top of page
Maple Glider

breaking the cycle

of

systemic oppression

 

has become one of the

 

most pressing

challenges

of our time. 

bankrupt the damage,

the anguish,

the suffering that follow it around like mindlessly compliant servants, doggedly sinking their toxic claws into the next generation 

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

and the next

break the cycle

imagine your own world imagine your friend’s world imagine the whole world

free from oppression

maple glider

Write your title here. Click to edit.

Songwriting is the machinery of forgiveness, self-love and self acceptance for Tori Zietsch. As Maple Glider, her second album, I Get Into Trouble, is an astonishing and gripping document of the progress of her own escape journey. Not only is the songwriting sumptuous, it’s persuasive as it envelops you in the stories she depicts of her own visceral, disturbing experiences of growing up in an oppressive religious household and community. 

Sumptuous minor chord progressions and the fragile power of Tori’s vocals courageously embrace silence and space to accentuate and accept the competing feelings of loneliness and connectedness, of anger and empathy, of shame and esteem, of oppression and liberation, of closed minds and open minds.

The power is in the vulnerability.

maple glider logo

Giles

Putting your two records side by side, how’ve you changed as a person over that period?

Tori

Yeah. Wow. A lot of GROWTH….yeah, a lot of growth. I was in a situation in my life that I didn't want to be in when I was writing those songs (on the first album, To Enjoy is the Only Thing).

 

And I was stuck in it, I guess, for a while. I feel good now because I have healthier relationships, a beautiful connection to where I live, I do other jobs outside of music that I'm enjoying and I'm enjoying music. I feel like I have more confidence in myself as well. The first record just flowed out. I mean there was intention there - I knew I was writing and I wanted to write for something - but I guess it just sort of happened, but it was spurred on by the desire to write once it started to flow. In a way, recording this new album has felt more disjointed in some ways, but my life feels better.

Giles

IN WHAT WAY HAS IT FELT DISJOINTED?

Tori

It’s probably to do with the timing. We had seven lockdowns here and when we were coming out of those, we went straight into recording. It kind of felt strange going from being at home to being in a recording room. It maybe felt a bit abrupt, initially, and then life sort of happened! All the shows that had been postponed were being rescheduled and so I was back playing shows and then my producer Tom Iansek was also playing shows and we were coming back and forth and getting together in the studio when we could at various times throughout that entire year. And there were a lot of things that were going on in that year as well in our personal lives. I think all of those things affected the entire flow of the album and they are also probably reflected in the songs. If I compare it to the last album, that was a flow of songs coming out all at once, two weeks of recording and it all just went in a blur. So it was…….quite a different experience.

maple glider aka Tori Zietsch
IMG_1560.jpg

Giles

Talking about a flow of songs coming out, have you ever done stream of consciousness writing? I did some a couple of years ago – in lockdown ironically – with Alaura O’Dell (ex-Psychic TV). Really illuminating – and kinda scary – as to what comes out when you let your interior monologue out.

Tori

Oh, yeah. And you have to be non-judgmental too because some weird shit comes out when you do that.

And then you're like, oh, that's why I've been feeling blocked. Because I've had that weird block inside my brain for the last however long or whatever. It's kind of crazy.

It's amazing. So freeing.

Giles

I'm a big fan of it, but I didn’t make it a habit change. I think it's one of those things where you have to make a proper life change and, I guess, be ready and brave to dive into what’s in the depths. Kind of like a commitment.

Tori

It is, 100%. I mean, that's what songwriting is for me. It’s a lot of that background noise that starts to come out. And it's very interesting to see at what point in a song it is when I start to grasp what it is that I'm writing about. Then it starts to become something. It's a very interesting space because it is just a flow. It can be really dry and really stagnant too. It can also be this period of forcing it out…. like, “I need to get stuff out”. I could literally sit over there with a guitar right now and be like “I really need to get stuff out” and be saying weird stuff to myself as I'm there trying to essentially unlock a space where I am in the flow of just playing music. And when the flow is unlocked, then that's when everything starts coming out. I think I particularly noticed it after maybe June. During and after lockdown, it became more of a thing to me – I mean maybe it existed before and I just don't remember but I feel like there's been more of me just sitting there and just being like “blah blah blah blah blah” trying to access those points of flow. I don't know if that's a real observation or if it's just a more recent memory thing. But yeah, I think that's all part of letting go, like the same stream of consciousness thing where you just have to let stuff escape your brain before you can actually get to what's there, what's behind it all, what’s the crux of the issue? 

