Inside MAY-A’s electrifying Fender Sessions performance

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Inside MAY-A’s electrifying Fender Sessions performance

May-a -fender-sessions
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards
Edits by Mixdown Staff
Photos by Declan Blackall

MAY-A sat down with Mixdown to chat creative process, influences, and give us a peek behind the curtain of her Fender Sessions performance.

21-year-old New South Whales native MAY-A’s rise over the past few years has been positively meteoric. Spring boarding from her teen years busking and building an audience on her YouTube channel of over 215 thousand subscribers, MAY-A has gone from strength to strength, from releasing her debut E.P Don’t Kiss Ur Friends, to collaborating with Flume on the hit ‘Say Nothing’, and even performing at Coachella.

Filmed at the famed late-night venue Frankie’s Pizza, MAY-A’s Fender Sessions episode showcases the indie rock powerhouse hitting her stride. Follow up to the release of the electrifying live recording, MAY-A sat down with Mixdown to chat creative process, influences, and of course, her love for a classic Fender Strat.

How do you start writing? Do lyrics or guitars come first? Something else? A vibe, energy or aesthetic?

Feelings come first. If it’s a big feeling I’ll brain dump and process through writing on the closest thing, if it’s just a small line or passing thing I’ll chuck it in my phone and re-visit the words when I have access to instruments or studio space. But then it twists and changes into something else when you start pairing the words with a feeling, and at often times, hindsight will change what the song then becomes. I guess my process is writing and re-writing and re-writing until it becomes something quite different to what sparked it. (Wanky answer- I’m sorry.)

In your Fender Sessions video you speak to creating and creativity being this ‘magic’. Can you speak to that a bit more? Do you feel a pressure or responsibility to create with the energy flowing through you?

You can’t force that magic, it has to visit you. The synergy between you and your emotions and the universe or whatever and whoever else is in the room – it all has to be connected. You can’t just decide to write a song, you’ve got to feel the need to. There needs to be a purpose or a feeling behind the action otherwise you’re just forcing noise. Well – you definitely can force it (I prefer to let it happen) you’ll just end up with a song with a different type of energy.

What gives you inspiration?

Anything and everything. Could be strangers, something I’ve read, some graffiti you walk past, something a friend says in passing conversation. If I’m intentionally trying to get inspired, there’s a few poetry/randomly curated instagram accounts that always spark something in me (@greifmother , @lizziesmuseum, @letterstoyourlove, @poemsbyhope). Or I’ll just go to a random gig, any gig, that always sparks something in me.


How did you find Fender?

I feel like I can’t remember a time where I didn’t know what Fender was. I can’t remember how old I was when my dad bought himself a Fender Strat, but I remember being absolutely fascinated with it and the ability to change the grit and sounds. I really began to feel drawn to fender when I got into my late teens and began watching the videos they produced on other artists. It felt really, really special when the offer came through to shoot something with them, I’d always hoped it was something I’d be able to do.

What’s your favourite Fender body shape and why?

Stratocaster. It’s iconic. Specifically Albert Hammond JR’s Stratocaster. I will always have a soft spot for the Jazzmaster though.

What are some elements you would incorporate into a signature Fender guitar?

I think I need a few more years of playing to be able to answer this one honestly. A simple aesthetic feature, Tim Henson from Polyphia has this gold tree pattern that grows up the fretboards and I’ve always thought that looked pretty sick.

How did Fender products help with the creative and recording process?

Well, without the guitar there’s pretty much not a MAY-A song, so I’d say it’s a bare necessity.

Who did you see playing Fender growing up?

I don’t think I started noticing brands until around I was around seventeen but I’d seen the strokes dabbling in fender products. I remember religiously watching the beabadoobee player series commercial when that came out a few years ago. But Fender was just always around.

Sonically, what makes a MAY-A song?

The guitar is a pretty big staple, I think this next EP is pretty much recorded on the Fender Player plus the Fender Telecaster. I would love to get my hands on some vintage Fender gear for the next project, to see If it changes the energy in the studio. I use the ’Ten Years’ guitar pedal which took me about ten months to get my hands on. We also use a custom MAY-A overdrive pedal that my producer – Robby, gave to me as a present. But outside of this gear, I’m still figuring out how to answer this question myself, I think.

What’s next for you?

Wow, closing with a big question here. In a life sense, figure out what I truly want to say. I just want to make as much music as I can, as honestly as I can and for solely therapeutic reasons. Figure out how to end my internal love-hate relationship with social media, spend some time in the sun with my friends and family before I move away, and hopefully put out a cracker EP that people gravitate towards. It’s done now and I can’t wait for it to be everybody else’s.

In their Fender Sessions episode, MAY-A & band play a Fender Vintera® ‘60s Jazzmaster®, Made In Japan Traditional 70S Mustang®Player Plus Meteroa® & Player Precision Bass®.

Keep up to date with MAY-A here. For Fender enquiries, head to Fender Australia.