Jon Mack Lets Her “Shadow Play”

 

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398147_340532922627160_1115949234_nThe unconscious mind enters a dreamscape world, set against the backdrop of a dystopian society in a post-apocalyptic world where a struggle exists between alien hybrids and humans. The edgy sweetness of a seductive and hypnotic female voice accompanied with electronic sounds and live instrumentation, and hauntingly powerful lyrics take us on a journey into this science-fiction like fantasy world filled with darkness and a land of “shadow”.

This imaginary dream world is the definitive music video “Shadow” from the ultramodern rock group, Auradrone, the brainchild of the highly versatile, Jon Mack, actress, singer-songwriter, musician and composer. A natural born performer, Mack began acting at the tender age of five on stage, before making her onscreen debut in 1999’s Emmy Award-winning biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (aka. Face of an Angel) starring Halle Berry, where she portrayed legendary Hollywood icon Ava Gardner. It was this breakout performance that launched Mack’s career. Having appeared in numerous films including Saw XI, Spiders 3D, Straight A’s opposite Luke Wilson, and 2012’s Playing For Keeps with Gerard Butler as a smitten housewife, the highly talented Mack proves that she is not a one-trick pony.

In 2007, having formed the “ever changing, ever evolving” Auradrone, the electronic rock group which is fronted by Mack herself, she has taken her career in the entertainment industry to a whole new level. Since forming Auradrone, Mack has gone on to release three albums beginning with the self-released debut album Whitelite Britelite in 2009,which received an overwhelming response, followed by the remix album Whitelite Britelite: Rehabilitated, and most recently Bleeding Edge (2011).

As talented as she is beautiful, Mack is indeed an enigmatic force when it comes to performing. In fact, Mack can be considered as the female equivalent of The Cure’s Robert Smith, a mantle which Mack proudly wears. She oozes sex appeal, charisma and a rock n’ roll attitude, through her tasteful lyrics and gritty, sensuous voice.

In an intimate and revealing interview from her studio in Los Angeles, Mack exudes an “aura” of inner peace, placidity, genuine warmth, authenticity, and true beauty both inside and out. Mack is truly a captivating, alluring and inspiring artist. As a multi-talented performer, it is Mack’s uniqueness and vision as a true artist that has ultimately put her on the “edge” of phenomenal success.

 

Natalie: Jon, it is clear that from a very early age that you were destined to be a performer. In fact, as a young child you taught yourself to sing and play guitar. Growing up, were there any creative influences, for example individuals, who inspired or motivated you to pursue your own artistic endeavours?  

Jon: Yeah. First of all, I love David Bowie from the time that I was a little girl. I always liked how he was both an actor and a musician and a performer, and just this whole, you know, not just one thing, but an artist, a visionary. My mother was a big fan, so I grew up listening to him, and the whole experience of him. I think he was just amazing to me and he seemed so unique. So, I think he was the first one to really 12050871-jon-mack-for-heaven-on-earth-society-for-animalsaffect me that way, I would say. He comes to my mind right away. But [there’s] so many others. I mean, Bjork and people like this. I grew up on their music, and they always seemed so interesting and cutting-edge, and pushed the envelope, too. I think those kind of artists always inspired me.

Natalie: Having grown up on a small family farm in Rochester, Michigan and having no siblings, would you say that this ultimately encouraged you to find alternative means to entertain yourself? And as such, did being an only child lend itself to you finding creative means to express yourself?

Jon: I’d say for sure. Yes. That’s probably why I had that reaction right away, because it’s definitely a factor in it. It’s interesting, because when I was a child I didn’t realize how unusual the situation it was to grow up as an only child on a big piece of land. I was kind of very connected to the land. I didn’t grow up in the city, but I always wanted to move to the city. I think I had seen so much opportunity, and the energy and the buzz of the city always fascinated me. But I think that it was a very good time for me as a child, because I got to go into my mind and into my imagination a lot more. Especially nowadays, kids have so many more distractions. I think it’s easy as an artist to have that as a young person, to have that openness and vastness, because I think that it lets your personality come out more. So, I definitely think it plays in it too, for sure. I like that. I think there’s something to be said for that, living close to the land when you’re young. Nowadays it seems like it’s more rare. I think it’s a gift if you see it that way, for sure.

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Natalie: Jon, your mother was an actress herself who worked as a theatre director. When you were only five years old, she cast you in your first play. Obviously at such a tender age, you may not recall a great deal from this experience. Do you perhaps remember how you felt about your very first experience in the spotlight?

