INTERVIEW: Zach Mackey

Hi Zach, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I have been great! The puppy and I are about to move into our own place, so I’m super eager for this next chapter of my life.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “You Know What You Did”?

“You Know What You Did” is one of few angry songs I’ve written. I’m usually a slow jams kind of guy, enjoying the scenic view of mixing metaphor with abrupt honesty; but for this one I just needed to vent. The song is literally a call out.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Absolutely. A past relationship that basked in forgetfulness, selfishness, and a mindfulness that karma and the truth always work their way out.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Actually yes! More on that to come as it’s still in the development phases, but I am more than excited to put it out there!

The single comes off your new EP Just Boy Things – what’s the story behind the title?

The title is based off the phrase “just girl things” which is an inside joke between me and a few of my friends. We say it when we do something cute or silly- ya know… mimosas at the pool, lazy days in sweatpants and movies,  doggie dates, etc. However, the subject matter for the EP is quite the opposite. It’s incredibly dark, sometimes blunt, and viciously sad. As I have recently come out as gay, this EP covers about 2 years of my life in 6 songs, each a different paragraph from the same chapter of my life so far in an attempt to just put it all behind me.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process for “You Know What You Did” was actually incredibly easy. Usually, I start with a single phrase that I fall in love with and from there a build a song around it. This song was written in a night while I was facetiming one of my favorite people, and so began one of my most challenging productions yet. Producing this one took a lot of time and patience as I worked out the kinks and figured out how to get the metallic taste of blood into an audible sound. I wanted it to sound almost robotic, while still having a lot of intriguing nuances to it that kept it human.

How do you go balancing your classic roots with your much modern influences?

I think what is incredible about being a classical composer right now is that anything goes. There are no limits to what you can or can’t do with it, and that directly influences my songwriting and productions. I don’t feel like I’m creating anything new by synthesizing the two for that very reason. If I had to list some inspirations however, it’d be really easy: Classically, Gustav Mahler and Hans Zimmer have shown me how cold I want my music to feel at times, while still giving it life and breath, and Billie Eilish and Isak Danielson have shown me how to be overtly honest with my word choices.

What role does LA play in your music?

Being in Los Angeles gave me the inspiration to start. I learned very quickly that no matter where I am in this city, I can meet multiple people who are talented and driven to make their dreams come true. It’s so inspiring, but incredibly intimidating.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Each song on the EP covers a different moment in my life since coming out. The first 3 songs are about my first relationship with a boy, covering how he treated me and when I decided to finally move to LA. The next song covers my experiences with boys out here: it’s been a hunt let me tell you. The next song is dedicated to where I am now, which is the only semi-happy song on the EP. The last song was the hardest for me to create, as it is a song of acceptance that things can’t go back to how they were or how they used to be.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! I’d absolutely love to get some live performances out there, and as soon as possible!

What else is happening next in Zach Mackey’s world?

As cliche as it is, more music is to come! Starting songwriting and producing has made me fall back in love with my art, and reminded me why I chose to make music my path in 2013. Other than that, I’m still dabbling in the classical music world- so who knows what direction that will go in! I’ve got a lot of fun collaborations planned, and I can’t wait to get them out there.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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