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


I saw you in Toronto last week and your set had a lot of hip-hop. Where does that influence come from?

MAKJ: Not a lot of people remember this but I started DJ’ing frat parties and weddings in my early days. So being able to go back to my past and being able to play whatever is great. Not a lot of DJs can do that. I like doing a lot of different things though. I want people to be like “holy shit, he actually played that record.” In my Ultra set last year there was a lot of hip-hop and a lot of bootlegs, and this year will be the same. There’s going to be a lot of weird stuff.

How do people typically respond when you break out those unexpected tracks.

MAKJ: It depends. If I played out a Bon Jovi song people are going to know it, but a lot of kids don’t. It’s hit and miss. The Toronto show was really good, but it’s just one of those things, you have to try it out. It’s like wearing a new T-shirt at school. The first few days you wear it it’s kind of sketchy, but then people start to dig it and before you know everyone is wearing it.

Going back to the album, is there a release date yet?

MAKJ: Not yet. I’m still trying to finalize it because I’m going to release it on my label. Once all the legal stuff is out of the way though it’ll be good to go. I still need to polish off a few collaborations with some rock artists and there’s a bit of fine tweaking to do, but most of the music is done. Legal is always the big hurdle though. But now that I have my own label, I can release whatever whenever.

Why did you choose to start your own label?

MAKJ: It was just time. I don’t want to rely on other labels to put my music out anymore. I have four records that are still waiting for release dates on various labels. It’s frustrating because I did those records almost a year ago. Waiting for the labels is so time consuming. With my own label, whenever I want to release something I can. It’s just a sexy feeling to have.

When you’re starting out though it’s good to release on several different labels, because each one has their own defined sound. From Revealed to Spinnin’ to Mad Decent. Each one has a different fanbase. So by going to different labels, you gain different fanbases, but it also makes you look like a well defined artist.

So when can we expect your next original track to hit?

MAKJ: When my label is ready. But I have a collaboration with Thomas Newson on Protocol that’s coming soon. And I’m finishing up a new edit for DVBBS’ new song and that will be on Spinnin’. Once my label is ready though it’s going to be great. I have about 20-30 songs ready and they’re just going to come in waves.

That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank MAKJ very much for his time!