Jon: I think from what I can remember, I think I loved it, you know, straight off the bat. Honestly, I don’t know. I think it just seemed natural to me, and it just seemed like an extension of playtime. Most of the time, when you’re a child doing plays you’re around older people. So, I enjoyed being around older people when I was very young. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s being an only child, you spend a lot of time with older people in general. But I just felt really natural with it, and I love the whole family feeling of doing theater, plays, especially being an only child. If you don’t have siblings, it’s the closest you’re going to get to that experience. So, to me it seemed like a really creative moment in time where people come together and they form a family, and they do, you know, this piece of art, whether it’s a play or music or something, but they’re there for this purpose. I grew up feeling that was a very loving space. My mother was a really wonderful teacher that brought that out of people. She had that ability to bring that openness from people, which is something that I admire very much. So, it felt very natural to me at a young age because of that.

Natalie: Jon, do you believe that if your mother had not introduced you to acting, would have inevitably chosen this career regardless?

Jon: Hmm…Maybe just because I think I always liked to feel like I was performing, and I’ve always been obsessed with cinema and films. I mean, that was just a natural thing on my end. My mother was more into theater, which I’ve always loved too. But my obsession with film, and then music came on its own. But I think I just loved anything creative and anything artistic. I think it was something that I was drawn to immediately. Even painting and dancing, and things like that. I was just very…I don’t know. I was a very right-brain child from the get-go. And maybe that was because I was an only child, and I had a mother who encouraged it. You know, in a sense I was allowed to be more free with it.

Natalie: So, you were a natural-born performer, in other words?

Jon: I think so. It’s funny, because in life I can be a bit reserved and shy sometimes. But I think in the moments when I need to, I think I actually do go there. I don’t know. It’s a beautiful expression.

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Natalie: Jon, you studied at the prestigious Tisch School of Arts at New York University, where you earned a Bachelor’s degree in theatre and a minor in film. You then went on to study at the renowned Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles. How did the training and knowledge that you acquired at both Tisch and the Strasberg Institute shape you as an actor?

Jon: I think Tisch in general in New York and the Strasberg Institute shaped me a great deal, because it was my first time out of my small town in the big city of New York. It so like transformed me, in that sense of being from a tiny town to the biggest city in the world – one of the most powerful cities in the world, [with the] excitement and all of that. It’s great. It’s a beautiful city. I love New York. I got to meet all kinds of people from all over, you know, working with different perspectives.

And I started in experimental theatre, actually. I started there, and I was there for about a year, and then I switched over to Strasberg. And they’re two different schools of thought completely. One’s more performance art and [there was] people like William Dafoe. I always saw kind of counter-culture theater people where there, which was cool because I grew up in theatre which is different, which I like. But then Strasberg was all method acting and sense method, which is great. I think it’s good for film. That’s really good training for film. So, it was wonderful. I have a lot of good memories of New York and that time there. It’s one of my favorite places still.

Natalie: Are there any methods or techniques that left a distinct impression on you as an actor, and that you have been able to draw upon throughout your career?

Jon: Yeah. More than anything to be honest with you. Aside from all the training which is great and scene study, I think the best thing is to be in the present moment. And that’s meditation and breathing and all of that. Centeredness really helps any performer, especially with an actor having to be on the verge of that moment every time, [in being] natural and responsive. So, I think the best technique that anyone can learn, and [when] I look back and see my training, I think that a lot of it was based on mediative thinking, being really present. I think mediation, I can say as a general, aside from studying your craft and working with other actors and your scene work, is really powerful. That’s just my opinion, but I think it’s great.

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Natalie: So, are you into the spiritual side of things?

Jon: Yes. I think especially in the arts, it pervades everything. It is everything. I mean, just to be creating any sort of art from an honest place, it comes from a spiritual place. Whatever people call it, it’s basically your core, your center. I think it’s very important for any artist in working on being genuine. It’s really cool.

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Natalie: In 1999, you played Ava Gardener in the Emmy Award winning biopic, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge(aka. Face of an Angel) which starred Halle Berry. Your breakout performance as this legendary actress, marked your debut on the screen. Most recently, famous actresses Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts, in particular, have both been highly criticized for their respective portrays of two famous icons, Grace Kelly turned Princess Grace of Monaco and Princess Diana.

Jon, how difficult was it for you to be able portray the Hollywood starlet Ava Gardener?

Jon: Actually, I looked at it as a lot of fun because I think she’s one of these women that I always admired, and my mother loved her too. It’s funny. One of the most beautiful women, I thought. Very strong, powerful, ahead of her time. I was really young at the time, and I took it as a wonderful challenge to play her because it was at the beginning of her career. So, she was young and full of fire. Later on came that Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman. I think that it is hard. I see how hard it is for an actress to play an icon like that, like Marilyn Monroe or someone like that. I think I just looked at it as fun. I didn’t see it as hard. I mean, maybe now I think I would probably be more painstaking and nervous about it. Being so young at the time, I just went for it. But at the same time, you kind of have to go for it. It’s a double-edged sword when you’re playing a true life character, especially one who is so loved and adored. That’s not easy for an actor. But it’s challenging. It’s good, it’s fun.

Natalie: Did you feel added pressure to do her justice?

