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WPGM Interviews: Down To Mars – Being Honest, Making Great Art And ‘Your Own Universe’

Down To Mars is the electronic experimental sound you have yet to discover. The Kentucky bred production duo of Malachi Mabson and Pinky Liberachi blend old and new influences to bring a new sound to Martian Funk/R&B/Hip-Hop.

The dynamic duo take their experimental collaboration to new heights in their soulful debut EP YOU (Your Own Universe); a fitting name for a project that allows one to enter into the introspective universe Down To Mars have created. Its first single “The Loneliest Number” has amassed over 4 million streams on Spotify and continues to grow.

We begin our conversation with Down To Mars talking about how their upbringing has shaped their music, with the duo revealing that, “We believe it helps us musically connect more efficiently”.

They share that “We come from similar backgrounds, similar musical upbringings, and tightly knit community. So we understand each other on a level where we can just create and not talk about it a lot. In regards to church, gospel is at the root of R&B and it is definitely evident in our production, writing, and playing”.

Finely crafted, their sonic waves are like silk bed sheets and a tea rich with honey. The smooth vocals and church inspired piano progression are emblematic of the ways in which this musical duo have an organic connection.

When asked who they would want to collaborate on a track with, the duo reveal that “We want to explore the R&B landscape a little so it’s hard to say just one. But maybe Sza, Frank Ocean, Don Toliver, The Dream, Missy Elliot, Andre 3000.”

These are all spectacular artists from the R&B canon, and it makes sense why Down To Mars would want to work closely with them. Even then, their sound extends beyond any one genre. If you want to imagine a curated playlist around their project YOU (Your Own Universe), it would include Jordan Ward, Arin Ray, Phabo, Smino, and JID.

What sets Down To Mars apart is their unique self-awareness when it comes to what they each bring to the table. They explain further, “Honestly, we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses and we let each other pick up the slack where we lack. We’re also honest in our music. There isn’t much of that going on in today’s time.”

Building on that honesty element of their music, the duo add that, “We’re not trying to be characters, we’re trying to show the world us, and at the heart of it, just make great art. It’s about telling a story and connecting with people and helping them connect to each other as well through our music“.

The seemingly effortless audio waves are cathartic. Imagine waking out of your sleep to find yourself soaring amongst the clouds, the sun gently caressing your skin and all your favorite flowers in bloom. That’s how it feels to allow yourself to be transported by Down To Mars.

There is never a dull moment in the project. While every song is unique and distinct, the project is cohesive. With transitions built between each track, their project is fluid, carrying you between songs with an effortless ease.

The project’s fluidity and cohesiveness come as no surprise, especially after the duo reveal that “we self-produce all of our own music, whereas a lot of artists must rely on someone else’s vision to fully realize their sound. We are able to communicate our ideas to the world on our own.”

The first track on the project, “Tell Me” is nostalgic of the melodic structures by the artist The Dream. The signature talkbox sound is introduced at the start of the track and repeated throughout the project. From the high pitched sped up vocals, and the beautiful church sounding key progression, Down To Mars takes us on an eclectic electronic journey of self expression.

The second track, “Your Own Universe” begins with the same melody as the ending of the first track. The vocal composition is reminiscent of the American rapper Don T Oliver. I especially love how the song slows down at the end. This motif is repeated throughout the project. Playing with tempo within tracks is a unique way that Down To Mars builds bridges and transitions.

“Pillow Talk” is an especially vulnerable and heartwarming track, with beautiful R&B melodies enveloped around sweet harmonies, while the track “TMO” is one of my favorites, simply because it sounds like a choir singing “Turning Me On”.

When asked about their song writing and creative process, they share that “Our process tends to look many different ways. Sometimes it may start with sending beats to one another when we are in different cities, Or one of us could have a verse or hook idea and lay it down and it inspires the other to finish it.

It could be us sitting in a room both making a beat writing at the same time then recording on the spot like ‘your own universe’. We don’t really have a formula but it’s a true collaboration where both of our ideas come together as one.”

While experimental in their foundation, Down To Mars has a very defined and unique sound. Allow yourselves to enter their universe and be transported into a different dimension in which the multiplicity of black expression is precisely weaved into a uniform sound.

So what can listeners expect from Down To Mars in the future? “Just be prepared to see and hear us a lot more often. New music, visuals, live shows, producing other projects as well. Now that we’ve dropped our first project we feel free to expand creatively in many ways“, the duo reveal.

Stream their YOU (Your Own Universe) EP below and stream it everywhere else here. You can also keep tabs on Down To Mars on Instagram.

Written by Shirley Reynozo

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