An Interview with: Ego Mackey
Ego Mackey is probably best known for being one of the most hated artists to appear on Anti-World/Weird Clvn, a title he recognizes may be because of his unorthodox approach and style of music. But the hate isn’t warranted, Ego isn’t fooling around - he’s a serious artist who to this day has released, mixed and recorded hundreds of songs. Today the group Anti-World has had quite a bit of underground success and Ego was there from the beginning, appearing on numerous singles by Syringe (a.k.a Sybyr) as well as working with other artists such as $hy and Cxrpse.
In our conversation we aimed to understand the myth of Ego Mackey. He spoke to me about how he got in touch with the Anti-World and the difficulty they experienced on their first tour around the United States. We also discussed Ego’s fraught relationship with his hometown and how his hard times in Bowen pushed him to pursue his music. After an initial listen, it’s impossible not to acknowledge just how weird Ego’s music really is and thus how well it fits into the Weird Clvn catalogue and aesthetic. His music is coded in obscure drug references and hazy vocals to which Ego credits SpaceGhostPurpp as his main influence. Ego has always been known as a controversial figure and today he has been demonetized from SoundCloud due to a conflict with one of his producers.
Let’s start from the beginning man, I want to get the whole picture, would you mind saying how old you are and where your living right now? Don't worry about your government name, if you want to keep it private I understand
I’m from Canada, specifically was born in surrey British Columbia grew up on Bowen island and Vancouver though. Bowen just a hippy grow island on the "sunshine coast" as it called lol off side of Vancouver. I’m back living here on the island rn cuz I was in Montreal for a while but got swatted/raided n spent year in legal hell so now I’m jus tryna get shit together again lol. I’m in my early 20’s.
my gov name is callum mackey I been doxxd a ton I aint worried about that
I just saw something how Bowen was the unofficial pot capitol of Canada - was it like that growing up there? What made you decide to leave Bowen and head for mtl and who were you listening too as a teenager? When did you decide to go from a fan of the music to creating your own? Were you often going into Vancouver as a teenager or was the scene and nightlife exciting in Bowen?
shit holdup ill answer these separately
Bowen - Bowen like honestly pretty lowkey and vaguely boring aside from the weed. very cool community just berthing close at 6 etc. it 2k-3k population so not much to do. so, I always gravitated towards the city. useda move lot of weed from the island 2 the city etc. was sort of my way in the darkside or whatever lol (since shit legal now I’ll talk about it lol)
by the city I mean Vancouver its 20 min ferry ride
I left Vancouver in 2017 after being in public housing/staying with friends for a good year. went to meet up with my friends from what was then weird clvn (I always liked the name anti-world better though) we met irl in Amarillo Texas after a few years of working together online. sum1 had leased property for cheap n was offering us place 2 stay n then I moved 2 Denver n we toured a bit in America (of course I was kind of sus cuz sort of illegal immigrant shit was weird) but had a lot of fun learned a lot. I went back 2 Vancouver but shit was stressful there I fucked asap bari evil shit by leaking that clip of him n my friends was getting hit with ricos so I need change of scene n cheaper rent.
I listened to a lot of different music as a teenager I was heavily influenced by certain image boards music discussion. infographics etc. sort of shaped my taste I was very into a lot of shit I thought sounded "different" or whatever as a teenager specifically; dean blunt, James ferraro,daniel lopatin, swans, animal collective, mount eerie, burial, SpaceGhostPurpp. SpaceGhostPurpp was my main interest in rap he laid the blueprint in my opinion for everything people do now
I read a purrp interview in 2012 on pitchfork or sumn where he said he used virtual DJ 2 make chops n used Fl studio 2 make beats n it sounded simple enough, so I started fukn wit that
I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to be eloquent in your answers. What was public house like during that year after Vancouver, how did you join weird clan and what was the process like - did you discover them, or did they discover you? Which image board discussion groups were you on and are you still active on them?
public housing was shitty, but it was fine honestly, I’ve heard a lot of worse stories I was treated well, and I was fukn off getting high etc. I was mostly annoyed at the limitations it caused. 4chan n derivatives for music /mu/ 2011-2014 then i kind of jus was into my own shit -- those sites became much more political etc. I lost interest lol
Do you always work in FL and have you considered gravitating to other programs? You listed SGP as an influence as I believe many in the scene have, in your words could you shed some light on why you think he is as influential as he is today?