Jon: Absolutely. She’s a big pair of shoes to fill. I mean, she was quite a strong woman, opinionated woman, [who] stood up to Frank Sinatra, stood up to, you know, Mickey Rooney (laughs). She was ahead of her time. I wouldn’t say feminist, but in that vain of what people would consider as a strong archetype. And it was still, you know, the ‘50s. It was still a different mindset at the time, and a different country back then. But she was classy too, and that’s what I liked about her. She was the rashness with the class, kind of mind. She’s still one of the most interesting women to me, I think.

Natalie: How did you prepare for such a role?

Jon: I watched a lot of old movies, read her biography, did a lot of research. I love to do research. I actually enjoy it. It’s kind of like a project, so I took it on as a project. I was already familiar with her, but I did my research and watched as many movies as I could. I just read as much as I could.

Natalie: Jon, in your opinion, what do you believe it was about this breakout performance that ultimately launched your film career?

Jon: Well, the fact that I got to work with Halle Berry, I think was a big thing. She was just on the verge of her breakout in her career. And it was a great director, Martha Coolidge who’s done so many classic films. Really fun. It was a really well done HBO film, and I think HBO always has a certain prestige to it. I love many of their…whether it’s their made for TV films or their shows, HBO’s got some good stuff.

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Natalie: Jon, you have appeared in many feature films such as the sixth instalment of the famous Saw franchise Saw XI, Spiders 3D, Straight A’s and 2012’s Playing For Keeps with Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel. Are you quite selective with the film projects that you choose?

Jon: I think so. I think I’m definitely more so now than ever, because I think it’s important to keep expanding and getting higher and higher and more challenging. And certain things you outgrow. I try to be very aware of what I accept. Yeah, I think that’s a good thing. I really love to do comedy, and love to explore that thing. I’ve done a lot of horror, disaster feature films which is fun. But I’m ready to explore more, maybe a comedic side such as that, [as well as] action thrillers. Some stuff like that. That’s where I’m at now.

 

Mack plays smitten housewife Connie alongside Gerard Butler in 2012's Playing For Keeps

Mack plays smitten housewife Connie alongside Gerard Butler in 2012’s Playing For Keeps

Mack as Holly in 2013'a Straight A's with Luke Wilson and Christa Campbell

Mack as Holly in 2013’a Straight A’s with Luke Wilson and Christa Campbell

Natalie: When can we expect to see you on the screen next?

Jon: Well, I’m working on a film. We’re just about to start production now. We’re in pre-production. It’s called Kickback. So, we’re going to shoot that very soon. It’s got John Cusack in it. It’s gonna be quite a good film. I’m very excited about it. So, stay tuned (laughs).

Natalie: Sounds very exciting. Jon: Yeah. We’ll be shooting very soon. So, we’ll look at it in 2015.

 

Natalie: Jon, you are indeed a multi-talented performer. Not only are you a singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, but you are also the front woman for the electronic rock band Auradrone. How important has it been for throughout your very impressive career in the entertainment industry to be highly versatile?

Jon: Very important. I think it’s definitely a survival as an artist to be able to do more than one thing, and I know that a lot of actors are also musicians. In fact, nobody would expect. I think it’s part of being a creative person to do more than one thing. And also to keep yourself sane, because the life of an actor’s like, “Wow”. That sometimes can be unpredictable for anyone. There’s things that are out of your control. I feel like [you have] to take that energy in a positive way. I think a lot of actors do other things to channel that creativity. I think that it’s a survival coping mechanism.

Mack fronts ultramodern post rock electronic group, Auradrone

Mack fronts ultramodern post rock electronic group, Auradrone

Natalie: What was the catalyst behind your decision to focus predominantly on a career in music, as opposed to acting in the past few years?

Jon: I think that it switches back and forth. I mean, really to do music you have to give it so much attention, especially when you’re writing songs and working on an album. It takes a lot of time and commitment and energy. So, I think it’s hard to really give your energy to both things at the same time right now. Like, I was writing songs this past year, about to release a new EP, and we’re playing shows again. But we’ve paired down the live set right now to a DJ set for the moment for the summertime, to kind of just get out there. We’re doing Comic Con. We’re performing on July 24th at Comic Con with Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance, and a few other really cool bands. So, that should be fun. We’re going to play at that show. So, it goes back and forth. You just have to give so much energy to one thing. And then when you’re working on a film, you’re just 100 percent there when you’re actually on the set working. So, it goes back and forth. Right now, I’ve just been harvesting this new music and just about to release that, and planning a new music video. There’s a lot of energy right now on our music, which is good.

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Natalie: In your experience, was it harder for you to break into the music business compared to the acting industry?

Jon: I think so. Yes, in many ways I had to prove myself a lot with music, and I still feel that I’m always having to, especially being a female and coming into it, and learning how to produce on your own. I took no schooling for it. It was pretty much self-taught and just on necessity. And when you come into that world, you really have to gain respect with having a good prowess and just how you act with people. Your whole demeanour, especially when you’re a female. It’s still very much a boys’ world. It’s changing. But when I was coming up, it was mostly males. But it was good, because I learned a lot, and I got to watch what they were doing. I’m grateful for that, because I learned a great deal.

