Interview with Makarii. Crafting ethereal soundscapes in ‘I’ve Always Loved You’

"The unfolding of this song's meaning, regarding my twin flame relationship, became clear to me as I sang the lyrics that surfaced. I am deeply passionate about love, embodying it, and sharing it in life"
30 January 2024

Makarii, a trailblazer in the world of electronic music, has captured hearts and minds with her latest track, I’ve Always Loved You. This winter, listeners are transported into a fantastical world through a fusion of ethereal vocals and progressive House beats, underpinned by themes of profound soul love. The track is inspired by her ‘twin flame’ love story, which she describes as a soul connection transcending lifetimes.

I’ve Always Loved You​ serves as a rousing anthem that resonates with the interconnectedness of everyone and the inherent nature of love.

​In our exclusive interview, we explore the intricate and fascinating creative path of Makarii. Her musical voyage, ignited by her encounter with the music software Reason and refined at renowned places like the London Sound Academy, is a narrative of both personal growth and artistic development. Tracing her steps from being inspired by her mother’s music to performing as a DJ at famed venues in London and Hamburg, Makarii’s journey unfolds as a diverse and rich mosaic of life experiences.

In this conversation, Makarii opens up about the spontaneous and intuitive process behind I’ve Always Loved You, her transition from self-hate to self-love, and the profound influence of her twin flame journey on her music. She also sheds light on her approach to blending soulful elements with electronic beats, her favorite studio equipment, and her thoughts on the future of the music industry.

This feature provides a glimpse into Makarii’s soul-stirring musical realm. where melodies are not merely listened to but profoundly experienced, with each note weaving a narrative of emotion and essence.

The act of creating music, of creating in itself, is amazing. Creating music and narrating your story or baring your heart is the most rewarding and therapeutic experience

I’ve Always Loved You is described as a fusion of ethereal vocals, progressive House beats, and themes of soul love. Can you delve into the creative process behind this track and how your personal experiences with your ‘twin flame’ influenced its production?

I connect with the essence of the music, letting melodies emerge naturally, intrigued by the messages they convey. For ‘I’ve Always Loved You,’ I didn’t pre-write lyrics, instead, I tuned into the music, allowing emotions to shape the expression.

The creation process unfolds in a spontaneous and exploratory manner, without pre-planning. Melodies often come to me unexpectedly, I capture them in my phone’s Voice Memos app. The ‘I’ve Always Loved You’ melody surfaced as I left H.O.M.E Studios in Hamburg after a music production lesson. Another time, a melody struck me while getting ready in the bathroom. I take these melodies to the piano, playing and refining them in Ableton. My piano teacher assists me in exploring intuitive playing, delving into scales like the Major Locrian, also known as Arabic scales, which add a mystical touch to my music.

The unfolding of this song’s meaning, regarding my twin flame relationship, became clear to me as I sang the lyrics that surfaced. I am deeply passionate about love, embodying it, and sharing it in life. My twin flame journey began in 2010, actually in 2009, marking the start of my awakening to latent power I hadn’t recognized. It initiated during a challenging relationship, revealing my pain and insecurities. Attending a lecture at the London Kabbalah Centre triggered a realization of my role and power in this connection, fostering a desire for authentic love. Unaware of twin flame love at the time, I unknowingly had already met my twin flame, yet, later on, when noticing a deep connection and a sense of feeling at Home, when with this particular person, I asked myself questions I never asked myself before and discovered a new realm of soul connection I had never experienced before. The understanding of this being a twin flame connection and journey I was about to embark on was uncovered to me through the pulling of angel cards, which guided me and confirmed my intuitive feelings and grew a certain trust for myself and my process. How this happened, was that a Twin Flame Card consistently appeared, which after a while and many times going unnoticed, sparked a curiosity in me and lead me on a journey of research about it and revealed a whole new level of self-discovery. This journey is what truly pushed me to self-love, more than I would otherwise have ever felt a need for so urgently and connected to that was the journey of returning to art, going within and recovering from years of substance abuse and self-neglect really. I am now 10.5 years into my relationship with my Twin and it has been a real journey of growth for both of us and with more love to share now than when we started. 

My journey from self-hate to self-love, aligning with the greater purpose of twin flame love, guides the love I channel through my music. It might sound cliché, and some may roll their eyes, but this profound love, a force beyond me, flows through my creations. The twin flame journey opened me to this power, urging me to share it. My experiences serve a purpose: to convey this transformative love. I express myself emotively, crafting ethereal melodies to tell a story through music, as words may not be my forte in storytelling. I believe my musical journey of discovering a transcendent love can resonate with listeners, inviting them to connect with themselves through the emotive essence of the track. While that’s my intention, whether it holds true for the listener is another story.

As a solo artist, DJ, and producer, you’ve ventured into the complex world of electronic music. How do you approach weaving intricate soundscapes that stir the soul, and what draws you to the intersection of soulful elements and electronic beats?

