posted by Rob
December 2020

Stereofox alumnus Majent is one of the most exciting young talents I have come across in recent times. His latest track featuring Ross Grieb, "Pretty Lies" is a downtempo pop-influenced jam riddled with intricate production and powerful songwriting. Released on a new label by the name of Ecotone Records, it paves the way for what will surely be a string of top tier releases from the company. I got the chance to sit down with both artists to talk about the track:

Majent

Firstly, I want to touch on the collaborative aspect of the track. How did you and Ross meet? Did you know each other before teaming up for the track?

Yeah, so Ross dm’d me after hearing my feature at the end of Brakence’s album, punk2. He was interested in working so I took a quick listen to his music and liked it, so we set up a Facetime later that week. Ross did all the lyrics and guitar work, and I handled production and the structure/chords.

This track seems to go in a much more pop-influenced direction than we’ve seen from you before. Is this a style that is likely to stick around, or is it a one-time thing? 

As of late I’ve been really enjoying experimenting with more pop-oriented sounds still rooted in an electronic feel, so I think this style (along with others) is something you can expect to hear from me in the future.

What’s your process like when producing with vocals? Do you finish the tune and then get the recording done, or get an idea down for the vocals and write the instrumental around them? 

For me it varies. For this track I was working on the beat the morning Ross and I called each other, so I sent it to him first thing and he came back with a chorus idea. After that we sent it back and forth until we both felt happy with it! Usually the instrumentals come first, and then vocals come after.

Talking again about the vocals, the lyrics seem to truly come from the heart. Are they expressive of both of you, or is your emotional input to the tune found solely in the instrumental? 

Yeah, for me most of the emotions I put into it lie in the instrumental. Ross did a great job of matching the tone of his lyrics to slightly juxtapose the instrumental in an artistic way. The lyrics are based off some of Ross’s experiences but I think that they can be interpreted in a couple of ways, not just in a romantic relationship.

You seem to be growing your fanbase very quickly at the moment; how are you finding that process? Are you seeing more opportunities being opened up to you, or is it just business as usual?

It's kind of odd, actually. For me it’s hard to feel the growth as it's happening, moreso I see it as I’m looking back. I’m really grateful for everyone that has started listening to me/ supporting my music, this has been one of my dreams for years now and it all feels like it’s been happening really rapidly in this past year which is surreal to think about. I’m seeing artists that I look up to in their music leave comments and start following me and it’s very motivating. As for opportunities, there are a few surprises that 2021 has in store ;).

Finally, do you have any specific aspirations within music? Labels to release on or milestones to hit, for example? 

I think this is the biggest long-term goal anyone serious about music has but I want to be able to do it full time. I think that’s the main one I’m trying to hit eventually. I’ve never been much of a numbers guy either but I think 1,000,000 monthly listeners or streams on a song or something would be crazy. But at the end of the day, my only goal with my music is to be proud of what I put out, and if I can do that, I’m happy.


Ross Grieb

This track seems a lot more pop-centric than the hip-hop/trap production you’ve displayed on your SoundCloud. Is this the beginning of a new direction for your project? 

I’ve actually been running in a lot of different directions all at once. I’m primarily a producer, which is why most of the stuff you’ll find on SoundCloud is more trap-centric. Most of the music I’ve worked on recently has been productions for other people, either in the hip hop world or pop. Deep down, though, I’m a pop writer at heart.

I typically just write for myself, but really enjoyed working with a different producer this time around (especially one as talented as Majent). I’d definitely like to explore collaborations more in the future with me as the vocalist rather than as the producer.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but “Pretty Lies” appears to be your first official release. How did you find the process? Was there anything you didn’t expect or anticipate? 

I’ve actually been releasing my own solo material since 2019! But this was the first time I’ve ever released a song that I didn’t produce. I’m not particularly interested in being an artist, so usually I only release a song when I’ve written something personal and slowly produced it on my own time. It’s a deeply personal and sometimes even lonely experience.

It felt completely different this time around since Majent was handling all the production. While it still felt personal and from the heart, having his input and taste really made it feel like the song was the best it could possibly be. He was able to pull ideas out of me that really made the song shine, which is what a truly great producer can do in addition to the more technical role of programming beats and such. I was surprised at how easily I was able to give up some of that creative control I’m used to having, but I think that’s a testament to our creative compatibility as well as my appreciation for his work.

You’ve posted videos of you singing before on Instagram, but they all seem to be covers. The songwriting in “Pretty Lies” has none of the cheesy naïveté that seems to come with inexperience, so was this the first track you have written or are you sitting on a catalogue just waiting to be recorded? 

I’ve been writing for at least five years now. I played guitar in an indie rock band in high school and wrote all of our material, and also handled all the writing for several groups I was a part of during college. And while writing right now isn’t a main focus of mine, I still write often whenever I feel inspired or am vibing with an artist I’m producing for.

The thing with writing is you kinda have to just write a couple dozen bad songs before you really start to get your feet under you, and I’m glad to have made it past those shaky initial steps. Going forward I would love to keep co-writing with other people because I think it brings out the best from each writer’s mind.

How was the process of recording “Pretty Lies”? Did you run into any difficulties or did the track come together easily?

Majent already had the whole instrumental demoed out before I even started on it. Once I had the lyrics written, it was a very smooth process. I recorded the vocals and guitars on my end, did some basic processing, and let him fit them into the instrumental on his end. It felt very easy, and having him handle the producing really opened me up to be more creative than I usually get to be.

FInally, is there any more music in the works for us to look forward to? Is this release an “opening of the floodgates”, or just a one-off? 

I think I’ll keep releasing music as long as I live. My passion right now is producing for other artists and bringing their songs to life, but I always have to scratch the itch of making music just for myself. As I continue to mature and just experience life, I plan to keep on distilling those experiences into songs and sharing them with the world.


Stream "Pretty Lies" here:

Majent · Pretty Lies (w/ Ross Grieb)