With his awesome new track "Chameleon" doing the rounds and the first of several artist edits out too, we wanted to catch up with the highly acclaimed Mako. Known for his intelligent production style, along with DJing, singing and songwriting, this is a guy with plenty to offer.
We chatted about "Chameleon," his plans for 2020 and the music he's into right now.
Take a meander through Mako's Current Vibes here...
Thanks for joining us, Mako! How has the start of 2020 been for you so far?
I started the year off a total mess haha, happy to say we’re back and really good now, thanks :). I can finally see the finish line on my record... thank sweet Jesus. Also been brewing an outside project for the past year that I’m super impatient to announce. It's hard to be working on something this special without being able to say anything... but I think later this year I can finally start shouting about it.
You’ve just released the captivating ”Chameleon” and we’re thoroughly enjoying it. What did you want to achieve with it and do you feel you like you managed it?
Yeah, for sure. So the upcoming album definitely slants a little experimental compared with my past music. I’ve got a thematic hook rolling and a bunch of ridiculous musical goals that I had sort of mapped out. With "Chameleon" I needed it to be personal, to sit in the theme of the record… but have it ease off the gas a little. This is one of the purer "song-songs" I feel like I've written, and it was really important to me that we protected that with the production. Anyway, ultra happy with where we got it (I had a phenomenal collaborator in this with Tony Buchen).
What were some of the most enjoyable parts of creating it? What did you gain from the process, and what helps you to keep developing as an artist in general?
So, I just mentioned Tony Buchen… one of the greatest things he did for this song was ask me to relax and think about the production as more of a vehicle for the vocal (definitely paraphrasing). I had never really made anything this minimal before; it was a really eye opening experience - this is coming from someone who tends to reach for the most-dense-music-always. Sometimes the tunes end up teaching you some bigger lessons about your process. "Chameleon" was, for sure, one of those.
How did you approach making the edit with Elephante? Was it the first time you’ve worked on something together?
We’ve been looking for the right moment to intersect for years now. And we’ve always sent each other our work in progress. Anyway, he is constantly tagging me in these absurd clip shots of festivals he’s playing…ripping his "Smoke Filled Room" remix. It set off a light bulb to ask him if he’d take a swing at his own mix of "Chameleon." He was mega gracious to go for it, I was utterly obsessed, and we thought to put it out together.
Who or what influences you musically? Do you find you get inspired by lots of different genres and styles?
Yeah no question, but I think everybody is probably like that these days. When I committed to Fable, I was listening to a shit load of….I don’t know what to call it, composed electronic music. Any full length album in the last few years that felt like it wasn’t going for commercial appeal, but still a type of richness of writing. It started with Radiohead, flew through Jon Hopkins, Bonobo, Olafur Arnalds, Moderat, Sampha, Kaytranada, on on on. I think people within music can go through, "dead" periods…where they aren’t uncovering a lot of inspiring new music. I guess I’ve been going through whatever you’d call the opposite of that, which makes me really happy.
What do you think sets you apart an artist, and how do you want your music to make people feel?
Sincerely, one of the big "rules" i’ve got with the upcoming record is that I want it to draw from my whole life and background with music to make something hyper specific to me. I’m this French horn-playing, film scoring, DJ-ing, songwriting blob. None of those things makes me particularly unique, but I think the journey is super random. I honestly feel like you’ll be able to hear it all glued together in Fable. That's the goal, at least.
What have been some of the standout moments of the past year or two for you as an artist?
My ongoing work with League Of Legends is a huge standout for me with every given year. Writing songs for Worlds, performing at Worlds, taking those songs to shows in Saudi Arabia - just all the people I’ve worked with and places I’ve been, through that partnership, it's fucking unbelievable. It's been a really quiet year for me on the outside but total secret chaos inside. I'm just really happy and grateful for the music I’ve been making. And I'm ready to finally get it out in the next year.
Personally speaking, your favorite tunes right now?
This record isn’t new-new (looks like she has a new one incoming), but I can not stop listening to the latest Rosalía record. Also been bumping the new Hayley Williams stuff a bunch lately.
What is on the horizon for you in 2020? We hear an LP is in the works…
FABLE 2020. Also…a super secret project outside of Mako. AND… Tour :)