CULTED SOUNDS: MAC WETHA TALKS NiNE8, CREATIVE INFLUENCES & HIS UNIQUE STYLE
As one of the founding members of the NiNE8 collective, conceiving the group with his classmates in college and recording their early material with just a USB mic in his bedroom, Mac Wetha has since built a strong community of artists and supporters – showing no signs of slowing down.
Though he’s making waves in the music industry with friends and collaborators, Mac is also building a powerful catalogue of solo work outside of the collective. After recently releasing his Latest single titled ‘Play Pretend (feat. Spill Tab)’, we caught up with Mac to gain further insight into his work, life and thought processes.
Congratulations on your newest single ‘Play Pretend’! Talk us through your process with Spill Tab and how the collaboration came to be.
Thank you! 🙂 My manager Archie actually linked us up, he knows I’m a big fan of Claire’s and she was in London so herself, Chris (Kurisu, Co-producer and engineer on the track) and I hung out and ended up making this song pretty much in one sitting; it all came together very naturally and as it often happens when making music collaboratively we wrote lyrics about the same subject without actually talking about it out loud. Which is cool! We’ve since hung out a bunch of times and filmed the music video in LA recently.
Growing up, did you know you wanted to be a musician? Who helped influence your career path?
I’ve always wanted to perform and be on stage for sure, but my parents buying me Guitar Hero and Singstar really guided me into music I gotta say. My folks have always been hugely supportive also so definitely owe them a lot, I’ve had a lot of people doubt me but having them always behind me means the world, I’m a lucky kid. The internet also influenced my career path because I discovered so much stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise; bands like System of a Down and producers like DOOM, Spaceghostpurrp and Yung Lean etc were all hugely influential for me, just to name a few.
The Nine8 Collective is a super-talented group of young artists. How was the group conceived?
Thanks !! Well Lava, Biig Piig and I all were in the same class at college, we became fast friends and one day Lava took me out for lunch and pitched the idea of NiNE8 to me. It sounded amazing from the beginning, the idea being NiNE8 Collective would be more of a platform than a closed group, and we’d unite people from all over the city to trade creative favours and collaborate, and more importantly just back each other and create a strong community where everyone is welcome. That very quickly became a reality; Lava put on some legendary nights back then at the age of like 16/17, nights where I met some of the musicians and collaborators who I consider my closest friends to this day, and we just kept collaborating and making music until eventually what was left was the core members you see today :).
You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that it’s hard to work alone. What’s so beneficial about working with a group? Especially one like Nine8 Collective.
I find it beneficial because I like bouncing ideas of people. It’s one thing thinking something and then even making it and listening back, but having someone there to listen and give feedback is incredibly valuable. Especially with NiNE8 because I trust them all so much, and they know me so well, it’s like they know what kind of stuff I’m capable of but maybe won’t do myself because I’m shy about it or whatever, for example. We all push each other in a cool way.
Production is a vital tool in your creative box. Do you enjoy producing or singing more, and why?
Obviously I love both aspects but in different ways, I love performing so singing and playing is the best in terms of being on stage, but I also love spending hours messing around with textures and sampling etc and making beats so I definitely can’t pick something I enjoy more. I love it all.
While listening to your music, it was hard to pin down your style. What would you categorise your music as?
Yeah I get that, in a way I’m still working out my sound, I’ve been producing for others for so long and I’ve always been trying to facilitate their vision and their sound, so now creating my own more forward facing stuff is a new journey which I’m kinda working on out loud, so to speak. All the projects I’ve put out so far is me trying sounds out and getting comfortable, and I feel I’m getting closer and closer to what I’m really trying to create. So I won’t categorise it for you just yet.. Still working on it.
If you could talk to the kid sitting in his room with headphones on, listening to your tunes, what would you tell them? What would you hope they would gain from listening to your tracks?
I guess that you can do anything you want and you can do it your way. All the first NiNE8 stuff was recorded in my bedroom with a USB mic; you can create without having the best plugins and instruments and even theoretical knowledge etc.. If you want to express yourself and feel inspired you can create with whatever tools you have it your disposal.
The life of a musician can often be strenuous and tiring. How do you decompress and recharge after long studio sessions?
I cycle about 45 minutes to and from my studio which definitely helps, and I try take days off and not be staring at screens when I’m home, since I spend so long doing that in the stu… I also live with and around loads of my close friends which really really helps. There’s loads of great delis and cafe’s in my area which I go to on almost a daily basis to read and have a coffee, that does me good fr.
Songs like Pelican Freestyle and Dani song come from wholesome places. What are some aspects of your life that you like to use as a muse?
They are very wholesome, I was going for wholesome on that project. Usually relationships I’d say are a big one for lyrical inspo, ‘Cloud Paint’ is lyrically kind of aimed at myself, like a bit of a mantra I guess. You know when you sometimes feel like you’ve really figured things out, whatever they may be, and then you kinda just forget that the next day and feel lost again? I tried to write that kind of stuff down and make it into lyrics for myself, and then hopefully that helps someone else out.
Who would be your dream collab right now? Give me maybe one musical collaboration and one producer.
Alex G and Spaceghostpurrp.
As an artist, I’m sure you’re listening to tracks 24/7. What are five that you can’t skip right now?
- Slimesito – Apollo
- Fleshwater – What Was Really Said
- The 1975 – All I Need To Hear
- Sorry – Key To My City
- Chico da Tina, tripsyhell – Princesa dos meus sonhos