Maple Glider is the project of singer-songwriter Tori Zietsch.
Striking emotionality is at the centre of her performance, leaning into an intimacy that is achieved by way of deeply personal reflections and velvety melodic compositions. Vocals melt into layers of plucked acoustic guitar and lulling piano, drawing on the sombre styles of folk contemporaries with a stark tenderness and introspection that assumes the listener is inside her bedroom as she plays for herself.
Luckily we got a chance to discuss her debut album To Enjoy Is The Only Thing and chat about her creative process, the industry, trees and everything in between.
So ‘To Enjoy is the Only Thing’ will be your debut album. I know everyone here at Qobuz is quite excited about it but how are you feeling about its release?
Aww thank you!! I’m so excited !! I’ve definitely been through a bit of a roller coaster of feelings though… nervousness, apprehension, disbelief… The release has kind of crept up on me... For a while it felt like I’d just be preparing to release it forever in some sort of time loop. Now I’m just really really grateful to be able to have this experience, and to be able to sing and laugh and cry about it with other people haha. I’m especially excited for my mum’s instagram posts about it. She goes hard. Lots of weird cropping. It’s good content.
The last year has been pretty crazy for some, how have you found the pandemic? Was part of this album created during those times?
I’ve been feeling pretty zig-zaggy. Maybe less like a zig zag and more like a squiggle. Like a kid’s drawing. I'm very grateful to have deep friendships, to live with people and animals I love and to have access to green places to walk around in. Trees are the best. Tom Iansek and I recorded the album during our first lockdown so that’s pretty weird to think about. So much has changed since then.
How do you think the music industry has changed since the pandemic?
I think it has been a very difficult time for a lot of people in the music industry.. I believe many people have had to put in a lot of extra work to keep their businesses afloat, and we are all still learning how to adapt. Despite challenges- the creativity, motivation, and perseverance of a lot of people has been really inspiring. It has been especially rewarding to watch live music and perform again in real music venues, and in my personal experience, the support and encouragement within my music community and from music lovers has been very heartwarming.
Your music mentions parts of the UK, especially Birling Gap in ‘Swimming’ (which for our non-UK readers is just east of Brighton). What is your relationship like with Brighton and that area?
Ahh Birling Gap is so beautiful! It’s so stunning out there. I lived in Brighton for about a year. I have such visceral beautiful memories of this time scattered in between a lot of weird feelings too. I definitely felt quite disconnected from myself for a lot of the time I was living there - mostly I was struggling a lot in my relationship, and I wasn’t good at reaching out to my friends. I wrote a lot of the album during this time though, and I think that has really helped me to process a lot of my past experiences and connect more deeply to that time of my life. I’m really excited at the prospect of visiting Brighton again. I left some people and places I really love there!
Being Aussie myself and moving to the UK, I know that Brighton has a pretty amazing music scene. How would you say it compares to the culture of live music in Australia? Is it similar or very different?
They are both amazing, really. I guess it’s quite expensive for a lot of bands to tour to Australia and vice versa, so it was cool seeing a lot of Australian bands/artists being supported overseas, and also watching a lot of live music that I haven’t had the opportunity to see at home. Particularly here in Melbourne the culture of live music feels very similar to that in Brighton. There’s always really amazing music to go and see and it is a really significant part of the cultural identity of the city.
You worked with Tom Iansek (Big Scary, #1 Dads) on this album, how did you find that experience?
Tom produced the entire album! It was an absolute dream come true. In April 2019 someone asked me if I had a dream producer to record my first album, and I said Tom Iansek. In May 2020, we were doing exactly that. I really could not at all have anticipated that it would actually happen. I had lots of fun recording the album with Tom. In a way I felt very detached from the outcome. I loved the sound and feeling of all of the songs during every step of the process, and I’m really thankful that Tom was willing to play on the record and contribute as much as he did- his willingness to be a part of it as much as I was connected to it is why the album became what it is. That’s why it feels like such a personal record- because it is.
Did you have a clear idea of the final sound you wanted to commit to record, or was there a lot of experimentation in the studio?
I knew I wanted it to be a fairly acoustic record, but I came in feeling really open about the possibilities. I’d been performing these songs solo for a long time, and I wanted to capture that feeling of intimacy in the recordings. Tom and I had a few days of pre-production to get on the same page with where we wanted to go with it, and he had generously offered to play bass and keys and whatever else on the record, so it all felt really flexible. We also had Jim Rindfleish (Mildlife) come in to perform drums and percussion. They’d worked together before on a #1 Dads album, so it all really flowed. The first day we did drums everything just felt next level, and I got so excited. One of my favourite memories was when Tom put in the electric guitar part in ‘Good Thing’. I had a really clear vision for where I wanted the song to go, and Tom was just 100% there with me. He went full teen-angst on it, and it was fucking amazing. I loved it. It was one of the final sessions we did actually. ‘As Tradition’ came as a complete surprise to me - I could have never imagined it ending up where it is now, but damn, I’m into it. Haha.
What’s next for Maple Glider? Have you got anything fun in the works you can share with us?
I’ve got quite a few shows planned in Australia for the rest of the year, but I’m also really excited to delve into a deeper space of writing. I’m gonna move closer to some bigger trees too. I love trees.