MLOTIK: From Humble Beginnings to Playing The Caverns
Polish Chicagoans Michal Mlot and Mariusz “Mario” Wac, better known as MLOTIK, come from a grungy background of underground UK dubstep and heavy metal. Being a part of Mind Warp Mgmt alongside Mersiv and Smoakland, it is evident that this duo is on the rise.
More recently, they have provided support for Liquid Stranger, and their grunge-inspired sound has been earning them spots on festival lineups such as Infrasound and North Coast.
Mlot and Wac, both 26, have known each other since primary school, and have been making music since they were young. Reminiscing on growing up, Mlot states that his youth to teenage years is where he derives most of his inspiration:
“Some of my first memories of music are of my uncle showing me ‘Master of Puppets’ by Metallica when I lived in Poland. I Watched Viva, the European version of MTV, and saw Dr. Dre and some metal there.”
Wac’s love for music started to come to light after witnessing Porter Robinson play into Excision followed by Calvin Harris at his first music festival, Spring Awakening in 2013. Two years after this, after a trip to Camp Bisco in 2015, the duo started making music together.
“I remember coming home from Camp Bisco, and I didn’t feel like I had too much direction,” stated Wac. “I was super inspired after this festival, and I started going on YouTube trying to teach myself some things. I actually came across Virtual Riot’s tutorials, and this really opened the gates for me.”
After learning some essentials from Virtual Riot’s tutorials, the duo rented out their first management and studio space at Kildare Studios in Chicago.
One pivotal experience that weighs heavily on both inspiration-wise is their trip to the UK in 2017. Around this time, both worked as promoters for Trinium Promotions, based out of Chicago. This led to them meeting a lot of artists they loved, such as Dr. P and Cookie Monsta from Circus Records. Their beginnings came from these artists and various UK-derived dubstep that they were promoting for Trinium.
This time period, and the prevalent influence of UK sounds and artists, prompted another pivotal moment in the MLOTIK story — the duo making a short-term move to the UK.
They both booked $200, one-way tickets and stayed for several weeks, creating music on Mario’s dad’s living room couch in Liverpool. They were ready to be in the midst of their inspirations.
“We saw Dr. P was opening for a Flux Pavilion live band set while we were there,” Mlot recalled. “I still had his number from when we picked him up at the airport working for Trinium, and he ended up guest listing us to the show. It was incredible. After that, we were so inspired we started putting together so much music on that trip, and that’s actually how our first EP started.”
Coming from these humble beginnings, it’s gratifying to see what MLOTIK has achieved. This past year, they have been able to knock off several bucket list spots for themselves, such as opening for Liquid Stranger at Chicago’s House of Blues, as well as playing North Coast Festival, Infrasound, and at The Caverns. Of the four, opening for Mersiv at the Caverns was their favorite show.
Located in Grundy County, Tennessee, The Caverns is an acclaimed destination venue for live music, offering a magical open space, underground stage.
“First of all, hearing the sound without anyone in it during soundcheck was amazing because it’s just full of such special acoustics. When the crowd got in there, it just amplified the volume 10 fold,” acclaimed Mlot. “When we get to play special venues like that with some history, it’s just amazing.”
Wac also reflected on the fact that MLOTIK was the first act, and the two didn’t know what to expect. They were pleased to see that everyone came early for the special event — and received their music well.
“This past year was so uncertain for us … we’ve been rebranding, working on our sound and image. Playing the Caverns felt like everything was coming together.”
Last year, the duo moved to Denver, Colorado together to work closely with their management team and be a part of the massive, constantly growing bass presence in the city.
Outside of music, Mlot loves to cook and go on hikes, and also works as a production carpenter for art installations — his most recent work being for the South Park 25th anniversary concert at Red Rocks. Wac loves to play video games, spend time with his girlfriend and dog, and be close to music, nature, and mountains.
When asked to describe their music in their own words, both agree that it is organized chaos. Mlot’s favorite song of theirs is “Identical Tentacle,” while Wac doesn’t believe they have created it yet.
Their most recent release is off of the WaveCraft Collective Resurgence album, released on August 25, 2022. The track tells the story of where MLOTIK came from, perfectly mixing together grungy UK-style dubstep with strong elements of heavy metal.