As producer and vocalist Mac Wetha calls in from his room in Vauxhall, south London, he’s distinctly relaxed about the release of his debut EP, Make It Thru, which came out on Dirty Hit yesterday and marks a significant milestone for the artist.
“I don’t feel nervous anymore. I feel good, I feel happy,” he says. “It’s taken slow steps to this point, so this just feels like work coming to fruition.”
As a member of NiNE8, the DIY music collective from west London, Wetha has spent the last few years producing critically acclaimed tracks for the likes of Biig Piig, Lava La Rue and Aminé. Now, he’s ready to put himself front and centre as a solo artist to be contended with.
Make It Thru’s five tracks pull strands from hip-hop, old school indie pop and Wetha’s time spent performing with rock bands to dizzying effect.
The EP’s single, REM, features hazy, distorted vocals with lyrics meditating on dreams and nightmares: “I’ve been having the weirdest dreams /I feel like there’s no escape /Everyone around me is splitting off /I feel like I should vacate”, Wetha sings powerfully, though he admits to having dug deep to draw from happy emotions for this release, too.
Case in point with Wayside, a song with a melancholy beat whose daydreaming lyrics pack a punch and look brightly to the future: “When this is all done /I hope you can find the time /It’s gonna be strange to miss this confinement”– a (hopefully) fitting prelude to 21st June, when you’ll be able to listen to Mac Wetha surrounded by all your mates in a sweaty bar.
Watch the video for Wayside, and get your 100% fill below.
10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
I was born in Hillingdon, London and was raised around West London for a bit. I also lived in Watford. Then I moved to the south of Spain for five years, before settling in Kingston upon Thames. Now I live in Vauxhall, London.
20%: Love, like, hate?
I love Tony’s Deli in Vauxhall, the guys who work there are so nice. There’s a big Italian flag outside, but they’re all Portuguese and there’s no Italian food. I like Ramalho’s Deli in Oval, and hate is a strong word – I don’t hate anything.
30%: If you’re cooking to impress someone, what will you make?
Pizza. I work doing street food and woodfired pizza, so I’d bang one out from scratch. As for toppings, I’d chuck on some nduja, buffalo mozzarella and honey.
40%: What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?
I think it’s easiest to write about personal experiences which hurt you or make you sad. I’m trying to explore feelings of happiness and joy, and trying to put that in music. I find it harder, but it’s fun to try out.
50%: When did you find your confidence as an artist?
I used to be in rock bands for a long time, up until quite recently actually. We played shows from when I was 12, shows at school and stuff. Then we started doing a circuit of borderline pay-to-play gigs with real scam artist promoters, playing to zero people. Doing that for as long as I did has made me completely invulnerable to any feelings of embarrassment on stage. When you’re playing a heavy music show to no one apart from your mum and a guy at the bar, you can’t really get any lower than that, so nothing phases me anymore.
60%: No.1 holiday destination?
Hawaii, Korea, Japan. I’d also love to go to South America.
70%: Biggest pet peeve?
In the context of the music scene in London, some people get jealous and speak badly of people when they don’t know them. Everyone’s guilty of it, but you judge someone and assume they’re a certain way before meeting them and realising they’re really nice.
80%: How would you celebrate your last birthday?
I’d be on some sort of mountain where you can snowboard and ski. Maybe there’s a little skatepark up there, where all the homies can hang out, have a barbecue. Then there’d be a casino at the bottom of the slopes, with slots, roulette, blackjack. It wouldn’t even matter if I won or lost, because it’d be my last birthday.
90%: What can artists do to help save the world?
It’s good for people to be honest and raise awareness about stuff in their art. That’s the most important thing for artists, to speak their truth. It’s a hard one, because is it anyone’s responsibility to try and save the world, especially that of an artist?
100%: Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
It’s very simplistic, but hard work pays off. It’s just true of everything. As long as you’re directing your hard work in the right way, you’ll get back out what you put in. I’ve always lived by that and it’s worked for me thus far.