So, I suppose that’s a highly individual experience, something different or a distinct tune stirs the soul for everyone. Yet, I can articulate what this means to me and my intention behind it. 

First and foremost, I am an absolute techno lover. My first CD purchase, at the tender age of 6, was meant to be a techno CD. I bought it in a store, drawn to its cover with a bold title saying ‘Boom!!’ I thought it looked like an epic techno CD, only to discover it was a HIP HOP CD. I was disappointed, expecting a booming bass. Don’t get me wrong; I love hip hop, but I craved techno! Techno runs in my veins; I attended many psychedelic trance parties from a very young age.

We frequented Spain a lot in my childhood as my grandmother owned a house there. This tradition continued, and it became a place we visited every summer since I can remember. Our time there was marked by a free-spirited lifestyle, surrounded by nature. Communities would come together to sing, dance, play music with didgeridoos, drums, and various instruments, and chill in self-built houses by artists. One of these artists was my stepdad, a true hippie who needed only sunlight, fresh air, nature, yoga, basic fresh organic foods, and art. Sometimes these gatherings would continue with DJs, and a psychedelic trance party was born. I loved observing people express themselves on the dance floor, with beats played on vinyl by the DJs, who were also family friends. That’s where my inspiration for music, parties, and DJing began.

As I mentioned earlier, I am an emotive person, and as sensitive as I am, I enjoy embracing my dark side. I express it with dark and raw techno. I also love emotive music, such as the soundtracks by Hans Zimmer and music by RYX. When I started producing, I initially wanted to create a techno track, but something else emerged. I believe I will always have an emotive element, the soulful aspect of my music. Weaving into it some darker and rougher bass and beats is something I love. I think as humans, we need to live and accept our dark side in productive ways and not shy away from or suppress it. Techno, for me, served as a medium to feel emotions I wanted to process and allowed me to express stagnant or stuck feelings. It provided a space for all the energy within me to find a release. The ideal mix, combining ethereal, soulful, emotive strings or piano with dark and deep bass and beats, creates a cocktail of bliss for me.

Your journey into music began with Reason, a software that was your mother’s creative palette. How did this initial exposure shape your relationship with music, and how has it evolved over the years?

My mom and stepdad enjoyed doing projects together, and one of those was creating music. They invested in a studio, using Cubase and Reason for production. My mom, a skilled pianist, infused her music with intuitive melodies. Over the years, I watched her play the piano, and the beautiful music she composed never failed to excite and awe me and my friends. With their electronic music project, they primarily crafted ambient and ethereal world music. I always found it intriguing, but it wasn’t until my 20s, seeking help and purpose during rehab, that I asked my mom to show me how to use Reason. I was curious to embark on my creative journey, and it turned out to be the most healing and fulfilling endeavor at the time. The year was 2011.

Before returning to Spain, I opened up about my substance issues in London to my mom. I asked my mom if I could come back to Spain to reclaim my life, and here, amidst therapy, I conversed with my therapist and embraced a creative project: music. I created my first track, an experimental piece, marking the genesis of my desire to create music. In 2016, I fulfilled my curiosity and dream of learning to DJ, but producing was a yearning that spanned even longer. It took 12 years for this desire to become a reality in 2023 since 2011 when it all started.

The act of creating music, of creating in itself, is amazing. Creating music and narrating your story or baring your heart is the most rewarding and therapeutic experience. 

This is how it all began. When my mom opened the software and demonstrated how it worked, I intuitively knew how to set up a track, it felt natural. I almost believe that music is my true expression, even though it was the last thing I paid attention to. But the more I connect with it, the more I feel like myself. There’s still much room to grow; I sense I haven’t scratched the surface, and I’m still in the initial stages. However, I feel this journey will deepen, and it’s here to last. It took me some time to answer the call, but now that I have, I am listening.

You started DJing in 2016 at the London Sound Academy and have played at iconic venues in London and Hamburg. How do live performances compare to producing in the studio, and what aspects of each do you find most fulfilling?

I love creating a new energy by mixing tracks together. It’s an energizing experience, and coupled with an audience that gets into your music, it’s an amazing feeling. When I started learning to DJ, I instantly felt a newfound enjoyment of life and a quality inside me that I didn’t know was missing before. To channel music through oneself is a clarifying and exciting thing; nothing compares to the feeling of being one with the music. A similar and endorphin-filled experience was when I performed my track for the first time on the studio stage in Hamburg. Singing the song I created was a natural high I had never experienced before.

I am very new to this in a way, so there will be more experiences like this or different ones to add a new layer to what I am expressing. The way it compares to producing in the studio is that there is a similarly exhilarating feeling when the sounds come together to make a track, which I love. It’s not always the case, though, because I don’t feel inspired the same way every day, and there are days on which I feel creatively dry or insecure.

