Mako + Madison Beer Interview: Trio Talk ‘I Won’t Let You Walk Away’ [EXCLUSIVE]
The union of electronica duo Mako and Justin Bieber-protege Madison Beer is an unlikely one, we'll give you that. But good origin stories are always kind of weird. Take the members of Mako, if you want a really good example. Alex Seaver is a classically trained musician who went to Manhattan's elite Juilliard School before teaming up with Logan Light -- a skilled DJ who had long opened for huge names in the EDM scene like Avicii and Tiesto. They somehow made it work, drawing from their opposing backgrounds to create Mako.
Madison, on the other hand, comes from a world entirely removed from Mako's. A 16-year-old YouTube hopeful who received the ultimate cosmic endorsement in the form of a tweet from Justin Bieber himself, Madison found her universe totally shifted once she was signed -- in a pretty fantastic way. She suddenly had the support of thousands of Beliebers -- a formidable force to be reckoned with, if ever there were one -- and the opportunity to do what she loves on a much wider platform: Sing.
So how exactly did the three of them come together to release "I Won't Let You Walk Away," -- a track that can act as the soundtrack to both 2AM tequila shots in the club and an impromptu road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway?
Check out our full interview with Mako and Madison Beer below to find out!
For “I Won’t Let You Walk Away,” I know the track started out as an instrumental called “Sunburst" and fans wanted to hear vocals over the original version. Did you guys write the vocal melody and then seek out a singer or was it more of a collaborative effort?
Alex: It was really exciting. I recorded a really terrible one of my own voice to try and sound like a girl. I knew I wanted the sound of a certain girl and I was friends with Madison’s manager, and I sent him my version of it and he immediately said "What about Madison?" And then that just inspired the entire rest of the project. We got her over for three sessions or so, caused a bit of mayhem and then wrapped it up and it was so easy! It was just so much fun and easy to put together.
Madison, what was it that appealed to you about the track? Why did you ultimately decide to sign on?
Madison: He played the track for me when I went into the studio and I just fell in love with it immediately. I thought it was just a fun, kind of like, it was very summery to me and I kind of got a whole summery, fun vibe from it. So I was just really excited the second I heard about it, and the fact that he really wanted me to be on the vocals was so awesome to me. I was just really eager and excited to get on the song.
The music video is really cool — it’s super creative, really visually appealing. Can you guys tell me about the filming process and what inspired it?
Logan: I don’t remember exactly how it started, but I know we wanted to do a lyric video of some sort. I don’t remember how the idea came to us, but when they showed us that kind of Matrix-y type thing we thought it was super cool. We kind of had some idea of what we were gonna do for certain shots walking in, and then a lot of it we just had a lot of fun there. It was a good 12-hour day on set. We had a lot of fun with it. Some of the impromptu things like Alex jumping over the couch in one of the shots, and playing with the glow sticks to spell out the letters were all kind of impromptu things that came out really cool in the end. We’re really happy with the way it came out. Patrick Tracy directed it, he was a great time and it all worked out really well.
Did you guys have a favorite part of filming the video?
Alex: I think it was Madison coming at both of us with a steak knife. That was definitely one of my favorite parts to film.
Madison: [laughs] That was fun.
Do you guys have any plans to work on more music together in the future?
Alex: Ooh, interesting question. I think we actually just had Madison come out to our first show at Create and that went off, it was so crazy! I don’t know if you saw the pictures, Madison, but they look so baller.
Madison: Yeah, they look really awesome!
Alex: Yeah, she played the song with us live last weekend and it was a huge success for us, so we’re gonna bring her out to as many more shows as we can. We’re doing some festivals and we’re just putting this together right now. Madison is such a star so anything can happen, but I gotta say this is probably one of the most exciting releases we’ve had yet.
While we're on the topic, what are your live shows like?
Alex: Oh man, Logan, what do we pull out? How many things do we do?
Logan: We’re trying to add more and more before we go until we’re playing a good amount of festivals. I wish I could tell you some but under contract we can’t announce them until they announce them. But we try to make it more than just the DJ thing. We have a whole theatrical intro that Alex may be able to describe a little better. We do live piano, when Madison’s available we'll bring her out to sing, we have live violinists, we want to do live timpani drums and stuff like that. We try to make it a fun DJ show, because that is the backbone of where we were, but we want to add something in to show Alex’s musical background and all these orchestral elements and still make it fun and musical instead of just two people pushing buttons with cool lights behind them. We want to make it something bigger and better and cooler and more musical, because at the end of the day all the music starts on a piano in a little room in North Hollywood and we kind of want to bring those elements out to the fans and to the shows.
Madison is such a star so anything can happen, but I gotta say this is probably one of the most exciting releases we’ve had yet.
I wanted to ask how you guys started, because you both seem to come from really different musical backgrounds. How did you decide that you wanted to work together and go into electronica?
Alex: It sort of happened unexpectedly. I moved out to Los Angeles to pursue movie music and orchestral stuff. Logan took me out to Electric Daisy Carnival and not only did I not know what that was, but I didn’t know what electronic music was. It freaked me out -- it was so cool and so crazy. I don’t know, over the next year I just started peddling electronic stuff on the side while I was pursuing my own stuff and then it just took over. I mean, we just got really involved in it. We got involved in song writing and then just kind of threaded ourselves throughout any aspect of the music industry here in Los Angeles that we could and we haven’t really looked back since. Now we’re at a phase where we want to start to combine our orchestral background, sort of enunciate the differences in our backgrounds a little bit. But it’s a great marriage of two worlds that you wouldn’t imagine coming together but the whole thing has been... Compatible is a good word for it, for us.
Really quick — Is it pronounced MAY-ko or MAH-ko? Because I tried Googling, but all I could find was a forum of people arguing over the correct pronunciation.
Alex: It’s still open to interpretation, I think! We call it MAY-ko but a lot of people say it MAH-ko, and, you know, we’re not gonna judge them.
Good to know. Madison, I know you were discovered by Justin Bieber on YouTube, which is kind of like the circle of life since that’s how he was discovered. Can you tell me a little bit about that and how that’s influenced how far you’ve come and where you are now in your career?
Madison: Yeah, sure! Basically, I posted a YouTube video in 2012 and Justin saw it and tweeted out the link to it and obviously, being a 13-year-old girl who was obsessed with him, having him tweet that out was insane for me. So that’s basically how it came about — he saw my video and he tweeted it out, which was crazy. Fast forward to a couple weeks later, I wound up signing with his manager and meeting him and then we became super close over time. He became my mentor and big brother now and it's been really awesome working with him. The opportunity he’s given me is incredible, so it’s all — even after three years — it’s still such a shock to me when I realize what position I’m in. I’m so grateful to him and Scooter and everyone who’s discovered me.