Rykka
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Rykka

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Surrey singer/songwriter Christina Maria is having a blast in studio recording her latest album, with Mother Mother's Ryan Guldemond helping out.

"We also have Shawn 'Danger' Penner, engineer extraordinaire, on board as well," Maria told me. "It' s going really fast and seriously fun. It's great to hang out with these guys and come up with super crazy ideas."

They had three days at Mushroom studios with a band - "all my favourite people locked up in one place," she said. "They are all amazing players and people. In their breaks they watched Terminator 1 AND 2 - the perfect movies to fuel the new album."

The album will be finished by the end of February, and out sometime in the second half of next year.

She added: "I'm also changing my name to Rykka on Dec. 30."

The night before that (tonight, Dec. 29), the musically-gifted woman, born Christina Maria Rieder, opens for Mother Mother at the Commodore.
- The Surrey Now - Tom Zillich | DEC 29, 2011


As a music journalist, I’m interested primarily in the intersection of art and life; how do musicians support themselves? Why did they pick up their instrument? What benefits does being an up-and-coming musician have in daily life?

I recently brought those questions and more to Vancouver-bred singer/songwriter Christina Maria, a bright, chipper young woman with a promising career ahead of her. She told me all about the road to her performance career, and her latest release, the Tide You Over EP.

Who originally put the guitar in your hands?

I always knew what I wanted to do, it just took awhile for me to come around to it. I bought my guitar with my first paycheck. My dad told me I was lazy, to get a job, so I did and bought the guitar.


Do you have a collaborative spirit, even as a solo artist?

Yeah. Obviously I’m more comfortable doing it myself, and I have co-written, but most of the time I write by myself. Collaboration usually comes with producers, which I really love. You go a step further, into what you wouldn’t do. If I produce it myself, there’s something I’m missing.

In that situation, are you ready for someone to really flip your ideas around?

I’m really hands on in studio. We find a place where I’m not freaking out, and we’re good.

By hands on, do you mean you get technical with the recording process?

I don’t need to do anything technical, I can usually say what I want, and be done.

It takes many years to become proficient in proper production technique.

Some people can sit there all day, listening and recording, but I know what I want. No one knows except for me.

Is it easy for you to communicate the sound you want?

It’s hard. Sometimes I draw pictures or do interpretive dance.

Have you ever found yourself working with someone who wasn’t up to your standards?

I think, most of the time if that happens, it’s just miscommunication. If you’re open, you can figure it out. You have to be chilled, figure out the other person might see something. But I’m a terrible teacher. I tried to teach vocals in Vancouver and I wasn’t very good at it. I don’t think I know what I’m doing enough to tell people what they should be doing. Maybe someday!

Do you have thick skin?

With people who are close to me, I can’t take it. Maybe a little. Everyone else, I can work through it.

Do you write music to work out problems in your life?

Yeah, life is good for songs. Totally. Right now I’m starting to write different, around concepts, but for Tide You Over, that’s how it happened. “I can use that, thank you very much, life!” I have to write when a problem with something. Like when you wake up from a crazy dream, then you have to really think about it. It makes everything OK.

Are you prolific?

When I’m not touring, I write every day.

Is a lot of your writing, how do you say, unconscious?

I’ve never forced an idea. I could try, but if I’m not totally into it, I’ll never finish it.

You’ve described your music as “organic.”

It’s a term I heard in the studio, for more earthy ... see, this is a describing question. Can I interpretive dance my answer?

Musicians really love esoteric questions.

I think this EP is definitely organic. It’s all acoustic.

Here’s another weird question I’ve gotten in trouble for asking: why do you think you are a solo artist, instead of joining or fronting a band?

Well, I can’t afford to take my band everywhere I go. That’s a very easy question, actually. I just went on a three-week tour in Europe, so write now bringing a band everywhere doesn’t make sense to me. I’d have to be responsible for them, and right now I can’t even be responsible for myself!

I guess you would be the de facto mother figure, even off stage.

Yeah, if I was like “Hey guys, let’s tour Holland!” I’m asking them to come with me. I would have to make sure they don’t starve. I can’t have the weight of other humans. If someone gets lost, all my fault. But I do have an amazing band in Vancouver, an amazing band in Zurich ... they’re all amazing. That works so much better, because they’re already in the city.

Do you enjoy touring?

Yes...

With an asterisk?

It’s not easy all the time, but it’s rewarding. And I love people. I meet the coolest people everywhere I go.

Does being a musician help your social life? Are people curious about you because it’s what you’re doing with your life?

Yes, I think so. I was in Holland, and I got off the train, and there was this guy there, like “Can I carry your guitar?” Then he took me around the city, showed me where I was playing ... and that never would have happened if I wasn’t carrying my guitar. It’s like a “Hello” sign on my forehead.

