"All sorts of life things influence my songs, they are usually pretty human things and typically songs happen when my emotions boil over for one reason or another"
Mako Bron creates music that works in all settings and transcends genres. His openness to a wide range of sound is what has both made him a widely loved favourite, but also someone who operates in his own parallel musical world. Mako Bron unparalleled signature style continues to expand with each subsequent release in his catalog. We had a chance to talk to him, so enjoy your reading and check out his latest releases.
First of all, happy new year! Can you tell us how and where you welcomed 2021?
Happy new year! I’m pretty sure I was at my computer writing music when I heard the fireworks go off.
Where have you hidden during the confinement and what new skills have you learned?
During lock down I was at my home in inner Sydney. I think my music production skills definitely developed during this time as there wasn’t much else to do! I think like many people I’ve also learned gratitude – to be safe and healthy is a very special thing.
Where can we find you right now? How did you start your day?
Right now I’m at my production station… Today started with a run around the neighbourhood and a green smoothie.
Can you tell us a little about your experience? Where are you from / how did you get into music? Was it all internet based?
I’ve loved music since I was a kid and I’ve been writing and recording music all my life. I grew up in the country and music was always a great way to pass the time when there wasn’t much else to do. After listening to the Beatles for the first time at age 7, I decided that I was going to be a musician. My grandma gave me a beaten-up old guitar when I was 13 and I never looked back.
I have played guitar and sung in bands in Sydney since my teens. When my last band broke up I took a long break from music and gradually started to teach myself how to use software to create music, which has led to the release of “Mirror Mirror”. I worked with a drummer (Thom Mills) in Brighton in the UK and a producer in London (Josh Tyrrell) – all done virtually through Soundbetter, otherwise I recorded all instruments myself.
Who have been your main inspirations (both musical and in 'life')? And how have they affected your sound?
This is a such a big question. Musically, the big ones are The Smiths, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Massive Attack, Underworld, David Bowie, Midnight Oil, The Cult, New Order, Talking Heads and The Beatles. There are literally hundreds of others I could mention.
All sorts of ‘life’ things influence my songs, they are usually pretty human things and typically songs happen when my emotions boil over for one reason or another. My lyrics can also drift towards the philosophical and existential…
Tell me about your initial step in music production: what, or who, prompted your interest in the world of electronic music?
I always liked electronic music. At university I wrote a thesis on the Sydney rave scene which was a yearlong project. I spent a lot of that year at parties and following that I spent a little time in Ibiza too. After that period of my life, electronic music was always going to be a major influence for me. I spent a long time wondering how to create these amazing sounds, so I eventually had to sit down and just work it out myself.
How would you define your sound?
I guess it’s like fusion of all the music I love the most, mixed with my own emotional experience. My tag line on Soundcloud is ‘slightly spooky psychedelic robo-punk’, which I think probably captures it.
What do you want to convey with your sound?
Human connection – if someone can listen to my songs, relate to them and feel something genuine then I’ll feel very pleased.
What can you tell us about your single "Something Always"? How was it born? What was your production criteria?
Its really about those hidden forces that get in the way of people being close to each other. I originally wrote it as an alt-country song on acoustic guitar and somewhere along the way it became a rock song. I really just kept experimenting with different ideas until it was right.
I really try to record songs with as few parts as possible, but to make each part really count. This was probably the key with “Something always” – it’s really pretty raw with some guitars, bass, drums and a single synth. I wanted to ovoid overcooking the track.
Your music seems to be linked to places, landscapes and moments. What else plays a fundamental role in your music creation process?
Definitely people and emotions – these are really the key elements.
What can you tell us about Mirror Mirror? What will its sound be like? What are your concerns? What do you want to convey?
It’s a bit of a mix. “Something Always” and “Pulling the Line” are really rock songs grounded in 80’s alternative – bands like The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, New Order come to mind.
“Awkward Moment” and “Snow White” are more electronic tracks, while they use guitar the drums are programmed, and synths are really the main melodic instrument. I was definitely influenced by acts Underworld, Chemical Brothers and The Presets with these two.
Mirror Mirror was really born from the world events of 2020, a year like no other. If I could bring it all together I’d say that its about the frustration and uncertainty of living in a world where everything is out of control.
I don’t really have any concerns about the EP as such, its really just a reflection of my head at a point in time.
What is your current production setup and what instruments are essential for you?
I have a home studio set up with a Mac Pro and Logic Pro as my DAW. I use a Universal Audio ‘Arrow’ interface. For the synths I mainly use Arturia Analogue Lab and Alchemy plug ins, then my external synths include a MicroKorg, Waldorf Pulse 2 and a Berringeher Crave. I use a variety of drum samples, but one I really like at the moment are the ‘Steve Lawler’ samples. For guitars I switch between a Fender Telecaster and Gibson SG and my bass is a Gibson SG bass. My main vocal Mic is a Rhodes NT 1 but I also use a Shure SM 58.
Are you the type of producer who can create music on the fly or do you need to be rooted in a studio?
I can make it anywhere. It usually starts with a guitar or at a piano, and sometimes at my workstation. Occasionally songs will come to be spontaneously when I’m in the shower.
I feel like the underground scene will continue to persist. Do you think we can go back to "normal" events and festivals?
I hope so – it might take a few years, but I really think people were meant to come together and enjoy music. I don’t think social distancing really works in a festival setting, so I’m really looking forward to world where people can be physically close again.
How have you had to adapt to recent circumstances?
I’ve probably been much slower in putting a live show together to support the release. I’ve focussed much more on the writing and production than the performance, which is a huge change for me.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m getting close to finishing my second EP which I hope to have out mid 2021. I’m also writing tracks for the release after that. I’ve started getting a band to together in preparation for when live shows might resume properly in the future.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
Just to say thanks for taking the time to speak to me – I hope you enjoy “Mirror Mirror”.