Let’s embark on a journey with Maven, a musical entity that sprang to life in 2012, born from a labyrinth of diverse influences including rock, metal, film scores, and the evocative realm of post-rock. Maven‘s genesis involved a series of experimental musical formations, setting the stage for their distinctive sound. The band’s core mission revolves around the profound connection to their music, and the art of storytelling. This ethos finds its most recent expression in their concept album, “Aelys.” Join us as we unravel the layers of Maven’s creative process, exploring the interplay of influences and emotions that shape their music.
Let’s dive into the featured track on the compilation. Can you share the inspiration or story behind “War vs War”?
“War vs War” aligns with the overall concept of the album, which revolves around collapsology. In our vision, each piece of the album seamlessly comes together to create a singular entity: Aelys. Aelys is symbolically represented on the album cover by a majestic whale bearing both the scars of our destructive society and the wonders and riches offered by our generous planet. The whale embodies paradox: power and vulnerability.
Through each of Aelys’ tracks, we aimed to position ourselves as spectators of the world, infusing the emotions we experienced with each image. “War vs War” addresses war and geopolitical conflicts. We wanted to express this theme through the interplay of the two guitars, each representing an entity entering into communication with another. The dialogue begins courteously, tension builds, and eventually, the dialogue breaks down, giving way to chaos and distortion.
Walk us through your creative process. How do you typically approach writing and composing music? What was your creative process like for your recent album “Aelys” in comparison to your previous efforts?
Generally, we always compose together. While this method takes time, it allows us to be authentic about what we live and feel. Sometimes, a feeling that occurred during composition changes over time, leading to a reevaluation, and that’s when panic sets in! Haha.
For Aelys, we followed a similar process, except that we wrote and conceptualized the scenario for each piece before touching our instruments. We discussed each theme, exchanged thoughts on how we experienced and perceived things.
As an anecdote, I remember that one of us, some time after discussing overconsumption, came one day saying he had a strange dream. In the dream, he walked, and with each step, he ended up with an additional piece of clothing until he exploded at the end. “Consumers” was composed with a stacking of riffs that explode at the end.
Every detail of the album was thought out in connection with the collapsology theme. We provide a leaflet revealing the details of each track to offer the listener a new and more attentive listen to the details.
We wanted to play on two fronts, strong and varied themes to evoke emotions unique to each listener and allow them to embrace the music as they feel it. Additionally, we aimed to evoke different emotions and ideas defined by the theme throughout the album.
Thus, this album can be heard both from an introspective perspective and, once you know how the album is composed, from a more oriented viewpoint.
Who or what are your major influences in progressive/post rock? How do they impact your own musical style?
We have always been influenced by the bands that shaped our youth! The incredible atmospheres of bands like Pink Floyd, Mogwai, or Hammock. The strong themes in film music allow us to experience pure emotions that we love working with. We also draw influences from many styles (rock, metal, jazz, emo, electro, ambient…) for the dynamics they bring to different pieces. And, of course, progressive music, with albums that have shaped our thinking about music, like the famous Dream Theater’s “Metropolis Part 2.”
We focus our music on strong, effective, and ambient themes, making it accessible to everyone.
What challenges have you faced as an artist in the scene, and how have you overcome them?
The question is delicate because we live in a society where making a place for oneself is not evident. We are in self-production, and we sincerely believe that sharing, sincerity in our music, and hard work will bear fruit.
Aelys received an incredible reception worldwide, and for us, that is the most beautiful challenge we have won. We overcame this challenge by remaining true and authentic, not trying to follow a trend but staying faithful to who we are and what makes us feel good in music. If we touch even one person with our music, our happiness is complete.
How do you see the scene evolving, and what role do you believe your music plays in that evolution?
Certainly, we would like more independent scenes that allow all talents to express themselves without necessarily fitting into well-defined codes. We continue in this dynamic: if someone is moved at a gig, they will share that emotion with others, and these others will come to see live performances to experience the same thing.
