Bellingham Artist Feature Series, Pt. I: Metsä [Interview]

Bellingham is filled to the brim with talent. From rock to rap, there is a home for every genre in this town of music connoisseurs. Dance Music Northwest is proud to begin our artist feature series, shedding light on some of the best bands, producers and vocalists Bellingham has to offer. First in the spotlight is electronic, indie producer Metsä.

The word metsä may come from the Finnish language, though the man behind the drum pad, Maxwell Prendergast, actually grew up in Issaquah, WA.

“It means forest in Finnish, so it relates to the logo. It relates to my feel and everything I go for with music,” Prendergast explains. “Also, my name starts with an m, so it fits well.”

Prendergast gains inspiration from the likes of Odezsa and Mura Masa, and while his music is definitely reminiscent of these artists, he makes the uplifting sound his own. Check out his newest release, an official remix of Dunes’s Guide Me.

Maxwell made music for fun in high school, but it was during his freshman year at Western Washington University when his production became more of a serious endeavor. Now, a year and a half after his first release, Prendergast has over 4,900 followers on Soundcloud.

“I never expected to be where I am now.”

While his Soundcloud mostly contains beautiful originals, a typical Metsä live set consists of many unreleased remixes played through Ableton from his launchpad and drum pad. His performances contain entirely his own songs, collaborations and remixes.

“I don’t want to be a DJ. I don’t want to take someone else’s song and put it in my set,” Prendergast said. “Everything I put in it is something I have touched.”

“Everything interrelates, the triangle of computer science, design and music.”

The visuals that accompany Prendergast on stage are also of his own design. His background in computer science and design allows him to create all of his own logos and visuals.

His dedication has not gone noticed. Maxwell was the runner up at the producer beat battle Beatmatch in Seattle, judged by Sángo and Ryan Lewis. The performance secured him a spot on the Upstream Music Festival + Summit Lineup.

Prendergast’s already slayed his Upstream performance, as well as a set in early May at the Bellingham Arts and Music Festival. We are sure he’ll do the same during his Summer Meltdown set this August. Along with these festival performances, you can catch Metsä perform at The Mind Palace in Bellingham May 19 and at The Crocodile in Seattle May 26 opening for Louis Futon.

It’s clear Perndergast’s music industry career is only just beginning. We won’t be surprised to see Metsä on many more lineups throughout the Northwest in the future, but for now we will be listening to his current releases on repeat. Check them out for yourself in the playlist below.

What’s your favorite Metsä track? Are you going to catch any of his upcoming shows? Leave your responses in the comments!

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