In an exclusive interview, Peter Hakola opens up about his band, Makola, what inspired him to work in the music industry, and his goals for the future.
Everyone follows a different path in their life to achieve their dreams.
For Peter Hakola, a music producer based in London, he decided to follow in the footsteps of one of his greatest inspirations – his father, who was also a musician.
Thanks to his father’s influence, Hakola started to learn how to play different instruments when he was four-years-old and he joked he “didn’t have a choice”. He says music has always played a part in his life and it’s all he has ever done. “It feels like music chose me instead of me choosing music,” he says.
Hakola’s musical path in life eventually resulted in him becoming a fully trained musician. He tells me he can play a wide range of instruments from the drums to an accordion but he enjoys playing a sampler the most. “When you work with samples and electronic stuff it takes you somewhere where you never thought you would end up otherwise,” he says.
Sitting opposite in a full-black attire, Hakola calmly looks around the bustling shopping centre in the heart of Stratford and opens up about his most exciting project – his band, Makola.
Makola is a hip-hop and Afrobeat band, based in London, consisting of producer Hakola and his friend, and rapper, Kwame Mensah. They currently have more than 5,000 followers on Facebook and their track ‘This Is London’ has been played more than one million times on Spotify.
He says they never had a plan after forming their band but they always wanted to have a unique voice. Hakola reveals they experimented with different genres, including electronic and R&B, but thought other artists were “doing it better than us”. Eventually, the duo was inspired to work with West African music thanks to Mensah’s recommendation. “He played me lots of stuff and I thought it was fucking awesome,” Hakola says. “I was thinking, ‘How hasn’t the world heard this sound before?’”
After sampling and writing some music together, the pair released their debut track ‘This is London’ in 2016. “It came together so naturally,” Hakola says. Despite not having any initial plans to release the song, they would later gain significant attention thanks to BBC Music Introducing, a platform designed to support under-the-radar artists living in the United Kingdom.
“We didn’t have a plan of making it in the music business, we liked what we did but we didn’t know if that was just a fluke,” he says. “We got tucked in, started writing more and made more music and it became super easy. It’s the most natural and easy-going project I’ve ever worked on.”
Following on from the success of ‘This is London’, Hakola opens up about his most memorable gig that took place in Switzerland. Prior to the show, he says he didn’t know what to expect because he was unsure, “if anyone would like the songs, know the lyrics, or even the song itself”.
He explains that he didn’t feel optimistic at the time because “if you think too high it could make you feel terrible”. Thankfully, the gig was a massive success and it turned out better than Hakola ever expected it to. “That’s why you do this, that motivates you to play all the gigs,” he says.
Away from his band, Hakola also spends a lot of his time collaborating with other artists as a producer. In the past, he has worked with a variety of musicians including vocalist Malunga, electronic pop duo AYA, and the melodramatic artist DeLooze.
Hakola explains that he works with people that believe in their music and says he’s open to working with anyone in any genre of music because it helps keep his mind fresh. “There are so many different genres I love working with. If I did one genre every day, it would get really boring,” he says.
Already living his dream, Hakola humbly says he doesn’t have any massive goals for the future and he wants to continue what he’s currently doing.
“There are weird surprises that take you somewhere else. I love surprises,” he says. “The universe has an amazing way of putting things together, everything falls into place eventually.”