Hailing straight from Dublin’s rock school having graduated from BIMM as part of their very first Irish class in 2015, Æ Mak are all about soulful electro-pop soundscapes, arty stage presence and putting on a performance. In 2018, that’s meant all-but starting again…
It’s a bold move, but one that looks set to pay off: Æ Mak have, essentially, re-started a locally successful career in a bid for the big-time. With one of the founding members, Ellie McMahon, now departed, Aoife McCann has formally welcomed her former backing-band and producer into the fray, working to re-invent a style that was already grabbing attention.
“We were workshopping with Ellie during the summer, and it wasn’t really working out creatively. We wanted to bring more of an electronic sound into it,” McCann says of the band’s recent change of direction, which happened to align with the departure of founding member Ellie McMahon (the fusion of the two names led to the branding ‘Æ Mak’ – Aoife Mc and Ellie Mc – which will stay despite McMahon’s departure). “There were so many different styles coming from everywhere, with everyone working on their part. The EP’s a mess, and the single’s a bit of a mess I think. I just wanted to streamline the sound.”
The self-critical approach seems indicative of big goals: it’s unusual for a band that have achieved a notable level of local success to almost swat away everything that’s come before, but McCann doesn’t seem to hesitate.
“I don’t know, in a way I love it, but I’m not that proud of it,” she says of the early work. “I don’t think it represents the best we can do. It’s a bit messy. You can’t bring everyone into the arrangement, it just doesn’t work. It’s just myself and Dan [McIntyre, producer] doing that now. It’s so much easier.”
“We have about twenty tracks, we just don’t know what we’re going to do with them yet. We won’t even be making an album, hopefully, until we’re signed. The songs are too good to just throw out. We’ll be working with Rebalance UK, a new thing this year, so we’re one of the first group to be part of it. It’s funded by Festival Republic, and you have to be invited to apply.”
“It’s aimed at enhancing the careers of females in the industry and giving them a platform. We get a recording session, and to play at Latitude in the UK, so we’re playing that on the Sunday this year.”