Born in Ukraine into a family of classical musicians – mother pianist and father cellist – Maria Basel grew up in a household with music at its centre.
Today she works as a musician, composer, producer and DJ in different constellations and genres, rooted in the region around Wuppertal, Germany. As a self-taught producer, she is always trying to evolve and dive into new territories.
Her solo project brings together Basel’s skills in classical music, her soft spot for electronic sounds, jazz and RnB. Her compositions are characterized by a blend of fragile vocals and loops. With hypnotising synth and piano progressions, loops and melancholic harmonies she creates captivating sound layers that draw on a variety of genres while at the same time open up a broad space for interpretation and association in both music and lyrics.
Her debut EP “Layers” was released March 12th 2021 via Berlin based label Listenrecords.
1. “Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” – Leonard Bernstein
2. Try to learn from every experience and grow with it.
3. Octopuses have three hearts.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Life, the people around me, memories. Also lower points in my life have always been the ones where I was the most creative, vulnerable and open to that bittersweet visit of the muse.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I grew up in a family of classical musicians, so music always surrounded me from an early age. My mother is a concert pianist, my father is a cellist. When I was five years old, I started to play the piano. After many years of playing classical music and participating in music competitions, I eventually started to write my first pop songs at the age of fifteen. When I moved to Wuppertal I started to record and produce my own music, first collaborations with other musicians emerged and I became more and more involved in the scene. Music always has been and will always be a vital part of my path. I could not imagine a life without it.
3. What are 5 of your favourite works of all time?
Overgrown by James Blake
Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens
Vespertine by Björk
ANIMA by Thom Yorke
Process by Sampha
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Openness, freedom, variety, creativity, unaffordable rents, timelessness, hipsters.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
My favorite place in Wuppertal is the culture and art venue “LOCH”. In 2015 I have helped establish it and worked there for many years. It is like a home to me, I have my rehearsal room and office there and being part of a creative space like that has really helped me to stay sane over these last crazy months.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Really hard to imagine. What a sad and empty world this would be. I guess I would do something creative instead. Like working in a theatre or as a videographer. Or I would be a chef. I love to eat. :D
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
The last track I’ve bought for a DJ set was Yaleesa Hall – Zoe Price. The Last record was Goliath by Jonas David.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
James Blake. His music has always been an incredible inspiration to me.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
There is this one concert that particularly stayed in my mind – a few years ago I had the chance to work with the opera choir of the Wuppertaler Bühnen and arrange my music for them. It was an incredible feeling to hear all those voices come together as one and enrich and transform my music in such a beautiful and powerful way.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
As I have a quite electronic sound, technology is a major part of the creative process. Normally if I hear an idea in my head I first of all try and find chords on the piano to build the base of the song. The next step would be looping my voice, pairing it with harmonies and effects or trying out different synths and beat sequences.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have a half sister who is 16 years old and lives in Belgium. She likes my music a lot and is very proud of me.
Photo © Lars Heckersbruch