Artist Of The Week #0063 - mxmtoon
This week’s Artist Of The Week is Oakland artist mxmtoon, who’s ‘plum blossom ep’ is out now. The EP is overflowing with that bedroom-folk vibe but you can also feel a huge personal story within her music.
She took a moment to talk to us about how the EP was put together.
Where was the EP recorded? Any behind the scenes stories?
The EP was recorded my parent's guest room/my now home studio! It was second time ever working with a sound engineer, and my own studio only has a few microphones and a bunch of ukuleles, so when she came over she had this Mary Poppins bag that was filled with equipment. It all took like an hour to set up! I don't have any specific stories per say, but working with another individual after spending so much time recording music in your bedroom for only your ears is such a surreal experience. Definitely funny to have someone walk you through takes and help out with the technical stuff. I still only barely understand Garage Band!
Why do you find the inspiration for your lyrics?
I tackle my songs as if they're diary entries, so writing them always comes from a specific moment of inspiration. I try to be as open and honest as I can be as well! I think the thing with doing songs that are so bare in production is that lyrics become much more meaningful to the piece. So I try to be as transparent as possible for whatever theme that I'm writing about on a given day. I also think teenagers as a group exist with a "lone-wolf" mentality, where we're all just fighting and eating scraps to survive and the struggles we face are entirely our own all the time. My philosophy behind writing the songs I do is to bring forward my own story and bridge people together off of the commonalities of the human experience. So I get inspiration from that as well!
How long have you been playing the ukulele? What made you want to play it?
I was actually required to start learning the ukulele due to a change in my middle school's music curriculum! Guitar was pretty challenging for small middle schoolers who have tiny hands so naturally ukulele was the instrument we switched over to, and of course we all had to learn "Riptide" as a class. I ended up loving it, and have been playing ever since. I liked how easy it was to play my favorite songs and also that the frustration of being unable to do a barre chord on a guitar was non-exist. I got my first ukulele on Christmas in 2012, and have amassed five total members to my ukulele family since then. I tell myself I love them all equally but I think I might be biased toward my baritone uke. Shh, don't tell the others.
What music did you grow up listening to? Do you feel it has influenced you own song-writing ?
I listened to a lot growing up. It depended on the environment as well! if my parents were cooking in the kitchen, it might have been Salt-N-Pepa or A Tribe Called Quest. If it was my grandparent's houses it probably would've been Tchaikovsky or Bach on vinyl, or even Joni Mitchel. Although, I don't think I developed a personal sense of music taste until I started band in middle school where we sang a lot of Arctic Monkey's, Van Halen, and even Rush. I still listen to a lot of those artists, but don't think I ever found specific inspiration in them. I find a lot more now in my contemporaries and how they navigate their creative fields! My personal favorites are Beirut and Alec Benjamin right now!
What are your plans for the next few months?
I'm looking forward to spending some more time on writing! It's been a while since I've gotten to sit down and think about a new song. I'll also be playing a show in LA on the 25th at the Moroccan Lounge! Super excited to come back and to headline, it'll be amazing. Also going on tour in March! So big things all around, gonna be an exciting kickoff to 2019 that's for sure.