Art & Culture

Interview: MkX is the Futuristic Pop Star We’ve Been Looking For

Photo Credit: Anthony Grasetti

While paying homage to pop’s brightest stars of the early 00’s era, MkX is bringing that flare back to modern pop music. MkX has earned a name in the music industry as a songwriter and producer collaborating with artists like K-Pop group TWICE, but now MkX is diving in as a solo artist. With powerpop tunes in hand MkX is an exciting artist that is going against the grain. MkX dropped the entirely self made music video for his latest single “Fall”. We caught up with MkX to learn about the person behind the retro-futuristic visuals. Read our full interview below and jam along to the Personal Impressions playlist MkX put together exclusively for us.

Tell me more about your single “Fall”. It’s such an anthem, what kind of headspace were you in when you wrote it and tell me more about what or who it’s about?

I wrote “Fall” about the three stages of falling for someone.  The first part of the song is about apprehension and wanting to protect yourself from getting hurt.  The second part of the song is about realization, coming to terms with the fact that you’re falling for this person.  The third (and final) part of the song is about owning it and switching roles to make that person fall for you.  I wrote the song in one night, but I was super picky about the production for this track so it took me a couple months to get it exactly where I wanted it.

I love that you shot and edited the video yourself. Tell me about your thought process behind it and what it was like working on this on your own?

Thank you!!  It was definitely a lot of fun.  As for the thought process, I had a ton of ideas for what I wanted each scene to be, so I started by planning a bunch of outfits to go with each shot.  Once I planned everything out, I set up a blue screen in my basement, put my camera on a tripod and started filming!  I filmed the video over two days, but it took me over a month to edit.  It was fun making each scene come to life but it was also pretty tedious at times.  I’m super happy with how it came out and I can’t wait to finally put it out into the world!

How do the visuals tie in to your message behind the track?

In a handful of scenes I actually “Fall”, except instead of falling for a person I fall off of a building HAHAHAHAHA.  I especially wanted the visuals to reflect the song’s sound, so my goal was to make one of those epic early 2000s music videos with over-the-top special effects.

It’s very futuristic yet reminiscent of early 2000s music videos, do you have any specific artists from that era you’re drawing influence from?

Yes definitely!!  There was this period in the early 00s where visual effects were starting to become more popular in music videos, so everyone went HAM and added tons of these retro-futuristic, larger than life special effects.  Since the song itself is an homage to early 00s pop music, I wanted the video to convey that same vibe.  As for the actual song, I’ve always been super inspired by Max Martin and Rami Yacoub, the masterminds that produced all the classic early 00s pop bangers for Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, etc.  My goal when making this song was to create a track with that signature 00s pop sound but trap it out with electronic sound design.  

One of your latest singles “Down” was a collaboration with the incredible cupcakKe. How did that come about?

It was super surreal.  I actually wrote/recorded “Down” and sat on it for about a year.  I tested the song out by performing it in a few nightclubs and it got a really good response from the different crowds.  I knew I wanted to add a rap feature to the song, but I wanted to wait until the right person came along.  I’ve been a fan of cupcakKe for a few years, so when she said she wanted to cut a verse on the song I was SO thrilled!!  She absolutely KILLED it.

You’ve written with Kim Petras and produce for K-Pop group TWICE, how different is it writing for yourself as opposed to others?

I’d say the biggest difference is the actual pace of writing  When I write songs by myself I take my sweet time fine tuning ideas until they’re exactly how I want them to be.  When I’m co-writing with other people we non-stop throw ideas at each other, building off of each other’s concepts.  It can be a little hectic compared to writing solo, but it’s a ton of fun!

Why did you want to combine nostalgia with futurism? How does that stand out to you?

I’ve always had an extreme fascination with the future and the past, they have such an interesting dynamic.  I love comparing the concepts of the future to the building blocks of the past that brought us to the present.  I’m also super fascinated by the concept of what people ~thought~ would be the future like 30-40 years ago.  I think retro-futurism is such an interesting concept.

What can fans expect from you for the upcoming fall months?

I finished a bunch of songs during the quarantine and I can’t wait for you to hear what’s next!

Now that you know a little more about MkX dive into his specially curated playlist featuring a balanced blend of pop’s latest and greatest. Read his track by track commentary about the playlist below.

Fall by MkX

I wrote and produced this record by myself in my apartment.  I wanted to pay homage to early ‘00s pop music with a 2020 twist.  I just dropped the music video for this track as well.  I shot and edited it on my laptop, check it out!

Get Another Boyfriend by Backstreet Boys

This is one of the many amazing Max Martin/Rami Yacoub songs from the early ‘00s that inspired the sound for “Fall”.  I miss this style of epic pop music so much and hope it makes a comeback in the 2020s!

So Happy I Could Die by Lady Gaga

One of the main reasons I love music so much is the aspect of escapism.  Whenever I listen to this record, my mind enters a completely different environment.  It’s like I enter this avant-garde digital fantasy filled with synthesizers and diamonds.

Don’t Phunk With My Heart by MkX

I just dropped this Hyperpop cover of “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” by the Black Eyed Peas.  I loved this record as a kid and wanted to put my own electronic spin on it.  It was a lot of fun recreating this song through such a different lens.

Look At Me by That Kid

Try to listen to this song and not shake your ass, I dare you.  When your body automatically starts dancing, that’s when you know issa banger.  The sound design on this track is insane!

Balenciaga by Princess Nokia

My friend sent me this song a couple weeks ago and it’s been stuck in my head since.  The song has such a cool concept too that I really resonate with.  I dress in my own style to empower myself, not to impress others.

Roll With Me by Charli XCX

A sick pop track by two electro queens I look up to, Charli XCX and Sophie.  Love the contrast of the bubblegum-pop chord progression against the glitchy synths/drums.

BACK FOR YOU by Cashmere Cat

Cashmere Cat is such an incredible producer and sound designer.  I’ve been following his work for a few years now, his tracks never fail to inspire me.  P.S. get ready for the dopest beat switch-up.

Overprotected by Britney Spears

Another CLASSIC ‘00s banger that inspired “Fall”.  This song has such undeniable energy, it’s remained one of my favorites since it came out almost 20 years ago!! (That’s WILD.)

Cash Race by Tinashe

This entire album is SO great, but this is definitely a standout track for me.  Another unexpected beat switch-up that hits different.  Her confidence and swag in this track is unreal.

Be sure to keep with MkX on socials and get ready for more new music!

Instagram | YouTube | Spotify | Soundcloud

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