My other point being with the music industry, it’s changed so much lately. I think the last ten years, the music industry’s so different now because what’s happened with the internet now and artists, musicians having to make a living not from selling albums anymore, but from touring, merchandise and just being more inventive with packaging themselves. So, I think it really is harder now, and it has become harder versus a band that was coming up in the ‘80s, maybe the early ‘90s before everything switched over. So, the music business now has changed for an independent artist.

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Natalie: Were you ever discouraged from pursuing it?

Jon: I think we all have our days where we feel discouraged, but nothing’s ever made me question why I do it or why I write music or why I love to do it. I think it’s just that I have to do it. It’s a natural feeling and tendency for me. I get a little crazy if I go too long without writing or doing something. I know that I can’t stay away from it too long. There are days where encouragement, is when you go back and listen to or you experience your work again, and you’re like, “Oh, okay. I feel good about this.” It kind of balances it out, I think.

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Natalie: Acting and singing are both performance arts. In fact, both mediums can be considered as a form of story-telling. How has your acting background helped shape you as a musician, and do you find it easier or more difficult to tell a story through acting or music?

Jon: First part of the question: I think it’s definitely shaped me as a musician, primarily with performance whether it’s live or video or whatever. It’s something I’m comfortable with already, whereas I think a lot of musicians have struggled with that. A lot musicians can tend to be a little introspective and shy. It’s the stage-fright thing. I had the advantage of that a little bit. I mean still, you know, we all get nervous sometimes when we perform, but versus having crimpling stage-fright. I think that was definitely the advantage, being theatrical. Wanting my songs to be theatrical too, and tell a story more like a film. I kind of approach it more as that answer. I think that’s affected it as well, seeing it more cinematically than song-wise. I think it all kind of influences each other in many ways.

Natalie: Jon, do you believe that acting and music both complement one another? And if so, in what way?

Jon: Absolutely. I think for sure. Again, I think it’s all human expression, and I think they can always complement each other. Nowadays, especially with multimedia, everything’s blending. I mean, music videos are becoming films. [They’re] becoming art installations. Everything’s kind of coming into one, I think. It’s kind of an interesting time, with the internet and with the technology, that we’ll be able to blend everything together. So, I think the whole thing is that you can do it that way and complement each other automatically, for sure, just in the way that they make the experience more rich. It becomes more synesthetic, or it’s encompassing all of your senses and your abilities. Yeah, I think especially with acting and music, I mean they just go together. You’re acting out a song, you’re performing, or even when you’re thinking of writing a song, you’re in another space, you’re a character in it, some type of story. So, it sort of is like an acting thing. I think that’s why writing songs is very cathartic and good for you in many ways.

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Natalie: Rock groups such as The Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshees, and Depeche Mode, all which produced what was coined as “New Wave Music”, can be credited as being highly influential on your music. Jon, what was it about the music of these famous groups that appealed to you most?

Jon: Well, I think a lot of it especially with The Cure, I mean the song-writing is so beautiful. I can always admire good song-writing, good lyrics, romantic sort of emotion, and the instrumentation was so lush. I think many people are influenced by bands, such as The Cure. They were also around when I was very young. Some of the earliest, modern music I heard, I think was very influential on me. And I think many other artists right now, they’re a big influence. I would say that it’s the song-writing first of all. Depeche Mode, synthesizers, everything like that. [With] Siouxsie and The Banshees, her voice was amazing. I think she was a big influence to me, because I mimed her singing and her style was very out there at the time. Sometimes you see someone do something different.

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Natalie: Jon, how have you as a singer-songwriter and musician, been able to draw upon these influences in the creation of your own music?

Jon: Well, Auradrone’s ever-changing lately. It’s now evolving into a little more commercial style, a little less dark. So, I like to think it’s ever-changing, it’s ever evolving. But definitely. I mean, it’s got style and influences, some of the electronic and dance and all that. But now it’s going into a more cinematic, not pop, but like more mainstream sounds. It’s kind of an indie rock vibe still very much, but it’s not as dark or industrial as the other albums are. The sound is kind of evolving now. So, I think it can be something more [that] people can hear more on mainstream radio.

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Natalie: Jon, Auradrone is regarded as an electronica post modern rock group. For those that may not be familiar with this genre or style of music, can you tell us a bit more about this?

Jon: I think nowadays, especially while I was also doing this project, I was interested in making it hybridized and fitting together, with technology and the old school way of thinking and actually playing instruments, which I think will never go away. I think humans need that. That’s a beautiful thing. But I think they have both kind of worked with each other in very interesting ways, and created different feelings and sounds that weren’t possible with just one or just the other. So, I think it’s really important for the sound. What’s important for me as an artist is to explore that, not just do one thing. I think I’ll always want to keep trying to explain that. I think it’s infinite what technology and you know, actually sonic instrumentation, whether it’s live instruments or drums or things like that versus just a drum machine, always make interesting things happen.

