Mayer Hawthorne Is Back: Just Don't Call Him Retro

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Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 9:06 AM

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Speaking of '80s singers, I found the Daryl's House of you. I didn't even know that show existed.

I always loved Hall and Oates. My mom actually found out about Live at Daryl's House before I did! [laughs] I didn't know about it. She's been watching it since they first started it. I had never even heard of it, and they contacted us. I don't think I've ever had more fun doing anything in my life than trading verses with Daryl Hall on "Private Eyes." That's as fun as it gets.

You actually sound like him.

[laughs] He's one of the greatest singers ever. So to be in the same room trying to trade bars with Daryl Hall was like a little nerve wracking.

I read somewhere you had a Fisher-Price record player when you were a kid.

That was all I ever wanted as a kid. Yeah, I had GI Joes, but what I really wanted was records. I've been DJ'ing since before I could read the labels on the records.

Which records did you have back then?

Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Blondie, The Cars--used to love The Cars--, Beach Boys. Whatever was hot, and was on 45s. I used to fuck my parents records up. They would get so mad at me.

I'm assuming, because of your influences, you put a lot of work into your live shows. Is there anyone in particular you've fashioned yours after?

Motown groups. The Dramatics. One of my favorite live shows I've ever seen is Roger and Zapp. We don't do concerts; we do shows. On our days off, we're working on our live show. I'm trying to have the best live show in the world.

Why do you think there's an attraction today to that soul sound? Maybe not just aurally, but on a cultural or political level.

I think everything goes in cycles. I think we went through a period where really disposable music was the same. Now we're on to the next thing. Everything comes back around. We're back to an era where people care more about songwriting and quality over quantity.

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