Exclusive Interview with MAKJ
How do you feel about having just played the fabled TomorrowWorld?
The people really made it special. The crowd was a mix of experienced hardcore ravers and people who are completely new to the dance music scene (maybe they were dragged there by their friends or because it's the cool thing to do now), so there was a massive variety. I love opening people's eyes to my music... for example when I get fans tweeting at me after a performance saying how they didn't know who I was and became fans after hearing my set!
Speaking of people changing their direction.... describe the transition from being a successful race car drive to being the world's second most toured DJ
I was a race car driver from the age of 12-18 because my step father got me into it, for a while it completely took over my life to the point where I dropped out of high school, went back to get my GED and then ended up taking Architecture classes from the local community college.
One night while I was partying at some random club in China, where I was living at the time as part of my race car driving job.. I was blown away by what this DJ was doing. He turned out to be the DMC champion DJ Qbert. I was completely enthralled by his technique and spent the remainder of my night just watching him, that was the moment when my curiosity toward DJing was sparked.
That's bananas. Since you're about to play in Boca Raton for Halloween, what are some of the best times you've had playing in Florida?
Florida is a very diverse state to play in because you have a lot of colleges, so there's the college crowd. In Miami, there's the idiosyncratic "Miami" crowd and in other clubs you have the bottle service crowd. I recall having a blast at Orlando's Club Roxy!
You're in the middle if your Fall/Winter tour, what are some of the highlights that you've had throughout it and throughout your journey as a whole?
The past year has really given me some of the most intense experiences of my life... my tour schedule has exploded to the point where I'm on a plane almost everyday and am currently the world's second most toured DJ behind Steve Aoki.
However, I don't feel that it was until I played Coachella, the world's premier music festival, did I really acknowledge that I made it!
On a slightly #deeper note, what values or mindsets do you think allowed you to enjoy the level of success you're currently at and what setbacks did you have to overcome?
There hasn't been any one particular setback that I've had to overcome but I do find myself fighting a battle between wanting to do more/staying consistent as a producer and remembering to find time to be Mackenzie rather than MAKJ 24/7. I had to move out of LA because I wasn't having a life at all... not eating for days, surviving on coffee and locking myself in the studio for an unhealthy amount of time. When I was first trying to make it I spent those years completely isolated and unfortunately burned some bridges as a result of that, which I'm currently rebuilding.
To remedy this, I moved back to my hometown and am in the process of building a studio in the house I just bought. It's nice to have a home with an English Bulldog to come back to after extensive touring.
I've also come to realize the value of taking time off of production to bring myself back to center so I could work harder next time I'm back at it. Surfing in the morning and cooking (I took cooking classes at Cordon Bleu in San Fransisco after seeing my brothers cook for some of their girlfriends haha) are ways I can relax and let my creative juices flow.
For anyone who's trying to make it in this day and age I think it's more important than ever to remember where you came from and honor the people who gave everything they have for you to be what you are.
Very insightful. The response to "Ready" has been awesome, what else can we expect from you and Deorro?
Deorro and I have been going back and forth about releasing free music as a group, we have 2 collabs ready, not including "Ready." Our chemistry is great since we both can finish tracks rapidly after we have the basic idea down, the problem is finding the time! That's why I'm usually using headphones to produce whenever I find a spare moment.
By Mark Wolf