Take me to your time in America for a second - what was it like in Denver?
sgp did everything but he hit a journalist and asap has a lot of control so he is heavily blacklisted probably the most blacklisted artist ever imo -- his influence is far reaching -- his time in Atlanta in 2015 putting on uno fauni etc. ppl forget esp., he sent me beats for no reason put me in bmb put me on a lot idk he real he hold the underground together. he like Gucci mane for underground imo
I was living in hotels n was making money in ways I wouldn’t speak on but shit I rap bout. I am not very political I just like to watch. I am just a spectator imo. a lot of corruption and evil on both sides, u cud say I lived in hotels with sybyr mainly and I jugged lean he did his music shit n I learned a lot from living with him
Denver was weird but cool I mean, a lot of weird ppl but a lot of cool people as well.
You mention certain message boards got political, how did you describe your political interest, do you subscribe to a more liberal and socialist form of government or do you believe in a more of a libertarian and center right perspective of limited government?
Of course, corruption may be human nature - in your opinion how have you seen the scene and the platform of SoundCloud change over your time speculating it?
I wouldn’t put myself with any party or anything like that, I think things like drugs that ppl will always access should be legal that’s a political opinion of mine. if someone is just doing their own thing and it doesn't affect you shouldn't care imo -- there’s my political takes lol
So, when did you and sybyr get to know each other?
I met sybyr thru jxsh or josh maison I think his name now, very good guy he told me sy would like my music I hadn't heard of him before (this was 2015) so jxsh sent sy my stuff n sy added me 2 what was then weird clvn. at that point it was just shit I’m going to forget sum names but ghostie wolf shy shark syringe and me. we all talked on skype everyday then I was either in the "trap" or whatever lol or back at my parents, so I had a lot of time 2 b on skype with them n we would do like 12hr calls etc. working on music n fukn around. eventually that evolved into anti-world once everyone had met irl etc. as I mentioned earlier
Were you not attending high school at all during your teenage years? And so, it sounds like you started associating with antiworld when you were 17/18? How was meeting up in person, having met on the internet, did it change things for the group? Did you all become closer?
bout school: I went 2 high school it just I was selling drugs I passed at 50% everyone knew it was not really like... idk my home life wasn’t the best etc. so ppl had they assumptions about me I was also into all the weird "counter culture" or whatever stuff so yea I didn’t really have much 2 relate 2 my peers at school with aside from selling them shit
when I graduated I had sum charges on me for drug related stuff and was told I could never work (I later learned I was being fed dumb info and that wasn't true fully) but because of that I focused in on the music as some sort of escape or whatever.
I never thought it would be monetarily successful necessarily it was just fun and not as negative as my other hobby (drugs), so I made music about that etc.
I missed saying beach boys Brian Wilson pet sounds and smile were a big influence on me shuda said that -- people think I came up on making shit like Marilyn Manson that just what my voice sound like I fuck with his music though lol
making experimental and "different" sounds became very addictive especially mixing that wit substance use so I was making some weird shit. I guess making weird music put me in weird Clvn cuz it was the best fit and we all became good friends quickly thru the skype calls and working on music together. it was SoundCloud in 2015 n I was doing wat I was doing sy was doing wat he was doing it made sense a lot of ppl who are more fans of his "screaming" or metal-esque stuff get confused as 2 why we worked so closely lol
meeting in real life was very good learning experience for me it added more of a friendly competition between us I felt. of course, meeting people from online in real life is always different then u expect but we fukd with each other p quickly. sxsw 2017 was where we all really got close I feel cuz we didn’t really have shit 2 do and were just there lol.
Let's keep going. You mention your home life; do you want to speak more on it and your relationship with your parents - did they support your interest in music? You also mention you had charges related to drugs - I know it's not a glorious term, but would you consider yourself addicted to drugs or only using them recreationally? Now, today, are you monetarily successful off your music and doing it full time? I've always been a fan of your graphic design and clothing, are you still focused on merchandise and clothing or is it more a side-hustle?
