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Topic: des disques..., interviews
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Maika Makovski, et ce qu’en dit John Parish (interview exclusive)

par arbobo | imprimer | 3mai 2010

Dire qu’on était tout content de faire du russe, donc de ne pas prendre espagnol deuxième langue… Crétin, va! Encore que, vu que Maika Makovski chante en anglais, toute possibilité de la faire venir jouer et de l’interroger n’est pas exclue.

Ce serait dommage de ne pas pouvoir lui manifester combien on aime ses disques, à cette rockeuse majorquaine (enfin, macédonienne aussi, d’où son nom). Dire que depuis des années elle s’époumonait sans franchir les frontières. Jusqu’à ce que John Parish se mêle de son 3e album, enfin distribué partout. On sent sa patte et la longue fréquentation de PJ Harvey, mais il n’y a pas que ça, qu’on se rassure.

un 3e album de haute volée

On compte au moins 3 Maika sur ce disque (vu ses photos, il y en a à qui ça donnera des idées).
Une rockeuse indé qui n’hésite pas à durcir le ton, une chanteuse pop assez fan de Kate Bush, mais aussi une chanteuse qui aime l’americana. D’ailleurs bien malin qui pourra donner les proportions du cocktail sur le titre d’ouverture.

Après deux albums honnêtes sans être renversants, Maika est devenue plus audacieuse et cet album tourne en boucle sans jamais lasser, dévoilant de nouveaux trésors à chaque écoute.

Devil tricks

Quant-à PJ Harvey, si on pense par moment à elle sur Lava love, c’est tout autant une influence de Nick Cave qu’on pourrait sentir. Un boogie rock ralenti et passé à la moulinette, customisé comme ces drôles de machines des steam-punks. Sur the deadly potion of passion, le banjo et la rythmique font un folk inventif, et pour le chant elle a volé la gorge de Kate Bush.
C’est peut-être en confectionneuse pop qu’elle impressionne le moins, quoique City lights fasse son petit effet. Mais la dureté rock convient mieux à ses paroles les plus tranchantes. Celles de Game of doses sont un bijou, “negociations not love, not love… you give me shelter, not love…”. De quoi faire réfléchir en laissant la deuxième guitare nous bricoler ses larsens à l’oreille.

Car la facilité avec laquelle on entre dans les morceaux cache quelques audaces et un travail d’écriture, de mise en son, qui font grandir le plaisir écoute après écoute. En plus d’avoir un timbre magnifique, elle sait courber son chant pour lui donner toutes les allures, et s’épanouit avec bonheur dans tous les styles. Ce qu’on tenait au début pour un disque plutôt réussi finit par s’imposer comme une des très belles trouvailles de l’année. Viva Maïka !

John Parish a eu la gentillesse de répondre à quelques questions. Tout heureux, comme il le dit, qu’on accorde à Maika une attention “bien méritée”.

John Parish parle de Maika Makovski - interview exclusive

allez là si vous préfèrez lire la traduction française

How did you come to produce this album? Did you already know Maika or were you contacted just for this record?

Maika contacted me directly. She sent me some demos – which I thought were really good - so I agreed to work on the album.

Were you surprised to hear a Spanish woman that familiar to rock and pop music? Do you feel the music has fewer and fewer boundaries? For a French like me this impression is exciting, but maybe not for you as a British?

I was surprised to hear a Spanish woman who sang in English with no discernible trace of a Spanish accent. But Maika has a pretty cosmopolitan backgroun. I guess these days most Europeans have access to a vast amount of music from all over the place, and there‘s an awful lot of mixing things up. Sometimes the results are really exciting, and sometimes things get rounded off and end up sounding a little bland. Maika’s taken stuff from all over and has ended up with something unique to her – which is what you hope from a good artist.

The list of the artists you worked with is pretty long now, and most of them are famous. Maika is far from famous so far, did it make you hesitate? Do you think your own reputation can help bringing more attention on her?

I choose to work with someone depending on how much I like what they’re doing – providing I have any time available of course. I’m not concerned with whether they’re famous or not. I think that my reputation might be a reason why a few journalists would pick up the album and give it a listen – there’s so much stuff around that you usually need some kind of a reason to listen to one thing over another. I don’t think having my name attached is any guarantee of sales however…unfortunately.

You used to be PJ Harvey’s mentor (and now friend) before she was famous, now you work with Maika. It seems that PJ really broke the ground and opened the road for more and more women in rock. Do you feel it that way? Do you feel you can be partly accountable for this?

Polly is one in a line of great women artists. Undoubtedly, they have all inspired other young women to pick up a guitar or whatever & write some songs. I’ve had a degree of influence over some of what Polly’s done – but I’m not the reason a young female PJ Harvey fan takes their first step as an artist.

