The Moment I Knew: MAKJ

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It can be a track, gig, a piece of art or absolutely anything. We’re taking a look at the moments that artists realised they were going to dedicate their lives to music. 

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He's played some of the world's biggest festivals, toured North America, Europe and Asia and he's only 26 years old, the question you're probably asking is how did he do it? We caught up with Mackenzie himself to find out what made him decide to go from racing cars in Asia to a career as a superstar DJ. This is MAKJ's moment.

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For Mackenzie it comes down to one incredible night at a nightclub in Macau, China as a teenager.

"I was the only one out of my three brothers who followed my Dad and was racing cars in Asia. One night, I went out with a friend who took me to a nightclub in Macau and that's the night that everything changed for me. I loved the format of keeping the energy Alive! Before this I'd never really seen a DJ and to be fair I didn't really know what it was all about, I was kinda like one of those guys who goes to a club for the first time and goes 'WHAT IS THIS! This is such a crazy new experience!' The DJ I saw was playing a lot of hip-hop and rock but he was able to blend the two genres and it blew me away."

makj blonde

This was just the beginning of a career in electronic music that would surprise even himself and it all comes down to a dedication to creating music and not giving up.

"If you want to make it, it's not good enough to just be a DJ, you need to make your own music - I realised this pretty quickly. You've got to make your own sound. So I started dabbling in computer programmes to try and figure out how to create music and it was kinda overwhelming. When I was about 20 I started making mashups for my own sets, just local stuff but then just as Soundcloud started becoming big I started putting my stuff out on there and it went wild, I was like 'Holy Shit, the internet is legendary!' I started releasing mashups every week and that's how I got my start. I decided to drop out of college and moved to LA to attend a school called Icon Collected where I learnt how to produce music, every day I'd spent 15-20 hours in the studio learning, and then learning some more I was thinking, nothing is going to stop me. I sent a track to Hardwell and it was my golden ticket!"

makj interview mackenzie

From there the rest is history, but what did his family have to say about dropping out of college two years into an architecture major and diving into the world of electronic music?

"My Dad is very old school, he didn't like me racing in the first place but he was even more upset when I dropped out of college. The way I see it is, education's great if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer for sure! But if you want to be a DJ you need to put your effort into your brand and don't plan for a plan B! It worked out I guess..."

And does he have any advice for anyone who's parents want them to do something they don't want to do?

"Fuck it! Just go do it!"

And it's hard not to agree with that sentiment! Take a look at how you can emulate Makj's no nonsense style below.

makj dj producer style



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