Coming off the success of his 2021 self-titled debut album, Mardini is driving full steam ahead as a musician with no defined genre. From hip-hop, singer-songwriter, rock, pop, and more, he seems to find influences from almost any genre.
The St. Louis-based artist has been called “rock and roll’s future” by Flaunt Magazine. Balancing a double life, 19-year-old Mardini manages the full-time task of being a musician while also a college student.
The riff-driven new single is accompanied by a music video that takes you from Mardini’s funeral at a cemetery, to him in the womb, and everything in between.
Mardini describes the single as, “Being about right and wrong and the frustration of deciphering the subjective things about society. With everything being so politicized nowadays, it’s hard to have your own opinions.”
Mardini answered some questions we had about the new track, the video, his future plans, and much more.
So how has 2022 treated you so far?
Thanks for having me on guys! Tough question! 2022 has been filled with a bunch of ups and downs, but I feel like the positives have definitely outweighed the negatives. I’ve been focusing a lot on balancing my passion for music and developing my brand as a musician with my college life out here in St. Louis. I’ve been really testing my limits as a musician, as I’ve been obsessing over my own productions at home on Logic Pro X. I’m so excited to finish up some of these songs I’ve been working on, and to see how they fit within my existing catalog.
You seem to have laid a solid foundation for your young music career. What led you to pursue a life and career in music?
Well, I’ve had a passion for everything in the realm of music for as far back as I can remember. I can remember singing along to classic Beatles songs with my little prepubescent, 3-year-old voice and loving every second of it. Ever since elementary school, I had been in and out of bands as a singer and a guitarist. I’ve just always been in love with the rush of live performing, and it has always been a constant chase to create that feeling. But I’ve more-recently developed a passion for writing and producing music, and I’m super excited to find out more about myself as an artist that way.
You’ve got your new video single, “Throw,” out now. What was the inspiration and influence behind the song itself?
Frustration…. I think that’s a general theme of the song. Feeling trapped in a box, conforming to the expectation of systematic higher-ups, and how to cope with it. What happens if you can’t cope with it? “Throw” is kind of a deep dive into those types of frustrations that everyone feels at some points in their lives. Maybe some people more than others. But I really did want to leave a lot of it up to interpretation, so have at it you guys!
Can you talk through what inspired the concept for the video? Who directed it and where was it filmed?
Well, it started as a conversation over dinner with one of my good friends, Vic. We just started spewing ideas out, rapid-fire style. We eventually came up with this super compelling idea that we just knew was the one. It clicked. It was so unbelievably fulfilling to see these ideas come to life in such a beautifully chaotic way, which I think is a big attribute of the song itself, sonically. It was shot by my good friends Nick and Pete over at Howl Peak Productions, and it couldn’t have been more of a pleasure to flesh out these visual ideas with them.
I noticed that “label me to death” would show up periodically throughout the video. How does that coincide with your message in the song/your overall style?
Good question! I kind of made the quote up on a whim. We needed some type of quote or visual cue that tied a lot of the messages of the video together in a coherent manner. I felt that it really tied all of the pieces of what the song was visually attempting to convey; this idea of most people having little to no say on what society categorizes them as throughout life. It takes a toll… it just has to. Life is the label. Death is death.
What does a day in the life of your songwriting process look like?
It’s always different! I’ve recently been obsessed with producing demos/full length songs on Logic Pro X, a digital audio workspace. I really feel like I’m in complete, creative control when I’m producing, and I’m really able to fine-tune exactly what visions I have for a song, which is such an awesome feeling. But if I’m not on Logic, I’m usually fiddling around with various vocal melodies over chord progressions on guitar, until something really intrigues me. I’ll either get together with some musician friends and make some magic happen, or I’ll start developing on my own until I have some fire on my hands.
Who are some of your biggest musical idols that influence your own style?
Oh man, my answer to this question seems to change like everyday, but here it goes! Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were the overwhelming reason as to why I started writing my own songs. There’s just something about his emotion, his anguish, that is completely undeniable, and for a while, all I wanted to do was be like him.
One of the best compliments I’ve ever received on one of my songs is that it’s “Nirvana-esque.” However, the mood and feel of the songs that I write are often dictated by the music I’m frequently listening to at the time. I’ve been really into King Krule recently, and so I think some of the stuff I’ve been writing is reminiscent of his stuff. Other than that, Kanye West, Led Zeppelin, Mac Miller, Bon Iver. Lists like this are really hard for me. There’s just so much heat to choose from!
What messages or feelings do you hope listeners take away from not just this new single, but your music as a whole?
I want my messages to resonate! I want people to understand that they don’t need to face their problems or frustrations alone. I’m right there with them, with a full head of steam. Fuck all these outside, negative forces – you have the right to let them bother you.
What does success as an artist mean to you at this point in your life?
I mean, look above. Genuinely, I really just want my music to resonate with people, and to have any sort of effect on their lives. To know that what I create can cause people to feel a certain way is the best form of payment I could ever receive as a working musician. I know it sounds corny or whatever, but it’s really all I’m after.
What might the fall have in store for you, and what might fans expect going forward?
Oh man, a whole bunch of stuff!!! If you think you know me now, just wait a little while. Things are about to explode. Spooky season could not have come at a better time!!! “Pick a lane, Pick a lane” pshhhhh. Thanks so much for having me guys, this was a pleasure! Peace!