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Actor Callum Blue appears with Auradrone's Mack in the music video for "The Escape" from the Bleeding Edge (2011) album

Actor Callum Blue appears with Auradrone’s Mack in the music video for “The Escape” from the Bleeding Edge (2011) album

Natalie: Jon, what drew you to electronic rock music, rather than let’s say regular rock music or country or pop, for instance? And has electronic rock always appealed to you?

Jon: Well, actually I do like rock, just simple rock music. I always been a fan of rock music, believe it or not. I did grow up on classic Fleetwood Mac, and bands like The Eagles, and you know, Led Zepplin. I mean, just from the time my parents listened to things. So, I do love rock music and I do love bands things like Queens of the Stone Age now. But I think I also love electronic music just from being a kid and just really loving dance. Loving anything to do with dance, growing up loving dance, so I think it was just natural to me to want to do that. I mean, I admire all kinds of music actually. There’s great music in any genre. I have great respect for that. And that’s the whole other side to me – the song-writing. A good song is a good song.

Natalie: Jon, what was your motivation or inspiration in the formation of Auradrone?

Jon: I’ve been doing, I guess you could say prototypes of Auradrone before Auradrone. A couple of projects, I was getting into the electronic thing more. I started doing rock as a singer, and that was the first genre I actually performed in. So, then I had a couple of other bands between my last band and then Auradrone, where it was more of me experimenting with doing demos, and like connecting with people and trying to see if we could work together and make something interesting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it didn’t. So, it was a lot of experimenting with that until I finally decided what Auradrone would sound like, which was around 2007, 2008, was where it needed to be.

Natalie: Jon, what ultimately sets Auradone apart from other electronic rock groups?

I think we all did something different as far as the vibe, the romanticism of the vibe. It’s not just straight up electronic, there’s some very lushness to it. There’s some bigness and romanticism, and there are just some of those qualities from the band’s religion from like The Cure. Things like that. It doesn’t just make it electronic dance. It’s got a little bit of an edge to it, where it can be listened to from across the board by people who do like to just listen to rock music versus anybody else who likes dance music. So, I think that it has that extra ability to reach a wider audience that way in a sense.

Natalie: Jon, what made you choose the name Auradrone for your band? Is there a story behind this?

Jon: It strangely enough came to me in almost like a dream or meditative state. I like the idea of these two boards together. That just sounded really good. Aura – the human aura. And then the drone. I don’t see it like a ship or anything. I see it like a continuous resonance, like a hum. So, it’s like a harmony. Just a nice sounding word. It just came to me, and it just stuck with me. It just sounded right for the music I was creating at the time. It just sort of fit with it. It sounded like, “Oh, like is what Auradrone would sound like,” I think. It kind of naturally occurred that way.

Natalie: The artist in you?!

Jon: Yes. Who’s ever up there, out there, in there, giving me little clues here and there (laughs).

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Natalie: Auradrone can be perhaps described as today’s answer to The Cure and all that it represented. In fact, The Cure was one of your earlier musical influences. Jon, how does it feel to be likened to such an enigmatic rock group?

Jon: Incredible. I mean, again they’re just a huge influence on myself and probably an entire couple of generations of musicians. I think Robert [Smith] is incredible. I think the whole band is incredible, so it’s an honour if anybody compares us. If anybody gets that out of it, then fantastic. Then the music is doing what it intends to do, and I’m very happy with that.

Natalie: Jon, as the lead singer of Auradrone, what similarities and/or differences are there between your band and earlier electronic rock groups?

Jon: Probably it’s just in my blood, the stuff I listened to from the time I was a kid. So, maybe it will come out at certain times, especially with a band like Depeche Modeall, [which] we were talking about, will come out. Just from the time I was little, I listened to them, and they were some of the earliest electronic music I listened to. From the time that they came out, they were fresh. I was very young so it was a good combination. It comes out from time to time, I think. Not so much an imitation, but more of a homage, like in honour of the band. I think it happens with anything. If you really are influenced by someone, you’re gonna kind of run it through your system and have it come out some way in your work, too. So, that’s the beauty of it.

Natalie: In early 2009, your rock group Auradrone released their debut album, Whitelite Britelite which featured songs such as “AutoErotic”, “Appetite” and “Indigo Child”. Your songs can be described as a blend of tasteful lyrics, tantric sounds and rock n’ roll attitude, which essentially takes the listener on a fantastical journey.

Jon, what emotive responses did you intend your lyrics and music to create or instil in your audience?

