Q&A with Christina Maria (Rykka)

She’s a guitar slinging, suave singing nomad with a drive and audacity that’s putting her on a worldwide map.  Through remarkable modesty Christina Maria tells us about producing her third album through her own record label Vissen Records and how she attained management for herself in Switzerland.  Here’s the Q&A.

Tell me about your recently released album.

It’s my third album and it’s called Straight Line and I worked with 5 different producers across Canada: 2 in Vancouver, 1 Calgary, 1 in Toronto, and 1 in Montreal.    

What inspired you to use so many producers?

I wanted to learn more about producing and I wanted to meet a lot of different people.  There’s so many different ways to record and I wanted to know what people do differently so that when situations come up in the future maybe I’ll react differently because of what I’ve learned in the studio. 

So with so many different producers, how did you manage to create cohesion in the album?

Well each producer brought their own special sound but it works as a complete album because I’m so hands on in the studio, like I have opinions about how stuff sounds, so my involvement in the recording process and how everything was going on really brought it together as a complete album.

So it sounds to me that you, being the one consistent variable, are really ‘the’ producer of the album?

No, no, like I had producers and they really worked as mentors to help me get the sound that I loved.  I  did produce the last song myself in Toronto and it was like a test kind of for me to see if I could do it myself but in the end I do really appreciate collaborating with a producer because they just bring something that maybe I wouldn’t have thought of.

How did you manage to find them all anyway?

I just went online and looked really hard. I met with a lot of different producers and just felt it out.  I have my own label here in Canada called Vissen Records and I manage everything through that.

You also have separate management in Switzerland as well.  What’s the story there, how’d you get them to take you on?

Well I arrived in Switzerland last year and I started booking my own shows and I was trying really hard and I started getting really frustrated so I like started calling record labels on the phone and I pretty much called this record label called Little Jig and I was like ‘Okay, I’m gonna come in to meet you guys in the next couple days’ and they were like ‘Who is this??? Can you just send us your music?’ I was like ‘Oh yes of course.’ And as soon as they started giving their mailing address I was like ‘Kay well I’ll just send you the music by email and then I’ll be there in like 2 minutes.’  And then they listened and called me back and were like ‘Okay you can come in now.’ So it happened really easily, it was awesome and it really worked out.

Do you consider having this deal in Switzerland a milestone for you?

Well yeah, and it seems that every time I move somewhere that it becomes a milestone for me.  It’s pretty difficult to move somewhere totally new where I don’t know very many people but I have the drive to do that because I think it will benefit my music.  I’ve moved to Toronto, Switzerland, and I moved to Berlin for about 3 months and that was really difficult for me because I didn’t know one person and it was winter and it was really tough.  So just moving everywhere become milestones for me personally because it just shows me what I can accomplish because now I can go to Toronto and I can go to Berlin whenever I want and I have friends there and places to stay.

You travel alone but you also play with a band most of the time, so how does that work?

Well now I have a band in Vancouver, a band in Toronto, a band in Switzerland and a band in Berlin.  It’s a little bit hard sometimes because it’s hard to get rehearsals in beforehand but it works out.  I can’t afford to bring the same band all around with me yet but I’d really love to. 

It’s very apparent that you have a lot of drive, where does that come from? And do you ever have moments where you lose your motivation?

I’m still on my quest in life to figure out where that comes from so I don’t know but it’s very cool, I really love having that and it’s very special to me.  It’s weird like I do have those moments but not often. Like probably once a year.  Touring is really hard and I feel super tired and totally like worn out, a lot, and I need a break sometimes but I never really lose motivation and I hardly have ever question what I’m doing because I know what I want to do and why.

You had lots of little breaks so far that I imagine have helped to fuel your motivation.  What are you thoughts on a ‘Big Break’ though?  Does they still exist?

I don’t know if they really exist, I guess they do but it can be risky.  Like you have to work your butt off and if you don’t have that under your belt than a big break can mean nothing.  But if you keep working then hopefully when that happens you can actually benefit from it.  And people (fans) are smart.  They can see what’s real and what’s not.  They can see if you’ve worked hard for it.  And that’s the kind of audience and fans that I would want to have – people who would respect me because I’m good at what I do and they trust my talent.  It’s all about the quality fans, and you can’t get quality fans if you can’t back it up.  So you have to work hard, especially now.  It makes the difference between having a long lasting career instead of just a stint.

Favourite kind of pie?

Normally I’d say Pumpkin pie but recently I ate way too much of it. So today I’d have to say Apple.

The Nitty Gritty on Christina Maria
Shameless Promotion:
• Vote for Christina Maria in the Peak Performance Project at www.p3.fm
•Catch her live Thursday Oct 14 as part of her new monthly concert series: The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre Art Night

Where to Listen:
• 100.5 The Peak FM, CBC Radio 3, CJSF 90.1 FM (SFU),CiTR 101.9 FM (UBC),

 Where to Buy:

Live shows*, CD Baby link off her website www.christinamaria.ca, Zulu Records on 4th, Red Cat Records on Main St.

On the Web:
• www.christinamaria.ca

Musical Sound in 4 words or Less:
• Art, pop, rock, thoughtful
Ideal performance setting:
• A place where people can chose to listen and/or dance

What she’d call the phase she’s in:
• Emerging ‘everywhere in the world’ Artist