Not long ago Rex Mac was an intern at Mmmmaven and was navigating his way through the basics of music production. Since he has left he has been an active member in Boston’s creative community and has put a large focus on his own musical career. He just released a 10-track project titled ABLOOM, which he self-produced using Reason. He describes the sound of the album as
Amorphous production that manages to blend hip-hop subgenres seamlessly – from 90s era West Coast G Funk, to Yeezus-esque industrial minimalism, to trap
We asked Mac a few questions about the process of making this project, his live performances, and his other current endeavors.
What was the process like for creating ABLOOM?
It was dynamic. Initially, I approached the project as an introvert – meaning I worked on it in secret, gathered little feedback from friends on its direction, and did not do enough living outside my home studio to inspire honest content.
There’s a glamorous mystique I’ve always found fascinating about artists who disappear off the face of the earth for years to re-emerge with groundbreaking, left field albums. You know, leave the country to record an album in a cave or castle far away, or something. Over time, I realized that wasn’t how I operate. I discovered how imperative it was to get outside.
But on a music tech note, I made the album’s beats in Reason 5 with an Akai MIDI keyboard, recorded its vocals through Garageband, and mixed all songs at Sanctum Sound, Cyber Sound, and Hink Creations – all located in Boston.
In addition to producing music, Mac has announced several dates of live performances around the Boston area in support of his recent release of ABLOOM.
What is performing like for you?
Generally, it’s the most cleansing, cathartic high I have ever experienced and will ever experience. I tend to suck at one on one communication.
I tongue tie my words often. And small crowds bug me out. I still cringe at the thought of classroom presentations. But in absolute contrast, bigger crowds liberate me. It’s the one situation I can jump out of shy skin and rock my superhero cape proudly. Metaphorically, of course.
Mac’s work doesn’t stop at his own musical career. He is now a writer for Boston’s Creative Arts blog Know Your Scene. He says that most of his recent pieces have been artist profiles that focus on exploring what influences an artist’s sound and attempts to learn more about their messaging behind the music.
While it may seem like his schedule is completely full, Mac has found time to give back to the hip-hop community by organizing a monthly showcase of artists in Cambridge Central Square’s Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery. Mac recruits acts from all tiers, usually six to seven per show. He has designed this event with the sole purpose of having artists gather and network.
We asked Mac if Mmmmaven had helped him in any of his current projects, and he said that it kept reminding him of music technology’s value in the current musical climate, or as he puts it
I’ve seen a 6 year old boy walk into a DJing class. I’ve seen a woman in her 50s spend hours in the production lab to perfect a song. The art is not age discriminatory.
I believe, in order for content to have value, it cannot be unidirectional. I should not always be bragging about myself, despite how ego-filled and competitive the culture of hip hop demands me to be. I told myself that my work needs to be seamless and accessible, much like how Mmmmaven has positioned itself in Boston’s educational system. It’s a beautiful, open thing – like a flower.
We wish Mac the best in all of his current and future projects and hope that you check him out!