It’s 7pm on a Thursday night and I’m placing a call to London. It’s not my usual Thursday night, but it’s not every night I call George Maple for a chat. It’s 10am in London. As she answers, I hear the faint clinking of coffee
cups in the background. George’s day is just beginning. Her real name isn’t actually George, it’s Jess. George Maple is the exaggerated persona of Jess Higgs, an Australian songwriter from Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
So who is George Maple? I ask.
“It was a blank canvas for me... As it’s evolved it’s become an extension of myself, maybe a place where I put things that are a little more exaggerated. It’s an outlet that I can channel everything into. It has a particular vibe. Someone said it’s ‘dangerous pop music’ and that’s kind of what I’m doing at the moment. I like that expression a lot.”
The last few years of George Maple’s career have been a whirlwind. Divine intervention led to her chance meeting with Hugo from Flight Facilities, when she was just 18. “I met Hugo from Flight Facilities after I was playing a gig in King’s Cross. He left his bag at the DJ booth and we happened to cross paths and we had a mutual friend... I sent him a demo that I’d done and the next week we wrote 'Foreign Language' together.”
She’s also collaborated with Flume, Tkay Maidza, What So Not, Hayden James and Snakehips.
“There are no managers calling each other and saying ‘this person is the next hot thing. You should work with them!’ It’s never been like that. I really don’t vibe that. For me, you have relationships with people, you make music and that’s the best music you can make because it’s based off something that’s real.”
At this point I’m starting to think that George Maple is part of Australia’s coolest gang. “Sometimes there will be an artist that I’ll just approach. Like Tkay [Maidza]...She came to my house in Sydney and stayed with us for like three days. She and I camped out with What So Not and we wrote a whole bunch of songs.” It was Emoh Instead (of What So Not) who worked on Maple’s latest single ‘Sticks and Horses’. It was also his idea to premiere the single in an American strip club.
“If the girls can move to it, it means people will move to it on the dance floor,” Maple laughs. “It’s always been made for that realm.”
That realm has served as a point of inspiration for Maple’s music as well as style, she tells me. “When I was in Paris, I was going to a lot of Parisian sex shops and they are so incredible. The way they design all of the pieces, it’s just another level. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“I’m into a lot of PVC, a lot of latex, a lot of dark lips...I just like drama. I like drama in everything at the moment.”
In terms of her writing process, I ask Maple what inspires her. Does she draw from real-life events in her songs? “I like the idea that there’s different environments that inspire different kinds of songs. It might be a place I’m in, it might be a conversation I have,” she says.
“I feel like the strongest songs are always something that I’ve personally been through.” With recurring themes of money, power and sex, it’s safe to assume she’s got a lot going on.
This interview was originally published in Fashion Journal 159. You can read it here.