Do you hear an echo of your work with PJ on some parts of this record? Oh m. ah, in particular, or Ruled by Mars,  sound to me like a cousin (a pretty one) of Meet ze monsta. Do you feel the same? Comparing to the previous records of Maika, it sounds like this one is really a fusion of both your visions.

I can’t say any of Maika’s songs particularly reminded me of Polly.

Because there are disproportionately fewer women artists, I think they are more likely, and often unfairly, to be compared to one another. Some of maika’s stuff is a bit bluesy. Some of Polly’s stuff is a bit bluesy. How many bluesy songs have bee written by blokes?

To answer the second part of your question – I think this album is a departure from maika’s first two albums - I think it was something Maika wanted to do, and she guessed that I might be a good person to help facilitate that. I brought my sensibility to the project of course, but Maika had already moved beyond where she was.

The doublebass is awesome, especially on Devil tricks. This album is very acoustic (banjo, acoustic bass), was it the will of Maika or did you push in that direction? More generally, was there (and what were) any option you and Maika disagreed about? Who won in the end?

I agree with you that the double bass on the album is great. There were actually two different players – both excellent – Billy Fuller and Jim Barr – it was Jim playing on Devil Tricks. Maika had already used a fake double bass sound on her demos, so it seemed obvious to try and get the real thing in for the sessions. I think I volunteered the banjo…I certainly played it.

If a session is to work successfully, there has to be a level of trust between artist and producer. Sometimes there will be a difference of opinion, but if trust is there this can generally be resolved. I don’t remember any particularly big disagreements in the making of this album…the odd different preference for one mix over another…but I remember both sessions as being very good spirited affairs.

I hear at least 3 different Maikas on this album, a pop one (Friends, City lights), a rock/americana one (Lava love), and an “indie rock” one (Game of doses with its great repetitive guitar, Ruled by Mars), with sometimes a mix (The deadly potion of passion mixes a Kate Bush singing with banjo, it’s really original). This versatility is really cool, but was it difficult to make all these styles fit in the shape of an album? Or on the contrary, did it make it easier to give it dynamics, ups and downs?

We were certainly aware of the diversity within the album - and took this into account. So mixing, mastering and sequencing all had an eye on emphasisng the common ground on some quite radically different songs - and singing styles – maika has a very versatile voice, and one of things I tried to take care of , was to keep some sense of relation within the different vocal tracks . Searching for dynamics was not a problem – we had a surfeit !

When you accept to produce an album, do you arrive in the studio with a complete and precise view of the final result? Or do you bring ideas to discuss with the artist?

I’ve learnt not to show up with a fixed idea of where an album should end up. I trust my instincts and respond to things as & when they happen. There is usually a certain amount of discussion with the artist, but really, everything changes as soon as you get into the studio.

When you produce a record, how much are you tempted to be on tour to share it on stage? As you are both a performer of your own songs, and a producer, is there something frustrating in this producer job?

The more records I make, the less I feel I have to stamp my personality on them. I’m totally comfortable trying to help the artist get what they want – provided of course I think that what they’re after is worth pursuing. I do make the occasional live ‘guest’ appearance – which I always enjoy – but I certainly don’t feel the need to have a live stake in the records I make.

l’album Maika Makovski est sorti le 5 avril


6 Commentaires

  1. 1 mmarsupilami on mai 3, 2010 8:44

    Malgré les écoutes répétées, je suis mitigé. Au-delà des comparaisons que tu avances, je n’ai pas l’impression d’avoir découvert une personnalité. Je ne jette pas, certes, mais je trouve que cela reste effectivement au niveau du “disque plutôt réussi”. Ce qui, par les temps qui courent, n’est pas si mal!

  2. 2 arbobo on mai 3, 2010 9:31

    par rapport aux 2 précédents c’est plus la diversité qui m’a frappé,
    mais les compos et surtout le chant m’ont bien accroché :-)

  3. 3 The Civil Servant on mai 4, 2010 16:22

    Vu la photo de la jeune fille !
    Oui, oui, oui, Arbobo, je suis certain que sa musique te passionne. Absolument persuadé ; pas l’ombre d’un doute…

    Comme tu le dis très bien: “Ce serait dommage de ne pas pouvoir lui manifester combien on aime ses disques”… Arf!

  4. 4 arbobo on mai 4, 2010 19:52

    c’est là que c’est marrant : j’allais acheter le nouvel EP (décevant) des madrilènes Boat beam, et j’ai voulu voir ce que leur label avait d’autre d’intéressant, donc j’écoute. Et après je regarde s’il y a de quoi illustrer l’article.

    réponse, oui :-)
    et tant mieux car on connait tes préférences, sacripan ^^

  5. 5 christophe on mai 4, 2010 20:14

    Lu l’itw traduite (merci), et c’est super cool (l’itw).

    Me reste à écouter (ui, je sais, c’était l’objectif, mais moi je suis plutôt du genre content qu’un pote ait interviouvé le mec qui a pourri la carrière à PJ Harvey, quoiqu’il produise)




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