Sunday, 14 April 2013

It's My Kind Of Interview - MKO

MKO are a fabulous electro/R&B/pop four piece from Brisbane who've just released their awesome second EP 'Lotus Lily Orchid Sunflower' and via the magic of the internet, the delightful Hannah Macklin answered some questions for us!

Interview by Jo Michelmore

Welcome to It's My Kind Of Scene! Tell us about your scene; who are you and your band mates, and well, what do you each do?

Hannah: MKO is myself (Hannah Macklin, on sample triggers and synth), Peta Wilson (keyboard and synth), Steele Chabau (bass and synth) and Myka Wallace (drums and MPC). I write the songs, demo them on my laptop and send them to the band, then we workshop them in rehearsal and figure out parts, sounds, arrangements and how to make the banginest beats we can!

‘Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower’ is your second EP release, following on from ‘Awaken The Herd’ which was released in early 2012. Do you think your sound has differed much between releases? Are they like children and you love them equally (or, which one is your favourite? Because we all know there’s always a favourite.)

Hannah: There has been nearly a year between the two releases and yes, the sound has differed quite vastly, although the aesthetic and vision remains the same. I think Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower is a more bold, bombastic foray into experimental, R&B and soul drenched electro. Awaken The Herd has a more bright/poppy finish, whereas LLOS leans more into hip-hop and electro-soul beats and production. I also got super creative with backing vocals on LLOS; using vocal layers to create different chorus-type vocals. Operatic, tribal, and choir-boy chorus were some of the styles of BVs that I had heaps of fun creating for the release. These were inspired by the work of Santigold and The Dirty Projectors.


The first time I was lucky enough to experience MKO live was a gig you did with Kira Puru and The Bruise last year and I was completely blown away! How much do you enjoy playing live and what’s been your favourite gig with MKO so far?

Hannah: We love playing live, we thrive on it! There's nothing like the adrenaline rush and in-the-moment, un-preconceived inspiration and creativity that takes place whilst playing together live. Each member of the band always has their own unique experience on stage, but I'd have to say my favourite gig so far was one we did at The Box in West End a few weeks ago with our great friends Superfeather. The room was packed and the vibe was awesome, we were playing on a self-set up and soundchecked system but everything felt clear and big and phat, and it rocked!

You have to describe your music as a food. What is it? Breakfast, lunch, dinner? A snack? A condiment? Sweet or savoury?

Hannah: Our music is a lemon cheesecake tart. A real treat! It's smooth and creamy and melts in your mouth, but with a sharp zing and zest that'll electric-shock your tastebuds in a good way.

You’re currently on the road for your ‘Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower’ EP launch tour, what do you like about touring and what do you dislike?

Hannah: We are indeed! We are currently in Sydney, we played our third and final show here last night and now have a couple of days off before we drive to Melbourne on Friday to play at The Evelyn on Saturday night. I love being away from home, playing to crowds where you know hardly anyone or no-one at all, meeting new people and making new fans, or even meeting old fans who have followed my music for a while which is always a really lovely surprise! I think the only thing I could really say I dislike about touring is running low on money - it's difficult to not blow all your funds shopping and eating out. Even the driving hasn't been too painful - on the commute down to Sydney we passed the time with music and when we got tired of playing DJ, listened to live comedy - Mitch Hedberg and Louis CK passed the time quickly and giggly!

Your music gets compared to a lot of amazing artists, like Erykah Badu and Little Dragon to name a couple. Any names that confuse you or you dislike? Any that you still get excited being compared to?

Hannah: There haven't been any comparisons that have confused or upset me so far - I usually find that if someone is making a comparison to a well-known and successful act, it's their way of giving a compliment whilst also trying to pin down what you sound like, to help inform other people. I'm of course excited every time someone makes the comparison to Little Dragon, Erykah, James Blake, The Dirty Projectors… these are all bands and artists that I love dearly and feel happy that these influences are apparent in MKO's music.

If you could play live or record with absolutely anyone, who would you choose?

Hannah: I answered this question with the same answer the other day - Bjork! She is just beyond, constantly reaching for something that's thus far undiscovered, a real explorer of sound and the way it relates to and is affected by nature, science and the universe. I feel that any collaboration with her would only benefit my music and extend my concept of sound.


The clip for ‘Snarly’ is absolutely beautiful. Tell us about the concept and making of it. How long were you lying around in that water and how fun was it?

Hannah: The concept for Snarly was an idea that Belinda McCulloch, the director, had after I told her that I wanted to make a clip that was more symbolic, more mood and aesthetic-based than previous clips I'd done, which have always been more focused on the narrative and a storyline. I felt that Snarly too much of a moody, ambient track - and also too precious and fragile - to be weighed down with a story. Belinda had the idea of shooting in water to emphasise the slow-motion aspect of the song, and then we fleshed out this idea with really romantic-inspired surroundings. I was in the water for about 5 hours in total - balancing on a pool noodle with kickboards under my head and butt. It was uncomfortable and freezing but the film crew were so encouraging and lovely, and the end product was so worth it, I'm overjoyed with how it turned out.

Lily. Lotus. Orchid. Sunflower. What’s your favourite flower?

Hannah: Orchids for sure. I could get lost for hours looking at an orchid! Truly one of nature's miracles.

I’m the artist, you’re the blogger; what do you ask me?

Hannah: Are you trying to get me to do your job?!

So now that you're totally in love with all that is MKO, you should be getting yourself a copy of their EP here, and then if you're in Brisbane you catch them at The Zoo on Saturday April 27, by getting yourself a ticket here. Do it. You know you want to.

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