„I really like playing in Germany“ – Maybe Canada im Interview

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Vor einer Woche fand in Hamburg das Reeperbahn Festival statt. Die perfekte Chance also, um diverse Künstler nicht nur live spielen zu sehen, sondern auch persönlich zu treffen. So wie den Schweden Maybe Canada, der sich bei gutem Wetter auf dem Spielbudenplatz sehr gesprächig zeigte. Es ging natürlich viel um seine Musik, um sein aktuelles Album „Ruined Hearts“ und auch darum, warum er so gerne in Deutschland spielt.

JOINMUSIC: Let’s start at the very beginning – how did you start making music?

Maybe Canada: Eeeehm. I was quite young when I started. I think when I was 4 or 5 I started to dance in children groups and stuff. And when I was 7 I started playing piano. My parents sent me to piano lessons. I think I really had the rhythm in me in some way. So yeah, I played piano for a while and of course at one point it became lame. I was growing up and started listening to hard rock and stuff. So I started playing guitar when I was 12 or something like that. But I didn’t start writing my own music until I was 20 maybe.

JM: And how did you then start writing your own music at one point?

MC: I started playing in some bands and at one point I thought it would be cool to play my own music. I started this music school and then I had more time to do it and more time to try my own stuff. And in the end it was more fun to sing my own stuff.

JM: I’ve read somewhere that your first concerts was one from Metallica – Is it true?

MC: It is true, yeah.

JM: But that’s really different to the kind of music you’re doing now.

MC: Yeah, it is.  But they were one reason why I’ve started playing the guitar. They were my hard rock heroes. But it’s indeed far away from what I do now.

JM: But how have you been developing your kind of music then?

MC: I don’t really know. The first band I started was kind of a country band. Americana, acoustic. I was playing the banjo. So I come from there. I listened to a lot of American singer/songwriters like Johnny Cash. And I guess this goes hand in hand. For instance the famous Metallica producer, he also produced Johnny Cash. So it all connects in some way. It’s not all about the sound, it’s about the feel of it. I can still enjoy harder music, music that’s really different to my own. But all in all I’ve always been attracted to the acoustic sound and the kind of jammy style of music.

JM: A couple of months ago you released your first – let’s say – real album „Ruined Hearts“. It took you quite a while until you’ve released it, right? The first EP release was in 2011, I think. How come?

MC: Yeah… Well. One thing is that it is quite expensive to do an album on your own. I didn’t have the label with me until the end of the process. So you have the studio costs, the musicians. Everything is so expensive when you want to do it in a proper way. So economy was one thing. And also I was in a divorce at that time. So my head obviously was not really there to make music. I was doing a lot of things. And making music was always one part of it, but there were so many others things. I recorded the album in 2014 already. But then it took me around 2 years to finally put it out.

JM: And how do you feel now, having it finally released?

MC: It’s good, it’s really good. I’m really relaxed now, it’s easy for me to write new stuff now. So yeah, I can move on.

JM: You already said you’ve worked together with other musicians. Who was it and how did you start working together with them?

MC: They’re all friends. Gothenburg, where we all live, it’s not that big. So as a musician you know a lot of other musicians. We always help each other out. So I have a band at home. They are nearly always the same people whenever I play with a full band set-up. It’s not that hard to find musicians there.

JM: That’s what I thought. In Gothenburg you have quite a nice music scene, is it right?

MC: Exactly. We have a really good climate there. To write and to play and to be a musician. But to be honest I like having the control. I have been in a band with a democracy and then you always vote. And now I’m basically a one-man-band.

JM: I see, yes. These are your songs and musicians just join you.

MC: Exactly. They have nothing to say actually. (Laughs) They just have to play.

JM: Am I right – you’ve recorded the album live? Why did you decide to do it?

