Mazerboy’s 2019 debut EP, Artificial Dreams, was shaped by the restlessness of youth. Much like the films that inspired it, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused and Catherine Hardwicke’s Lords of Dogtown, it craves for excitement, novel experiences, freedoms, and answers—wondering how soon they’ll come.

Mari Valencia created his alter ego Mazerboy as a bedroom project, releasing his first single, “When Will It All Change” with no immediate follow-up. “I never really planned to seriously work on [the EP] but some of my friends were telling me that it can be something people would actually listen to,” Valencia recalls in an interview with The Rest Is Noise. 

He named his debut EP Artificial Dreams, characterizing the overarching theme of chronic dissatisfaction. “It’s kind of like a collection of thoughts that revolved inside my head during that time. How I saw the world that I was living in.” On its penultimate track, “Trouble Sleeping,” Mazerboy wrestles with intrusive thoughts, realizing that, to him, a “way to fix the problem on his own” is to purge it out. “I was barely getting enough sleep and I was constantly daydreaming as I was always deep into my thoughts, so it felt like dreaming was something I needed to push instead of having it subconsciously.”

Despite this, Mazerboy envisions a far more hopeful, if not entirely optimistic, takeaway from his EP. He hopes that it depicts the better parts of being free and young. “Maybe I can say that it’s a beautiful madness because [it] is messed up in a way because it’s almost all about personal complications. But the fact that I can forget about those by playing the music associated with it feels magical and I think that’s what makes it beautiful,” he shares.

After all, Artificial Dreams is also a product of things he deeply cherishes. Aside from Dazed and Dogtown, Mazerboy considers Tony Hawk: American Wasteland as his favorite childhood game. “I guess some of its punk elements influenced the vibe of the EP,” he said.

Right now, Mazerboy is working on new music. “I’m really enjoying the process since I’m learning a lot from the people I’ve met all throughout the year.” He adds, “I have a lot of ideas and plans that I’m really pumped to work on but like, I don’t want to rush it. I know I’ll eventually get there and I’m looking forward to it.”

A young person’s life feels like it’s perpetually burdened with drama, but as Dazed director Richard Linklater puts it, “It is more like you’re looking for the party, looking for something cool, the endless pursuit of something you never find, and even if you do, you never quite appreciate it.” The good news is that we grow up and learn. Maybe “teenagedom never changes,” but people do. 


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