Album Premiere: Mailer Daemon – Ronin 3
This Friday, Sydney-based artist Mailer Daemon completes the final chapter of the ‘Ronin’ trilogy, with protégé Sage. He kindly lets us hear the record a day early, and talks us through it track-by-track…
1. Good Jams – If the first album was rock, and the second was electro-minimal, I wanted this third one to strike a balance between those two sounds. With this jam I focused on stringed instruments for melodic tones, jamming with rock-n-roll piano and a cyber-dub rolling sub, nice way to set the palette of the album. The vocals are really fun and it’s all about attitude, the chorus and turnaround felt like a good mix between alternative and rap worlds.
2. Enlighten – Enlighten‘s thunderous trap bass-line and cyber-goth neon synth pads set a new scene for auto-tune rap croonings. A major lift in the chorus brings melodic flight and fresh emotive heights before smash-landing into the bass. After getting some feedback from a fellow artist, this song was put together super-quick at the end of the album process, it was the perfect last piece and it’s highlight for sure. Cyberpunk digi-battle twists and turns with drama and polish, a rockin’ and rappin’ adventure. Sweet.
3. Mountains – Lush and emotive piano ballad chords with the bite of modern hip hop drums, as our heroes unleash vulnerable cyber-rap truths. I programmed the chords on my phone withs this app called Suggester. There was gonna be no bass-line on this song, but last minute we put this Immense rolling sub bass that catches by surprise, and it works really well. I might do that from now on, leave the bass till the end, that’s what The Beatles did with Paul.
4. Love Emoji – The Synth Pads on this are dope, so BladeRunner or stadium New Romantic, but it’s got that straight Weezer garage drums almost 70s boom bap underneath with the 80s bass arp and Daft Punk retro-future vocoder with that Kanye vulnerable singing feel. Hey, don’t say we don’t try now, and yes, it was super fun to make. Oh, and the harmonies were inspired by Chance the Rapper’s interview with Zane Lowe.
5. Automation – This upbeat ambient funk type beat was one of the first ones for this project, and once it came together the vocals and mixing was super quick and seamless. The song needed the least amount of attention in the production process yet ended up being a people’s favourite. It’s a fun jam, with the chorus turnaround done on the spot while I was tracking. I love when the song writes itself, coming together from the weight of it’s own gravity.
6. Feels – This was one of the best beats from the batch, its got that dreamy Mailer D post rock hip hop sound, lyrically it has this storytelling relationship vulnerability vibe going, a nice combination and interesting chapter to step into. The singing vocals sound dope too with these cool panned layers and effects, going back and forth with the raps to bring that hip-hop story-conversation element in the mix. One goal I feel this album accomplishes for me is brining the rock and rap together in a modern and unique way, this song is a good example of that.
7. Specialty – This beat was originally much faster but I ended up slowing it down and making it this sludge doom slow-motion chop and screw post metal auto-tune alternative dub ol’ thang. Yeah, being the Mailer D is awesome. It even extends the dream-out towards the end in a way a The-Dream or Drake record would, half time of the half time, man, now that’s slow! And gosh golly does that sub go low. I’ve never done a super ‘sludge’ out type tune before, had to give it a go.
8. The Way It Is – After visiting the dark side of the moon, the record needed a feel good uplifting moment with a positive message to draw to the resolution. Something that said, “It’s time to wake up people!”, yet very intimate and directly speaking to the listener. The magic in the message is in the chorus with this bullet-time hold on and space-out lift-off type feeling with the rhythm section cutting out, and the vocal melodies and pads lighting up. The drums on this are hard and the sing-along vibes keep it bright, a nice resolution to the journey.
9. The Top – The vision was Radiohead meets Jay-Z super-flow on this tune, and it’s kind of like a bonus post credits ‘this is the next villain character’ or epilogue extended section to the adventure. The beat is super glitched out yet 80s earnest, vapourwave meets aphex twin (but it’s a band playing it). Yup, that’s what we aim for. Oh and no chorus, just – straight – bars. Bars, Sun. And it’s sick, the glitch-outs keep rolling on and the ferocious flows weave in and out of dissonance and consonance as we wonder, … to be continued?
Mailer Daemon’s Ronin 3 is out November 4. Keep up to date with him on Facebook.