Mecha Maiko is a synth pop project by Hayley Stewart.
The name Mecha Maiko is a clever conceptual fusion of ‘mechas’ – massive, futuristic battle robots and ‘maikos’ – geishas in training. This dichotomy of hard-biting dystopian mechanics and the soft and tender performance of the maiko is meant to reflect the very same yin and yang dynamic found in her works as in her debut album for Canadian label ORO Let’s! due out October 4.
Stewart began her musical career as the lead producer and a vocalist for the synthwave act Dead Astronauts between 2011-2016. Dubbed “one of synthwave’s most recognizable voices” by New Retro Wave, Hayley has written and sung on tracks by the likes of FM Attack, Perturbator, and Betamaxx. She has produced remixes for Makeup & Vanity Set, Crying Vessel, and Michael Oakley, and produced “Be Alright” on Dana Jean Phoenix’s latest album, Pixel Dust. She currently is based in Toronto, Canada.
Her debut record, Mad but Soft, was released early 2018 with New Retro Wave Records, which saw a second pressing in 2019. Her next major release was Okiya, which took a hard experimental turn from her original synthwave-leaning sound. After collaborating with Bulkhead for the single Chloroform on ORO records, she continued her relationship with the label, returning to a pop-oriented approach for the dance floor single Phones in May 2019.
Not one to rest on her laurels, she continues to push forward with her new album — playfully titled Let’s! — which seeks once again to show just how creative and progressive she is as an artist within her framework.
Mecha Maiko has had the pleasure of performing live and DJing across North America at many prestigious events, something we can only expect to see more of. She was a performer and guest speaker for the Ladies of Synth panel at NEON Retrofest and will be appearing in the forthcoming documentary The Rise of The Synths.