The Mixtape Vol. 106

Mac Motel has teamed up with PH Fat for a new single and video

PHFAT’s last video (for Caviar Dreams) was a Vimeo Staff Pick, for Lights Out they won Best Music Video at Liverpool International Film Festival and the latest, Keep You Safe, shot by award-winning director Rob Smith is sure to follow in the same direction.

The track’s mellower than usual for PHFAT, and the producer behind it has put together an exclusive mixtape just for The Way of Us.

Mac Motel, real name Ross Finck, who has worked as Sedge Warbler, Seafood, Dank and Mix n Blend is no stranger to the electronic music scene and says that he’s been working on smooth hip hop joints since 2012 already.

“I showed some of it to Mike and it was obvious that he’d been repressing some of his own inclinations to make some more mellow stuff. It was new territory for both of us sonically but it just felt like a rad match.”

We spoke to Mac Motel, who will release his full-length Mac Motel album later this year about beats and his life.

What's your sound story?

It’s pretty long and in later years boring. I’ve been part of the beat-makers scene in South Africa since 2004, starting out as a DJ and progressing into production. Previous credits include The Dank Mr Wilson (2006), Dank Liver (2006-08), Mix n Blend (2008-2010ish), Sedge Warbler (2011-2014), and Seafood (Card on Spokes and me) somewhere in between. I’ve also been a bunch of names – Dank, DJ Caviar, Ricky Spanish, and more recently Mac Motel.

That’s a lot of different names. Split personality much, or rather a natural progression?

I like making up names more than music.

South Africa's known to produce interesting and original electronic music. Who do you consider your peers, your heroes and then who is coming up?

I’m from the generation that idolized the African Dope scene like Max Normal, Sibot, Markus Wormstorm, Fletcher, Roach and Felix Laband. Those early-2000 days were key to my sound, although I’m influenced by a lot of things. I do a lot of mastering for the independent electronic scene now and really love a lot of the music.

That's you in the video, next to the boombox and then up on the diving board, right? Tell us about the making of the vid.

The video was crazy. I flew in from Joburg and arrived on set and was blown away by the scale. It was like a full-on production. I’m used to lo-fi shit, so I was very impressed and enjoyed it!

How was it working with PH FAT for this?

Me and Mike go back a long way. This music wouldn't have seen the light of day if he hadn't got involved. It was cool to work with him and I’m sure we gonna do more in the future. He has this whole music business shit on lock! And he can sing, which I’m feeling!

The sound is really warm and upbeat, what went into making this beat and what emotions do you hope it evokes in listeners?

I don’t really remember when I wrote it. I’ve been doing this Mac Motel thing on the sly since around 2012. The idea behind it was to not be influenced by what was happening in the ‘now’ (which was probably some kind of trap shit). I kinda just wrote what made me feel nice and the hope was that it would have a timeless quality to it, as it was so far away from what people were doing. I made it five years ago and we released it in 2017, so I supposed it worked. Maybe. I don’t know.

Who are your favourite rapper/producer teams and why?

Wow, there a lot out there, but a few that stand out would be Action Bronson and The Alchemist, as well as MF Doom and Madlib.

What's in the mix that you made for us here and where should we play it?

A lot of local stuff I’ve had the privilege to master, some unreleased Mac Motel stuff, and maybe one or two famous international music people. It’s all very chill, so maybe pop it on poolside before winter sets in.

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