Exclusive GIGsoup Interview: Mikey Mike

On Friday 20th September L.A based singer/ songwriter Mikey Mike met with Gigsoup backstage at his sold out show in London. On the third date of his European tour, fans flooded eagerly into the ‘The Waiting Room’ as the interview commenced. The ‘Doin` Me’ singer had a calm composure as he sipped whiskey from the bottle and nodded his head to the music that bellowed from the other room. His debut album ‘Life On Earth’ was released merely weeks before the tour and received a huge amount of praise from fans worldwide. Mikey Mike is known for his diverse genre splicing which was reflected in the mixed crowd that attended. He was charismatic and genuine during the preparation for the interview and conducted himself almost as though he’d sold out shows in London on numerous occasions.  He gave a full hearted answer to each question and one thing that he circled back to a lot was his gratuity toward his fans and the support that they showed. It’s safe to say that Mikey Mike reciprocates the passion his listeners offer him, which is shown in the interview below.

Life on earth volume 1 was diverse in genre, is that a testament to the time it took to create, or is the diversity something that’ll be frequent in your music?

Yeah, I definitely think it will be frequent; it’s one of those things where I’ve grown up loving so many different types of music. I had pockets where Id only listen to Nirvana and Led Zeppelin, and then I got sick of that and only listened to rap. So I genuinely fell in love with every genre and when I started making music it didn’t feel right to do any of them, I think I took little pieces of all of it. Also, part of it was the amount of time cause it was probably five years ago that I started, and just to get a platform where I could put it out and get people to hear it, we had to wait this long. So naturally in five years the music changed so much, you know, it changes week to week but in five years even more so. A little of it, from what I hear is… it’s almost un-cohesive but not in a bad way. I think my voice, even if it’s a different genre and such, my voice or my spirit kind of pulls that together. So yeah, it never started purposely, just naturally, but it’s definitely something important. There’s even times where I really like something but it all sounds the same colour, the same mix and everything, you can listen to those songs five times and it isn’t any different from the other so I do like bouncing around with it.

You say that the album’ Life On Earth’ is a genuine perception of your life on earth and you break that down track by track.

Yeah, you have all kinds of different trips in life, sometimes you’re in a more spiritual place and sometimes you go in a more physical or nasty place and the album hopefully goes through that trip.

What city has been your favourite so far on this tour?

We’ve only done Germany and Sweden, so I’m going to go with Germany because we had a great show. Sweden was tough because I don’t think we have a big market there in terms of people that know the music. In Germany we had people singing all the tunes and – I knew some people there that have been fans. Like, the girl I stayed with, she had covered ‘Doin Me’ on a mandolin two years ago, so when we said we were coming she said ‘oh, you can stay at my place’. So it was cool, it was special in that way that you get to meet these people that have been touched by the music, and then you become friends with them, you know? Like this girl, I lost her cat, I left the window open, the cat escaped and then we were up until 5:00Am looking for the cat, you know, it was crazy.

As an artist there must have been times that you felt like quitting, what stopped you?

Stopped me from quitting? I think the main reason was that I loved it, the only reason I think I’d have had to quit would have been to make money some other way instead, but somehow I always had these little feelings – anytime I was about to run out of money it was like a gift from God where some cheque from music came in and kept it going. Other than that there’s been no thought about stopping, because I don’t know what else I would do you know? Cause if someone was like ‘you can have lunch at twelve’ I’d be like, ‘I’m not even f*****g hungry man!’ it’d be crazy to have to go back to that. I’m blessed that I get to do this. Ever since I was little I had a belief, there’s always been a little pit, kind of in my stomach that was like ‘I f*****g know I can do this’ and so, I just ran with that.

So does that kind of work as advice to someone who’s trying to do what you’re doing too?

Yeah I don’t think there’s a grey area, if you want to do it, you’re going to do it and if you don’t give a s**t or you’re half way or quarter the way, you’re not going to do it. You’re either going to do it or not.

What was it like to work with Rick Rubin?

It was really interesting before I went to his house, I remember reading interviews about Eminem, he was saying that the first time he met Rick; he was sick to his stomach and so nervous. I was like ‘it’s f*****g Eminem and he’s played for a hundred thousand people and this guy was nervous to meet him? I’m gonna take a s**t on his floor in there!’ And then I got up there and I was a little nervous just because he’s one of my heroes in music, and I knew he was the one guy that if I could get my music to, he’d understand the diversity and all that part of it, so, I always wanted to meet him for that reason. I remember knocking on the door and he answered, he was just there f*****g barefoot, he was like ‘oh hey man, what’s going on?’ and I was like ‘Hey, how you doing?’ Immediately all the nerves disappeared because he was so cool, he’s just like the guy you see in all the interviews, there’s no judgement or anything he’s just a person that’s really there, so it was amazing, it was a dream come true. The beauty for me was, at the time I was on the ninety-eight percent line of believing in myself as an artist, not as a producer. But when I played him my music and he goes – ‘you got this, you’re going to do something special, you can do this’ then I was like ‘I have no question, I don’t need any other kind of validation from anybody, I could have the whole world hate it but I like it and Rick likes it, so I’m gonna go f*****g play.’ That was the most powerful part for me, I had ninety-eight percent confidence and when I left I had no questions, Rick Rubin is with me, like, who else do you need in music to believe in you?

