A Sit Down With DJ Mako
The story about how LA-based DJ, producer duo Mako came to be is one part fate and one part chance. Alex Seaver and Logan Light's fathers were roomates in college at Syracuse back in the 1970s and this formed a life-long friendship between their two families. However the two kids went on two different paths. Seaver attended Julliard, the elite classical and jazz music school and Light went to Columbia, before transfering to Michigan where he picked up DJing. Their paths crossed once again in Los Angeles after graduation and a trip to EDC Las Vegas opened Seaver's eyes to the wonders of electronic music. Their first single "Our Story" became an internet hit and fast forward to 2015, the pair are working on an album and have played festivals like Lollapalooza, Electric Zoo and Ultra Music Festival.
The two come from completely different musical backgroundsSeaver originally wanting to play in an orchestra and Light as a DJbut together, they come together to create something that is unique, catchy and is bound to be stuck in your head after the first limit.
When did you both (Alex Seaver and Logan Light) first meet and how was Mako originally formed?
We apparently met in 1993 at the age of 4 since our fathers were friends and college roommates; however, they lived in different cities. We really didnt connect until we were 22 or 23 and just happened to join our parents at a dinner. I brought Alex (who had just moved to LA) out to EDC the following week and from that point forward Mako was spawned from Alexs background in composition and all his brilliance and my DJing and interest in EDM. The name actually comes from my favorite video game Final Fantasy 7 (if you havent played it I highly suggest it!). We wanted something that meant something to us as kids so we compiled a giant list and that was the name we ended up using. In Japanese we were told it meant magical light which was a nice play on my last name and within the game it serves as the life force of the planet so it had a good aura around it.
What it hard to become a duo?
No, the single thing was just fun for me, DJing. I never thought this would be what it is today. I did this in my little room in Michigan just for fun and had fun jumping around. I met him it was kind of like, well if you want to dig around and try this let's see what happens. It kind of took a life of its own pretty quickly and I think we are very combative personalities when it comes to each other. We kind of found our own niche and made it work with what it was and if one thing isn't working we adjust. For me I was just DJing so it was always myself, he always had to work with other musicians so it was never a solo venture.
It`s way different doing this than it was doing classical music but I don't think it was ever difficult because we complement each other's personalities and our work styles, but I think the big adjustment was making electronic music.
"...youre never going to stand out if youre just so closely replicating another artist so there has to be that moment when you decide what makes me, me and what do I wanna say with my music".
You guys played EDC Las Vegas. Tell me about that experience.
It wasnt sweet from 3-5 p.m. though. They brought us out to sound check and it was 117 degrees! I would open the computer and it would melt down really quickly, so Id have to reboot it. But after that, it was great!
We played the Discovery Stage maybe two years ago, so that was our first taste of being a part of it. Then this year we were at the 7UP Stage which was really special. Its such a cool part of the journey to cross milestones like that and to revisit places that you experienced in a way different way when you were starting out.
Do you ever get the time to go out and see other artists very often?
I really try to! I dont do it so much because I can be a little anti-social and I just spend all day and all night in the studio kinda making music. But its really inspiring to go out to see other artists especially as were sort of shifting our whole live show away from DJing to this kind of like, live-electronic hybrid setup Its to see what people are doing and how people are performing their music. And theres a lot of different ways to do it technologically speaking. And then in terms of like the Aesthetic, like the lighting that they use or if they use graphics. And then just seeing how that translates to an audience. Because instead of just a bunch of people jumping at the drops, its a music venue you know where people are listening to music and just kind of getting what that kind of relationship is with the audience has been a different from our background.
How have you guys evolved over the years?
Its a cool time for electronic artists in general because the cycles of the genre come and go and weve definitely sort of followed what everyone else is doing. Right now were taking a step back, looking at a blank canvas and making whatever we feel like it regardless of whether its in style right now or what our colleagues are doing. Its been a good moment for all artists when they start to figure out who they are.
Do you tend to take a different approach when youre in the studio providing a remix for another artist rather than producing a solo track for Mako?
Absolutely. In some sense making a remix is a hugely relaxing experience. When you get to use someone elses vocal or melody, that is one aspect of the song that you dont need to account for, and you can spend the rest of your creative energy focusing purely on everything else. It tends to feel like a vacation compared to the grueling aspects of doing everything from scratch .
Where does the name for the album come from?
The name came after thinking a lot about what kinds of songs I was writing for this. I ended up borrowing a lot from my life and experience, and I noticed that a lot of the songs dealt with time in some from whether it was abstract or more obvious, looking back to the past, nostalgia about seeing something in the future with somebody or living in the present with somebody. I dont know something about the motif of time just kept popping up and I just kind of felt that an hourglass represents time in a way that was pretty creative.
What do you hope people take from your music, music videos?
Thats kid of the million dollar question for us right now. A big part of being an artist is having a brand and a community and building something. A lot of it so far has been led by the music that we make and were trying to figure it out. But recently weve really started to cultivate more of a visual and auditory experience for our fans thats kind of consistent throughout. We dont know exactly how to describe it yet, because were kind of poking around, but I think each of these videos is an experiment. Theyre each a learning experience. Its kind of like sharing a part of ourselves with our audience and its hard.
What can you share with us about your experience working alongside the iconic Steve Angello?
It was a total dream come true. We idolized Steve as he was largely responsible for aiding Logan in getting me to fall in love with dance music. Come time to work with him, it was a surreal experience having that same guy sitting across from you in a massive studio asking your opinion on what you are working on. He was so gracious and kind as well, an experience well never forget.
What would you consider your genre and why did you decide to go this route?
I think previously, if you heard of MAKO before, I would called it progressive house or electronic dance music. Bizarrely what were doing now is redoing the entire notion that we were DJs at all and kind of using a live band now. Its an alternative electronic thing with our new album.
What do you attribute your passion and success to?
The universe first and foremost. My past experiences have shaped me and driven me along this path. More recently meeting DLR has helped a lot with general vibes and motivation. My lovely girlfriend Ash is a massive inspiration too. She lives in London and I live in Bristol so Ive had to move towards a more organized way of living to make sure I spend time with her and spend as much time as I can on music. Love is a tremendously motivating force. Imagine, the brain is flooded with a desire to spend as much time with your loved one as possible, but youre caught in a paradox because for the last five years youve felt the same love for music and producing and now time, or more accurately, how Much time you have, becomes the focus. This pretty much goes against most of what I had been teaching myself through meditation the last few years so it has been twisting up my brain a little. But this suffering of life is synonymous with the passion of life so im eternally grateful for the continued inspiration that I encounter.
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