uhh my parent’s kind of older kind of confused with what I’m doing I think but I think they happy I’m out they hair n shit. they nice supportive ppl jus everyone has they problems in life and it bleed thru. 2. and it bleeds thru like I had maybe 5 relatives I remember die from od's etc. I lost 6 local friends alrdy this yr 2019 2 the shit. carfentanyl now but it all just controlled supply issues. my views on drugs I think to most people are rather unconventional but if addict is the word I’m that I like some substances that face prohibition or whatever you wanna call it. I don’t think these substances are even that bad as I said its controlled supply issues. if someone can’t get what they want (let’s say you like weed and weed is illegal) you try and get weed (or oxy) and get k2 (or fent). that’s bad in my opinion stupid legislation. I can go on with how war on drugs cause so much pain n hardship with the cycle of prisons/rehab/police blablabla but I think other people can explain that better (dr carl hart is a good example people can google him) sorry for rant I just like talking about that stuff I think there a lack of proper information online. weed legalization one thing but I think it like just part of the puzzle. I’m go on you can edit this down how you want lol. I think the word addict is weird a lot of people drink coffee and it makes them more productive; when I was a youth 11 or 12 years old my marks were bad so the school recommended I be put on amphetamines. I was on a lot of amphetamines like Adderall xr 30 2-4 times daily. that was not my decision I hated it I did well in school, but it was horrible tried killing myself few times was tripping just brought on so much anxiety, of course insomnia and then intrusive thoughts. few years later I finally was allowed off it (to be transparent I had been on and off it during this time but always after a week or 2 would go back on after a meeting at school or something) so I got off when I was 14 and my brain was kind of fucked. i should note this was all under the public elementary school and then high school (high school start in 8th grade here no middle school) so with that perspective where I feel like my brain was already "chemically violated" I gravitated towards things that would slow down the anxiety of life especially after getting out of few yrs. of amphetamine haze. I was too young to be getting into these substances, but it happens. few years later I make money with music I make when I’m high. is that productive? is that functioning? it’s not the same substances at all I prefer downers I hate uppers now to be honest but that’s jus personal preference. I am prescribed certain medications in the "downer class" (nothing like methadone or suboxone I know that would be assumption) but I would say that I’d much rather take that daily then any ssri or mood stabilizer or any the other shit doctors tell you to take if you tell them you're aware the world scary. sorry for the tangents the questions kind of blend together for me. I do thankfully make money from this music and the clothing and some graphic design work I do for other people. the clothing releasing is a side hustle but making clothes is just another like creative output for me if I can make a cool design and people want it that’s cool. I hope to soon have more resources for that and expand my output with clothing and other physical items. and thank you for real I appreciate that a ton I really like doing that stuff I was never very good at art as a kid in school but its a lot easier for me with computer lol I like the adobe programs and how the language blend together. I should have music videos out soon that fit into the same "realm" or whatever as the clothes/music I try and mix it all together. longest dm I ever sent good luck formatting that ufck
overall about being monetarily stable; partly but I think I’m good at finding ways 2 make money and the music is always growing the music and clothes I would say make more of my income then anything else
Would you consider yourself a libertarian then? also how do you stay focused enough to make as much music as you down and release it at the rate you do? what are your plans musically for the rest of the year and the future - do you plan to stay at the same pace?
I don’t rly align with any political party ppl say I’m libertarian or I’m socialist a lot though lol I think it’s funny. I never want to be involved with politics I don’t know why I need to be affiliated with any one else thought especially when I don’t fully understand it. maybe I’ll make my own manifesto or something with an album one day aha.
just make a lot of music I really like making music it only thing I think I’m that good at that don’t get me in any trouble or anything (I mean I guess it has gotten me in trouble but is all fun) it seems therapeutic and pure. when I was like 15 or 16 I saw the lil wayne carter documentary and i was more interested in his opiate intake but the parts where he would just record anywhere he was (like hotels i did that a lot) stuck with me. the idea that you can always do it. music requires a certain ritual or something for me a certain environment but i've gotten better at making that possible in more and more environments. it used to just be my sleeping problems and its easier for me 2 sleep if ive known ive worked on music like really worked on it and then after a while it just became natural to work on with any free time im always thinking about it. releasing is sort of annoying i like showing people my music but the whole hyping releases up and promo etc i hate doing/don't feel very good at. right now im working on three different projects with different people. the ego so evil album i had done pretty much then i got swattd/raided blabla so took me awhile to feel like entering that type of shit again but i think its almost done. healing music album is more like uh redemption for the evil and more melodic singing shit loneliness of insomina loneliness of addiction tryna be happy with that. tryning to be happy when its hard in general. i dont know when i'll be done that one i kinda gave up on release dates but both before summer hopefully. i've been working on healing music since last september. then ep with my friends sleepingforyears and gloomstone i've known forever. i really need 2 work on releasing music videos and putting out more i know i owe people that. i've been working alot on my own lil art project/group/future drug cult/nothing originally dreamside but now its 2099 or dreamside 2099. trying to work with lots of different artists from different backgrounds to make music that isn't what people want or whatever. i encourage creativity to any extent they wanna go to. if i can make all that into something by end of this year something clearer i think i'd feel satisfied. we've been working on a website that blends the different types of art together. and yea if i can keep making music im happy i wanna keep making music i think its working?? biggest problem i see people face is the persistence/patience vs stability but i think i'm good at handing that. honestly if i can just keep making music and someone listening and finds value in it im happy. maybe even if no one likes it i dont know.
i have other projects 2 but i felt they werent worth mentioning lol