You toured with Yelawolf in the past; will there be a feature with him sometime?

Possibly, possibly, I haven’t talked to him in a while but he took me out on that tour, which I appreciate so much, and he was the man and he was awesome, he was great to us. But he’s kind of got his path, hopefully, sometime down the line. We talked at one point about it but, we’ll see if we can do something cool.

How will volume two vary from volume one?

I think probably the way I use my voice, I’m probably signing more, and speaking and rapping in pockets. I just find myself with a guitar and I always end up coming out with more melodies, so I’d say maybe more singing but I do want to keep the speaking and the rapping because it keeps it kind of interesting. But I don’t know, some of it is very raw, it’s very much things from my life.

Were you shocked by the reception you received in Europe?

Yeah, the London thing when they said it had sold out, in about five days or something, we couldn’t believe it, especially when the add came out because it was in Germany, I think it came here a little bit but it didn’t run nearly as long. So I thought if anything, if anywhere would sell out, it was going to be Germany, but it literally came back, like, there’s no mistake it has sold out. So that was like, holy s**t, there’s people here that know it and, it was weird. It was also weird because I didn’t ever get a tonne of messages from people in London saying they loved the music and so on that I remember, but I’d get a lot from Germany so when the tickets went up I just assumed if anything did really well it’d be that. It did good, but here sold out, so I was very surprised.

It must be crazy to be making music in L.A, and there’s people overseas loving your music?

I mean, I don’t know if I could sell these many tickets in L.A, maybe I could, maybe I couldn’t but it’s crazy to think across the pond, it happened.

If you make music that resonates with people, they’ll find you.

Yeah I believe that, and it was even amazing that the girl playing right now, her manager, he came down when we were doing sound check, I didn’t know if he was somebody from the distribution company we work with. They told me that he manages the girl that is playing and he happened to be a huge fan of the music and he couldn’t believe it, he was like ‘wow, that’s who we’re opening for?’ which was amazing because it’s just one of the moments that you realise that there’s so many people here that know what you’re doing and you have no idea. Just one random guy happens to manage the artist and it’s weird, it’s trippy you know? Especially people that have come from hours away, it’s so humbling. They’re like ‘thanks for coming’ and I say ‘no, thank you for coming! It’s been so cool.

What kind of influence do you think this tour will have on your writing? If it isn’t too early to tell?

No, I think I already know, it’s that, I think for me knowing that people from across the world are listening and you had no idea they even exist, it puts that much more power and responsibility in your hands. So even on those days where I’m really f*****g hung-over and just want to sleep, you have to pick up that f*****g guitar and go out there, cause there’s a lot of people listening and you may not even see them, but they’re there. You know, I’d say that that’s the biggest take-away for me. I literally flew eleven hours across the damn world and there’s people there that know it and love it, so yeah, I’ll take that.

To a lot of people, your music makes a difference.

It’s humbling to me, when people hear it and tell me that it helped them get through a bad time or did whatever, it changes everything.

‘Doing me’ helps a lot of people.

Yeah, it’s a hard one to top in a way, it speaks to so many people in a good way and I’m proud of that. It’s funny that it’s that simple too, if you say it in the right way and you say it with conviction people go ‘F***k!’ It’s such a simple phrase just ‘f***k what they say, I’m doing me’ if somebody just said that walking down the street you wouldn’t think nothing of it. It seems obvious but when it comes together in a certain way, it seems to do something, it’s crazy.

That’s the last of the questions.

Thank you so much, I had a great time.

The show:

Only a short while after the interview Mikey Mike leisurely strolled through the middle of the crowd on his way toward the stage, stopping for pictures and greeting fans. The moment he stepped on stage the venue was overwhelmed with cheers and applause. People had travelled from far and wide over the UK to attend the show and they were not let down. Mikey Mike put on an electrifying performance which consisted of a lot of crowd interaction, he performed the entirety of his debut album and showcased an unreleased song titled ‘Amazon Prime’ a comedic song with a hip/hop infused with indie feel to it. The crowd screamed Mike’s lyrics back at him on all songs but particularly on tracks such as ‘Cooler’, ‘Yasmin you will never hear this’ and of course ‘Doin` Me.’ After the show he stayed behind to sign posters, shirts and to pose for pictures. After that stayed in the bar upstairs to party with the fans who remained. At the end of the night, for fans that couldn’t get tickets due to the show selling out, he performed one more time outside in the streets of London in the early hours of the morning. Mikey Mike appreciates the support that he’s shown and strives to give it back tenfold. In the years that led up to the debut album there were many complications that slowed the release down. Now, with his first record out, a European tour behind him and the release of the second volume in his sights, he’ll have the ability to take his music to new heights. Given the interactions he has with his fans and the genius that goes into his creations, he’ll have no trouble selling out every show next tour, so be sure to keep a close watch on Mikey Mike, he’s a rising star, and Rick Rubin likes it.