They Say’, originally released on Real Tone, that would see Maya emerge as a burgeoning star across the underground house scene. Topping both the sales charts on Beatport and Resident Advisor’s charts week upon week.
Further Maya productions ‘Don’t Put Me In Your Box’ EP (Hypercolour), ‘Humming Bird’ EP (Hypercolour), ‘Focus Now’ EP (20:20 Vision), ‘Beat Faster’ EP (Mobilee) cemented her position and built anticipation for Maya’s debut album ‘Comfort’.
Led by the single ‘Easier to Hide’ in 2012, July 2013 saw the release of Maya’s debut album ‘Comfort’ on her I/AM/ME imprint. The record was produced, engineered and mixed solely by Maya herself. She even created the artwork for the album and all of the singles. Maya’s debut was critically acclaimed, delivering an eclectic melting pot of sound and texture drawing on everything from house and techno through to R&B and Dub. Vocal guests on the record included Tricky, Miss Kittin, Kim Ann Foxman, Karin Park, Nadine Shah and Thomas Knights; the latter also directed two of the album’s music videos!
2014 saw a club smash ‘Getting Freaky’ on Heidi’s Jackathon Jams label and a return to Dogmatik with the release of ‘Watcher’. Maya also collaborated with GAPS on a Mobilee EP release. Maya in turn released a GAPS album to mark the first release on I/AM/ME other than her own material in 2015.
In 2015, for Maya’s eponymous album under her bass driven ‘Nocturnal Sunshine’ alias, she won best Producer at the DJ Mag awards and was further included in DJ Mag’s Top 10 Albums of 2015. Again Maya took on all duties from music to artwork with Catnapp and Chelou the only guest artists on the album. Maya has also remixed emergent talents The Orb, Karin Park and Phil Kieran, and originals ‘Can’t Hide The Way I Feel/Broke’. Maya would debut the moniker on her own branded stage at Secret Garden and later play a handful of special gigs under the moniker alongside Jamie XX in NYC and Bonobo in London.
As aforementioned, Maya has also lent her production talents to other acts; remixing the electronic underground’s finest from Bonobo, Bookashade and Tiga; to leftfield acts like The XX, Tricky and Little Dragon through to pop’s most credible; Sia, Lianne La Havas, Sam Smith, Florence & The Machine, and even the legendary Ella Fitzgerald!
Maya’s breakthrough track ‘What They Say’ was slowed and looped to form the backing track for Nicki Minaj’s ‘Truffle Butter’. The track – featuring Lil Wayne and Drake – went on to receive a Grammy Nomination and peaked at 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, placing at 66 for 2015 overall. The track has sold over a million copies around the world with artists such as T.I. and Ludacris releasing cover versions.
Maya has also produced for acts such as Alpines and Little Boots while more recently she’s worked with acoustic singer Chelou on his ‘Halfway to Nowhere’ single.
Alongside her production and remixing credentials, Maya is an esteemed DJ. Aged 17, Maya bought herself a pair of 1210′s and learned how to mix on vinyl, and since then Maya’s reputation as a DJ has reached heady proportions to the extent that she’s regularly placed in Resident Advisor’s DJ top 10 Chart with acclaimed mixes for Resident Advisor, XLR8TR, Boiler Room, a Mixmag cover-mount CD and multiple Essential Mixes.
In April 2012, Maya’s position as one of the world’s top DJs was further solidified with the release of her multi-award winning edition to K7’s legendary DJ Kicks mix series, which gained international chart success and massive critical praise. Maya would later release Fabric 75 in 2015 to similar success.
One of the world’s best DJ headliners Maya has played WHP (UK), Fabric (UK), Womb (JPN), Panorama Bar (GER), Ushuaia (IBZ), Amnesia (IBZ), SPY Bar (USA), Watergate (GER), Output (USA), Sub Club (UK) and super clubs Trouw (NDL) and Space (IBZ) when they were functional with residences for Richie Hawtin’s Enter and Ushuaia’s ‘ANTS’ party.
Maya has played the world’s key festivals from electronic events like Sonar (SPN), Detroit Movement (USA) and Melt (GER) through to multi-genre behemoths Coachella (USA), Roskilde (DEN), Glastonbury (UK), Fuji Rock (JPN), Exit (SRB) Les Transmusicales (France), and Montreux Jazz (SUI).
Maya has also programmed her own ‘Maya Jane Coles’ festival stages at the likes of BPM (MEX), SW4 (UK), ADE (NDL), Secret Garden (UK) and Holy Ship (USA) with performers ranging from Bonobo, Tale of Us and Dixon right through to burlesque royalty Dita Von Teese!
Rumour has it that Maya has also released under quite a few other pseudonyms though she prefers never to reveal their identity so that the work can be judged on its own merits without expectation of a particular sound. Maya’s new album ‘Take Flight’ is set to evidence and expand the breadth of her talents to date.