Mavrick is a maverick, both in name and in nature. Growing up on the west coast of Sweden, where his childhood was controlled by wind and rain (and the few weeks of blinding sun), Mavrick takes the beautiful melancholia that the ocean engrained in him and channels it into a sound that is both haunting and catchy. Rebelling against his childhood passion of football after an injury (partly caused by football itself, partly the result of sliding too fast down a hill at a festival in a Swedish forest), Mavrick is the brand new king of Frankenstein pop – something that didn’t exist until Mavrick made it. He’s a nonconformist; he stuck it to the man and moved away from traditional Swedish pop that fills the studios of Stockholm, and drives around Iceland for inspiration, and it works. His sound is a fusion of every genre he listens to: in his words, it’s a monster, but a wonderfully eerie, pop-y monster that is totally captivating and completely addicting.
His debut EP, “Atlantis”, gives us chills, and not just because the ideas stemmed from a trip to Iceland. Taking influences from a myriad of genres and artists, ranging from Prince (his hero) to Rage Against The Machine and gospel choirs, Mavrick builds an emotional catalogue of tracks that take you up to the highest mountain and down to the bottom of the ocean. Working through his emotions and telling his stories under his Mavrick guise, through which he can mask himself and evolve to the next level, Mavrick takes you with him on his journey, providing a cathartic experience that clears the fog on human emotion, how to deal with the highs and lows and the importance of harnessing your feelings to create something great.
What was your childhood in Sweden like?
I grew up on the west coast, it’s very very grey, and windy, and rainy, so not that many hours of sun. Every year we have about two months, maybe, in the summer, everyone just stops working, no one does anything but take advantage of the sun because we don’t get it that often. It was kind of grey and melancholic but it’s just by the ocean so it’s very beautiful, but often very cold and windy.
I got told that you played a lot of football, and then you were injured so you couldn’t really do it anymore and that’s how you got into music? Can you talk me through all of that?
I found music before I got injured. I love football, I love football, but doing it every day, it got pretty boring. At the same time, at my peak as a footballer, I was in a big house with my friends who are all musicians. I’ve always done music as well but before that I never had a serious thought about doing only music, because then it was always football. I made music with my friends there in the house and that kind of took over and it became much more fun. So I think that took me away from football at first before I completely screwed up my knee. I like new things to happen all the time. I moved to Stockholm to really take the opportunity to make music. That was my biggest ambition. I have no ambitions or dreams to play football anymore. This is what I want to do.
When did you have the realisation that music was what you wanted to do?
I think it was when I wanted to live in that house and when I started to make my own music. Before that I just sang and played other people’s songs but when I started to make my own music, that’s something else. It became a whole different thing and so much more intimate and about telling stories and developing a skill. I wasn’t as skilled as my friends as a musician but I knew I could sing. I started from knowing nothing, I was just learning by myself in my room. I didn’t even dare to play with my friends, I just sang. That feeling – like, I’m actually starting to get good at this. Making my own songs, that was the moment I realised that this is much better than playing football. Even though you’re making music every day, every day is different; that became a high. I wanted to capture it every minute every day.
Who influences you and how would you describe your sound?
I love pop music but I have so many other influences – gospel, to hip hop, Rage Against The Machine and stuff like that. I love to take other influences into the pop music. John Mayer was a big influence; at the beginning I was 100% singer songwriter. Prince, Prince is my hero above all, Radiohead and Massive Attack, a lot of British bands and artists. They have a much bigger sound and a whole different world. When I heard those things I started to think differently and I wanted to explore.
How did you move your style from traditional singer/songwriter to a totally unique sound?
When I took a step out of being a singer-songwriter, I found a world where there were no boundaries, no “you can’t do that.” I just try to mix all my influences into some kind of crazy pop. I used to say the music I make now is like Frankenstein pop because I’m just taking things and building a monster. A pop core, but then I just throw stuff at it, creating something different.
Tell us about your new EP?
I lived in Stockholm for two and a half years, and I had no idea what I wanted to with the music or the route I wanted to take. I took two weeks off and I went to Iceland. Every day I just drove somewhere. I love Iceland; you see something new every time. It’s so beautiful. In those two years I had written about 40 songs and every song sounded different, in a bad way. There was no common thread. When I went to Iceland I had some ideas with me, and I actually wrote “The Weight” there whilst on the road. That song was some kind of saviour for my music. I felt like I’d landed somewhere comfortable but it was still interesting. I had very rough ideas and demos, and me and Elias (drummer and producer) went to my father’s cabin and we finished three of those ideas. It’s the core of the EP. I love every song on the EP but I think “Atlantis” is the one that defines the sound that I want to create because it has every piece of my influences; its pop, its gospel and its got this loud bass. That’s why I named the EP “Atlantis”. Every song on the EP reflects a certain emotion, and my emotions are like a rollercoaster.
What’s your favourite thing about making music?
My favourite thing is when you’ve just finished a song and you listened to it for the first time when it’s finished and you have that feeling that, “oh my god, I’ve never listened to this before”, it’s something new and special and awesome. That feeling is irreplaceable. I would choose that feeling above anything else. I love to sing and when I’m performing live I love it.
Do you prefer performing live to being in the studio?
I love playing shows. I’m much more reserved in the studio, but playing live is more about having fun. Still, you need to deliver the songs as it’s supposed to be delivered but it’s much more free when you’re on stage. I love to interact with people and see how they react. When I see them in front of the stage I can see how they react and how they feel, even if they’re like “get off the stage” then at least they’re reacting, that’s what I want. One of my main goals with the music is to have people feel stuff when they hear it, it doesn’t have to be a good feeling, just as long as they have a reaction. At least the song touched them in some kind of way. That’s cool live, because you see how people react. It’s scary as well but I love it.
Where did the name Mavrick come from?
First of all, my name is boring. Who would listen to Marcus? Then also, to hide behind a mask almost. Mavrick is becoming so evolved version of me. I’m not comparing myself to David Bowie in anyway, but like Ziggy Stardust, a character. The stories and the songs are very personal; they are 100% Marcus. Standing on the stage or putting it on a record as my name, 100% of my feelings, would be scary. That would be a little bit too much for me, so I hide behind that mask and I don’t have to be 100% myself when I’m telling my stories and I think that is a much better way to tell my stories. It’s so I can take myself to the next level, evolving. I’m just telling my stories as Mavrick and that’s a much better way to tell them. It’s necessary for me to have.
What are you doing after your EP comes out and what are you looking forward to?
Touring hopefully, if people listen to it! I’m very proud of it. From the bottom of my heart I think it’s something different, it’s not pop music that you’ve heard before. Maybe it’s not necessarily a good thing, but it’s something I’m really proud of. When you listen to it, you hear the Mavrick DNA, my own sound, and that I’m very proud of. We’ve already made an album but it’s split into two EPs, so in the beginning of next year the next EP is coming out, because we’ve already done it. Then get out on the road! Playing music! It’s been a long process, about three years of writing this album and the album itself we finished it almost a year ago. I know the minute the first EP is released I’m gonna be all over writing new songs and getting motivated too. Most of all, releasing my music.