The elemental and essential Macajey

Jeremy Macachor, otherwise known as Macajey has been making ethereal and earthbound sounds for years. From releases spanning 2015's Let's Go, the Water EP, Relaxing, Notes on a Drum—the California raised and Estonia based artist continues to create according to naturally occurring and holistic inclinations with the new album Surfing the Air.

The albums leads you through the foliage and brush of "Forests" right before mesmerizing the whole of the listener's senses with the title track. Macajey moves the momentum inward toward meditative places by making all cares and concerns seem lighter than air with "All Your Worries", before seeking elements like "Do You Have Fire?" like a wanderer searching for flint to find that certain campfire warmth. Surfing is Macachor's most meditative work to date, as heard on the thought patterns of "About Face", the dub economic arrangements of "Blue" and songs that seek solace and substance in every step of life's adventures on the wide-eyed "Journeys".

The Macajey musical experience is one where every component of both the elements and convection cycles become personified by sound, as witnessed on the mystic track "Mist", to the wind capturing cut "A Gentle Breeze", that all leads to the album's 10-minute plus ambient work "Horizons" that emulates the feel of staying up sleepily to watch the sunrise. The atmosphere scaling cycle of Surfing the Air succeeds in that the audience actually feels as if they are soaring through the stratospheres in aesthetic observations of both human and environmental natures. Macachor cordially invites the audience to surf, or skate, the elaborate atmospheres of our surrounding skies.

We had the chance to catch up with Jeremy Macachor in the following interview round that explores the new Macajey album:

The Macajey release catalog has a running motif of interactions with the elements. Thoughts on how that relationship between our environments, our world, nature and more continue to grow with you work.

Yeah I noticed that too myself recently.  Every album I make I feel like I can name a track "Rivers", "Forests", "Mountains" etc. It’s not something I think about too much or force to incorporate into my music, it just happens naturally and seems to be an easy way for me to get inspiration. Nature is always giving a sense of peace, grounding, adventure, mystery, there’s just so much to draw from, it’s like an endless gift. They say that more and more people will be living in cities in the future and at the same time I see all over the place of organizations working to incorporate nature into cities, which is amazing. Like green skyscrapers, or 100% self sustainable buildings. It’s so cool to be able to see the transformation from one era to the next. Maybe one day our technology will be so seamlessly integrated with nature, that our cities can give that same sense of grounding and peace that a forest can give.

From rustic and holistic musical progressions over the years—describe the ethereal journey of creating Surfing the Air.

It’s really hard to describe the creative process, but one analogy I like for the technical side of music is to think of someone who does woodworking as a craft. And gets really into it, really taking their time to craft a chair or something, finding the right one, drawing out diagrams of how all the pieces are put together, or maybe doing it in that Japanese style of not using any screws or nails, but just connecting all the pieces with really precise cuts and using pegs and stuff, sanding, polishing, varnishing, staining. There’s so many fine details and choices. Well when I make a song it’s just like that. The emotional side is simple, just write something that aligns with your soul and gives you a strong emotional feeling, whatever that feeling is. Excitement, thoughtfulness, ponder. I guess the catch is that that can be difficult sometimes, but that’s part of the journey.

Insights on the evolution of balance between the usage of acoustic, ethereal and found sound recordings in your music to date.

Yeah, I think finding sounds is a really tough part of the process. I’m starting to keep it simpler, I know what drum sounds I like, I know what bass sounds work for me now, I have my guitar and my voice, electric keyboards are always cool. Certain synth sounds can be really cool as effects or accents, but I’m straying away from using them as the lead sound more and more. And of course reverb and delays!

Found sounds and sounds I get from bringing a recording device out always have room. I don’t make an effort to go sample stuff, but every once in a while the perfect moment comes when I actually have my recorder with me, or if I just get an idea for some field recording sound. Theres a great site called freesound.org where you can get tons of stuff.

As far as choosing when and where and how to use field recordings and acoustic stuff, it goes back to that emotional side of writing where you just have to get the sound aligned with what feeling you want to express. If it works, you’ll know it.

 A portrait of Macajey's Jeremy Macachor; photographed by Ruudu Rahumaru

A portrait of Macajey's Jeremy Macachor; photographed by Ruudu Rahumaru

Interested in hearing about the album's narrative arc that goes from conventional songs to an entire ambient outro.

Well I love ambient music and always wanted to incorporate a pure ambient track into a release, and it just sort of fell into place. I used to love putting on my headphones and listen to music falling asleep, and if anyone does the same with this album, it was my hope that they would naturally drift off into sleep with that ambient outro song.

The latest notes from Estonia.

Recently our town just successfully protested the building of a cellulose factory that would have been installed just up river from the towns central river, that would have most likely had horrible consequences for the river's health. The people that wanted to build it were classic businessmen, not caring about what the people were saying and our concerns. So thousands of people gathered along the river and there was a protest concert and everything. Then the business men said okay, we’ll move the plant to a town nearby, then everyone in that town was like what the fuck! hell no! So then they protested, which was organized by my sister-in-law. The whole situation was a real mess of politics where our local government and mayor were very against it but didn't have a say, only the capital Tallinn could decide, even though they’re three hours away. Luckily re-elections are going to happen soon and since so many people were against it, the politicians that had the final word decided to stop the building of the factory due to all the protests. So protests work!

Thoughts on how creating consciousness expanding art can make a constructive impact in today's times.

Well when a song comes on that gives a really specific feeling, it can be anything, but if I can feel what the artist is expressing, it can have a profound impact on me and I've felt it. It's given me courage, happiness, peace, calm, carefree, confidence, it’s comforted me during hard times and so many more things...all those are experiences I've had from music. That no doubt has a huge impact on the world. It can influence someone's life on a small or large scale. But even the smallest thing can be a huge thing. If a song puts a smile on my face, or gives me a sense of calm and that feeling is passed onto anyone around me—the artist who made that song is literally changing the world.

The next dreams that may arrive in the Macajey canon.

I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other for the rest of my life and see what happens :)

Macajey's new album Surfing the Air is available now via Spotify, Bandcamp and everywhere.