The stage is a complete experience that reconnects us with ourselves. We want to make each live performance a magical and immersive moment where each spectator is free to travel wherever they want.
Share with us some of the most memorable moments in your musical journey so far.
I think the most memorable moment for us is entering the studio. On the one hand, because we materialize months of work, and on the other hand, because we meticulously chose the studio. It’s the Downtown Studio run by an incredible person, Didier Houbre, among others.
Didier is a true music enthusiast with an incredible musical and gear culture, and being with him is a very enriching human experience. He collects and scavenges a lot of equipment in line with what he likes. For us musicians, it’s powerful because we can play on instruments from another era with such authentic sound. This adds a soulful dimension to our universe, and everything makes sense and comes to life in those places.
We composed the end of “Earth overshoot Day” in the studio; this piece couldn’t find its end until the magic of the studio, with all the aforementioned elements, operated and created an incredible emulation.
So, we chose to record “Aelys” live to maintain that musical authenticity. We incorporated vintage instruments like the Yamaha CP-70, old Hiwatt amps, Fender Rhodes, which allowed us to be very expressive musically during our sound takes.
Do you have a personal favorite among your own compositions? If so, which one and why?
We each have our personal preferences, but I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that “Justitium” is a unanimous favorite. This piece was composed in reference to the health crisis, particularly influenced by what we experienced between 2020 and 2022. We wanted this piece to be dynamic and nuanced by different atmospheres, mirroring what we went through during that period with the prevailing tension. This title is a real pleasure to play on stage and to listen to for us.
Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on?
Our project is ambitious, and we aim to bring it to fruition over time. We envision offering a fully immersive live experience to give Aelys its true essence. Our goal is to deliver a scenic performance that allows the audience to escape into worlds filled with melodies and reveries during a live session. Maven’s music is inherently positive, even though we touch on darker aspects. We want everyone to leave filled with a large dose of hope for life and a desire to appreciate the beautiful things around them.
We also hope to connect with those who have shown appreciation for our music by considering an international tour.
The best collaboration is with the audience.
What does it mean to you to be a part of our compilation? How has the experience been for you?
Being part of a compilation is a genuine recognition that touches and honors us. Personally, we often discover gems in compilations that become part of our daily lives. Discovering who we share compilations with and understanding the dynamic of its creation is always intriguing and enriching. It’s an exciting experience to explore a compilation, discover ourselves in it, and it’s a challenge as each track on our album is interconnected, hoping it encourages listeners to explore more about the album!
Is there a message you’d like to convey to your fans who will be discovering your music through this compilation?
Breathe, travel, and return full of positive energy.
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or not, who would it be?
While we all have different favorite artists, sharing the stage with Caspian would be a wonderful experience.
If you had to pick one instrument (besides your primary one) to master, what would it be?
All string instruments like the violin. We included a string quartet for the album’s introduction. Mastering it would allow us to play the opening live or an harmonium.
What’s your all-time favorite progressive/post rock album, and why? One album that you always return to.
It’s hard to speak for the group, but personally (Marie), in my top 5 is Mogwai’s “The Hawk Is Howling” for its power and deeply touching melodies. It’s an album that resonates with me regardless of my mood. And Dream Theater’s “Metropolis Part 2, their first concept album.
Are there non-musical influences that find their way into your music? (e.g., literature, art, science)
Humanity, nature, and society are our greatest sources of inspiration. Philosophy, when it questions the meaning of life, helps us find our paths.
Any final thoughts or reflections you’d like to share with our audience?
Perhaps reflect on the direction our society is taking in relation to the themes explored in the album after listening to it in its entirety. Then, disregard that and let the music emotionally carry you in the moment.
Where can our audience find more about you and your music?
We are present on all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) for those who want to follow us. For listening to our tracks, they can check out Bandcamp and Spotify and many music streaming platforms, but the vinyl record player remains the king’s choice.