Twenty-eleven was quite the year for 23 year old British tech-house sensation Maya Jane Coles. Building off the success from her 2010 track “What They Say,” which hit number one on most relevant dance charts, she used that momentum and continued to flourish this year. I had heard that catchy little number played by several DJ’s in the past but never knew she had produced it until her name came up during my interview with “Queen Bee” Bethany Lokken this past May. Following Mrs. Lokken’s recommendation, I began listening to Coles and was instantly pulled in by her elegant yet understated house and techno beats. Her music had the maturity of a much older producer and I was fascinated by her colorful personality (and hair). After having the opportunity to catch Beardyman (another artist recommendation from the same interview), I knew I had to make it out and catch Maya Jane at Spy Bar on Halloween weekend. Listening to her BBC Radio One Essential Mix sealed the deal; I was in. Queen Bee getting booked to open the show was the cherry on top.
Arriving at Spy Bar early for Bethany’s set gave me the opportunity to see her show off a side she doesn’t always put on display. As a resident DJ at Smart Bar, her and the rest of Orchard Lounge are normally dropping four on the floor beats that get the dance party started quickly. But as most DJ’s will do, she decided to ease the audience into the night and play more downtempo sounding beats as not to have everyone too exhausted before the other ladies stepped up to the decks. Her set was similar to the beginning of the three marathon Orchard Lounge sets I had seen this year in that she kept her foot off the gas and stuck to slower, sexier grooves. It was quality music from Queen Bee as always, no surprise there. Kate Simko followed her up and really shined as people continued pouring into the club. She raised the bpm’s and delivered a fantastic set that featured many driving house and techno beats. It was my first time seeing her and I came away very impressed. The last track she played as she passed the baton to Maya was a new one from Four Tet called “Pyramid.” She really grabbed my attention as I have been a big fan of his FabricLive.59 mix. I love when I hear other people playing music that I’m listening to. I had never seen Kate Simko before but I will make it a point to see her again in the future. She is a fine producer as well as a world-reknown DJ, don’t sleep on her.
By the time Miss Coles stepped into the booth, the dance floor was jam-packed and filled with many costumed hooligans who were waiting for the prodigious talent to put on her headphones and take the party to the next level. She wasted little time getting the party started and hit the crowd with some beats that blurred the lines between house and techno. For how young she was, her poise behind the deck really stood out to me. She was confident yet remained humble, seemingly overwhelmed by the large crowd that was there just to see her. She didn’t disappoint as the next two hours were a vindication for all the hype she had received in the past year. The music was minimal at times, containing soulful vocal samples and bare synthesizers. Other times her beats grew to become lush compositions that featured pounding drums. There were also moments where things got straight hypnotic and very techy. She kept her foot on the gas and didn’t let up for almost the entire show. It was Halloween weekend and people came to dance, she acknowledged this and gave the crowd exactly what they wanted. Moving around the dance floor proved to be difficult at times so I decided to remain toward the back and dance with my crew. On a night dominated by women, it was nice to see all three assemble unique sets of nonstop dance music. This was the only show I attended all weekend and it proved to be all I needed. Maya Jane Coles is just getting warmed up everyone, be on the look out for this young sensation. She finished number nine in Resident Advisor’s Top DJ’s of 2011 poll. Expect her to crack the top five next year at the rate she’s going.