To transcribe an interview with electronic music producers MayaVanya is to hear two voices merge into one, as Maya and Vanya Milinovic tag-team on each other’s answers in an attempt to explain themselves and the music they make. This Croat-Kiwi DJ and production duo is perfectly in sync, whether it’s behind the decks, in studio, or in conversation.
“Two of the tracks we’re working on are…,” Vanya begins.
“… Kind of like r&b mixed with dance music,” Maya finishes.
“And some of them are downbeat and not as high-energy as some of our previous songs, like the ‘Turn Me Out’ track we did with P-Money,” Vanya continues.
“And bass music is a huge part of New Zealand dance music culture, so the focus of the EP is on the bass side of club music,” Maya concludes.
In finishing each other’s sentences, MayaVanya are giving a steer on what they’ve been refining at Red Bull Studio Auckland, new material that’s set for release on their forthcoming EP. Last week the sisters were Red Bull residents, tweaking three new tracks with studio mastermind Ben Lawson in the driver’s seat.
“It’s been so awesome working with Ben, mixing and mastering everything down,” says Maya. “He’s such an amazing engineer, which is not our strongest point. We know what we want it to sound like so we give him a blueprint, and then he pretty much makes it sound…”
“… Exactly like it needs to,” Vanya adds. “Ben is such a perfectionist, so by the time he fine-tunes every single stem of your track, it’s like half a day gone.”
In July, MayaVanya are relocating to Croatia where they’ll set about making noise in Europe, and the tracks they’ve been fine-tuning at Red Bull are aimed squarely at the heaving European festival scene. Featuring guest vocals from Watercolours and MC Tali (and with more collaborations planned with P-Money and Croat talent, Dr. Strapazoot and Tone Tuoro), these tunes demanded Lawson’s studio perfectionism, as they’ll be competing for air time in one of the most crowded dance music markets on the planet.
“It’s strange how over the years Croatia’s become the place to be,” say Maya. “We grew up there, and now it’s become party central with some of the biggest festivals in the world. It’s pretty awesome.”
“It’s funny because when we play there, they bill us as Kiwis – and here they do it the other way around,” Vanya continues. “We’re definitely half-half, and we kind of feel like that too. And that’s kind of cool, because we have the best of both worlds.”
The Milinovic sisters are only a month off the move, but their European plans are already coming together, with a major festival appearance being announced next week. Before they make an exit, they’ll tide us over by releasing the EP’s Tali-featuring first single. And while they’re making plans to storm the dance floors and festival fields of Europe, they’re keen to reassure local fans that they’ll be back to soak up our summer.
“Our plan is to spend six months there, then six months here,” says Maya. “We want to spread our wings outside of New Zealand. This country’s been so good to us and awesome for starting our production career, and now we want to expand – before we get too old and want to have kids and all that!”