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Interview: MachineMook

MachineMook is a Virginia artist that embodies the phrase "thinking outside of the box". With a unique eye for music video concepts and a comedic Twitter account that amassed seven thousand followers, MachineMook created a supportive following in the local music scene. He was born in Williamsburg, Virginia but has lived everywhere between Richmond and Newport News in Virginia.

Some of his creative influences are the likes of Kanye West (or Ye), Travis Scott, and Partynextdoor and he cites that their older music really shaped who he is as an artist today. Some of his core fan bases may recognize him under his first rap name MACHINESONDRUGS or with a group named Slumpgang.

Jay: Describe the fun you had during the Go Stupid video shoot. Your father played as the referee right?

MM: It meant everything to me. My dad is a great dude and he wrote plenty of different stuff. To have that moment to hold on to as long as I'm on that earth, it's a memory to share with my kids. I had so much fun with Gxld and Justin as my trainer. To be able to have that space and people come together meant everything to me.

Jay: What are some lessons you've learned as an artist?

MM: Don't believe everything you see and don't idolize everyone you meet. I got so many times trying to get people to hear something and wanted to get people on features but were turned down. As far as me as my artistry, it's all about staying consistent. If you're not consistent, it's not going to work. I think as artists sometimes, we get in our heads sometimes struggling to find perfection. Regardless of how imperfect it may be, just write for a part of the day. Everything builds up little by little and you'll improve your craft quicker than you may think.

Jay: What was the best no that you've ever received and why?

MM: I was homeless and living on people's couches. I was sleeping and making beats in my car at the time. She told me no, straight up. It hurt like a motherfucker. I knew this woman for years. His mom gave birth to him in the same hospital the day after my mom gave birth to me. To get told no by someone you consider family and get judged hurt fueled my hunger. I was selling ten beats a day. The only album I was listening to was rodeo by Travis Scott and my music. Every job I applied for turned me down so I had to hustle extra hard with beats. I remember looking in the car mirror and thinking this will be my last time feeling this low ever again.

Now I want to make sure when I drop music, I want it to hit plenty of ears. I spend plenty of my own money on videos. I'm committed to investing in my craft, whether it's writing, videography, or learning more about the media. I'm more than just making music for my homies to listen to. It's about elevating my craft to reach people who are or were in a similar position that I was in.

Jay: I found it interesting that you played as all the characters in the Nobody Gonna Love You video. The visual tells the story of this girl being caught cheating on her boyfriend, but the boyfriend gets buried by the former girlfriend and the man she was cheating on. By playing all of the characters, did you feel like that made the dark plot come off in a lighter manner?

MM: That's exactly what I wanted. I feel like if I told it with everybody playing one role, people would've just said "damn, this is some Tyler Perry shit." I didn't want them to see it as a soap opera. It's a video for me to let go and have fun with it. I'm still learning how to be a better videographer. The best way I learned how to be one is when I'm working on a video and seeing my vision fully through.

I bounce ideas off Justin because we're very dedicated to details and are very tedious with our releases. He'll look at a draft of the idea and say it's fire but give suggestions every time.

With the string of singles since 2020, when should we expect a full-length project from you?

I want to get a couple more singles out this year and then aim for February- March because I feel like the right town I want to build up the catalog and fan base. I want to keep up with people's attention spans with the records I create and keep them wanting more.

Jay: What are some things you indulge in outside of music?

MM: I love gaming. I really committed to working out and lost like 100 lbs in a year, I do that all the time every morning. I'm into thrifting and streetwear. I'm a plant dad. I'm a foodie. I cook my ass off and love that.

Jay: Let's talk about streetwear. I remember writing an article discussing the origins of streetwear in the 80s with Stussy being the forefather of the culture and how Le Coq Sportif and Karl Kani brands followed their steps in the 90s as spearheading a counterculture to mainstream wear. Streetwear used to be exclusive to people and easily affordable compared to other major brands. Now I feel like streetwear has become what it was against, mainstream clothing culture. What are your thoughts about that?

MM: To talk about one of my influences, Kanye made streetwear a grimey and more unorthodox than a lot of other people like Virgil was doing.

Jay: I appreciate Kanye's minimalistic approach. His color palette of black, greys, whites and beige are colors that many people can add to their outfits because those colors can pair well with other hues. The less is more approach worked really well because he can be seen as an over-the-top genius, so when his clothing comes off as very minimal, it adds to his genius because it's not what people would expect.

MM: I feel like it was bound to do it anyway and turn into it as far as it did. Every generation is different and they see a unique perspective on what's new. We're in the contrarian age, so if one person wants something to be like that, someone else would want it to be this.

Jay: Who are some indie artists that you would like to shout out?

MM: Rob V. SMG Jade. I got so many names I can say. I can't forget Justintime and Jaglory although he's known more as a producer. Shout out to Gxld.

He can be found on all social media @machinemook and stream his music on all platforms.

Written by: Jay Guevara. @justinhisprime on all social media.

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