Tide You Over is available now. - TORO Magazine


Christina Maria macht einige Dinge anders als normal. In ihrem ersten Album «Stars & Satellites» spielte Maria die Beobachterin und jetzt, auf dem zweiten, geht sie in sich. Meistens ist das umgekehrt: Erst das Ego aus dem Leib singen, danach die Gesellschaft beäugen. Vor dem zweiten Album beschloss Maria, die Welt kennen zu lernen. Sie bereiste die Städte des Planeten, hatte keinen Wohnsitz als sich selber. Und so kam es zu «Straight Line». Es ist ein Album, das ganz von der Stimme der Sängerin lebt – es ist fast egal, ob die Band dazu Country spielt, Rock oder Jazz. Viele Songs sind alles davon. Christina Marias Melodien sind weder Austin, Nashville noch New Orleans verpflichtet, sondern sind frei, unabhängig, sie könnte sich in Indien von Tablas und Sitar begleiten lassen und man würde denken: So muss das sein.

Der Kaffee ist heiss - ein guter Tag

«Carolina» ist eine glatte Singalong-Popnummer für den Einstieg, die aber auf Schritt und Tritt ein gerüttelt Mass an Eigenwilligkeit verrät. Der Titelsong «Straigth Line» ist vorsichtiger, zurückgenommen, ein Countryrock-Klagelied, das sich langsam am eigenen Schopf zum Sumpf herauszieht, sich rückwärts wieder reinfallen lässt, dann wieder aufrichtet, diesmal stolzer, optimistischer und schliesslich laut. Ganz am Schluss noch mal klagend: «No man can make a straight line.» Kein Mann könne sich wirklich entscheiden. Und dabei bleiben.

Im nächsten Lied ist sie anderer Ansicht: Da besingt sie einen, den sie «Kind Friend» nennt, Morgenstimmung, der Kaffee ist heiss und es könnte ein guter Tag werden. Es sind alles Liebeslieder. «A Lover in Me» geht noch tiefer unter die Haut und gipfelt im schönen Versprechen: «And with you, I’ve never felt so loved and free, and you’ll always have a lover, always have a lover in me.»

Das Album fängt hübsch an und es wird immer besser. Eines live und zwei in Berlin aufgenommene Lieder, «Red Bike», «Ancestor» und «Over Canada» haben eine besondere Spontaneität und Frische. Christina Maria singt, als wären ihr im Schlaf ein paar Lieder eingefallen, sie stürmt am Kaffee vorbei ins Studio und nimmt sie auf, direkt aus dem Traum. - Aargauer / Oltener / Limmattaler / Solothuner / Grenchner / Lagentaler / Basellandschaftliche Zeitun


Die Songwriterin Kehrte vor Kurzem zu ihren Schweizer Wurzeln zurück, mit im Gepack ihre Kindheit in Kanada und ihre neues Album STRAIGHT LINE.

Ohne einen festen Wohnsitz zu haben, reist CHRISTINA MARIA 2009 ein Jahr lang in der Welt umher. Ein entlassener Sträfling, ein Flüchtling, und andere vom Schicksal gepragte Gestalten Kreuzten dabei ihren weg. Sie dienten ihr als Inspirationsquelle fur ihre aktuelle Platte. Unüberhörbar sind auch die Einflüsse aud ihrer Zeit in Vancouver und es erstaunt nicht, dass sie sich für ihre Lieder des Folks bedient. Kommen doch die Grössen dieses Geners aus Kanada. Die zehn grossartigen Songperlen mit dem Charme einer weltoffenen Person verleihen der CD eine unaufdringliche Grazie.
- 20 Minuten


Discography

Kodiak 2012
Tide You Over 2011
Straight Line 2010

Photos

Bio

Suddenly, her music is danceable; slaps you in the face. "Kodiak" is the new album, written from the perspective of animals, Rykka slips into the brain of a crow or perceives the world from the perspective of deep-sea fish. Unusual poetry of an unusual, exciting new artist.

BAND LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEO - http://vimeo.com/42467991

Long before she was known as Rykka, the Vancouver-born singer-guitarist was a staple in clubs and cafés around the world, where she performed acoustic sets and honed a quirky folk sound.

But as she began to write her latest set of songs, her music took on a new form. The electric guitars became jagged and distorted, the synthesizers danceable, the vocals simultaneously tuneful and hollering. Bursting with hard-hitting rock arrangements and hook-laden pop melodies (interspersed with the occasional down-tempo number), this is music that carries a slap-you-across-the-face immediacy.

"For the last year, I've been writing in seclusion, really far away," she says of her exploratory creative burst. "The music has evolved so much from where it was."

The 12 songs that make up Rykka's debut album, Kodiak, were penned in the European farmhouse where she composed for much of 2011. Sessions subsequently took place in Vancouver's Mushroom Studios and District Four Recordings with input from engineer Sean Penner (You Say Party! We Say Die!), mixer Warne Livesey (Matthew Good Band, 54:40), and producer Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas).

"Ryan has a really strong vision," Rykka notes. "I wanted to work with him because I knew that we would clash. He fights for his idea and I fight for mine, and what we come away with is the right thing to do."

All of Kodiak's tracks are sung from the perspective of different animals — "Blackie" a murder of crows, "Down in the Depths" deep sea fish — but they carry unquestionably human themes and concerns. Listening to Rykka's cryptic yet relatable poetry, fans might never realize that the protagonists are not people.

With an album complete and various video projects underway, there's no mistaking this as the same artist who once recorded under her given name of Christina Maria. Now that's she discovered the hedonistic thrill of dance floor-friendly rock, she'll never go back.