Sound off

Sound Off is a continuing column in which we pose different artists the same series of crucial questions.

Maya Postepski makes up one third of the Toronto-based New Wave trio Austra. Having recently been named to the 2011 Polaris Prize shortlist for their debut album Feel it Break, Postepski and Austra have skyrocketed their way into position as one of the definitive movers-and-shakers of the Canadian indie music scene. Often playing drums for the band, Postepski and the rest of Austra can been seen live in Winnipeg (with guests Tasseomancy and Young Galaxy) on Nov. 24, at the West End Cultural Centre. Tickets are available $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Manitoban: What substance / activity do you find most helpful in the creative process?

Maya Postepski: Personally I find being in good shape and eating healthy/going to bed early to be beneficial for getting a good flow of consistent creativity happening. I especially find daily jogs and core strengthening exercises helpful.

Sounds kind of lame but more and more bands these days are either a party, drinking, smoking, no sleep band or a Whole Foods, exercise, grandma band — we fall more into the second category.

M: Whose work inspired you the most in your youth?

MP: I was obsessed with Shostakovich, Reich and Ace of Base.

M: Whose work inspires you currently?

MP: I think we’re all constantly finding new sources of inspiration — there’s so much saturation in many scenes right now and that’s terribly exciting, but it’s a lot to keep up with . . . so it’s a real mix that’s constantly changing. The stuff coming out of the UK Dubstep scene is on my list daily.

M: What’s the most embarrassing album you’ve ever owned?

MP: I guess Vengaboys or Alice DeeJay, by other people’s standards? I’m still totally into that stuff. And if you slow it down in a simple music editing program it becomes really mellow and sensual.

M: What bands / artists have you been listening to lately?

MP: Zomby, Malaria, Burial, Kool Thing, Jeff Mills, the Cranberries — all sorts of stuff.

M: Do you have any hobbies or obsessions outside of music?

MP: Cooking, I really miss that on tour. I like going to get all my ingredients and then chop and prep everything into a grand feast with my friends.

M: In memory, what’s the best advice you’ve received?

MP: Don’t be cheap. Oh, and practice makes perfect!

M: What is your most cherished musical instrument?

MP: The piano. For me when I sit at a piano, especially a proper one, something just feels right.

It’s funny because I’ve been playing piano since I was three, and I did all those exams and lessons and stuff when I was a kid, then lost all my technique through my angsty teen years when I was exploring other stuff.

I find myself returning to it more and more as I get older. It’s the perfect blend of melody and rhythmic discipline.

M: What’s your favourite song to cover?

MP: “The Hall of Mirrors” by Krafwerk.

M: What’s been the most surreal experience of your music career thus far?

MP: Playing, jetlagged as hell, on top of a sand dune in Biarritz, France during an all-women’s surf competition. I was on a giant riser facing the Atlantic Ocean with lots of sexy surfer babes staring at me. Dreamy.