24-year-old producer/DJ MAKJ (Mackenzie Johnson) – brought the crowd to a rage performing at the Dada Life Compound in Toronto alongside Dada Life, Ilan Bluestone, Loudpvck, Henry Fong, Bixel Boys and Shaun Frank.
As one of the fastest rising stars in dance music at the moment, the musical efforts and incredible hustle of 24-year-old MAKJ have not gone unnoticed. After a busy year of touring the world nonstop and playing at festivals such as TomorrowWorld, Ultra Music Festival Miami, Sunburn, Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, presenting his own weekly radio show on iHeartRadio, and winning the #63 slot in the DJ Mag Top 100 poll, the unstoppable MAKJ still manages to get into some crazy antics and never takes himself too seriously.
On March 21, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre came alive with the Dada Land Compound and TheScene was able to spend some time with MAKJ before the show.
“When I look at artists in my age group, Zedd, Avicii, Martin Garrix, they make me strive to do more, and these guys came out of nowhere and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do in the next 5 years.”
Q: What’s the one music festival you’ve participated in?
A: Bonaroo. I want to be in cross genre festivals with a variety of artists where each stage has a different experience. It makes for a more creative environment. I remember walking through Cochella and Duck Sauce was playing on stage and Snoop Dog on another. Muse were the headliners and I was like “wow”. Where else can you be exposed to such a variety of artists?
Q: You raced professionally for a few years, how did you Jump from racing to DJ/producing?
A: My Stepfather was a professional race car driver and I took an interest. At 8 I had my first go-kart, and then at 13 I FAA license, I could basically drive anything. But then I got too tall and ran out of money. It’s a very prestigious sport but expensive and you constantly need money to push you forward.
Q: You’re known for blending hip-hop and house music together. Who are your favorite hip-hop influences?
A: I grew up on Bay Area hip hop, so it was always around and was inspired by the turntable Djs and bought a set of my own. I liked the aggressive mixing and scratching, and that’s what I base my DJ style on. I started playing in hip hop clubs in L.A and where I met Aoki when he was still Kid Millionaire.
Q: Which DJ/ Artist would you most look forward to collaborating with?
A: I’ve collaborated with Hardwell, Bassjackers and Deorro and it produced great tracks. I’d like to go beyond the DJ scene and would love to collaborate with bands like REM, Placebo or Marilyn Manson. Take the sound more industrial.
Q: What’s your favourite track of the past 6 months? What’s on your iPhone right now?
A: Hans Zimmer is always playing on my iPhone. Recently, I’ve become a big fan of Yellow wolf, Till It’s Gone. The song debut in a Sons of Anarchy show and I fell in love with it.