Jon: [With] the first album, a lot of the songs on there are just like very dreamy, wishful like creating a dream world, creating a perfect escape world. And I think it was more about the texture, kind of like very close to My Bloody Valentine. Bands like that were very lush, like creating a dreamscape situation. Radiohead does that a lot. That album was probably trying to create that. There’s a lot of ideal thinking and sort of dreaminess going on in that album, the lyrics and everything, where there’s fantasy, dreamy or you know, other kinds of dreamy. There’s a lot of exploration with that. I think it draws a lot from that with that album. There’s a lot of space reference too, like outer space.

Natalie: Whitelite Britelite received an overwhelming response. Did you expect such a positive reception?

Jon: I always hope for it, but you never know. But yeah, I think it’s always great when you get that, for any artist. You don’t know how things are going to get received. Some of it’s favorable and some of it’s a blessing. It’s why we do what we do. We hope that it resonates with people and they enjoy it. It’s a good thing.

Natalie: What was your reason for releasing a remix of your debut album that same year with Whitelite Britelite: Rehabilitated?

Jon: A few DJ friends of mine offered to remix it, and I was like “Sure”. If someone wants to remix it, great. Go for it. I put a lot of really cool versions of the material, remixed and redone. It kind of happened. A lot of people at once decided to do remixes, so I said we have enough for an album, so we might as well put out a remix album. Again, for the dance aspect, to get it into clubs, get people enjoying it. So, that was it. I probably will do more remix albums, because they’re fun to do.

Natalie: Jon, having listened to your entrancing music, I must say that your voice has such a sensual quality to it. When you combine the allure of your voice with the electronic sounds of Auradrone, one almost becomes transfixed.

Jon, how do you use your undoubtable charm, sex appeal, charisma and talent to reach and ultimately have a profound impact on the masses?

Jon: Well, hopefully in the right way. I try not to use it, so it’s a distraction. But I think it’s all a part of the music, especially as a female performer, your femininity is very much going to be a part of your art and your craft. I think as a woman, as a performer it’s going to come into play. So, I like to look at it as a positive aspect. It’s the sensuality, the beauty. It’s strength and power conveyed versus just going for the cheap, obvious stuff. I like to shoot a little different way. Many female artists do it in the right way. They make it fun, but it is also strong and powerful. It’s just not those common dominators.

I think it’s a responsibility for any female artist. What you’re putting out there is really powerful, because it’s really influential. Whether it’s younger people or in general, it’s like you’re representing yourself. You’re a voice for many people, especially women. So, it’s your responsibility to put it out there in the right way. It’s just how I feel. But I think it’s very influential. It’s very much a part of who I am. My music is part of everything I do, so it’s definitely going to play into it.

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Natalie: As a songwriter, you have written the lyrics to Auradrone’s songs. Jon, how does song-writing allow you as an artist to express yourself more freely, and essentially speak your own truth?

Jon: I think it’s a different language completely. I think song-writing is a whole other religion. It’s not so pocketed and conscious. I think it comes from a deeper place, and when you write a song you feel more freer to express things you wouldn’t say in every day conversation, or you can put yourself in other people’s shoes and perspectives too. You can tell a story about someone else from behind their eyes. It’s kind of like a narrative.I don’t know. Sometimes the lyrics come to me so mysteriously. Sometimes it’s like you’re telling your story, but sometimes I feel like you’re telling other people’s story too. So, it’s an interesting process.

Natalie: Jon, your third and most recent album Bleeding Edge was released in 2011 and featured tracks such as “Shadow”, “The Escape” and “Ricochet”. The album explores themes such as love, loss, and life. Many of the tracks have a dark, edgy, almost haunting vibe and feel to them.

What do you believe it is about dark themes, in particular, culminated with sex and power that seem to captivate and entrance individuals?

Jon: I think that’s always going to be there. The dark aspects of humanity are something that artists are always exploring, people are always questioning. We’re seeing it every day, whether it’s on the news or Facebook or wherever. It’s just a part of us that we are having to own and maybe examine. So, I think art is a perfect example catalyst for that, and I think that it’s a safe place to explore that too. Yeah, I think people relate to it, because of that. [And] because they feel like they can dive into art, whether it’s music or film, and explore that dark side of themselves, and it’s still safe.

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Natalie: Would you describe writing and performing this type of music as some sort of dark pleasure, so to speak?

Jon: Sure. I think so (laughs). I don’t see why not. Definitely, yeah.

Natalie: Jon, would you say, that most human beings have a dark side, or are drawn to the dark side? And as such, how does your music allow an individual to explore their inner darkness?

Jon: I think we all definitely do have a dark side, and I think it’s just a part of us to want to explore it and be afraid of it at the same time. When I wrote the last album, it was interesting. It came out darker. Maybe it was because I was in a different space, darker space. I was going through some stuff with my mom and family, and her health. So, I think it was kind of affecting what I wrote energetically. But [when] I think about it, there’s also empowerment to the darkness, even in the lyrics there’s darkness but there’s also another side to the coin and finding strength with that.

