Q&A – Mako

Utopia bossman Mako looks set for an amazing 2015; fresh from a great collab with Villem & McLeod and with a great new EP for Warm Comms on the horizon, we thought it was high time to find out what else he’s been cooking up.

DNB Dojo: Hi Stephen! Thanks for taking the time to chat. How are you today man?

Mako: Good thanks man, had a lovely relaxing weekend with my girl, back in Bristol now, straight back on the missions.

DD: You’ve got a new EP dropping soon on Warm Communications, following on from your first release with them a little over a year ago. How did you first hookup with Heath?

M: He approached me a few years ago when Field, Villem and I dropped Cali Sleaze / Always on Utopia. He was interested in us back then but we had nothing unsigned to send him. But I always kept the opportunity open and when I had some tunes to send, did so, and he loved them. The first single Whatever Whatever / I Used To Be Like You then came out and we’ve kept the relationship going.

DD: Do You Feel The Same is much harder hitting than many of your previous tracks, was this a deliberate move or just how the track evolved in the studio? It reminds me of an old Limewax track called God, but funkier and less extreme.

M: Haha, Limewax yeah??? I was going for more a harder Photek tune but I guess we all have different opinions! No deliberation, just wanted to create something with epic pads and woody yet dark pitched drums. Glad you think its funkier than Limewax though!

DD: The other two tracks on the EP seem to have a really dubby vibe, does that come out of other music you were listening to at the time they were written? If so, any dub favourites you could recommend?

M: Yeah, for sure. Rhythm & Sound are very sick and have an influence upon what I write. They keep the top end very minimal and the bass end very heavy. Its a good approach I think. If you like dubby techno vibes check out the label Basic Channel.

DD: The tracks all have a certain analogue warmth to them which is lacking from the ultra-clean mixdowns of a lot of modern D&B. Have you got any “go to” studio gear to get that more natural sound?

M: I have an outboard desk and lots of outboard synths which help a lot. I would say what helps the most is the speakers and sub though which enable me to accurately create what sound I want, whether than be an analogue approach or a more clinical clean sound which is what I did for my upcoming Symmetry single.

DD: Speaking of which, you’ve got a raft of other solo releases coming next month via CIA, Symmetry and Metalheadz. Any details you can share?

M: The CIA one is called Eyes Bloodshot Red, thats out first on the 2nd of March, then comes the Warm 12″ which comes out on the 9th March, and I think the Metalheadz EP comes out in April sometime, as does the Symmetry release, which is called The Space Inbetween. I’m working on more Mako projects for Dispatch, Metalheadz and Warm too that just need finishing off. But most of my creative time goes on the project with DLR.

DD: What’s coming up on the Utopia Music front? I understand there’s a Various Artists EP on the horizon, any surprises in terms of the artists involved in that project?

M: Some surprises are in store, but they wouldn’t be surprises if I told you! I love the EP though, it has a similar chilled vibe running across the tunes and I hope it’s well received.

DD: Last but not least, I’m massively looking forward to your collab LP with DLR for Metalheadz. Any word on when that’s likely to drop?

M: No word on release dates, but the project is going well and coming together really nicely, but most importantly isn’t stressful for either of us, its growing quite naturally.


Mako’s Do You Feel The Same EP drops on vinyl and digital via Warm Communications from March 9th – check out the clips below.

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