Photo by Niclas Hille
Berlin-based producer Mechatok has shared a full stream of his crystalline See Thru EP on Stockholm collective/label Staycore, following the release of trance-inflected single “Placer” and the Palmistry-directed video for its title track. The emotionally earnest record also comes in the wake of a number of vocal collaborations with Bala Club’s Uli K and noted Sad Boy Yung Lean, and works in a framework built from West Coast hip-hop influences, refreshingly uncontrived pop intuition, and the occasional hint of Baroque musicality.
For the occasion, Mechatok spoke to THUMP in an interview via email, where we talked about the importance of melody, Staycore’s crew dynamic, and the meaning of the record’s title.
THUMP: Your work is pervaded by a sense of pop sensibility, particularly when it comes to melodies. What do you think pulls you in that direction artistically, and who are some of your favorite artists that work with melody?
Mechatok: Before I started producing music I played classical guitar, and was the guitarist in a couple of different bands. The simplicity of a beautiful chord progression and a low-key catchy melody always touched me the most, whatever type of music it was so now it feels the most natural to me to focus on writing chords and melodies.
I think my favorite producer right now would be DJ Mustard. Almost every beat he made sounds iconic to me, I guess like 70% of the music on my phone is produced by him. I think Palmistry is an amazing songwriter. My brother Firaasbeats made some of my favorite songs right now, and also i’m really into the music Niclas makes. Both of them have so much amazing music that’s not out yet.
How would you characterize your relationship with Staycore? What brings the crew together?
We’re just really good friends and whenever everyone is gathered it’s usually going to be mad fun. I feel like everyone of us is approaching music and art from a very different angle, which keeps it exciting to exchange ideas or just talk about anything, figuring out how to work out certain situations in life and music.
You’ve worked with vocalists a lot in the last year. What draws you to that kind of collaboration, and how has that experience affected the way you do solo work?
I’m really into lyrics, i love focusing on the lyrics when I listen to music. I always layered random acapellas on my songs, just for fun. At some point realized that some of them work as instrumentals pretty well. It was definitely also Uli K that inspired me to work with vocals, since he was the first one to propose that idea to me.
Working with vocalists definitely made me more aware of song structure, even in my solo songs I’m thinking in hooks and verses sometimes now. It also helped me reducing my music and just keeping a few essential elements, which i think makes it stronger.
Is there any significance behind the EP’s title?
It’s one of those terms that weirdly trigger many really different images and associations for me. I felt like all of them make sense with the music on that EP, so I had to call it that.
To hear the EP’s title track in action, revisit SKY H1’s recent THUMP mix, which also featured amorphously ambient club and a dembow-trance hybrid.
See Thru is out now.
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