And that’s why I’m even further exploring that now with the new material. I think that I’m more in that zone. I was kind of like getting there in the last album. It was more about bringing it away. It’s kind of why the image of the phoenix was on the cover. It’s shedding way, reborn sort of energy. So, I’m now more in the expansion stage. Yeah, I think the dark stuff was a natural process, because the first album was so light, it was different. It’s interesting. When I look at it, I can’t really predict it. I just know, looking at it in hindsight. But it’s interesting.

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Natalie: With Bleeding Edge, the use of music videos for “Shadow” and “The Edge”, in particular, which feature notable actors such as Callum Blue, Brian Krause, and Tony Ward, leave such a distinct impression and impact on viewers.

Jon, how much creative input do you have in the production of these music videos? Do you contribute or do you leave it up to the director to best interpret the message behind Auradrone’s music?

Jon: Usually, I’m pretty involved, just because I feel like as an artist, you’re representing yourself and your work. I do love to collaborate with people, and I always love to hear ideas and you know, see if it’s something we can both jive with and it feels synergetic. I think that’s real important. But I mean, I love directors with great, strong ideas and really have it thought out, like you know, come from that aspect. I think that’s great. But [directors who] are also open to letting me give input. So, it’s a give and take. I don’t want to dominate the whole thing. I don’t want to dominate that. But I also want to have my creative input. Yeah, it’s definitely a balance.

Natalie: Obviously music videos are quite beneficial in showcasing an artist or band.

Jon, how has the use of sound and visual medium helped you to further amplify Auradrone’s message, and essentially the band’s image as one of today’s most influential electronic post-modern rock groups?

Jon: I think from the beginning it kind of went hand-in-hand, being the kind of music it is and was. I think it helped a lot, just kind of branding the whole vibe of the band. I don’t want to say genre, but it kind of put it into a certain genre right away, having the videos, having the vision, having the imagery – all of that together. With the release of the album, I think it all played together, pretty much as it should. And it continues to grow. So, I’m curious to see. Now we’re added lights. More and more lights, and more visuals to the live sets. So, it’s going to become more of that – that live experience. It will be fun.

Natalie: Jon, as the lead vocalist of Auradrone, do you find this more challenging to be the front-woman of a rock band as opposed to being an onscreen actor?

Jon: Definitely. I think they both have their challenges. Different challenges, but both have challenges. So, it’s hard to say which is more, but I think they switch often at times too. I think in order to do a good job or great job with anything, you have to give your all and really focus on it. And then challenges can arise, and then you know, you have to step by step take those challenges and overcome them.

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Natalie: Jon, having started out as an actor, has this given you more confidence and self-belief to perform as the lead vocalist of Auradrone with conviction, and the ability to reach people on many levels?

Jon: I think definitely. Yeah. Definitely. That has helped.

Natalie: Jon, how has singing, song-writing and performing as musician brought fulfilment to your life, and in what ways?

Jon: It’s probably kept me sane, alive, you know to some degree (laughs). It’s made it more bearable at times, for sure. I couldn’t imagine life without it. So, it’s just hard to imagine.

Natalie: Jon, both you and your band Auradrone are currently in pre-production working on your next music video, as well as planning the highly anticipated release of an EP this northern summer.

Are you able to tell us a bit more about these upcoming projects, and what we can expect to see from Auradrone in the next coming months?

Jon: Yes. Well, look out for a new video. We have an exciting video with director Michael Sarner who’s done videos for Metallica, Blink-182, Nickelback. He’s shot some big bands. He’s great. And so, we’re about to shoot a video. By the end of summer, we’ll have a video ready.

Natalie: That sounds exciting.

Jon: Exciting. Yes. It’s a bit overdue. It’s going to be a new concept and everything. And of course, there’s the EP, so expect that out very soon as well, right before Fall. And live shows. We’ll be doing some more DJ shows. Hopefully, we’ll be leaving LA soon and heading out to Chicago or New York or something. I’ll be posting on the website periodically. So, definitely, definitely stayed tuned.

Natalie: Excellent. Some exciting stuff coming our way, for sure.

Jon: Yes.

Natalie: Recently, Auradrone has been performing live. In fact, you have an upcoming live performance at The Viper Room on July 21st. Jon, how exciting or exhilarating is it for you to perform in front of a live audience, where you are able to directly gauge their reaction?

Jon: It’s great. It’s the best. Live shows are the best. No complaints. I mean, it’s different when you have a CD, you don’t know how people are hearing it. But when you play live, you play a song, you see immediately how people react, whether it’s good or bad or indifferent. So, it’s exciting. I love being in front of an audience and just feeling that. It’s wonderful.

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Natalie: Jon, what can we expect to see from your upcoming live performances?

Jon: I think I mentioned before, we’re adding some visuals. So, there’s going to be some cool visuals. We’ve got some exciting stuff coming up. So, stay tuned, for sure.

