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18 Questions With Mackwood

1883 Magazine chats with Mackwood about his new single "Habits,” working with Col3trane, and more.

18 Questions with introduces 1883 readers to the brightest young artists, actors, creatives and beyond. From childhood memories and guilty pleasures to their latest ventures and upcoming projects, our goal is to bring you closer to the people who inspire and entertain us.

Drummer, producer, songwriter and bandleader Mackwood has certainly earned his stripes. The creative powerhouse has drummed and produced for many brilliant UK artists including Col3trane, Nilufer Yanya, Jordan Rakei, Eliza and Blue Lab Beats. Now, the musician is continuing to pursue his art with the stellar new track, “Habits” which features anaiis and Quinn Oulton. It’s an infectious tune with ethereal production, slick vocals, and captivating drumming. It combines classic jazz and rave sounds with such ease, it’s certainly impressive.

1883 Magazine chats with Mackwood about his new single “Habits,” working with Col3trane, the first song that made him want to become a producer, and more.

What’s one exciting thing that happened to you this week?

The studios I sublet at have built a sauna and wellness centre next door! 5 degrees cold plunge before a session is a life changer.

Also had the homie Anatole Muster come through to the Jazz residency at 392 Kingsland Road with his electronics setup. Felt like I was in the cantina band in Star Wars.

What was the last thing you read?

Chapter three of the Bhagavad Gita. Serious material for nervous system regulation and general life maintenance.

Favourite memory growing up?

Going to Malaga and eating a seafood fry by the sea. Undefeated.

Where was the last place you travelled to?

Tokyo! Playing with Blue Lab Beats. Been watching Neon Genesis ever since.

What was the last thing that made you laugh?

Hannibal Buress’s whole standup catalog on Spotify.

What’s your nighttime ritual?

I don’t always get time to follow a strict regime. But something deliberate before sleep always feels good – recapping a lesson from the day or something to prep for the next helps me feel grounded.

Who would be on your dream dinner party guest list?

Herbie Hancock, Yuval Noah Hurrari, Fran Lebowitz, Karriem Riggins, Lex Fridman, and Susan Rogers, that would be extremely rogue.

Favourite movie and favourite quote from a movie?

Probably something sci fi, probably the first Alien or Empire Strikes Back? 70s space movie immersion is unmatched.

My favourite quote is hard cos I already struggle with remembering lyrics and quotes but Edna Mode’s “NO CAPES” in The Incredibles definitely taught me a lot about style and safety when negotiating high octane perilous situations.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Pass Out by Tinie Tempah. Any 4Music bumps from 2009-11 to be honest.

Favourite item in your closet?

My two ringer tees from Creature World. People keep asking if the dude on them is me and it’s not.

Photography Michelle Janssen

In a few short words, describe your music for someone who’s never heard it.

Progressive Trunkshake Indie RaveJazz

What inspired your new single Habits?

The writing came from some self inquiry, looking at experience/behaviour kinda relationships, interrelating and reconnecting with people, that kinda thing.

I’ve grown up around the UK Jazz scene as well as online beatmaker and EDM communities, so capturing that energy was the goal for sure. I wanted something that channels that emotional intensity, but also offers a transcendental kinda lift through it.

What was the first song that made you think ‘I want to become a producer?

“So Far To Go” by J Dilla. So much emotion from a loop! Hearing Disclosure and Kaytranada for the first time defo taught me a lot about getting groove from digital elements.

What have you learned from working with the likes of Col3trane, Nilufer Yanya, Jordan Rakei, Eliza, Blue Lab Beats?

Col3 taught me about putting your stamp on really catchy writing, hitmaking with an edge.

Nilufer has so much lineage and history in her music but always catches you off guard. I remember we did a PJ Harvey cover once but she played with the arrangement in such a cool way.

I owe a lot of my playing to my studio time with Jordan and live stuff with Eliza and BLB. I needed to adapt my approach to each of their sounds because they each have different ways of creating pockets and space in their songs for vocals/instruments.

Could you recall the moment that made you realise you wanted to pursue music as a career?

First time I sat at a drum kit! Music House on Uxbridge Road when I was about seven.

Which artists would be on your dream collaboration list?

Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, Monte Booker, Jahari Stampley, Danny Brown, Esperanza Spalding, Kenny Beats, AG Cook, Autechre, Tennyson, Photay, Underworld, Derrick Hodge, Mk.Gee, Dijon, James Francies, Cruza, JPEGMAFIA, Salute, Sam Gellaitry…need more?

What is one production hack that you use all the time when working?

I have a drum mix template at my studio which never fails. I make lots of my own drum breaks which I can drag into projects to kickstart grooves.

Ableton has this cool feature where you can group any number of effects into one patch, so I can build up complex sound layers all at once. Macro gang.

Where do you hope your music career takes you this year and beyond?

Seeing what other drummers like Yussef Dayes and Femi Koleoso have done is really inspiring – definitely aiming for some of those Jazz stages like North Sea and Jazz a Villette. My music also comes out of dancefloor sounds so expanding into Boiler Room/ADE/Dekmantel/All Points East territory feels on the cards too.

Already had some lovely firsts this year on stages like Cross The Tracks and Brick Lane Jazz Festival, so just looking forward to building the release/live profile – bigger stages, radio playlists, get some of those collaborations in the bag!

Mackwood’s new single “Habits” featuring anaiis & Quinn Oulton is out now.

Follow Mackwood by clicking here.

Interview Cameron Poole

Photography Michelle Janssen

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