MC: For the EPs I did earlier it was a lot about „What to do with this?“ and „What to do with that?“. Maybe a bit more of this or that. This can be really good but this can also really kill the vibe. So we decided pretty early that we’re going to record this album live. So we did the whole album in two days. In the end we just needed to fix some things about the sound, changed the vocals on one song, because it was a bit messy with the drums. But everything that was recorded live basically also stayed like this. We really tried to capture the moment. Even no rehearsals almost. It was really kind of spontaneous. I like it that it feels for real. Because there’s some polished music out there. It sounds like it’s only machines.

JM: I know what you mean. And how many people are in your band then?

MC: I have guitar, bass and drums and now I also have a keyboard player as well. Before I had a pedal steel player but he had a lot to do then. But the keyboard works really good as well.

JM: And how did the songs for this album develop? I have the feeling there is a certain melancholy which goes through the whole album.

MC: Yes, it’s because I always have been writing about stuff that either happened to me or friends, family, people in my environment. At this point I had so many things going on in my life, with the divorce, new relationships with new people. I guess all in all that’s the main theme on the album. I tried to capture the different stages, the big changes in life. Maybe it’s kind of a theme album. But not a divorce album, not at all. But it’s definitively a lot about big changes and about being brave. Trying new things, moving one.

JM: Oh yes, I remember this one song… „Now and then“. I had the feeling this one is kind of a breakup song. It’s like you need to let somebody go to move on with your own life. I like this song a lot.

MC: Cool, thank you. It’s one of my favorite songs because it sets the tone for the whole album. It’s a breakup song, yes, but as I sing „It’s easier to breathe“ when the person is not around.

JM: Yeah, right. You have to move on and I think you can really feel it in this song.
We already talked about the EPs you released before. Why did you decide to release EPs at one point? Was it that you wanted to start at one point and didn’t want to wait until a whole album was finished?

MC: I was in the mood to let things go. I recorded one or two of the EPs at home. Only the first one was recorded in a real studio. Again, it was about the money. You get what you pay for. But at one point I just wanted to start with something. And although I was quite slow with releasing here as well – I released one EP a year – it was at least something I was putting out. And I think I didn’t really know in what direction I wanted to go. The first one is more acoustic and has a lot of my own songwriting style in it. It’s more Americana, more like Ryan Adams. The newer ones were more electric then. A bigger, airy sound in it. So I was still experimenting, so it was easier to just do an EP with only four songs. With an album I think you already need to have in mind what you want to do with it.

JM: So you also like to experiment around with the sound?

MC: Yes, more and more even. I just sit at home and play around with synthesizers and stuff. So I don’t know what the next sound will be like. I have a lot of songs written already. And I think about different directions. On the one hand I would like to do real acoustic stuff with cello and guitar and stuff. And on the other hand I want to take the concept of the album further and do it even bigger. More messy, more extreme. We’re going to start recording in November. So hopefully I’ll get out a new EP in spring. So that will hopefully give a clue about the sound and feel of the new stuff.

JM: Really cool, I’m looking forward to this. And interesting: an EP again.

MC: Yeah, well, we discussed it with the guy who is recording and producing. And I was like: I want to do it fast now. I’d rather like to do two EPs now. Not a slow process of a whole album. Because also with the EPs I could do the two directions. I could do one acoustic and the other one more spaced out. And still they can go together.

JM: But I think that’s really cool. Also for fans. Because sometimes they have to wait so long until they hear a new song of their favorite artist. Because they first want to have the whole album finished. And also if there are different sounds, then there might be more for different people.

MC: I think most of my listening audience, they listen on Spotify, on digital platforms. And then it’s actually so easy to just get songs out. You don’t have to wait for a vinyl to be finished. You just have four songs and you put them out. Just to keep people listening. Yeah, I’m excited about what’s going to happen. I mean, I haven’t talked to the record company yet.

JM: Haha, I see. But talking about vinyl – your music is perfect for vinyl as well. Did you do your last album on vinyl?

