MAYER HAWTHORNE recently returned to [us and] New Zealand, so we quizzed him on all things 'How Do You Do', and fit in a quick round of 'Mayer vs. Food'.
"Mayer is definitely for the kids! A lot of my biggest fans, they're not even old enough to read. Mayer is for everyone!"
COUP DE MAIN: Welcome back to New Zealand!
MAYER HAWTHORNE: Thanks! It's good to be back, it feels great. It's always great to be back to a familiar place, and have some friends and some laughs, it's good. It feels more comfortable and is always better the second time around.
CDM: Since your show tonight is R-18 - as was the music festival that you played when here last time - it's awesome that you're playing an all-ages soundcheck this afternoon for competition winners. Is that something that's important to you to try and do whenever possible, that under-eighteen's get to see you live too?
MAYER: Mayer is definitely for the kids! It's really important for me, I make music for everyone, not just adults. A lot of my biggest fans, they're not even old enough to read. <laughs> Mayer is for everyone!
CDM: Obviously you have a new album out, but apart from that what else have you been up to since we last saw you?
MAYER: A lot of traveling, a lot of performing, a lot of eating really good food... that's about it!
CDM: The important things in life...
CDM: What do you think are the main points of difference between your new album 'How Do You Do' and your debut record?
MAYER: It's very different, the new album is a lot more 'me'. I called it 'How Do You Do' because I felt like it was a more proper introduction to the real me. It's not retro-soul and it's not throwback-soul and it's not neo-soul, it's not any of those things, it's Mayer Hawthorne. That's something that I'm really proud of. It's difficult to find a sound that's unique nowadays, and I feel like I actually did it on this new record. It was just a matter of being true to my roots, and being true to myself and incorporating all the styles of music that I grew up listening to and loving, and not just one of them.
CDM: What was the recording process of the new album like?
MAYER: I played even more instruments on the new record, than I did on the first one. Everything is just a little bit better, the songwriting is a little better, the musicianship is a little better, the singing is hopefully a lot better - that's one of the huge differences between this new record and the first, was I actually sort of learnt how to sing a little bit in between there. I'm still very much learning and got a long way to go, but it's getting there. Everything is just a little better, the production is better, the recording is a little better, the engineering is a little better, the mixing is a little better, it's just a better record all-round I think.
CDM: There's also some rad guest-appearances on there, how did they come about?
MAYER: Snoop Dogg is a big one, he asked me if I would remix a track for him, for his album, a joint called 'Gangster Love', which I did gladly and had a lot of fun with it. And the whole time I was hanging out with Snoop working on things... Snoop loves soul music, and the whole time I was hanging out with him he was listening to The Chi-Lites, The Dramatics, The Delfonics and Willie Hutch, and singing along the whole time. I really wanted to capture this somehow... and he asked me what he had to do to get on my album, I said: "You got to do that man!" And I really thought he knocked it out of the park, man. Dennis Coffey is another big feature on the record and that was a big one for me, he's one of the original Motown Funk Brothers' guitarist and that was an incredible experience for me. Just getting to listen to him tell stories about sneaking out with James Jamerson and I could just listen to him tell stories for hours, it was hard even getting any work done in the studio.
CDM: You just talked about the evolution and progression of the new sound on the new album, which song do you feel best represents where the sound of Mayer Hawthorne is now at?
MAYER: That's tough... 'Finally Falling' was the last song that I recorded for the new record, so... the last song I record is usually where the sound is going, but I don't put any kind of rules on myself. I'm all about moving the music forward and not taking it back, and the only actual rule that I have, is that it has to be fun. Who knows where it's going next? Hopefully somewhere totally different!
HOW TO SAY 'HOW DO YOU DO'...
MAYER HAWTHORNE'S FAVOURITE FOODS...
MAYER HAWTHORNE's new album 'How Do You Do' is out now - featuring the singles 'The Walk' and 'Dreaming'.