She's been a stalwart of the deep house scene for over a decade now, sampled by the likes of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and tapped to remix everyone from Depeche Mode to Ella Fitzgerald. Now, British-Japanese DJ and producer Maya Jane Coles is setting the mood for her forthcoming album, Night Creature, with a two-part short film that's just as danceable as it is deadly.
Taking inspiration from Killing Eve and Kill Bill, the music videos for "Run to You" and "True Love to the Grave" see Coles and vocalist Claudia Kane entwined in a queer gothic tale of assassins in hot pursuit of their mark. Featuring an entirely LGBTQ cast, the film follows our femme fatale as she navigates the mirrored halls and neon-bathed dancefloor of London's The Fold to seduce — and ultimately take out — her target before culminating in an epic samurai sword fight.
The Charlie Lightening-directed two-parter has all the action of a John Wick movie with the effortless cool that Coles' productions bring. In addition to cameos from the producer and vocalist, the music videos also star Skunk Anansie's Skin, London Trans Pride and Harpies founder Lucia Blayke, Inferno founder Lewis Burton, mask maker Stella Marbles, models Max the Tribrid and Alexis Meshida, activist Emily Crooked, artists Spook, Cassandra, and Fifi Rong, fashion designer and dancer Juni Da Moment, Drag Race UK Pit Crew member Ashraf, HE. SHE. ThEY. co-founder Steven Braines and more.
"Queer people, especially women often don't often get portrayed in ways that are interesting and alternative on screen," Coles says. "We wanted to make something that was unapologetically female centered, queer, intersectional, dark, moody and ferocious. Hopefully, even in lockdown, I think we pulled it off."
Ahead of the release of the short film's epic conclusion, PAPER caught up with Maya Jane Coles to chat about "Run to You," queer representation and her forthcoming record.
What was the inspiration behind the video?
"Run to You" is probably my favorite track off my album, Night Creature, and I really wanted to create a video that was dark, moody, female empowering and truly representative of the music. It's a bit of Kill Bill, Sin City, Killing Eve crossed with the underground queer club world in an industrial setting.
What drew you to the femme fatale concept?
I thought it would be cool to play with the femme fatale concept in a less straight, misogynistic way to how it often is portrayed in cinema. I've always been drawn to strong female assassin-style lead characters (hence the above references), so this was really fun to make.
Why was it important to make the video have an all-LGBTQ+ cast?
With the track being a collaboration between two strong queer female artists, it just made sense. We don't often get portrayed in ways that are interesting and alternative on screen, so I wanted to create something that was unapologetically female centered, queer, intersectional, dark, moody and ferocious — and an excuse to work with my LGBTQ+ fam is always great.
What do you hope people take away from "Run to You"?
I just want it to be a repeat track that sticks around for a long time.
What can we expect to see on the upcoming album, Night Creature?
It's definitely an evolution in sound from my last two albums. Still interweaving dark and light, melancholic with energetic. It's moody introverted night time music that you can dance to. I think I've spent more time on Night Creature than any release I've ever put out, so I'm really excited to finally be sharing it with the world.
Photos courtesy of Maya Jane Coles