On a mission to shake up the world
Who: Mix Master Mike
Where: Savage Beagle
When: Friday, March 7
Any fan of the Beastie Boys would know the rap: "Three MCs and one DJ, we be getting down with no delay, Mix Master Mike what cha got to say?"
But Mix Master Mike is more than just a DJ in the biggest rap band in the world boys and girls, hes also the creator of the legendary Invisibl Skratch Picklz. Hes a sensational solo artist currently touring behind his latest solo album, Return of the Cyklops .
Hes the Mohammed Ali of mixing, winning more titles than any other scratcher on the planet. Hes the Bruce Lee of the turntables, scratching fluidly but at a frenetic, unpredictable pace. His tracks intertwine rockin beats, funked up jazz samples and hip hop artistry. He lays the tracks you know and love but cuts them up, chews on them and spits them out as futuristic sounds.
His creative craziness attracted the Beasties and was enough for Guns n Roses frontman Axl Rose, to invite Mike to open their tour. But is it enough for MMM himself? This man is a machine whos on a mission for world domination and taking in Whistler on his path.
Pique : Most people say that watching a Mix Master Mike show goes a lot like this: you listen, your jaw drops, you stop, wonder, think and then go nuts. How do you come up with these ideas that work everyone into a frenzy?
MMM: (laughter) Right on. I want people to hear something different. Im totally futuristic minded so thats my approach when I get in the studio or Im making shit up live futuristic and timeless. Something thats not the norm, something that shakes you up.
Pique : Do you practise a lot or is it all on the spot?
MMM: All the years of practising are now stored in my head so nowadays most of it is improvisational and just comes out naturally. That way bootleggers out there recording my set wont ever get the same thing. Ha, ha!
Pique: Hows life with the Beastie Boys these days?
MMM: Were gearing up to do shows right now actually. Were doing the Tibetan Freedom concert in Japan and Taiwan and a festival in California called Coachella. These shows are hopefully going to give us prep for the next record.
Pique: Do you ever say to yourself "holy crap, Im in the Beastie Boys"?
MMM: Ha, ha! Yeah sometimes but yknow its really just another outlet to my career. I come in three forms. Theres the crew I formed called the Invisibl Skratch Picklz, from that I hooked up with, the Beasties and then theres my solo efforts. I give my full attention to all of them, even when Im on my own. Im always dropping a line that I think would suit each project and leaving shit on the Beasties or the Picklz answering machines and going check this out.
Pique: So whats the difference between the projects?
With the Skratch Picklz were more like a group, acting like a scratch orchestra. Being with the Beasties, well theyre a legendary, world famous rap group which is an incredible experience and were always taking it to the next level. Actually in all three projects thats my mission, to take it to the next level.
Pique: You sure do. As a turntablist you just finished supporting the Guns n Roses tour. How was that?
MMM: It was amazing. Youve got a lot of rock heads, so it was like converting this whole new crowd of people and showing them what the turntables can do. It felt like class was in session for those fools out there and I was to show them what was going down with hip hop.
Pique: Where do you see turntablism going?
MMM: I kinda like where it is right now. You can buy it, you can see it but its not everywhere. When we start to see some crazy stupid commercials for McDonalds or Heineken using scratching, thats when it will become bullshit. Who knows? