3030’s Mike Bliss talks The Remix Project, NAV placement, Smiley & more
For the past few years, 22-year-old Toronto-based producer Mike Bliss has been developing, and crafting a sound for himself that has recently started to gain notoriety. This past year alone has seen him collaborate with celebrated talents like Yung Tory, AR Paisley and his budding collective, 3030.
Bliss’s beats, with their signature hard-hitting drums, have recently landed the producer his first major placement on NAV’s new album Good Intentions (Deluxe) with the record “Yessir” (co-produced by another Toronto talent 1K).
Bliss is also featured on the latest Smiley mixtape, YYZ – LAX, co-producing the track “San Ysidro” with Hudson Alexander. Previously, Bliss had teamed up with Comps to produce Smiley’s “Do That For,” a track featured on Virgil Abloh’s Instagram Live DJ set this past April, and OVO Fest last year.
Just in time for Bliss’ birthday, we bring you an interview we conducted with him in late May. We got his reaction on the NAV placement, how The Remix Project helped his career, his crew 3030, and his intentions (good or bad) for the future.
Check out the Q&A below, and stay tuned for more from Mike Bliss and the 3030 collective.
Q&A: Mike Bliss
HipHopCanada: Many producers don’t know when they got a major placement until the record is out. How did you find out and what was your initial reaction?
Mike Bliss: I found out when it dropped. I didn’t even know. I knew I had a unreleased record with NAV about a year and a half ago when 1K sent me a direct message saying, “We got one with NAV.” I just sent him a bunch of eye emojis when I replied. So I did the melody and 1K killed the drums. But yeah, I found out the same day it dropped.
HipHopCanada: Well deserved my guy. A lot of people may not know your background so I wanted to touch on your history with The Remix Project—which is considered an institution at this point, where some of the top talent in the city old and new have emerged. How did your time there play a role in your development as a producer?
MB: The Remix Project is a huge part of my career so far. Firstly, it was a huge confidence booster even getting accepted into the program. I had my interview on the last day they were conducting them and I didn’t think I was going to get in. I applied for the audio engineering program and the interview went well. They only let in a few producers a year I believe and they are all talented as fuck. More talented than me to be honest. Just being there and seeing them, I learned a bunch of different styles, techniques and did a lot of networking. The Remix Project did a lot for me and I was trying to get the most out of it as I could.
HipHopCanada: That’s something I noticed about you from the jump when we met. Always ready to go when the opportunity arises. Not to say your peers are not because they are but your eagerness to be involved stands out.
MB: The thing is I’m not trying to miss any opportunities at all. That is a goal of mine for 2020. If an artist hits me up to record, I’m not missing that. I missed some media opportunities but I got all that sorted now. But to touch back on The Remix Project. I watched all my peer producers like my homie Thabo, who is very talented and can make melodies like it’s nothing. He’s amazing. I feel like where I stand out is… I don’t want to come off as cocky but I feel like I’m one of the hardest working. My talent would be more so my work ethic as the other producers were talented with instruments.
HipHopCanada: While we are on the topic of The Remix Project, I know you work closely with Rich Kidd as he is a big part of that program. Him being who he is in Toronto and having the career he’s had, how was it learning from him?
MB: Honestly, shout out to Rich Kidd and Ricki because I feel like they are my second fathers. I don’t know if they know that but I literally feel like that. Every time I’m around them both I’d try to learn something. I know who Rich Kidd has worked with and I know who Ricki has worked with. I still talk to them to this day even after graduation and I don’t think they know how much they really mean to me. For believing in me, for encouraging me and allowing me in. I’m really grateful for everyone there. The Remix Project is the best thing that has happened to my career.
HipHopCanada: There is a certain standard that is expected when someone says they came out of The Remix Project. Almost like it’s a seal of approval.
MB: I’m trying to get my year (15.0) tatted on me eventually.
HipHopCanada: Oh yeah?! Did you take the infamous class shot already?
MB: Yeah, we got that!
HipHopCanada: So in a couple years time, when the platinum plaques are on the wall we can look back at your class photo and compare you with some of the greats who have come before you.
