There’s something old-school about MyKey.
Maybe it’s the fact he doesn’t really know how TikTok works, despite being on the Gen Z cusp age of 24 (and almost 25). Or maybe it’s because when he hops on our video call, he informs me that he’s on his grocery store weekly tour, checking out what four different supermarkets in L.A. have to offer.
“I’m literally an old man in that way,” he says, chuckling.
Today, MyKey released his debut EP Welcome to the Witching Hour, coming on the heels of a sprawling, 16-track album back in 2017 when he was in his early days of releasing music. He started taking guitar lessons at age seven, then stuck with guitar, going to a bluegrass event at age 10 and joining local Maryland bluegrass band Flower Hill String Band after connecting with them at that show.
MyKey makes music that draws from folk, while he’s part of a broader bedroom pop generation that has been sweeping the industry. On Welcome to the Witching Hour, he unexpectedly draws parallels to the genesis of his artistry– his first-ever song was called ‘Vin Diesel Runs on Gasoline,’ and it wasn’t until after he put together his EP that he released the sixth track is called ‘Vin Diesel,’ an unintentional callback to his early songwriting.
Welcome to the Witching Hour strays from his first album, Faces, in several ways. For one, the new project was written entirely in an Airbnb getaway, as MyKey and his friends/collaborators melted their minds together in one big effort rather than piecing together the album.
“I really went at it completely alone for the first album. This time around, my friends and I truly collaborated on this little getaway, which was something I’d never done prior. It was a really fun way of doing it.”
MyKey still stands by the new EP being ‘just as chaotic as the first album,’ in that he continues explores a bevy of genres. On Faces, for example, he involved folk, pop, black metal, jazz and rock. This time, though, it’s more of a communal project.
“I really wanted to let me friends’ work shine, whether it be on the production, or some of the songwriting. As a whole, though, Welcome to the Witching Hour contains way more of my own stories than Faces did. I always used to hate writing about my own experiences, and would make songs out of my friends’ stories, so this is much more of a personal record.”
“It feels really weird, though,” he continues, “To put my own opinion on my emotions. And then release it out into the world. Like, people are hearing my takes on my own emotions and shit. That’s a new level of vulnerability for me.”
Songs like ‘Emily’ and ‘Marshmallow Moons’ are perfect for when you want to fashion yourself a teen movie star, looking out of a train window at a gray sky and thinking about that someone who makes your palms sweaty. Listening to ‘Mazda5’ will convince you that you, too, had a Mazda in high school, reliably getting you to school, to see a friend, to blast your favorite album in or to cry in. And for all of his old-man-cosplay, ‘Sweet Tooth’ could easily be a TikTok viral hit– it’s of the same ilk as the sleepy, viral smash ‘death bed (coffee for your head)’ by powfu and Beabadoobee.
Like the EP’s namesake, I can’t think of a better time to listen to this than in the middle of the night, when the threads of reality unspool a bit and you can go on an introspective journey without the noise of reality dragging you down.
MyKey’s friends and sometimes-collaborators are all up-and-comers in the space, including names like REI AMI, Adam Melchor, spill tab, Marinelli and bennytheghost, to name a few.
When I ask about a dream collaborator, his old-school brain takes over control, replying with certainty.
“Bruce Springsteen. I’ve always wanted to make music with him. My mid-life crisis moment would ideally be a collab with him.”
You can find MyKey on Instagram (though he ‘barely understands it.’)