Photography by Martha Webb

Tavie Carey
Tavie Carey

I am a Journalism student based on the north coast of Cornwall. Having grown up a stones throw from Boardmasters , I have always been immersed in live music. When I’m not listening to my embarrassingly vast vinyl collection you’ll probably find me surfing at my local.

We chat with Maja Lena ahead of her headline tour where we discuss Star Trek, her recording process, and much more!

We spoke to the enchanting songwriter Maja Lena ahead of her UK tour that will see her travel the nation during January and February, starting in Falmouth, Cornwall. Maja delves into her love for Sci-Fi and how that influenced her latest LP ‘Pluto’, her recording process and so much more!

Tavie: Okay Maja, let’s get started! I love your music and the fact you’ve stated your music is inspired by science fiction, where did that fascination blossom from originally? 

Maja: I think it has been something that has happened in more recent years where I watched loads of science fiction programs with my husband. He really got me into shows like Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek. From there I then branched out and started looking at Sci-Fi illustrations and the interest just grew from that really. 

Tavie: So, it’s more of a recent fascination? 

Maja: Yeah, I have always been fascinated by space but when I was younger I think I was more interested in exploring nature. 

Tavie: When writing your music what sort of process do you follow, is it the same for each release or does it change? 

Maja: So, I have a general process but it does change and I like to try and push myself in new and different ways. However, generally speaking I will start off with my guitar to synth and play around with ideas for a while, I often will take that idea away and go over it whilst doing a mundane task like washing up (laughs). Once in a blue moon I will get a song all in one but it’s normally a lengthy process. Once I feel happy with he demo I will send it to my friend and producer Rob Pemberton and then we will sort of share ideas about the track, what we want to keep or change, then take it to the studio. 

Tavie: What inspires you as an artist? 

Maja: I find nature incredibly inspiring. I tend to go for walks alone as I find this an easy place to process my thoughts. However, for the second album we were in lockdown during writing it so I had to look deeper within to create it. I think that’s why that album became more sci-fi inspired as well as I created more of a world in my head, influenced by sci-fi I was watching. I found that I dug deeper into my imagination and creating a world for that. 

Listen/watch ‘The Stone’ here:

Tavie: You have a unique sound and I wonder was it hard to find people and artists who inspired you within the music industry? 

Maja: Thank you! I think I was really lucky to meet Rob, who produced my albums as we have been playing music together since school. We were in a band called Low Times and various other band names actually, I was lucky to find my musical family when I was in secondary school. We have all played together for a long time and inspired each other. We all have really different tastes in music too so we all brought something different to the band. Then me and Rob have carried on working together and I think we have a natural creative working relationship. Again, we have lots of similar and not so similar tastes but I think that creates ideas and allows us to bring things together that otherwise would thought wouldn’t have worked. In recent times I have found my musical family has grown and supporting my friend Rachel at her gigs, we actually share a lot of the same band members. We have all been inspiring each other as well. I have been very lucky in that way. 

Tavie: Do you enjoy bringing your music to life in a live setting? 

Maja: Yeah, I really enjoy playing live. The upcoming tour is actually our first headline as when we released the first album we were in and out of lockdowns. So we didn’t actually tour for the first one. I am feeling nervous (laughs) as I don’t know if anyone is going to show up!

Tavie: Of course they will! You’re actually playing the Cornish Bank in Falmouth right? 

Maja: Yes we are! Really excited for that one and I know Will and the gang from smugglers and that! I love coming to Cornwall I have a few friends that have studied there and lived there. It’s a lovely, beautiful place. 

Grab tickets for the Maja Lena show here

Tavie: Your new album is called ‘Pluto’ what inspired that name? 

Maja: When I was writing the album there was a lot of Plutonic themes emerged in the songs such as creation, destruction, transformation, renewal, pains. They all were themes that kept emerging and because I have been very sci-fi inspired I imagined that Pluto was nearby and was heavily affecting us as the Moon does. 

Tavie: That’s such a unique outlook! What’s your favourite track off the album and why?

Maja: At the moment it is ‘Daylight Comes Revealing’ because we have just started a new year and we’re all hibernating or emerging. It’s a very collective song that Is relatable as we’re all trying to find little glimmers of hope to cling on to. We all need something to carry us onwards till spring. However it does change but right now that track is my favourite. This track was really influent by Studio Ghibli films, they were really inspiring actually. I like how they create sounds to represent characters and we tried to do the same. 

Tavie: Thats so cool and thank you for taking the time to chat with us, it’s been great. Looking forward to seeing you live in Falmouth this month! 

Maja: Thank you and see you soon!