ON this Good Friday...
I get to present Mako, who has been telling me about his new track, Coyote, and how it came together; a few albums that mean a lot to him and how the music of Mako has changed since they were a duo to now – where Alex is a solo artist.
I ask about Mako’s talents and endeavours in T.V. and film; how he manages to unwind away from music and whether there are going to be tour dates – he ends the interview with a great song selection.
Hi, Mako. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m good (smiles). I just moved into a new apartment, got on a dating app for the first time; released some new music.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Yeah, definitely. I’m sure I’ll butcher this, but picture a Classical French horn player who got distracted by EDM and Pop music for a few years and listens to a lot of Indie Rock.
Coyote is your new single. What is the story behind it?
I was honestly super-burned-out, creatively…
I asked my team for a couple months off just to write purely for love (sadly, it’s not always the case) - and I started thinking about what I really have to bring to the table as an artist. I got on this kick…of ‘What would happen if you crammed your entire life of music into a record?’. Not only was Coyote born soon after, but my entire album materialized right in front of me. I haven’t been this purely happy and focused with my work in years.
Is there going to be an E.P. or album coming later in the year?
I know Mako started life as a duo before just you, Alex. How has the music changed since inception?
The music has changed drastically, but the creative experience has always been the same. Even as a duo, I was always behind the wheel with our material - and my good buddy Logan would pilot our D.J. sets and help navigate the corridors of business for us. My taste in music has shifted so much since then - taking a tour through our discography will reveal it pretty clearly.
Were there particular artists that inspired you to get into music?
I was a diehard Gustav Mahler kid growing up (play along with the recordings to his symphonies in my garage all through high-school, meanwhile speaking with zero girls the entire time). I was caught up in the EDM craze out of college - and now I’ve settled into a strong IDM kick with artists like Moderat, Jon Hopkins; Atoms for Peace/Radiohead and a lot of the cinematic composer/artists like Ólafur Arnolds and Max Richter.
It seems your musical talent extends to T.V. and film. How important and informative is it working across various mediums?
It’s a huge enjoyment for me; the role of music in those mediums shifts dramatically. Everything is generally in service to a larger idea; the scope of collaboration can be immense and a successful day’s work can mean your music won’t be noticed (by design). It brings me a lot of happiness to glide between those projects and the egomania that is a pure artist project.
Can you describe what music does to you? Is it a form of emotional release?
A billion-percent emotional release. I, very sadly, don’t find myself connecting often with lyrics in any form. I don’t use music as a way to feel connected with pop culture. It’s just pure emotion for me.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
So, so many. Recently, working with League of Legends the past two years on their ‘Worlds’ events has been an all-time life highlight for me.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
In Rainbows (Radiohead) through-and-through is my favorite artist album: it’s got everything I like about music. Interestingly, John Powell’s score to How to Train Your Dragon is the album that convinced me to quit the French horn and pursue a career in writing music. And I was heavily affected this year by Jon Hopkins’ Singularity - both in its contents and how captivatingly unique a piece of art can be, led by one singular voice.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Haha, wait. So, a rider…as in like a hospitality rider? I’m gonna give this one to my good mate Charles Yang - one disgustingly talented violin/guitar/singer. He gets infinite gin and tonics in his rider because he just bought me a few and I owe him.
What are your plans regarding gigs/touring?
A tour after this new album (smiles).
Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?
Make a ton, ton, ton of music - it’ll get better, I promise. I’d also recommend finding a unique voice but sometimes I get a little pessimistic about that and I’m adventuring for the first time on this bullet - so check back with me in two years if I’m happy about this decision.
IN THIS PHOTO: Josin
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I stumbled upon this hauntingly lovely artist called Josin.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I’m really super-sh*tty at this. Partial evidence of this is that I’m just typing right now as a means of buying time to think about a decent answer. I run late at night, which is a biggie for me. I can dig myself into some strange pockets of extreme isolation. I do wonder if this is just the reality for people who looove what they do. Balance is important.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
You asked...play Romantic Flight from How to Train Your Dragon