Artist Interview: “Choked Out” by M.A.G.S.

Q: Since “Choked Out” explores the journey of self love and cutting ties with the toxic inner dialogue we all experience, what have you learned about yourself after creating this track?

M.A.G.S.: I think if anything it just confirmed a lot of things that I already know about myself. I stay in my head most of the time, my inner voice can get loud as fuck sometimes, you know. So, I think that just by acknowledging that the voice isn’t always right and that you have a choice and how you respond to your own thoughts, that was a pretty powerful discovery.

Q: Walk us through the concept and creation of the music video for “Choked Out”. Is the final product exactly how you imagined it? Which scene was your favorite to shoot and why?

M.A.G.S.: Basically I conceptualized the video with the help of my creative team and within a week or so we were shooting it. it was a really quick process, we’ve been really into shooting on 16mm film so that kind of helped steer a lot of the decision making about the overall vibe.

I like having the freedom to make decisions on the fly, a lot of the shots were meticulously planned out but my movements were not. A lot of that was improvised. I think my favorite part to shoot was the phone smash near the end. Me and the director (Mitch) drafted up the whole shot on the spot and then we just fucking did it. I don’t know, it was totally spur of the moment but it really ties the whole thing together.


Q: We see that your music has been featured on shows such as Shameless, The Flash and Teen Mom. How does it feel to have your songs featured in media?

M.A.G.S.: It’s a trip because it’s not something that I think about too often to be honest. Sometimes people will DM me and say “I just heard your song on Shameless, holy shit, and I’m just like, Oh yeah I have a song in that show…

The Flash was the first one I got. When that happened I think it was the first time that I really took myself seriously as an artist – at least in terms of my songs being good. It was also a trip considering I made that song in my basement with one microphone.


Q: You grew up in the church and weren’t allowed to listen to a lot of secular music until you were 17. How has growing up on Christian Rock hybrids influenced your music?

M.A.G.S.: Man, yeah there was definitely an era for Christian Rock in the early 2000’s. I was definitely on the wave. I grew out of it pretty quick but I still reference a lot of those bands in the music I make today.

Q: Your debut album, Say Things That Matter, comes out this year. What themes can we expect to hear on the new record? Are there any specific influences that you’re channeling?

M.A.G.S.: I’m staying pretty tightlipped on the album as a whole. The singles that I’ve come out so far are like little windows into the album, but you need to hear the whole thing to get the big picture. As far as specific influences, I think this is the first time where I wasn’t intentionally trying to sound like something that already exists. I wanted to make something that sounds unique to me. The record drops around the end of summer, we haven’t announced the date just yet so be sure to keep an eye out.


Q: You’ve been recording your own songs since you were about 16. How have you grown as a songwriter and where do you draw inspiration from when writing?

M.A.G.S.: Inspiration is one of the things that I don’t really have any control of. Sometimes I’m inspired when I’m just driving around in my car or taking a shower, sometimes I see something really beautiful and it inspires me to create something. I think it’s more about just paying attention to your surroundings and being present. I think when I was younger I would write from a place of angst and frustration, like songwriting was my emotional outlet. As I’ve gotten a little older and a little further along in my musical career I’m finding that there’s a lot of other things to write about and a lot of different places to write from.


Q: You’ve been living in Los Angeles since 2018. In your opinion, how does the West Coast indie scene compare to the East Coast indie scene?

M.A.G.S.: East Coast DIY is how I was raised and it’s how I’ll die. There’s a lot more going down on the West Coast, it’s definitely different. More commercial, higher expectations and its harder to hold peoples attention generally. Basically, this is where everybody comes when they want out of their hometown, so the scene is more of a melding pot. Issa vibe but you gotta be pretty special to stand out.

Interviewed by Brynn Hinnant

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