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I first found out about Mae Kurtz when the band Psychotica announced their comeback dates in Spain during the last month of November, 2009. She was playing the supporting act for their shows in Spain. I thought it could be interesting to know a little bit more about her.

Photo: Desi Estevez

Marlene Dietrich singing along an evolved version of Joy Division? At first glance, an unethical mix, in Mae Kurtz’s case it could be possible, as well as a blend of cathartic results. Behind that juxtaposition of cinematographic concepts, there is a girl from Barcelona, who in 2008 and using a laptop only, decided to make a leap from an idea to a demo. With a deep voice, captivating melodies, songs of nocturnal and urban seal, the musical conception  of the charismatic Mae Kurtz could be one of the most special to be found these days.

In her concerts she is accompanied by the band The Fakers: guitar, drums, bass, violin, piano and cello. Often she initiates her show with a verse from “Folsom Prison Blues”, as the rest of instruments slowly join in to finish with the melody of “She’s Lost Control”. Songs such as “Those Days” or “Strange Moonlight” could remind you of a distant Julee Cruise with a clear hint of Joy Division. Just visit her myspace and check for yourselves. Heart and Soul.

Introduction translated to English by Rachel, with the kind permission of Ignacio Reyo, Spanish journalist.

RACHEL - Hi Mae, why don’t you introduce yourself a bit for our readers?

MAE - My name is Mae Kurtz and I just try to express myself through music (and music is the less risky way to express myself). I’m from Barcelona but I could be from anywhere…

RACHEL - How would you describe your music? Why such apparent melancholy?

MAE - It’s difficult to describe your own music, but I think that what I’m trying to do is just plain classic rock, although many people see darkness in it, so… who knows who’s right!

It sounds melancholic because I usually write it when I'm sad, I always say that it’s the way I cry. It can’t sound happy!

RACHEL - You are fascinated by classic movie stars, are they the main inspiration for your music?

MAE - Classic movies stars are part of my inner world. This kind of films and stars drive me to a perfect, lost world, and so does my music. I try to reach happiness from the imperfect world I unfortunately live in.

Photo: Rita Page

RACHEL - How do you write your songs?

MAE - I get my guitar, and I try to squeeze all the pain I have inside. Then music comes easy, as well as lyrics. It's a spontaneous necessity, an urge, and I have to simmer down by composing.

RACHEL - You love Elvis, too, c’mon tell me all about it.

MAE - There comes the perfect world again... I saw lot of his films when I was a child (which, by the way, are so forgettable), and then I started buying cassettes, then CD's, and I was in. If I ever had and idol, that's Elvis.

RACHEL - People compare your style of music with Julee Cruise all the time, do you agree with this, do you like it?

MAE - People compare me with other artists all the time, but I don't have any reference, further than Elvis, Edith Piaf, Janis Joplin, Bille Holliday... Nothing to do with Julee Cruise. But yes, I like her.

RACHEL - You start your shows with an excerpt of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”, and end it with a bit of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control”, an interesting mix, tell us why...

MAE - It’s a presentation of my way of being. I feel identified with the excerpt of Folsom Prison and, yes, I sometimes lose control... These are two songs from different ages, but they express the same thing: to break or to lose control.

RACHEL - Who are The Fakers?

MAE - The Fakers are the band I usually play with. They're just a bunch of friends I have encouraged to play music. I like to be surrounded by friends when I'm on stage.

Photo: The Fakers & Mae Kurtz

RACHEL - How was it like to be the supporting band for Psychotica for several spanish dates last year? Were you a fan of Psychotica?

MAE - It was very interesting. I hope I've learnt a lot from them. It was such a stimulating experience. Anyway, I've never been a real fan of anyone, but having the chance of supporting them and the privilege of seeing them live was real good. And Ena Kostabi played a song with me in Madrid, he just improvised, it was amazing. A great musician, and very cool, too.

RACHEL - Define with your own words your first self edited cd “Mae Kurtz”, and where can we find it.

MAE - It's the result of my first complete project. Thanks to my laptop I was able to express the music I had inside without any lacking part of it. I'm very happy and so far the album is only available digitally, so if you send a mail to you'll get it. At the moment I'm recording a CD in a studio and I hope you will find it soon online.

RACHEL - Three things that make you happy are?

MAE - Let me think about it...

RACHEL - Three things that piss you off are?

MAE - People. Authority. Nonsense.

RACHEL - What question would you ask if you were intwerviewing Mae Kurtz? Give it an answer too!

MAE - What's hidden behind Mae Kurtz? And my answer would be: Nothing that should be shown.

RACHEL - Now go ahead and say whatever the fuck you wanna say to the world just for the hell of it goddamit!

MAE - World sucks.

Thanks Mae!

Good luck!

Interview by Rachel 06/03/10
Photos provided by Mae Kurtz