Natalie: Jon, when performing live, are you able to feed off of the audience’s energy?

Jon: Yes, for sure. I think that’s absolutely true. I think any musician does.

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Natalie: Jon, does performing in a more intimate venue allow you to form a closer relationship with your fans, and if so, in what way?

Jon: I think it’s more one on one when you’re in an intimate venue versus a festival. The energy’s different. It feels more intimate. It feels like people are right there with the music versus a festival setting, where it’s more personal. But I think an intimate venue sounds great. You can really get more subtle with it. You can even do more ballads and things like that. Yeah, I like intimate settings too, and it’s great to see your audience right there. So, that’s nice.

Natalie: Jon, you mentioned that Auradrone will be hitting the road soon to Chicago, New York and other places in the United States. Can we expect an upcoming tour from Auradrone anytime soon?

Jon: We’re planning it. We’re hoping to. We’re in the talks for it right now, so I will definitely be letting people know as soon as we figure out our dates and where they will be. So, stay tuned.

Natalie: Jon, how has Auradrone been received internationally? Any countries, in particular?

Jon: Yeah. It’s gotten a good response from the UK, Germany, France, South America, some places in America, Brazil, places like that. Even India, believe it or not. So, I think it’s globally reached. We’ve got Australia, yeah (laughs). We’ve gotten a lot of good response in general, so that’s why I think I’m preaching so much to play in Australia, Europe and countries like that. I’m really eager to do it. It should be good. We’re working on it. We’re working on at least getting over to Europe soon.

Natalie: So, a lot of big things happening for both you and Auradrone?

Jon: Yeah, exactly.

Natalie: Jon, where you would like to see yourself in the next five years or so?

Oh, boy. Well, just healthy, happy, and successful as far as creating art. Having a nice life with the people I love. And always moving forward. I mean, it’s hard to say. I love the idea of starting projects. I’m getting more involved with production. So, getting more into production and facilitating projects, whether it’s film or music. I see myself doing that. And you know, helping out the environment and the planet as much as I can.

Natalie: Fantastic

Jon: In a nutshell (laughs).

Natalie: Do you have a mantra which you live by?

Jon: I think the Joseph Campbell mantra’s the best thing ever to “follow your bliss”. I think that’s the best mantra. No matter what situation it is, just listen to yourself and follow your bliss. What feels good inside, and really trust that feeling. I think that’s a big thing that artists forget to do. So, I try to remind myself to do that.

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 **PLEASE HELP SUPPORT AURADRONE’S CAMPAIGN TO FUND THEIR NEW MUSIC VIDEO “RECOVER” DIRECTED BY ACCLAIMED VIDEO DIRECTOR, MICHAEL SARNA**

JON’S PERSONAL MESSAGE TO FANS:

DEAR FANS Please contribute in any way if you can. We are doing our best to put together an amazing video and your help really matters!

Check out the page to see what perks are being offered for your contribution.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/auradrone-recover-music-video-directed-by-michael-saran

Campaign

With gratitude,
~Jon Mack / Auradrone

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PLEASE HELP SUPPORT JON’S DEFENDING THE ENDANGERED PSA CAMPAIGN!

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http://www.gofundme.com/dteprotect

Auradrone is an indie electronic-rock act that was formed by musician, actress and producer Jon Mack in 2007 with the goal of creating a project that explores the realm of multi-media and music while bringing to light important social causes.

Recently, Auradrone shot the first part of a music video for a song off their soon to be released album. The song titled “Weapon Of Choice” is intended not only be a music video but also a PSA (Public Service Announcement) to raise awareness about the slaughter and near extinction of many endangered species due to illegal poaching and trophy hunting.
We intend for this video to carry a strong message and bring to light this very serious threat to our planet.

We are seeking funds not only to complete one more day of filming but also to cover post-production costs and advertising.
Any additional funds raised will be donated to organizations such as WWF, Big Cat Rescue and SANParks Honorary Rangers; all of which are working to solve the poaching crisis by protecting and rehabilitating the innocents and educating the public on this alarming issue.

With less than less than 100 Amur Leopards, 3,200 Tigers, 29,000 Rhinos, 40,000 Elephants and 60,000 Orangutans left in the wild, it’s time for those of us who love these magnificent creatures to step up and do something before it’s too late. This is a global issue and one that could be a game changer for our entire planet.

We are truly passionate about protecting these innocent beings and appreciate your help no matter how great or small. Your contributions will give us the resources to not only carry out this important message but also to furnish much needed supplies to those in the field fighting for peace and justice so that our children and grandchildren will inherit a world worth saving.

Thanks for your support!

~Jon Mack  & Defending The Endangered

“Like” Defending the Endangered Project on Facebook

Jon’s IMDB Credits

Jon’s Official Facebook Page

Auradrone’s Official Website

Auradrone’s Official Facebook Page

Comments

  1. Marc Humphries says:

    Jon is definitely a multi-talented woman!

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