While Machine Gun Kelly has amassed a stellar list of past collaborators – his latest album Mainstream Sellout featuring the likes of Bring Me the Horizon, Willow Smith and Lil Wayne, to name a few – the Cleveland punk superstar has shifted his gaze to the social media realm of late.
After recently adding YouTube sensation Sophie Lloyd to his live band for his ongoing Mainstream Sellout tour, MGK has recruited the talents of Japanese electric guitar virtuoso Ichika Nito for his latest track, more than life.
Produced by Ichika in tandem with Travis Barker, the song sees a luscious Ichika-penned two-hand tapped clean line as its opening motif, before expanding with a helping of eighth-note powerchords over which MGK and 17-year-old singer and rapper Glaive deliver their angsty vocals. Check it out below.
Accompanying a recent post on Instagram in which he shows the riff in closer detail using his Ibanez Quest signature model, Ichika says it's a “pretty crazy story” that a “guy from Japan that barely speaks English” wrote a guitar loop that is now in a Machine Gun Kelly track.
While highly melodic, Ichika's contribution to MGK's latest track is relatively simple, given the technical complexity of some of his previous work.
Take, for example, his recent six-string battle with acoustic guitar virtuoso Marcin, in which he called upon his nimble fingerstyle and two-handed tapping chops to put on a spellbinding display of trap-rock prowess.
Or the time he transformed Smoke on the Water – the most overplayed guitar store riff of all time – into a virtuosic math-rock riff, packed with adventurous arpeggio-style plucks, open-string pull-offs, fret-sliding taps, chime-y pinch harmonics and more.
While Machine Gun Kelly's last two albums have been firmly rooted in pop-punk, he recently revealed that he plans to revert to rap for his next LP, in order to make people “miss” his guitar-driven material.
“I made [2020's] Tickets to My Downfall and [2022's] Mainstream Sellout because I wanted to make them,” he told Audacy's Kevan Kenney in April. “I need to now also make people miss that sound.”
He added that he's keen to complete his trilogy of pop-punk albums in the future, but added that he doesn't think making a third full-length would be exciting “unless it's missed”.