Mahalo Loosens Up the Limbs With Perfect / Dirty Bass Boss Man for IN / ROTATION [Free Download]
In order for producers to make waves in today’s oversaturated marketplace, they need to find clever ways to separate themselves from the influx of copycat tracks that are flooding the scene. Mahalo has answered that problem by heading up his own genre, which he has dubbed “liquid house.” It’s an osmotic crossbreed of smooth grooves and loaded low-end that has permeated the catalogs of Toolroom, Perfect Havoc, and Armada over the last few years. This week, the Los Angeles–based producer is spilling over onto IN / ROTATION with a two-tracker meant to lube up those limbs.
Cat Lewis is a name that should instantly be associated with Mahalo’s material, seeing as how the two have consistently worked together since both of their careers took off. “Perfect” is another ace offering in a long line of collabs, as Lewis’ tender vocals are neatly underpinned by the ebb and flow of a deep, warm rhythm. On the flip is “DBBM,” which raises the temperature slightly, relying on a shuffling beat to fill the areas between bubbling tones, swinging stabs, and looped vox. No matter which side you listen to, you can’t go wrong.
We caught up with Mahalo to get the full scoop on his double-sided single, so hear him break it all down below.
You’re from Hawaii and are now based out of Los Angeles, two regions where sunny days are a regular occurrence. How, if at all, has living in both of these places affected your artistic direction?
Living in L.A. has definitely shaped me as an artist and given me more of a vision of what I’ve wanted to express with my music. This city is a total melting pot in regards to music and has granted me with a great perspective on how to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself.
Since winning the Discovery competition at last year’s Countdown, you’ve played EDC Las Vegas and have jointed the APA roster. It’s seems like you’re in a great place in your career. What have been the biggest challenges to get where you are now?
Thank you! I think one of the biggest challenges is finding ways to constantly improve on what you’re doing. When something works, it’s easy to get comfortable and just replicate it; that makes sense, really, in the “If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it” type of mentality. However, I find it much more rewarding to be pushing yourself to be the best you can possibly be.
You’ve been pushing your own liquid house genre. Can you give us a quick breakdown on what that’s all about and why people should be paying attention?
Liquid house is something I’ve been culminating [sic] for a while now, and if I could best sum it up, it would be bass music combined with deep, groovy house music. I think it’s really a marriage of two very different styles in a way that delivers something for everybody. Live, it’s emotive, danceable, and has a fluid groove, while also having appeal in the form of headphone music, where you can listen to it anywhere.
Each single on this double-sided release for I / R takes it own distinct path. What was going on in your life when you were writing each one?
“Perfect”: I remember this was one of the first tracks I wrote after joining the Perfect Havoc roster, and originally, it wasn’t supposed to have vox. But I sent to CL to hear it anyway, and he had some ideas on it. We ended up getting together for it, and the rest is history.
“DBBM”: I actually came up with this right after Nocturnal last year! I was checking out artists at the Upside-Down House pretty much all night and came home just so damn inspired.
What pieces of kit did you use?
In terms of drums, lots of loops and samples—like in “DBBM,” it’s layers of shortened/shuffled loops and one-shots. For bass sounds, Sylenth1 is my jam. “Perfect” is multiple layers, while “DBBM” is a more simplistic sine bass sound. Valhalla makes probably one of the best reverbs on the market, and we used the vintage verb on the “Perfect” vocals alongside some FabFilter plugs, as well.
Cat Lewis is an artist with whom you work on the regular. What keeps you going back time and time again?
His devilish good looks. Jk, he’s ugly. We’re a team, man, and have been together since the very beginning of our musical careers in L.A. I love working with him, and we constantly are finding new ways to keep a streamlined sound and vibe with our music, while also pushing ourselves to be progressive. Plus, the kid has the best songwriting and vocal production talents I’ve ever heard; he should get a full artist visa. ;)
You’re swinging into Nocturnal Wonderland this year for the first time. What can fans look forward to when it happens?
And I could not be more hyped for it! People should expect the full liquid house experience, complete with new music, some classics, and of course, a few added surprises.
What’s next for Mahalo?
I’ve been working on some projects that are vastly different than what I’ve been putting out so far this year, and I’m really happy with how they’re coming along. I’ve also got some remixes for artists that I’ve been very fortunate to get a chance to work for. It’s all coming down the pipeline soon, so keep an eye out!
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