MB: And one more thing. Again… No disrespect to anyone in my year but always in my head I was always thinking I was going to be the Jessie Reyez of my year. It’s going to be me. I’m fucking going harder then everyone else and I knew everyone was going hard. So it made me go double fucking hard. I was going to Remix from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday and after that I’d be hitting the studio at night working with the homies. Looking back now, most of the beats I made… I was still trash. It’s crazy (Laughs).
HipHopCanada: But you kept it consistent though…
MB: For sure. But just being around them motivated me. That’s the biggest thing when I was there. I’m the type of person that feels like every second matters. I’m trying to utilize my time everyday. Sometimes I’m not disciplined and I need to work on that.
HipHopCanada: (Laughs) Your only human bro.
MB: I know but I’m trying to be one of the best in the city.
HipHopCanada: For sure! And you’re definitely on your way. While we are talking about inspirations, what producers were you looking up to and getting inspiration from before The Remix Project?
MB: The first thing that got me intrigued with making beats was when I heard “It’s Ova” by Drake; the one with the strings, produced by Boi-1da. I literally thought how did this man make it? Did he get bare people to play strings in the studio and record them? I think that was Grade 8 or 7. I wasn’t making music back then when I contemplated that but I feel like it’s what started me off. I also have a family member who’s very successful in a band.
HipHopCanada: Name drop?
MB: (Laughs) No, not yet. But I was around 18 smoking on my balcony and thought about it. If this guy can do it, he shares 12.5% the same DNA as me and if it’s in him, why can’t I do it? Other than that, the producer I look up to is Ronny. He really stands out to me and I like him as an artist as well.
HipHopCanada: Ok dope. I know we are zoom chatting now which is new for me. A lot of changes in the world are going on as we speak. With all this going on how are you staying productive in this time and do you have any tips and tricks to stay motivated?
MB: Just getting that placement was a huge motivator. Even before that, my boy Tom French got two placements with the DaBaby on the album Blame It On Baby. He was hitting me up before and telling me how he got his first major and asking what lawyers he should hit up. As happy I was for him, I was still like fuck I need that! There was that, and as of recently, the Michael Jordan documentary. I had never watched him play before that but it’s been a huge motivator to watch.
HipHopCanada: A next question I always wanted to ask you is what dream collaborations that you want to make a reality in the near future?
MB: I’ve always said this, but I want to be the person that produces the first Smiley and Drake track that gets released (Laughs). I’m glad that snippet got leaked because I’m trying to be the man on that one. Other than that I’m honestly trying to work with everyone. That’s my goal in the city. To be good with every camp in the city. No beefs with anyone. I just wanna work with anyone who is down to work and has the same work ethic. Anyone in OVO, XO would be great.
HipHopCanada: For those that don’t know, you belong to a collective called 3030 made up of a wide array of artists and producers. You guys recently dropped a compilation tape called Welcome To 3030 that did crazy numbers. How did you get involved with that team?
MB: I met Delon Dior and Rocco from high school. Been working together ever since I started engineering. I think I started engineering Delon first to be honest. That was about three years. They are the homie, homies. I’ve known Mags since Grade 7 off of Facebook. Everyone’s trying to work and everyone organically knows each other through networks and friends like 1472 and Super Bad.
HipHopCanada: With Toronto having more active artists putting out music consistently a lot of people speculate it’s only a matter of time before there is a complete Toronto wave. What do you think about Toronto having next?
MB: Of course, I believe so. Especially producer wise. There are so many producers getting plaques in the GTA that are getting plaques that mans don’t know about. I feel like the producers are going to lowkey outshine the artist this year. I feel like artist just need to stay consistent and keep dropping visuals. Whoever does that and is in people’s faces the most with quality music of course will be the one to pop next and be like the next Killy. There is not that guy yet. All the hood guys are doing their thing but none of them has hit that Killy level yet. I don’t know who its going to be. To be honest, I don’t even think it might be a rapper. Or even a guy. It could be a girl because there is so much talented women in the city, especially from The Remix Project.
HipHopCanada: I dont doubt that a bit. It could go either way. Well Mike, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk. Congrats again on the win and I wish you all the best.
MB: Thanks homie. I appreciate the opportunity!
You can follow @MikeBlissCW on Instagram.
Written by Logik Dat Lad for HipHopCanada
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