For performing live, I always have nerves beforehand and always feel like I can’t play, but then I can, and I surprise myself every time again. I did have a longer break from performing my DJ sets live, and it will be nerve-wracking for me again. But when I prepare a set and feel totally connected to it, I have my own little rave at home and can’t wait to show it.

I only just started my music production last year, so I am still learning. Sometimes this may still make the flow of things a bit rocky, and a real flow is yet to come with more practice.

Your stage name, Makarii, is a reflection of your essence and spiritual connection. Can you share more about the significance of the name and how it encapsulates your artistic identity?

So, my name is based on the first two letters of each of my names in my full name. I’m Maria-Katharina Richters, so I took those letters to create the name. However, I added 2 I’s at the end instead of one. At some point, I had 4, to reflect 11:11, which was the first repeating number I kept being shown since around 2010 that I noticed. It has been part of my journey of awakening, transitioning from an internal state of survival to a creator, from fear to love, and from instant gratification to creating long-term fulfillment. The path involves being connected to self and, most importantly, hearing and understanding my own inner voice, my intuition.

All of this was connected to my twin flame journey with my partner, and therefore it is about love. It’s about being connected to something greater than what we can perceive with our five senses. It’s about connecting to the source. I consider myself a spiritual person, someone who believes before I see, and one who is dedicated to sharing love and trusting something greater at play in difficult times and always; having certainty in the spirit of humanity first, rather than the limitations of our egos, that is what this name means for me.

‘Makari’ also means blessed, happy and is the numerology of number 8, which is a powerful number to me. The fact that it is also the sign of infinity serves as a reminder of our true essence. We are just borrowing our bodies and experiencing the gift of being alive on this planet, but at our soul, we are all connected and here to help each other rise from the wounded and in pain to the wholeness of our being, to embodying all that love is. Number 8 also signifies achievement and success in the attainment of dreams, and I am a dreamer.

What recording equipment do you have in your studio?

I use my laptop, a Macbook Pro 14 inch with M2 Pro and on here I have installed Ableton Live 11 Suite and Logic. I mainly use Ableton but occasionally may use Logic. I have a Shure sm52 dynamic mic, and otherwise I use a keyboard to play my melodies into Ableton. I have just gotten a Lumi portable keyboard which I am just about to start to use and other instruments I didn’t experiment with yet, so they’re not yet part of my routine. I do enjoy using random sounds either from my environment or my voice that I can manipulate.

What is your favorite equipment to use in the studio and why?

Either the piano or the keyboard. 

Which plugins do you use to mix material?

I have Serum, Vochlea, Splice, Celemony and polydigm, though I mainly use Serum and Splice from those. Like I said, I am a newbie so I am sure there will be more to add in the future. 

Which artists are you listening to right now?

I love to listen to RYX and Maceo Plex, Rufus du Sol, Eli & Fur – who I went to school with, so I felt inspired to see their journey to be so successful, they just did their thing from the beginning, which I admire because my path was a big wide detour. Also Hans Zimmer, whose music always inspires me, he funnily enough also went to the school I went to, but way before me ☺

Otherwise London Grammar, Massive Attack, Fred Again, Billie Eilish (I love the angelic softness in her voice, so much emotion), Ben Böhmer, but then also Joseph Capriati, Jamie Jones, Adam Beyer and Boris Brejcha, Gaga, Mateo! and Miguel Bastida.  Otherwise I listen to a mix of 80’s music and chill out tunes on Youtube.

How do you think the music industry will change in the next 5 years? What would you like to see happen?

I hope that instead of moving even further into a culture that is all about performance, entertainment, and inauthentic self-promotion, music (especially the techno scene) goes back to basics in some way. This could involve using more vinyl and ditching the sync buttons, ensuring that the art of playing keeps people in a true creative flow, maintaining its essence as an art form. As someone who is keen on learning, I see playing vinyl as a skill I want to acquire to feel more connected to what I am doing. I believe everyone should enjoy themselves and do what they love, and there should be no judgment. However, I do hope that we don’t lose the core essence of music, its soul; when we experience someone channeling it, that’s a special moment.

Other than that, the digital age is here, and I can foresee even more crazy digital experiences happening. Artists may host events or festivals simultaneously in 20 cities by holographically placing the artist everywhere, creating the illusion of their physical presence. I could see that happening. Nonetheless, I anticipate seeing crazy advancements, as we have already witnessed so far.

I believe that more independent musicians will continue to be given a platform or opportunity to showcase their skills and create personal success due to the digital opportunities already available. Additionally, many artists who were once almost ‘untouchable’ are now freely sharing their knowledge and teaching people worldwide. The Pete Tong DJ Academy, featuring experts like Adam Beyer and Carl Cox, is one such example. I find this empowering – people can truly empower themselves and actualize their creative potential if they want to.