A minute with Mix Master Mike [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – (Originally posted Dec. 3) – From his early work with Invisibl Skratch Picklz to his integral part of The Beastie Boys and everything else in between, Mix Master Mike has gained himself legendary status in the DJ world. Twisted Productions brought him to Vancouver’s Five Sixty and we had the pleasure of sitting down with the Mix Master to chat on some interesting topics. A warm presence with a humble vibe, Mike gave HipHopCanada’s KassKills his take on vinyl vs digital and the current state of hip hop as well as a peek into his spiritual side and his connection with aliens. Check it out after the jump.
HipHopCanada: You come from a very revolutionary period in hip hop as far as scratching and turntablisms – what is your stance on the digital DJ take-over? Do you embrace the evolution or are you more of a purist at heart?
Mix Master Mike: What, now that we’re in the Matrix? Nah, it’s awesome for DJs like me. When I first started DJing I had crates and crates of records and I had to carry the crates with me wherever I went and programs like Serato are awesome because you basically have all those crates in your backpack. It’s very convenient and as a purist it’s like a graduation gift for me. What’s sad is kids don’t know what it’s like opening a real record and reading back covers and stuff like that. It is what it is, I find a lot of purist type DJs are really bitter about it but, it’s all good. It’s just the way of growth. We’re in 2012 now and we’re on some Jetsons type shit. I love technology but when you see me up there it’s not like I’ve got a Tron helmet on or anything. It’s me, a full on two turntables and a mixer and the computer’s on the side, it’s not like my instrument, that’s the record crate.
HipHopCanada: Do you think vinyl will make a comeback?
Mike Master Mike: I’ve done a couple gigs with records and my computer but I dunno. It just depends on the type of DJ and if they want to do that and get on the mike and announce that.
HipHopCanada: Do you think the crowd would notice the difference?
Mix Master Mike: Well, my hardcore fans that know me and that have been following me since the early part of my career, they would know and they would really appreciate it. As far as the digital heads, they won’t…maybe they won’t grasp it as much. It depends on that age range. I mean, each one, teach one. The new generation needs to know that in order to know where you’re at, you need to know where it came from. That’s why I always give my praises to Kool Herc and little kids are like “who’s that?” but these are our guys.
HipHopCanada: What is your take on DJing for emcees versus being part of a DJ collective such as Scratch Picklz?
Mix Master Mike: It’s two different worlds. To tell you the truth, when I DJ with the B-Boys it’s really second nature to me. It’s really easy because I’m not working…as hard. I mean, it’s more of a mindful thing than a physical thing but like, being with the Scratch Picklz it’s a lot of physicality involved and a lot of hand movement, the whole time. With my crew, we all make each other better and you’re with the elite DJs of the world and it keeps you up. Being with the B-Boys though, you take those ideas and thoughts and you put them into that other world. It does get a bit intense when the spotlight is flashed on me, solo.
HipHopCanada: Can you talk a bit about the work you’ve done with Travis Barker? I noticed you guys will be playing a show together this month.
Mix Master Mike: Rest in Peace to my brother Adam Goldstein, DJ AM. We did that Lil’ Wayne tour, me and Travis. Before that happened he reached out to me – after Adam had passed – and said “I couldn’t think of any other DJ but you” and it was just like, wow. It was kinda weird for me because I had never had an aspirations of taking someones place or taking my friends place but it all worked out. He called, we hooked up and went to the studio and practiced and it was in the spirit of DJ AM. It was funny, I went to Adam’s grave site when it all happened – I’m a very spiritual person and I’m really connected, I’m grounded, I know my surroundings and I know what I’m supposed to be doing – and I kinda asked him up there “what do you think of this whole thing?” and for some reason I just felt like it was all good. After that I kinda felt like, okay I can meet Travis for dinner now. So now we have a residency in Vegas and it’s been beautiful. We became really close.
HipHopCanada: What’s your take on current hip hop?
Mix Master Mike: To tell you the truth, people say hip hop is dead but of course hip hop is not gonna be like the 80’s, not gonna be like the 90’s, come on. There’s hip hop that I love, trust me. I listen to Meek Mill…I listen to a lot of trap shit. Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky. I mean, there are some heads out there that are making an impact and I don’t think it will ever be like the 90’s again.
I’m grateful to be doing what I’m doing after 20 years, I can’t be bitter about anything. I’m here, I’m still a student, I’m still learning about myself. I’m still evolving, I haven’t stopped.
People see me in Cleveland doing the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and it’s kinda weird because when you get things like that it’s like, oh he’s done. I’m still challenging myself and yeah, you gotta keep pushing.
HipHopCanada: Can I ask about your musical connections with aliens?
Mix Master Mike: Of course, that’d be stupid to think that I was just channeling one emotion. There’s different things I’m channeling. There’s different things I’ve experienced too that have kinda opened my mind to things. But why be closed minded? It’s some cosmic shit. I’ve been visited, I’m not gonna lie. I know what it’s like in that 5th dimension. I know what’s going on and I’ve studied enough.
HipHopCanada: And you feel your music is that connection?
Mix Master Mike: Yeah, it is. You listen to it and it’s like me channeling. There’s a Sumerian language that I’m trying to translate and it’s like, for me scratching is kinda like a language I’ve developed to try and communicate.
HipHopCanada: What’s coming up for you?
Mix Master Mike: I’ve got this crazy album that I just keep re-doing and scraping and re-doing so I might just put it out by the end of the year. But I have a mix CD called Bolt-117 that is insane. It’s this mix of crazy glitch-hip hop and it’s just like an audio assault. It’s guided weaponry audio-munition. That’s what it is. I’ve got a CD for you right here. I’ve been working. To tell you the truth, I’ve had a tough year with certain situations and I had a three month period where I was just like trying to figure things out and now I’m back. So I’m excited. I’m very excited and it’s dangerous to be excited. This is a CD I made, it’s called Napalm Rockets – it’s the first dub-step, hip hop mix. Enjoy!
HipHopCanada: Thank you!
Interview conducted by KassKills @KassKills for HipHopCanada
Photos by Jamie Sands @jsandsphoto for HipHopCanada