Anja Schneider (left) and Maya Jane Coles / Photos via mobilee
It may sound like high praise, but anyone who has followed their careers is well aware that deep house wunderkind Maya Jane Coles and mobilee label head Anja Schneider are a pair of the greatest minds in dance music at the moment. Together they’re responsible for coming up with some of the best electronic releases in recent years—not to mention the fact that they hold their own as lady bosses in a boys’ club. With Maya’s return to mobilee, after venturing out and releasing her excellent 2013 full-length Comfort on another imprint, it seemed like an ideal time to bring them together for a dual interview. Even with a busy tour schedule to navigate, Maya and Anja found some time to swap travel stories, talk about their favorite ways to pass the time (someone get Maya a Portlandia cameo, stat), and call for the end of gendered interview questions. Amen.
ANJA ASKS MAYA
Anja Schneider: We are so pleased to have you back on mobilee and totally love the new record! Tell us what picture you had in mind before you created it?
Maya Jane Coles: Aw thank you! It's great to release again with a label that inspired me and supported me from early on. It's been a while since I've released a new EP, so I'm excited. I guess the vibe here is dreamy house that can hopefully slide itself into a variety of different set styles.
Have you had a really bad moment traveling or DJing over the years, and, if so, what was it?
Well traveling is definitely not normally as glamorous as it sounds a lot of the time. Once in Newcastle a few years ago there were three people and only two seats when the driver turned up. We all got bundled into the back of the van, which to passersby must have looked like a scene from Pulp Fiction. There was no light, no seats, and actually nothing to hold onto whilst the driver tried to give us advance warning when they were turning and going round a roundabout that nearly knocked me out. But it was so random that it was kind of fun too!
With so much travel have you ever forgotten or lost something special at a crucial moment? If so, what was it and how did you solve the problem?
I once lost my CD wallet with loads of unreleased stuff in Croatia, and my manager lost my CD wallet once in JFK! Both times by some act of God we managed to get them back, so it's easy to look back and joke. But some idiot stole my laptop years ago with lots of my early work on it and parts for tracks etc., and sadly that one never found it’s way home and they never caught who did it either.
Was there an initial moment you first fell in love with partying and electronic music? What was this moment, and how big was it for you?
In terms of house and techno, it was when I started going out to parties in East London. Clubs like Plastic People, Fabric, and random warehouse parties, too. Then I started going to Ibiza, Berlin, Tokyo, and things grew from there.
Do you have any habits when you travel? For example I’m always buying these really embarrassing ugly magnets from wherever I travel to!
I've definitely bought a lot of silly ugly magnets too! I mean we have to kill a lot of time in airports right!?? I’ve also become a bit obsessed with watching episodes of Portlandia on plane journeys. I seem to watch the same episodes over and over again, and it just gives me comfort. They tend to have quite a lot of cameos from the music world on there, so maybe I can go on there and shake up that bookstore a little bit.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
That’s such a hard one as there are so many things that I want to achieve in worlds like fashion, design, illustration, film etc. But one thing for sure is that I will always be making music of many kinds. That's definitely the one thing I would never be able to go without.
MAYA ASKS ANJA
Maya Jane Coles: What was the driving force behind you starting mobilee originally?
Anja Schneider: I had been hosting my radio show “Dance Under the Blue Moon” for quite some time, and I was discovering all this unsigned talent. Every week I was sent a lot of music and could only play so much of it. A friend with a distribution company asked me why didn't I start a label where I could use my prominent name and give a platform to all these young upcoming artists—and the rest they say is history!
Which artist/album would you have loved to have put out that isn't already on mobilee?
Honestly, I really love Caribou, and I would have loved to release the Terranova album that came out on Kompakt [Hotel Amour]. I'm a huge fan.
Scarily to some people, I know you have a life outside of techno too—what's your favorite non-techno thing to do in the world?
Haha a life outside techno! Of course I have to have life outside of this—I am a mother of a three-year-old boy, so a lot of my time is spent far away from techno. We like to hang out in the playground, play football, and our favorite time is in the morning at breakfast and our dance experiments together in the kitchen—best party ever.
Are there any really embarrassing DJ moments you would share with us? Or if not what is your worst DJ scenario?
Too many to mention I'm sure. But I hope as I get more professional I'm getting better at my “cool face” when I mess up or play the wrong track—it happens to the best of us. I think my most embarrassing moments (and probably with alcohol involved) are when I think I'm dancing in a super cool way, when in fact I'm not and it's up on the internet the next day for all to see. Social media is a curse for this.
Lastly, as both a successful a DJ and label boss—don't you get sick of being asked if its more difficult being a woman even though it's 2014?
It’s the most unimaginative and pathetic question ever. I'm so over this gender comparison thing in the music business, in any business. Nobody asks the male DJ's 'what's it like being a man in the music business.' So bored of it.
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