MC: Yeah, yeah, we did. And I think we only did 100 copies and then it sold out pretty quickly. It was really nice, red vinyl. I love it. But it really wasn’t that cheap to do it. But it’s cool to know you have a couple you can sell.  And I don’t know how people are listening here but in Gothenburg many people return to the vinyl. People are listening digitally, but then when they come to a show they buy the vinyl as a memory.

JM: It’s kind of the same over here and I think it’s really nice how it is developing, how people are asking more and more for vinyl.

MC: It’s more of a memory, something more of a piece you can hold in your hands.

JM: I wanted to come back to your songs. The song „Can’t Wait“, I also like that one a lot. It’s a mixture, somehow melancholic but still with a positive vibe. I was wondering what it is actually about.

MC: Actually it was about meeting a new person. I was feeling like „Okay, what is this?“. I was asking myself should I just go with it, should I try, whatever happens. Or should I rather wait. That’s the title, it’s you can’t wait for the right time. Just go with it, go with the vibe. But still it’s also about being brave, pushing yourself into something new. And of course it’s about relationships and dating.

JM: And there was a woman joining you on the lyrics, right?

MC: Oh yeah, she’s a good friend of mine.

JM: I like this sound of your two voices, really cool.

MC: Thank you. She actually has two great bands. She sings in Swedish. And she has a great voice. And that also supports the vibe of the song.

JM: And the song „Won’t Wait“?

MC: This song is about… yeah… I lived kind of rough for a couple of years in between everything in life. In between relationships, kids, whatever. And at one point I was like: I won’t wait for you, you need to make up your mind. There were so many loose ends. I was taking responsibility for myself so this person also needed to take responsibility. It’s about moving on as well. And finally telling a person: „I won’t wait for you!“

JM: Why did you decide to write in English?

MC: Well Swedes are kind of damaged about English. We’ve heard English since we were kids. And of course you can reach more people with that language. I would really love to write in Swedish, because I think then I can express myself differently. And actually I tried. But I had the feeling I sound so silly.

JM: Well, if you were singing in Swedish I wouldn’t understand a word, so I’m happy you sing in English.

MC: Haha, yes. But also my influencers they sing in English, so this also inspired me in a certain way.

JM: You were touring through Sweden of course, through Germany and you played in Portugal  – is there a difference between the audiences?

MC: There are a lot of differences. Germany for instance is such a big country. And the north is definitively different to the south. In the way how people react, how polite they are. In Gothenburg people are used to a lot of music, so you don’t really get a lot of credit for it. In Germany I get the feeling that people really want to have a memory of a show if they liked it. So I sell a lot of records in Germany while touring. In Portugal I played a small showcase festival. I was enjoying the weather a lot, the warmth. There wasn’t a big audience, so they were a bit shy I had the feeling. In Germany for example I have the feeling that people always want to say Hi after a show. Is that possible?

JM: I think it is, yes.

MC: But if you then play in smaller towns people are sometimes not so confident in speaking English, so they are shy. They want to talk to you, but they don’t really know how. In the bigger cities people really come to you and give feedback. I really like playing in Germany.

JM: So you’re looking forward to your show tonight?

MC: Oh yes, I do. I haven’t been to the Pooca Bar before. It’s supposed to be pretty small, so I hope everybody will fit in and it’s going to be a nice gig.

JM: I’m pretty sure it will be. And you’re also going to play here now at the bus?

MC: Exactly. And tomorrow another gig. And I hope I can see some other bands as well. It’s going to be a nice weekend I hope.

JM: Well then I would like to wish you a very nice weekend here and thanks a lot for the interview.

MC: Thanks a lot.

Entdeckte Musik durch ihre Oma, die mit ihr Kinderlieder am Telefon sang. Damals, irgendwo zwischen Ruhrgebiet und Niederrhein. Dann für's musikorientierte Studium in die Niederlande und nach Finnland. Derzeit wohnhaft in Hamburg. Und die Liebe zur Musik nicht verloren.

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