On October 13, Melbourne-based artist Tori Zietsch, better known as Maple Glider, releases her second album I Get Into Trouble. Here she tells Headliner about escaping an oppressive childhood to pursue a career in music, and why her latest outing feels like a new beginning…
There’s a beguiling quality to Tori Zietsch’s music that is immediately detectable in conversation with the artist herself. Her 2021 debut To Enjoy Is The Only Thing and new album I Get Into Trouble are each possessed of intimate vignettes that explore themes of sexuality, shame, and a damaged childhood. Over gently plucked acoustic guitar, her delicate yet deceptively powerful voice channels personal experiences into songs that feel simultaneously fragile and cast in stone. Both the weight of the stories she tells and the strength she exerts to carry them are palpable.
As we meet over Zoom, this same juxtaposition soon becomes apparent. In amongst much laughter and moments of self-deprecation, there is steeliness in her demeanour. This mixture of fragility and stoicism is something that has informed not just her music but virtually every aspect of her life so far.
Brought up in a deeply religious community in Naarm, Melbourne, a career in music isn’t something the young Zietsch could ever have predicted for herself. Indeed, many years after escaping the confines of her upbringing, it wasn’t until the release of her debut that she fully understood the path she was on.
“My first album was written mostly in Brighton in the UK when I was living there, and it was during a break in music,” she says, explaining her origins as a solo artist. She’s joining us from Granada, Spain, where she is taking a short break before playing a handful of European shows ahead the album’s release. Her tone is suitably bright and relaxed. “I’d just come out of a collaborative project and wasn’t really sure if I wanted to continue pursuing a career in music. But making that debut was the first time I’d ever really acknowledged I was pursuing a career in music [laughs]. I was just sort of doing it for ages without realising!
“I wanted a bit of space to figure out if it was really what I wanted to do, and I just wrote a heap of music and got obsessed with songwriting again. And I ended up accidentally recording an entire album when I planned just to go in [the studio] for a few songs. That was the beginning of Maple Glider. The recording was in 2020 and the release was 2021. Then in November 2021 we were coming out of our seventh lockdown in Melbourne, and I entered into the recording of the second album, which was a whole heap of songs that had just followed the first album. So, this album covers quite a long period of time.”