Exclusive mix 90: Princess Century

One of Toronto’s – and as of recently Brussels’ – finest, Maya Postepski is a woman with many masks. Also known as Princess Century and part of both Austra and Soldout, she explains that she wanted to make a very sensual and exciting mix to listen to during a house party, stimulating enough to have your feet moving, yet leaving you able to sleep peacefully. Playing with Austra at Ancienne Belgique this Sunday, and hosting the Bonnefooi afterparty just around the corner, we’re already at the tip of our seats.

Can you describe yourself in a few words?

I am a Musician, Producer, DJ – a jack of all trades as they say. Nowadays you have to be one I suppose. I’ve been playing music since I was 4, studying piano and later drums and percussion. I’ve always been a super geek and a dreamer. The music I make and like to listen to tends to be quite nostalgic, dark and romantic, like really good bitter chocolate with sea salt. I often make comparisons between cooking and music, as food is my second passion. I love producing other projects, I find collaboration the most interesting and exciting way to make music. I recently produced for the Belgian group Soldout- their new album Forever is so sensual and fun, the perfect summer soundtrack. Their sound is really in line with the music I like to listen to- a bit of pop under the hood of dark, goth-tinged nostalgia, with a dash of trance, techno or disco.

How did you first start making music? How does it fit into your life?

We always had music around the house growing up, my parents loved to blast stuff like Queen, Led Zeppelin, Tina Turner etc. I was a typical 80s kid with a Walkman attached to me at all times of the day. I had a tape collection and listened to music at the playground, staring at the sky constantly – something I still do. It’s so cheesy but honestly I love the sky. Whenever I finish a mix I go for a drive during sunset and blast it in the car, in my opinion the best way to listen to music. Basically music is like the air I need to breathe, I can’t find my way in this world doing anything else. I am obsessed with synthesizers and drum machines and have way too much gear, especially for someone who travels constantly and isn’t settled in one city.

Is music a full-time thing for you at the moment? If not, what are your other occupations?

Yes it’s a full-time thing for me. I’ve been extremely lucky with the projects I’ve been involved in, working with really great people- I know it’s a luxury to be a paid artist these days so I am really grateful and try to appreciate this position and embrace every day with music. When I’m super broke though I’ve always been working in restaurants, being around food is exciting to me and I’ve always been lucky to work in really cool/chill places where I can check out what’s happening in the kitchen, learn new techniques, new ingredients… My favourite part-time job ever was working as a prep cook at a vegetarian restaurant, I would chop and peel and slice and dice everything you can imagine for 8 hours a day. It felt like meditation. Chopping and listening to techno.

Can you describe the mix in a few words?

I wanted to make the mix very sensual, emotional and exciting. It starts quite chill and then I bumped things up, get the party started. Towards the end the mood gets a bit darker and rave-y. I really enjoy music that puts one into a state of trance so I rode that wave for a while, and then I tried to smooth things out to have a nice come-down. I would put this on during a house-party, perhaps after dinner, when people are smoking weed and chilling, then get them more engaged as the night rolls on. It’s a gentle party kind of vibe, like, you can still go to work the next day.

Can you tell us about the exclusive track on the mix?

When I moved to Brussels almost 2 years ago I knew nobody. I met Eleni through my girlfriend and we instantly clicked. She’s an incredibly talented musician and her voice is so unique and powerful. I am quite picky with singers because to be honest I find a lot of them sound boring. When I heard her voice I was like “holy shit, I gotta work with her!”. We got together and wrote a bunch of sexy tracks together, our backgrounds and influences really lined up. She introduced me to lots of really interesting Greek music that blew my mind and it influences the vibe of this track for sure – like Lena Platanos, for example. This track is finished but I feel we can still work on the mix so forgive that, but I wanted to put it out there because it’s a nice way to pull the listener into a sensuality, an erotism that we are both interested in.

When and where did you record it?

We did everything at Eleni’s house because when I got to Brussels I didn’t bring my speakers/soundcard, nothing. We we’re in her kitchen-cum-studio making Greek food (her girlfriend was actually cooking), smoking and talking to the cats who were constantly spinning around my legs under the table. They’re cute but I’m not much of a ‘cat person’ so I found it kind of annoying while trying to concentrate. There was wine flowing and the nice smell of home made food, her girlfriend encouraging us all the while we we’re just riffing on this sensual vibe. It’s definitely got some heavy lesbian erotism energy ;-).

What’s your favourite track on the mix?

I love ’em all!

What are your top 3 albums of the year so far and why?

I live in a cave when it comes to new releases, cool labels and generally anything that is hyped. Not out of protest, simply because I don’t go on music blogs. I get music recommendations from my friends and collaborators so often I’m late to the game with new stuff- like, I listened to Lana Del Rey about 4 years after she was the new it girl…and I loved it, but by then everyone else was so over it. So I don’t have any top 3 albums of the year. Sorry.

What do you have coming up in the next few weeks?

I’ve been on tour non-stop since December 29. First I went to China with Soldout and since January I’ve been traveling around the world with Austra, my main band. I play the drums live and absolutely love being on tour, even though it’s exhausting and difficult sometimes. I’ll be on tour for probably the next 2 years on and off with Austra but whenever I have a second to breathe I work with some great artists: currently doing tracks with Magic Island, Max from Easter, continuing work with Eleni and also working on my next solo album under my Princess Century moniker.