short but sweet – Mayer Hawthorne

von Lev Nordstrom

proud trifft Mayer Hawthorne im Bohannon

Er sieht so aus, hört sich so an und ist es wahrscheinlich auch: Muttis Liebling, Schwiegermamas Traum und Tochters Flamme zugleich. Auch als DJ Haircut unterwegs ist er nun von seiner Heimat Detroit nach Los Angeles gezogen, um dort vor einem knappen Jahr bei Stones Throw Records als Mayer Hawthorne zu unterschreiben. Es folgten eine erste herzförmige EP, ein phenomenales Debütalbum A Strange Arrangement, ein Treffen mit Snoop Dogg, zahlreiche Tourtermine und ein Interview mit dem magazine in neuer Bestzeit: 12m59s!

How many tweed suits do you own? And did that dress style start with the Mayer Hawthorne character?

I‘ve always been wearing collared shirts and ties and argyle sweaters. I‘ve always kept my dress classy, even as a Hiphop DJ and producer.

Do you even know where you are at right now?

The days definitely start to just blend together after a while, but we try to stay pretty conscious of where we‘re at and Berlin is one of my favorite cities in Europe. I was here performing with my HipHop group Now On. We got to spend a few days here. This place is so full of life right now, it‘s just a young and poppin‘ city. I wish we had some more time here, but we are off again tomorrow morning.

Then you won‘t be able to buy any records here this time. Is that one of the first things you look for in a new city, a record shop?

Yeah. Records and food. I pretend that these tours are about the shows, but really it‘s all about the records and food for me.

Is there one record that you‘ve been pursuing for years, but have not been able to get your hands on?

There‘s a lot of ‚em. There‘s always a million records that I‘m looking for. I just found out about a new record. One of my DJ homies in Belgium played me this record. It was called King Kong or something like that. I can‘t remember the name of the group, but you know, now I‘m looking for that one. A lot of them are tough to find. That‘s part of the game.

You‘re primarily a DJ, but now as Mayer Hawthorne you‘ve become a singer. That must have really changed your lifestyle.

Absolutely. It‘s been a serious change in every aspect of my life. I really had to learn a lot. When I came flying out the gate I was still very naive about the whole singing thing. I thought I would come out and just have fun with it, but you have to take it very seriously. I‘ve had to learn quickly about how to take care of my voice and to really treat it as an instrument because it is.

How long have you existed as Mayer Hawthorne?

Not even a year.

Did you have any previous experience with singing? Not necessarily on stage, but in the shower or someplace you realized that you had talent?

Everybody sings in the shower. But I never sang in a school or church choir, or in any of the previous bands I was in. And honestly, the only reason I sang on the first couple of songs that I did was because I never thought anybody would hear it.

For the first two demo tracks you recorded you played all the instruments involved. Now you have the County on tour with you as your live band. Are they now involved in all the recording processes as well, or do you still play every instrument?

I play as much of it myself as I can. I really enjoy the challenge of it. First of all I‘m an indie-artist on an indie-label and I can‘t afford to just be paying musicians to play stuff for me all the time, so I gotta do it myself. Still, I had a lot of help from some incredible musicians on the album.

What was it like leaving Detroit and moving to Los Angeles?

I love both places. I love living in Los Angeles. There‘s so much oppotunity out there. But Detroit is my home. I love the city of Detroit. Nowhere on earth has more soul than the D. I go back as often as I can. Nowhere else has better records or food either.

Food? What food is there in Detroit that you can‘t find elsewhere?

You can‘t get a Coney Dog like that anywhere else in the world.

What was it like meeting Gilles Peterson. I assume, you being an avid record collector, that is someone you had been aware of a lot sooner?

Yeah, I knew about Gilles Peterson. He‘s a legend. It was an incredible experience. He came and picked me up himself from my show in London on the Stones Throw tour. And Gilles came and scooped me up in his car and drove me around his neighborhood. We went to the infamous Brownswood Basement and recorded a podcast for his show. He‘s a gentleman.

What was the worst job you ever had, outside of music?

I had every kind of job there is. Growing up I did everything. But I think the absolute worst job that I had was shingling roofs. That was during the summer and in Detroit during the summer it gets really hot and humid. It would be about a 100°F and I‘d be sitting on top of a black, tar roof shoveling the old shingles off. And then you gotta carry these 70 pound bags of shingles back up a ladder, onto the roof and nail gun them down. I mean it‘s shit work, but it makes a man out of you.

Upcoming Releases: Mayer Hawthorne “Green Eyed Love” EP(green vinyl) Now On “Tomorrow Already” ( Snoop Dogg “Gangsta Luv” (Mayer Hawthorne Remix) James Pants “Thin Moon” (Mayer Hawthorne Remix)

Text Lev Nordstrom
Graphic Vinzent Britz

Tour Daten 2011:
Aug 16 Grünspan, Hamburg
Aug 17 Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld, Kölln
Aug 22 Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin

Lev Nordstrom

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