Giles

This might explain the length of your “to do” list!

Giles

Are you someone who uses your instinct a lot ?

Tori

Yeah, yeah. 100%. That's the basis of a lot of my decisions.

Giles

I have this weird tension in that I trust my instinct a lot. I’d say that where I've solely used my instinct, it's more often than not, maybe like 95% of the time, it's worked out. But I also have this competing characteristic where I tend to analyse things. I don't do it quite as much now, but I would sometimes waste so much time deliberating. It would drive me batshit. But I am also quite risk averse in some ways…

Tori

I can be a very, very indecisive person. So yes, I can definitely over-analyse things. 100%. I mean, being decisive is something I really have had to pay attention to. It's been tricky in some parts of my life. I think in terms of like, people relationships, that's a space that I feel very confident in and where I feel my instincts and intuition are really strong. But there are other aspects of life that I find, I guess, maybe trickier and lean more into the analysis side of things which itself leans into dawdling and lack of decision making.

Tori

I've literally been saying this to myself all night! No, I mean, to be fair, a lot of this work did come in within the last two days but there are actually things on my list that I should have done ages ago. I can be quite slow because I love to be really detailed with things - I put such care into so many things and it can be to my own detriment, because that care doesn't necessarily always make for a better outcome. I think I actually have to be rigid with myself sometimes – “come on, focus and pay attention because you have to get this done!”

Giles

I used to work with a guy and he used to write out his to do list on Monday morning and then colour code them

Tori

He just spent the whole day colour coding then?!

Giles

Yes! “Sorry. Can’t do that important thing, I’ve got my morning blocked out to do colour coding for my to do list”.

Tori

Absolutely, I’m there! Oh, man, I will find the beautiful images, I'll do some little drawings! Ha! I sometimes find the computer stuff a bit dry and hard to engage with. For something recently, I got my coloured pencils out and I started with them. And that's how I tricked myself into doing the job I needed to do!. So that’s the secret – trick myself that what I’m doing is fun!

maple glider aka tori zietsch

Giles

You were talking a couple of minutes ago about friendships and I wonder if you’ve noticed the nature of your friendships changing as you yourself have been changing as a person, whether that be your own identity shifts, influences or what matters to you?

Tori

In terms of how they exist or how they function, then maybe. I mean I have just had a really solid group of friends for a long time.

I have a small circle of friends that I hold really close and we've had a relatively similar dynamic now for quite some time.

I mean, I don't see my friends as much anymore but I have beautiful communities of friends….beautiful people that I’ve got to know and connect with through music and through my local community.

I dunno…. I guess my core friends, we all live in different places and we're all doing different jobs and I guess the way that we support each other, yeah

 

maybe that's different now.

Giles

I've had a weird thing with friendships as well, which I've been able to trace back to a couple of things from my childhood and schooling…not really bad stuff but stuff that sticks with you. It’s also linked to my relationship with trust. And also, the life I’m living now is completely different.

 

 

 

There’s less tolerance for individual values and belief systems and I wonder if friendships transcend this or not. It seems that it was more common in my parents’ generation to have friends for life.

 

I don’t know if I’m an outlier with thinking friends for life is a thing of the past….

I wonder if it’s natural to occasionally grow away from people.

Tori

The first thing that comes to my mind for me personally is that I didn't have a lot of friendships with men when I was younger, because of the religion I was raised in, so I mostly gravitated towards women.

