From the peak of Michael Jackson’s career to Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life,” Makola was inspired by it all. We talked about the highlights of the ‘90s and ‘00s that moved them to get into music and create their own. Other topics on the table were their single “Pay Da Bills,” how they’ve managed to navigate 2020, and more.
Kendra: What brought you two together? Did you meet through music, mutual friends?
Makola: We met in Hawley Arms in Camden, had a few dozen bevies, and spoke about music until we were crawling out. A few weeks later we were in the studio creating our first song together. I remember we briefly met Peter Crouch and Miles Kane at the bar, why not name drop.
Kendra: Influenced by the pop and hip hop of the ‘90s and ‘00s, who would you each say owned their respective decade, and has that artist played a part in getting your creative juices going with Makola?
Makola: Great question, the kind you can never answer correctly. In terms of superstardom, celebrity, influence, style, talent, and above all music, you’d have to say Michael Jackson had the ‘90s hands down, not sure it’s a contest. In the naughties, I’d have to give it to Jay-Z because he took the culture mainstream for better or for worse. More than the music he showed his peers how to be a businessman and I think he created that mindset for many of the artists today.
Kendra: Other than the music of those decades, what aspect of pop culture from either the ‘90s or ‘00s would you say makes you the most nostalgic?
Makola: Got to be Arsene Wenger’s glory years at Arsenal, his teams for 1998-2005 brought me so much joy. That invincible team was special and so was all the partying.
Kendra: There’s an EP coming from you guys this October. There has been a lot – and I mean a lot – that has gone down this year alone but I’d love to know what pushed your pen the most and got to write most for this record?
Makola: We didn’t want 2020 to just go down as negative, we felt we had to be more active and get things out there. The three tracks we have released so far this year each have a theme we wanted to follow through with. “Coffee” was about the world’s emergence from the full lockdown, “Pay Da Bills” is about the reality of survival, and Everyday Legend about trying to achieve to the best of your ability.
Kendra: I feel like so many can and will relate to “Pay da Bills” because the idea of wanting to just do you but also having those looming due dates over your head – it’s universal. How do you personally combat those feelings when you’re stuck between wanting to just exist and the pressure of keeping your lights on?
Makola: You try and find a balance and make it work for you. There is a lot of good in meditation and relaxation which can allow you to find inner peace. Sure externally it’s a struggle but as long as you can find happiness within yourself nobody or nothing can take you down, don’t let it.
Kendra: You also dropped a video for “Everyday Legend” in early September. Can you tell us more about the clip and if there were any restraints filming in a COVID-19 world?
Makola: It was towards the end of the full lockdown when they were allowing us to go outdoors and hang out in groups. There were still minimal people around and actually that benefitted us on the shoot. We just wanted to be out in the open running around expressing ourselves and that’s what we are about – being natural – no flashy cars and women, just us and the music.
Kendra: With all that has transpired this year, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
Makola: I’ll be honest it has stifled creativity because any artist will tell you that you draw inspiration from your experience and there isn’t much you can experience within four walls. However, it gifted us perspective and allowed us to see the things that mattered.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Makola: You’re right we can’t say anything concrete however we will look to release more music of course. If there was one track off the top of my head I’d have to say 2Pac “Changes,” is there a more relevant song right now?