How punk rocker Mailer Daemon turned to hip hop
From rocking a punk band to turning into hip hop. Mailer Daemon embodies a culture of music that is taking over. A fusion as you will, cross-promoting genres such as punk, pop and hip hop to create an end product that demands attention. He recently released an album dubbed ‘Ronin 3’ which seamlessly mixes organic sounds and the electro sounds providing a balance between day and night, shadow and light.
We sit down with Mailer Daemon about how he mixed his passion for punk into hip hop, how his name came about and the top 3 tracks he’s listening to at the moment. Margaret Tra writes.
Love the name, how did that come about?
Thanks, people do compliment the name a bunch. It just had this dope cyberpunk, 90’s hacker, Final Fantasy kind of vibe to it, and that fit the music perfectly. In Greek/Roman times, Daemon's were deities, they believed all creativity came from these summons instead of the self. Fast-forward to the internet, Daemon's are bots that automate, I like the cyber evolution of the metaphor, this mix of 'classic' evolving into 'electro' worlds was a good match to the rock evolving to hip hop vibe.
You dabble into the alt-hip hop, how did your sound come about?
I grew playing in alternative/post punk bands in the 90’s, in the 00’s I became a producer/DJ, and in this decade I focused on hip hop, but brought in all the influences and dynamics of my musically. It comes naturally for me, it's always been about mixing and matching styles, flipping things on it's head, it's a very DIY punk approach, but also super pop and mainstream. That duality has been part of my essence since day one, it's my original form, and for this generation it makes sense, lines are always blurring and diversity is exciting.
You just released ‘Ronin 3,’ tell us about what it’s like?
‘Ronin 3’ is the third and final chapter of the Ronin Trilogy, an alternative hip hop cyberpunk bass saga. If the first album was rock, and the second was electro-minimal, I wanted this album to be in the middle of those two sounds. It's got the organic sounds with the electro sounds, a balance between day and night, shadow and light. The music was done by me, and the writing was done by Sage, he performed all the vocals and my guide parts, and I re-recorded my vocal parts. It was great to have the cohesion of less voices, it gave the album a solid focus.
‘Automation’ is a funky upbeat jam from your album, what made you chose this as your first release of the album?
‘Automation’ had this interesting soundscape which reminded me of something like Prince meets Radiohead, but the hook was this grime kinda bass culture thing, and it made for such an interesting combination. People really dug the groove and the hook so we thought it would make a pretty sweet first impression. The Mailer Daemon sound is all kinda there in this tune too, you got the live alternative rock band kind of instrumentation, the funky groovy production as the rhythm section, then on top you've got the auto-tune Travis Scott type vocals. Nice combo!
First 3 tracks you listen to your phone on repeat?
1. Let’s go with Survivor - Eye of the Tiger.
2. A Tribe Called Quest - The Space Program.
3. Take Me - Korn (come on you loved Korn once).
You’re doing something different in the hip hop scene, how does it feel to be doing that?
It feels very natural, because i've always been doing something different. It feels rewarding, it's cool to bring something new to the table and to open up people's minds to different sounds and combinations. At times it's a bit tough to get momentum going when you don't fit in a 'box', but at the same time, the converse is also true, where the uniqueness really helps garner attention and support. Ultimately, in art, the purpose is the find 'yourself', find your 'voice', that is the ultimate goal. It's about finding your voice, but having the message connect with people so they can relate too.
What’s next for you, touring?
What's next for me is I'll be in Asia for a bit, then to the west coast of the states for a bit. What's next for me is that I'm taking the Mailer Daemon workflow into a vlogging context, so stay tuned to the Mailer Daemon youtube for the next chapter! My next project is 'Boss Level', and i'll be integrating a lot of vlogging into the creative process.
What Stimulates your soul?
What stimulates my soul is when a connection is made with other souls through art, a connection of souls. Darks Souls 3 was quite stimulating too. Blood Orange, Frank Ocean, A Tribe Called Quest, Chance the Rapper, Yung Lean, and Anderson Paak also stimulate my soul. Stimulate Your Soul stimulates my soul.