Most of us think we know Georgia Maq. We know her as the frontwoman of outspoken indie rock trio, Camp Cope, as the voice behind ‘The Opener’, as part of the band who called out Falls Festival for a lack of female representation.
We know her as an activist, a driver for inclusivity in the music industry. and the centre of much media scrutiny, occasional ridicule and a pretty unfair portrayal as ‘an angry feminist’.
However, Maq’s new solo record challenges everything we think we know about her.
“I don’t want people to think that all I’m capable of is screaming about gender inequality,” Maq explains. “I wanted the opportunity to express my more gentle, vulnerable side.”
The album, Pleaser, is a totally different direction for the 25-year-old Footscray native. Where Camp Cope’s material is strong, instrumental and sharp, Maq’s solo project is synthy, soft and uncharacteristically vulnerable. The eight-track record is endearing and infectious, peeling back the layers to the Maq we’ve known before.
She’s aware of how it contrasts with the music she’s made in the past, and is understandably anxious about the way her new sound will be received.
“I keep having lots of doubts about, like, ‘Oh my god what if it’s actually a joke? What if people laugh at me?’,” she admits nervously.
“I like the album, and I hope people don’t hate it. That’s how anyone feels when they put out art – you hope that people will take it seriously.”
Produced with the help of friends Darcy Baylis and Katie Dey, Maq didn’t necessarily set out to create a pop album – but that’s exactly what Pleaser is.
“It was just like making a song with Darcy, and I realised it was something I wanted to do,” she explains. “I went over to his house with the guitar and was just fucking around and he was like ‘ok, wait we need to loop that’. I came up with the chorus, then quickly came up with the second verse and we made ‘Away from Love’.
“Then I was talking to my friend Katie Dey, who I’ve also known since we were teenagers. I sang her this idea and played her some chords and we made ‘Driving Blind’ together. I was like ‘this is the direction I want to go in’.”
Most of the album was written and recorded with the help of Dey, but working as a solo artist was still a different creative process for Maq. Having played in bands for most of her musical career, she was able to fully take the reigns on her vision for Pleaser.
“I found it a lot quicker, because I’d be writing everything and it was my call on everything,” says Maq. “It just felt like I was completely in control, which was really nice.
Not only has Maq changed up her sound, but the content of her lyrics and the theme of the record are quite different too. It’s basically an exploration of love and heartbreak, which aren’t topics Maq would particularly broach in her work with Camp Cope – but that doesn’t mean she’s immune to them.
“It’s like an album about love, about every single kind of love and about love that just doesn’t work out the way you imagined it would,” she says.
“I feel like that’s a bit relatable, but I definitely feel like it’s my most vulnerable body of work. I’m being like, ‘Hey I love you and you don’t love me back and I’m going to tell the entire world’.”
While most love songs might be aimed towards a particular person, Maq’s ultimately singing these for herself.
“I don’t want the narrative of the album to be about one person,” she adds. “I don’t want it to be like, ‘It’s about this person and they did this’, because that’s not what it’s about. It’s about the feelings within yourself, and it’s more like an album about me; me and my heart.”
Pleaser is out now digitally through Poison City Records. Give it a spin via streaming services.