Exclusive Interview: MAKJ Talks New Record Label And Hip-Hop Influences


Mackenzie Johnson, aka MAKJ, is young, ambitious and quickly making a name for himself as one of the most popular names in big room house. He’s a former professional race car driver who decided to channel his momentum into mixing, scratching and DJing at the age of 15, and so far, he’s seen much success.

MAKJ has toured worldwide at festivals like TomorrowWorld, Coachella and Ultra, and has touched down at countless clubs across North America, Europe and Asia. Regardless of where he is, high energy always follows. His originals and edits are fuelled by heavy beats, and hits like “Go” and “Generic” – amongst collaborations with Hardwell, Lil Jon and Deorro – have demonstrated his growing ability to produce the best in big room. Additionally, hip-hop influences bring another dimension to his remixes and live sets.

Mackenzie also runs the weekly Revolution Radio show amongst a jam-packed tour schedule and finding time to work on his own music. His musical abilities and charisma have respectfully earned him a debut 63rd spot in the DJ MAG Top 100 (in 2014), and the future is definitely looking bright for him.

This year’s Miami Music Week featured MAKJ playing a bunch of shows, including his own MAKJ & Homies party. He also made his return to Ultra for the third year in a row, playing on the Worldwide Stage on Saturday. Amidst the Miami madness, we sat down with MAKJ to discuss his new record label, where his hip-hop influences come from and more.

Check it out below, and enjoy!

Welcome to Miami, what have you been up to so far?

MAKJ: A lot. I had my own party last night at E11even.

How’d that go?

MAKJ: Amazing. Best club in Miami. It’s awesome. They have classy strippers. [Laughs] Tomorrow I have NERVO Nation at SLS, and of course I have Ultra on Saturday and Bingo Beach at No Sugar Added. I’m not playing a lot this year because I don’t want to slut myself out. But I’m doing a few select parties with my friends and I’m really excited. A lot of good stuff coming up.

Do you have any new music to show off?

MAKJ: Yeah, a ton of new stuff. I have about 20 new originals for my Ultra set.

Are most of those from your upcoming artist album?

MAKJ: Most of them, but a lot of them are just new tracks coming out on my label and upcoming collaborations. There’s a ton of new stuff. It’s kind of like a buffet of MAKJ.

Does the new music fall under your signature big room sound?

MAKJ: Definitely not. I’ve kind of fine tuned the MAKJ sound. You can hear MAKJ, but there’s a lot of news twists. I’m trying to be different nowadays. You need to have versatility in this industry or you’re going to get stuck with the rest of the crew.