I see that you recently released a project called the Second Homilies of the Panda Tao, what was the inspiration behind the project?
For the aesthetic of it was mostly my love for eastern (specifically Japanese) sounds and ambiance, and this time I wanted to really put a lot of focus on that side of my sound because I didn't get a chance to do that on my earlier full-length album Leave The Flow.
But this project was also something on which I aimed to really prove that I can put together something really good for myself and other people. It was made during a pretty challenging time in my life so that made me take on a really big 'this is it' type of mentality with this record - and I'm very proud of it, it's a cohesive piece of work that has a lot of tasty stuff condensed into a modest running time.
What made you gravitate towards Cold Busted in regards to releasing the project?
Because they handled my last record well enough that I could trust them to put this one out. And I've been so blessed to have been approached by Cold Busted who were the most supreme of supporters from the jump! I never sent out any demos or anything, they just decided that my music was worth a proper release and a bigger audience and we worked together to make it happen. That sort of enthusiasm and their tactful, professional way of building their catalog gravitated me towards them - it was a logical home for the album and thankfully they were with it from the turn-in.
Would you mind breaking down the origin of your name?
It has a loose hyphen at the end because of the music scrobbling site Last.fm constantly confusing my name with the house duo Masters At Work, but then it just stuck. The actual name 'Maw' was just a name I came up with as a kid as a handle and it too just stuck - It doesn't really mean anything. I always think of it as the name of the panda character on many of the cover artwork pictures on my albums, and he is supposed to represent me anyway so it works out.
Your production is slick and you present a professional sound. I love that you add vocal samples to the beat. When did you start infusing vocal samples into your beats?
Super happy to hear that, thank you! I'd have to say that my all-time favorite stalwarts of visionary musicianship (Madlib and J Dilla) are to blame for that. Listening to their beat tapes ("The Mission" Beat on that Jaylib record is a great example) made me want to put lots of vocal samples and cuts on my beats just so that they won't get boring to me, and it's just something to entertain myself and whoever's listening. A lot of times I use them to express something on a song too but at the same time it's also just something to yell along to.
What are some of your goals and aspirations for the rest of 2014?
To finish and release a very ambitious 20-track album called Hachio where I aim to make Sides A & B differ from each other as much as possible while still making sense as a whole. I'm also starting a monthly mix show series where I play rare pieces of the musical past of different countries and different genres. From Asian sounds to reggae and from rock to jazz to library, all kinds of things. I hope the show goes down well with people!
And apart from that I'm just trying to have more people exposed to what I do - the feedback has always been amazingly good (and I'm super grateful to all of the fans and listeners for that!) so I'm really motivated to find an audience as big as possible for my work!