Over the span of 15 years, the name “Rock Mafia” has come to mean many things— inspired by the rare earth resonance of crystals like quartz, citrine, and obsidian to only name a few. It’s coupled with the idea that music is a spiritual force and that at its highest point, moves through us all, whether we are creators or listeners. At its heart, Rock Mafia is the divine pairing of songwriting/production team Antonina Armato and Tim James. The two have added their creative genius to the music of stars like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Eminem, Mariah Carey, and BTS to name a few, while also garnering critical acclaim for their own music. With the release of their single “Don’t Bring Me Down,” Rock Mafia is geared to bring a renewed sense of positivity back into the world, one that we need right now.
“Yes, we write songs and yes, we produce, but our process is so different,” Tim says. “We just reflect what the artist’s vision is or what the song commands.” Antonina adds, “Sometimes the artist doesn’t know what they’re projecting and we just hold up a mirror.” The result is a unique approach to crafting hits, one they’ve applied to their own music as well.
Rock Mafia’s singles “The Big Bang” and “Morning Sun” (featuring Miley Cyrus) both appeared on their debut project, 2012’s Mixtape Vol. 1. Collaborations and other tracks were released over the years, yet the bulk of Rock Mafia’s work focused on songwriting and producing for start-up acts that would rapidly evolve into household names. Over the last few years they’ve transitioned into a creative hub for new artists while doubly making their own music. The luxury of being hitmakers afforded them the opportunity to open a five-studio safe haven in Santa Monica. It’s here that they look to break stars, working with burgeoning acts like Elohim, Bahari, and Yoshi Flower, as Rock Mafia has already dominated the star power of our musical present. Now it’s time to focus on the future. Their creative workspace comes at no cost to the artist, as energy and positive vibes are the currency. Their single “Don’t Bring Me Down” echoes that sentiment. “It’s just something that seems to resonate with us,” Tim says of the song’s positive concept. “We have to keep our heads up, especially right now. The song harnesses a “’90s hip-hop meets island” vibe, which is both playful and poignant at the same time.
“Don’t Bring Me Down” and the music that follows will continue Rock Mafia’s mission of authenticity, but of course forward progression. “For us music isn’t a business, it’s more of a religion,” Tim advises. “We wanted to create a community of artists, make music, and have each other’s backs. We have succeeded in that vision.”