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Get Familiar: Mayo

Get Familiar: Mayo
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Amsterdam’s rising dark horse / talented misfit / rising talent mayo presents her debut EP for United Identities. “Sad Violin Music'' holds three dirty jams, driven by her self-built modular synth. mayo created opener “Dystopian Dialect” during the slow winter of 2020. It became a hypnotising slugger that builds upon her sound experimentations. As the title “Aura Phase” already implies, this pounding, but disorienting phaser will transform any dancefloor into a vortex. Where punk attitude meets punk aesthetic, “Human Engineering” clearly showcases mayo’s history playing in bands. On the eve of mayo's upcoming release, we knew it was time to get familiar and find out where she has been and where she is going.

Can you let us know who you are and what it is that you?
Hello, Its mayo from Amsterdam, made out of parents that have their roots here and in Hong Kong. They made me, but a big part of me is this city and my friends here that are my second family.
How did music first enter your life and what music memories do you have from your childhood?
Growing up at home I was mainly surrounded by Rock N Roll and Metal but also Latin music (my parents used to throw parties with lots of dancing involved). I started playing music myself when I was five, learning how to read musical notes and learning to play the saxophone. A couple of years later I got a bit rebellious and changed that for guitar and drums. My main inspiration as a teenager were the soundtracks of skateboard and snowboard movies, working in a skateboard shop for almost ten years was the cause of that.
What records did you listen to growing up?
Tough one! My music taste has always been quite schizophrenic. It could go from “Mobb Deep, The Infamous” to “Misfits, Famous Monsters” to “The Black Angels, Directions To See A Ghost” and to every fucking Aaliyah album, this list could go on and on forever, of course, too many to name!
Congratulations on the release on United Identities. How did it come about?
Carista and I were on the road to join a mutual friend that was playing at Future Intel in The Hague. We had a chat about music and she asked me to send over some tracks. Something I was quite hesitant or maybe insecure about so it took at least a couple of months before I came through - but from that moment on working with her is 1000% smooth sailing.
How did you meet Carista?
I needed to double-check with her, but apparently we both can’t recall exactly when or where, but somewhere in our previous lives for sure.
What was the process like for creating this release?
It’s the lockdowns giving me a big window of time, peace and quiet to create as much as possible. The tracks formed themselves pretty quickly, I never like to put too much thought into sounds while making them so things can come together a bit more organically.
For the gear nerds out there, what sort of set-up do you work with?
My main squeeze is the modular synth setup I have. The case with power supply and a couple of modules I have built myself. I use an Elektron Digitakt to sequence it, which is also my favourite sampler. I record everything into Ableton to do further processing and editing.
How does being a DJ as well as a producer affect your creative process?
They both really support each other tremendously, I can play a track in a club which at that moment could give me ideas that I could use in the studio, whether I’m stuck with something I’m working on or a spark for a new idea. Producing music is like training my ears to have a better understanding of music and sounds itself, I feel like I can make faster decisions while DJing knowing which tracks fit together in the best way.
I was recently at one of your shows at Radio Radio alongside Job Sifre and Loradeniz, how is it to play after continuous lockdowns?
It was great for as long as it lasted. People are going wilder than ever which is really beautiful to see. That night was really fun in particular, Radio Radio is my second living room, I also love both of them as artists but also as human beings and we ended up playing b2b2b which got super messy, I woke up with a blue eye the next morning haha!
What are you going to get up to this lockdown?
Drinking some nice wine, eating well and making some music. Not much else we can do at this moment, unfortunately.
What can we expect in the future of mayo?
Rounding up another EP as we speak, some other really really cool projects and more terrible humour.

After years of programming in the dark, mayo quickly managed to channel her DIY attitude to brew EBM, techno and experimental sounds into electronic punk music that carries her unruly disposition of character. Be sure to check out the new record "Sad Violin Music", releasing January 12 on mayo's Bandcamp.

Photography by Martijn Kuyvenhoven
Interview by Passion Dzenga
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