The producer at the heart of Staycore and Bala Club
Impact is a series that's dedicated to profiling raw talent that's about to turn dance music on its head. Next up: Mechatok
Two crews have made a massive impact on underground club music over the past year: Stockholm's Staycore and London's Bala Club. Both have earned a reputation for producing incendiary dancefloor-ready tracks and their members are some of the most sought-after new DJs on the European circuit. The artists in each camp also recognise the importance of making music for moments away from the peak times, as evidenced in the euphoric highs and intimate lows of their compilations, 'Erelitha' and 'Bala Comp Vol.1', released in July and June respectively.
At the heart of the two squads is Mechatok, a gifted 19-year-old artist who specialises in heartwrenching productions and devastatingly good DJ sets. He crafts searing instrumentals (check the beautiful, gliding 'Day Lite' and the downright banging Toxe collaboration 'Still Life') and is incredibly adept at setting the scene for vocalists (Uli-K, Yung Lean, Killavessi and Rules all ride his beats on the Bala Club comp). It's this one-two that makes him such an exciting proposition and, most importantly, his music speaks for itself: the aforementioned 'Still Life' and 'Fix Up' (voiced by Uli-K) have become scene anthems.
His debut EP arrived via Public Possession in December 2015, a four tracker that drifted between club workouts and introspective bliss, and nearly 12 months on its follow up is finished and forthcoming on Staycore. This time the club is left completely behind, 'See Thru' a portal into the rich, highly emotional realm that Mechatok has previously hinted at but never fully explored. It's wildly different to anything the label has released before and all the more thrilling for it.
Ahead of the release, we grabbed a Q+A with the Berlin-based artist and he also went into the mix for us, grabbing tracks from friends such as Toxe, mobilegirl and Niclas as well as three tunes from 'See Thru': 'Linked', 'Placer' and 'Never Told U'. Hear for yourself why Mechatok is making an impact.
'See Thru' is released at the end of October via Staycore
Mechatok plays the PAN X ICA Bala Club afterparty tonight and Progress Bar Amsterdam on October 15
Your music strikes me as ethereal. Are you looking to transport people away from their everyday reality?
I’d be happy to! Or just make [their reality] appear from a slightly different angle maybe?
Strings and keys are prevalent in your tracks. Where does this interest stem from and do you play yourself?
I play the guitar and piano. Not anymore, really, but I definitely spent quite a lot of time on [those instruments]. I guess one of the things that is left from that is a fascination with the complexity of an acoustic instrument's sound, which I’m sometimes trying to recreate or imitate in my songs. It’s never about sounding fully realistic for me though.
Your instrumentals always seem to tell a story. Maybe it's because of the melodies, which always sound so emotionally charged. How do you go about writing tracks?
That’s kind of hard to say; there’s no routine that would lead to a certain type of result. It’s always about capturing a certain emotion with a melody or chord progression, going through its facets and somehow arranging that to something that works as a piece of music.
Your latest EP is called 'See Thru'. What's the concept behind the record?
To be honest, I don’t really want to explain any concept behind it. The songs were written and constantly evolved over the last 12 months, which has kind of been a special time for me. So I’m sure subconsciously all these experiences and emotions somehow have to reflect in the songs. But either way, this record should speak to the listener by itself or it has failed its point, I think.