The Venice Beach native discusses her latest single ‘Fantasy’ and being confessional as a songwriter
We love your new single ‘Fantasy’ – it’s a real jam! Can you tell us a little about how the track came to life?
I had initially written the song on guitar, not quite sure how it would translate in the studio. Once I showed it to the guys that I work with they went nuts. It’s kinda crazy how quickly this song took on a life of its own. We were all in a similar headspace at the time, wanting to create something new and different, to leave our comfort zone and experiment a little bit. We had to go back and rework it several times to make sure we were creating the best possible version. But it was so worth it and so fun.
In the track you tell of how some fantasies are better left as that. Was there anything in particular that was inspiring your lyrics at the time?
At the time I wrote this song I was feeling pretty torn. I was struggling with what I wanted and what was best for me. Deciphering lust over logic. Lusting after something is never satisfying and that dissatisfaction started making me restless. My own thoughts were fucking with me. I felt like I was battling the devil on my shoulder because as consumed as I was by these unsettling thoughts and urges, I was also enjoying them.
You’ve been releasing a steady stream of songs over the past year or so, but have yet to release an EP. Is ‘Fantasy’ the first step towards that? If so, what can you tell us to whet our appetite?
Yes! ‘Fantasy’ is most definitely the first step towards releasing an EP! We’ve been working our tushies off on compiling a set of songs as tasty as this one. I am really excited for what’s to come following the release of ‘Fantasy’.
The lyrics to your songs can be quite confessional, as if you are reciting pages from your diary at times! How important is it to you to be personal and honest in your songs?
I don’t know what the point to writing music would be if it wasn’t personal and honest. I can’t imagine holding back the truth while writing a song. Full transparency makes it real. That’s how music comes to life and survives. The truth resonates and is relatable to everyone, even to those who don’t like admitting their truth. So yes, my songs are a melodic journal of my experiences.
You call your music ‘babe rock’. What female artists other than yourself do you align with such a moniker and why?
Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Debbie Harry etc. Babe rock encompasses all the badass female musicians. It’s a term that associates a voice with a purpose. The women I listed are only a few that can be put in this category. To me babe rock is any woman who has something to say and says it confidently and unapologetically. My goal is to be that kind of female artist.
I don’t know what the point to writing music would be if it wasn’t personal and honest.
You grew up in South Bay of L.A and spent much of your time out on the beach surfing, drinking and eating Mexican food. How much do you feel your surroundings has seeped into the sound of your music?
I’ve heard from other people that Mad Hawkes has a Southern California vibe, but it’s hard for me to say whether or not that’s true because it’s all I know.
You were first encouraged to push yourself as a songwriter whilst interning at Parts + Labor Records, who are now releasing your own music. How important was that relationship in helping you grow into the artist that you are now?
That relationship is and was integral to who I am as an artist today. The bulk of the last 5 years of my life was spent with Parts + Labor Records. Anything and everything I could do to be around that studio I did. I learned almost everything I know from those guys. Jimmy Messer has been an epic mentor. Observing the way he works has taught me a lot about how to handle myself in this industry. I am so grateful and flattered to officially be a part of the label.
What are your three favourite albums of 2017?
Spoon – Hot Thoughts. Khalid – American Teen. Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces vol.1.
‘Fantasy’ by Mad Hawkes is available now.