M.A.K.U. Soundsystem – Artist Spotlight

By | October, 14, 2015

Music is a mission, not a competition.” – M.A.K.U. Soundsystem 

Catch them at the next Yellow Collar Collective on Thursday October 22 at Black Bear Bar presented by Coors Banquet – Grab your tickets here!



What’s your band’s name? Where’d the name come from?

M.A.K.U Soundsystem – the MAKU part comes from an indigenous tribe from Colombia which translates to the low-caste/common people and the sound system portion refers to the Haitian/Jamaican tradition of setting up “picos” (pick up parties) on the street. MAKU’s intention is to house a party for the people…which will happen in Philly on Sunday October 18, at a block party as the neighborhood celebration with Open Source artists Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez. 


The Yellow Collar Collective is all about the daily grind musicians go through to perfect their craft, what has been your biggest struggle and accomplishment as a musician?

MAKU’s biggest struggle is making a living off of music. The band has stayed together for 5 years and will soon have 4 albums under their belt and has hustled to no end to perform, travel and create new music…. for many in the band, music is the bread and butter and so it’s a daily hustle, some have other jobs, but the goal is to live off the music. MAKU writes lyrics that address and reflect their lives which pertains to issues of immigration, work, love, loss and common elements that connect our common humanity.



What other instruments can you and your fellow band members play?

We all can play various instruments.  Special ones not seen on stage are Gaitas (man-made indigenous flutes)


Do you have any memorable musical experiences that have shaped who you guys are?

Between the 8 members, there are so many stories, but all started making or playing music at the wee ages and have never stopped! 


Have you ever released any albums or are working on any now? Any special projects?

Working on 4th album and working with Immigrant Movement International and Queens Museum on a series of community dialogues slated for 2016.


Do you collaborate with other artists? Inside and outside your genre?

ALL the TIME!!!! Maku draws inspiration from all genres and many of the members have several projects in addition to MAKU. Many also still perform and practice Colombian traditional music



What venues and events have you performed at in the past five years? Which has been your favorite?

European tour, Roskilde Festival! We love Chicago where we have found a family and true support, and we did an amazing artist residency in California with the University of Santa Barbara, where we worked with incarcerated youth…when music can have a positive impact that is so tangible its so profound and makes it all worth it!


How do you acquire shows and promote yourself? Do you have any recommendations for other artists?

Our amazing manager/booker Viviana and our ever growing and loving community that includes globalFEST, Calles y Suenos in Chicago and now our European booker Mathias at Soul Food Booking


Do you have any mottos?

Music is a mission not a competition.



What’s next for your band? 

Album #4 and touring in 2016


What do you do when you’re not listening to or making music?

When not listening or making music… working, studying, being parents, protesting, community organizing!! People first!

Thank you M.A.K.U Soundsystem for taking time to do this interview for all of us!

Once again, catch them at  Black Bear Bar Thursday October 22! Grab your tickets here!

Check out more of M.A.K.U. Soundsystem and their music through the links below!

Official Website