Say hi to Maria Minerva, a 22-year-old Estonian Goldsmiths student who makes densely yearning, electronic bedroom jams that sort of sound like a young Yoko Ono trapped in a dilapidated shack filled with water. In reality, Maria currently lives in a small, mouse-infested flat where she has a little trouble focusing on her MA in Aural and Visual Cultures - because making brain-tinglingly lush art house-boogie sometimes trumps reading critical theory. Dazed had quick chat with the wraithlike artist about ominous mice, Estonian house icons and collaborating with LA Vampires.
Dazed Digital: Hi Maria, what’s going on in your life?
Maria Minerva: Right now I’m mainly trying to figure out how to get rid of the mouse living in my room. It appeared on the same day I released my stuff, so maybe it’s a bad sign. Or a good sign?
DD: What sort of instruments and equipment do you use?
Maria Minerva: I’m more digital than analogue. I know it is en vogue to be analogue but I love my computer. I used to play more parts myself but now I'm sampling all the time. Court cases to come, probably.
DD: How would you describe your sound?
Maria Minerva: It sure is both genre-defying and lo-fi in a good and a bad way. For example, someone who likes my disco track might end up hating everything else I've done because the music isn’t similar at all, and people tend to need some kind of consistency. So I’m sorry about that.
DD: Main sources of inspiration?
Maria Minerva: I think it comes down to my father's record collection – he’s a well-known music critic in Estonia and I grew up listening to music 24/7. Later on I got really fascinated with house and techno music. I used to be a prominent underage clubber. And then post-punk. I was stuck in the early 1980s for a long time. Still rarely a day goes by when I don’t listen to Chris and Cosey or Cabaret Voltaire. Also, my background in art has by all accounts had a huge influence, because sometimes I do think of my own stuff as conceptual art rather than proper music - because it is so self-conscious.
DD: How does your Estonian background come through in your music?
Maria Minerva: Well, I did grow up in an independent country (we’ve been independent since 1991) but pop culture-wise we still don’t have that much happening, and I’ve always found that very frustrating. Coming from the periphery, it’s probably easier to be just a weirdo instead of trying very hard to sound like any other European or American quality indie act. My badass badness is probably my biggest strength.
DD: Upcoming projects?
Maria Minerva: Collabs with LA Vampires and Estonian house icon Ajukaja. Writing more about art and music maybe, as this is something I’m trained to do. Have to write my MA thesis as well at some point. Maybe I’ll start performing or touring, you know, just get out of the bedroom.
Maria Minerva's "Tallinn At Dawn" (CS) and "Noble Savage" (12") were released by Not Not Fun/100% Silk in February 2011
Maria Minerva - Disko Bliss