Upon entering a quiet, yet packed Temple Terrace coffee shop, the guys of Mak wore warm smiles to contrast their collected demeanor. The group exudes an inherently boyish energy reflected in multi-instrumentalist Drake Morgan’s green hair. A beaded angel charm dangles from frontman Ian Makrianes’ ear.
Sitting together in a hidden corner of the room, the band talked about their upcoming performance at the Gasparilla Music Festival (GMF), set for Feb. 25-27 in downtown Tampa. Mak (stylized, “MAK” in an homage to the family name) takes the stage early on Feb. 26 as part of a Saturday lineup that includes indie-pop bands Peach Tree Rascals, DBMK, and Billboard chart-topping New Orleans rock band The Revivalists.
Mak also includes Ian’s brother Aiden Makrianes on bass and cousin Evan Makrianes on drums.
The indie-pop quartet has a self-described “hydrophonic” sound—and no need to look up the word, folks, the band says they made it up.
“It means wet sound,” Ian told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay while laughing to himself, “Drake and I were probably a little stoned, but we asked ourselves, ‘What’s a word we can use that’s like … stupid but works?’. People that are nerds about guitars and tone describe them as wet, referring to the effects and stuff–and our guitars produce that sound.”
The band buzzes with an almost palpable excitement when they talk about their Gaspy Fest slot, a milestone performance that is also Mak’s first festival set ever. “We’re so grateful for the opportunity. The festival is a staple in the Tampa music scene. It’s great to finally get a chance to do it,” Ian said, noting the opportunity to play for folks who’ll be seeing the two-year-old band for the first time, too.
Mak says “No Mercy” from their latest EP, Party Noise, is the cut that best represents who they are. “It’s a pinnacle of all our skills in one song and showcases all of our individual strengths,” says Aiden.
“It’s fast-paced, it's loud, it's rowdy— but still chill and indie-ish, two mediums we strike,” adds Ian.
Morgan—who’s been best friends with Ian since high school— is attracted to the song’s “forward” yet “emotional” energy, marked by Ian’s vibrato vocal and guitars that pick up speed around him.
What’s next after GMF? A new single, “The Way You Look,” set for release the week after the band’s performance. Evan says it’s his favorite Mak song to date, and fans can expect to hear it at the band’s first-ever Emo Night Tampa appearance on March 5 in Ybor City. And local gigs are where fans can keep up with Mak, which currently has no plans for a headlining tour in the near future.
And even if you don’t make it to Mak’s set, you’ll still probably hear them off in the distance.
“Bring earplugs,” Morgan jokes before Ian quickly cuts him off, adding, “Don’t bring them, don’t taint the sound. It’ll be loud—experience it.”