 

I have many years of processing trauma and so stuff related to that has actually opened up and unlocked a lot of nice relationships with men. And that's been a really cool thing. I've always had these really fiercely loyal and beautiful female friends who’ve been a core part of my life for quite a significant time.

 

 

and

 

that's probably because, when I was growing up, I was told that I couldn't be friends with people that were outside the religion that I was raised in. And I didn't connect with too many people that were within that space either.

 

They were all scared of me because my dad was high up in the church at the time. They thought that I was like, really Christian or whatever, and that I was gonna rat them out if they did something wrong or whatever.

 

 

 

So, with all that, I was very focused on finding deep friendships and having good friends from quite a young age. I've been really lucky in that. I think values mean a lot, definitely. But also, there are fast friends -  people that you meet in certain situations or are in your life for a certain period of time – that you connect with over certain things or events. 

Friendship has been so important to me 

But the reality was that I was not a believer and I didn’t want to be in that space.

maple glider
maple glider

Giles

When I listen to your experiences and compare them to my own, it seems to me that we need to be aware of the importance of those formative influences,

 

how they shape you

how long they can last (for good or for bad)

how they impact our own self-acceptance and empathy for others.

 

If we can understand this, we can start to understand ourselves and others a lot more.

 

 

From where you growing up in a restrictive household to where you are now, what do you feel are the biggest changes that stick out for you?

maple glider

Tori

It was like a book of stories. I actually haven't gone and reread the other stories that are part of that book. So, that's just one story that I remembered and singled out and I’m serious to see what else is there. But, I subconsciously hung onto so much of that, because that was what was represented throughout my life, how I viewed myself and how much shame I carried. I was surrounded by things that were not in my control. So, for me, that's been a big, big part of reconditioning my brain and re-forming my identity as a person. But God, there are so many things. I don't know, I've just wanted to completely delete all of those things. I wanted to completely delete my childhood, essentially. I wanted to completely pretend that it didn't exist and that I was an entirely new person in the world. And now I'm just like, “Ah, now I'm just writing songs about being a Christian kid” {bursts out laughing}. Religion is in so much of my music, so I think to have music to be able to relay those experiences and re-identify myself whilst accepting all of the stuff has been a positive experience.

Tori

I guess a lot of the music that I've written in the last however many years and that's being released now is a lot to do with sexual shame. Shame at having grown up in a very restrictive religious household where, you know, you're taught that women who divorce their husbands or whatever were called charlatans. One of my songs, Dinah, is based on a children's version of a Bible story where a woman is sexually assaulted and, in this particular kid's version, it says that it's her fault that it happened because

she was associating with people who didn't believe the same God that she did. And when her brother murdered a person that did it to her, it's also her fault, because again, she was associating with people she shouldn't have been. And the only reason that the assault is wrong is because she was not married to the person that did it to her. So that's a narrative that I was taught over and over and over again as a small child from the age of eight. Actually, it was probably younger than that.

maple glider

Giles

Self-acceptance and self-love are so important aren’t they?

 

Because they make us look inward, almost warts and all without judgement… I think they are the door openers to emotional intelligence.

 

And I think you’ve lived such a powerful experience that manifests itself in the authenticity and relatability of your songs.

 

I do think that relatable and authentic have become overused and the importance of the word has been corrupted, but, removing that noise, I think they very valuable and inspiring characteristics.

 

Are those traits mirrored in what you look for in other people you work with or become friends with?

maple glider

Tori

Yes, 100%. I do sometimes struggle when I can tell someone is not being genuine. With my close relationships, even with my partner, the thing that strikes me about them is how real they are, how honest and straight to the point with zero fluff they’ve been right from early interactions, even though they've been slow-building relationships. But, there’s another side of it as well, where not everyone's always going to be genuine or true to their self all of the time. Take lock downs and everything that fell out of them: it just made people awkward - socially awkward – which might not be who they really are. I think have really struggled to hide my emotions. 

maple glider

Tori

I used to have such bad social anxiety. If I went out, I couldn't pretend that I was having a good time, like, you know, if I was feeling high anxiety or something. There were times I would go out to a gig or something, I’d be there for half an hour and I’d have to ride my bike home because I couldn’t fake it. I was like, “I can't, I can't. I can't.” {laughs}. So, I really empathise with people who are really making an effort, despite, you know, not always being able to be their 100% genuine selves. I think there are so many things to look for and be aware of when you’re establishing new relationships, but I guess you can get to know someone, and sometimes that just takes time.

