The Brisbane-based beat maker Adrian Mauro, the man behind Machine Age, known for his powerful blending of electronica glitchy progressions and acoustic instruments, has finally released his brand new single Fighting. Adrian admits that he produced the song himself with additional mixing from the Slumberjack boys and mastering by Andrei Eremin [Chet Faker, Hiatus Kaiyote]. The electronic musician, alongside his reliable drummer Dylan Stewart, are taking Australia by a storm and are developing a reputation for delivering incredible live shows and intricately impressive compositions.
Fighting involves a new intensity compared to his other two singles Chivalry and Don’t Look – something which comes to him in the studio, during his high-octaine live shows and on the road with other inspiring artists. The equally demanding and rewarding process of shaping and experimenting with different elements in his music is driven by his genuine excitement about producing his art, incorporating electronic beats and acoustics and colliding them with synth-laden soundscapes. “I have to remind myself every day to keep writing and recording, because eventually you will be able to create the art you want to create and overcome those demons of self-doubt that every artist has,” he muses.
I was lucky enough to have a chat with Adrian about his career and his passion for music, including his new single Fighting and the influences behind his style of music. Talking with Adrian, we started discussing main points of inspiration behind Fighting, qualities he personally favoured and the production stages. Adrian admitted he was trying to find something that really suited him, and once he finally got the right feel and sound in the music, the lyrics came easily.
“When I got the general chord progression and was getting the vibe for what textures and colours I wanted to have in the song, it came together really quickly just because I was so excited about it… The main chorus I realised was quite similar to an old acoustic demo on my phone, which I went searching for and I finally found and I was like ‘Sweet this fits perfectly,’” he laughs, “so I reversed engineered it from there. I guess lyrically it’s a mash of that general frustration of the day-to-day grind.”
Nevertheless, Adrian got to a stage where he was considering “if [the track] was any good anymore” and was overthinking it, so his manager helped by “sending it to Slumberjack where Morgan [Then] was kind enough to pull it apart and make suggestions” to the parts that Adrian wasn’t particularly happy with. He explained that once he achieved the aspects in the song that he loved, it made him feel excited and confident for the song to be complete.
“There is a Juno synth in it that basically helped pull the whole track together… in terms of stuff I have released, it’s probably the best blend of all the things that I love… and I like to think I conjured some good imagery from it.”
Adrian continued to explain the process of constructing the track. “In a day I had the general ideas, over the following days I had the structure and general vibe of the whole song, then the next few months I was refining it all up to when it was finished and I could finally test it out on stage with Dylan.” The track overall incorporates many elements both acoustic and electric that stands out from many other artists; a well-blended sense of unity that creates this constantly building song with intricately layered instrumentations.
Moving on from the impressive single, I wanted to know more about the influences behind Adrian’s style of music and who inspired him to be a musician. “So having three older brothers who had different tastes would be the biggest [influence] on my style of music, as one brother played blues and jazz, then my eldest brother was into ‘70s rock like Pink Floyd and then my other brother was into pop music, always listening to the Top 40 and a lot of electronic music, so I have always embraced those influences… I try to pick the things I liked out of each one of them, so I think it’s taken me a while to figure out how to do that with my own music.”
Adrian has been on stage too many times to count over the past couple of years – joining Holy Holy on tour as well as The Jungle Giants, Banff and Big Scary. Moving from being a one-man band, self-managing and self-producing – and now having a few other people involved, I asked Adrian how he was feeling adding others to the mix?
“Awesome, it basically gives you a firmer direction and really takes the heat off being on stage being that one-man band – I was getting a bit burnt out and found it too self-indulging,” he laughs. “It was good having Dylan and I think it gave a more dynamic contrast in my shows now. Offstage, I now have a manager and a booking agent, so it’s great not having to do all that self-management stuff and it’s nice having that extra support.”
We concluded the interview with Adrian’s advice for emerging musicians: “The best thing is to just start… you can easily be paralyzed by the fears of failure and so the main thing is to keep working at it and make time for it every day.”