Everyone loves a good story. For Halifax-based Ria Mae, song writing is a vehicle to carry other people’s narratives. Instead of looking inward and focussing on her own experience in the world, she writes pop songs about those closest to her.
“I have a habit of living through my friends,” says Mae. “I like to help them relive their darkest moments every time they come out to support me at shows.
“It’s rare that I write about my own stuff. Maybe one in every five songs, and they’re usually not the ones that make the cut. I have a bad habit of getting in the way of the song when it becomes too personal.”
At 25 years old, Mae felt a shift within herself. Instead of dividing her life into separate spheres, she recently quit her day job in construction management to focus on music full-time.
Backup vocalist and percussionist Margot Durling supports Mae’s change in course, but won’t take the same risk.
“For me I’ll always have music in my life,” she says. “Business and design is in the forefront, though music will always be a part of what of I do.”
Over the past year the duo has been performing around Halifax, everywhere from kitchen parties to various watering holes.
Mae has a certain way about her. She’s a mixture of cocksure, rhetoric and charm.
“Sometimes it feels like I have a personality disorder. I’m half musician, half normal person.”
Lately she’s been writing furiously. “Throwing up songs,” she says. She’s laying down the groundwork for a forthcoming EP due this spring. During these bitter wintry afternoons, she’s shacked up in Spaces Between Studios working closely with local recording engineer Don MacKay.
“He’s really about the feeling, the old recordings,” says Mae. “Atmosphere is important.”
MacKay’s most recent credentials includes recording, co-producing and performing on Ryan MacGrath’s EP In My Own Company, an album of sweeping instrumentation, contemporary flavour and gives nods to the bygone era. His previous recording experience highlights some of Halifax’s finest, including Tanya Davis, Don Brownrigg, Jenn Grant, Amelia Curran, Damien Alexander and Caledonia.