Maple Glider text transp_edited.png

Giles

I definitely know what you mean about those social situations.

 

I was always a shy kid who didn’t like attention and I guess you adapt and learn to live with it with whatever coping mechanism works.

But there are still situations that I'd really rather not be in, you know? Like, that knot in your stomach that's going….

 

I can’t-You can-I can’t-You can

 

and  hang on for dear life

 

to the first person who you talk to!

Tori

Oh, my God, yeah! I totally get that. I can be such a small group person. I have a limit to how many people I like to be in a room with at the same time, simply socialising. Once I go beyond that, I'm like, “well, I'm still keeping it just to these few people, I’m not venturing out tonight, I don't need anything more thank you”. It’s so interesting with music as well. Obviously, gigs are huge energetic space and there are so many people and it's such a different experience. I find it so funny that I can do that and in every other context like, hell no! {laughs}

IMG_4974.jpeg

Giles

In one of my early podcast episodes, Jennifer Finch was telling me that she used to get massive anxiety before going on stage.

 

And she managed that anxiety by thinking of it as an energy that she needed to get through the performance.

 

And another thing that you just reminded me of was an interview with Karen O – I think it was in Meet Me In The Bathroom, the book written by Lizzie Goodman about the New York scene in the early 2000s - and Karen said that she basically had two personas – the extroverted, onstage Karen and the socially awkward, offstage Karen.

Tori

Wow, yeah, and actually, I can kind of envision it though. You can kind of see it, where people gather their energy, they're really good at their craft and they just go and express themselves.

 

And then it's like, ok I'm done now, that was everything, that's what I got.

 

Yeah, it kind of makes sense.

 

What is WILD is the people that exist on that energy, and then they continue with that energy. It's quite phenomenal to see someone really thrive in that space and really thrive socially.

 

I personally don’t {laughs}.

maple glider aka tori zietsch

Giles

Another thing I’ve noticed in myself is that what I’m willing to take risks on has changed as I’ve got older. I suppose I won’t take certain risks now that I would have done when I was younger - I mean some of them are physical….like my bones would probably break now! - but also vice versa, which is I think perhaps a “I really don’t care anymore” kinda attitude. How do you feel about taking risks? 

Tori

I feel that, in a lot of ways, when I was younger, I was like, I'm gonna keep moving around and I want to live everywhere. And that just “go go go” attitude. And I did do so much moving around. But now I couldn't think of anything worse! Like, touring {bursts out laughing}. Only kidding, I enjoy the touring - well, I'm sure I'm not gonna always enjoy every moment! - but …. I dunno, I just love the comfort of coming home to… home.

It's quite quiet where I live. It's quite soothing and I don't need to go out and I don't need to be involved in everything. I think when I was younger - again, probably because of how I was raised not being a part of so many things that I wanted to be and not really having those spaces to just explore - I just sort of went for it and said yes to everything and did everything, so now I'm like when it’s Friday night or something “Hmmm… I'm probably just gonna stay in” (laughs}

I kind of enjoy that in a way. I know that's maybe the classic tale of someone who’s too comfortable or something {laughs}, but I feel like I take so many risks with music. I need to have my solid, beautiful friends that I can talk about real shit with them. And I like it that not all my friends work in the music industry and have all this different knowledge to me.

I think that's just what makes music work for me because I have an outlet to express myself and go and do stuff that regular Tori probably wouldn't.

CONNECT
Instagram | Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube

All photos of Tori courtesy of Bridgette Winten

bottom of page