Back in Makj's early days, he was a DJ ready to whip any crowd into a frenzy with a track arsenal that included all manner of sounds. As he rose through the ranks of the international scene, he grabbed onto a hardstyle sound of big synths and booming bass, festival-style bangers mostly, but there's more to life and dancing than just big beats, and he's ready to go back to his roots.
For his latest single, Makj gets with Tropkillaz, Will K and Jamaican dancehall and reggae artists Demarco on a Caribbean-inspired rhythm that matches synthetic horns and island-time tempos to conjur a radio-friendly noise fusion. It's called "Grow Like This," and it's just one step in a long trail towards open format vibrations.
"I’ve been an Open Format DJ for my whole career, but dance music just came with the wave of relevance back when I was a weekly club DJ," Makj tells Billboard Dance. "Being able to bring my roots back into my current production makes me feel like I’m able to show the world who Makj is. Cliché I know, but everyone is a DJ now so being able to work with all kinds of sounds and produce all types of music, really carves a lane for me."
"Grow Like This" started with Demarco's vocals. He recorded them in Jamaica and ended up in Makj's Los Angeles studio. He sent Australian Will K the file, and Tropkillaz added some final flourishes in Brazil.
"None of us met during this process," Makj says. "A true world record.”
"Glow Like That" is out everywhere Friday, but you can listen to it in full below a day early, exclusively on Billboard Dance.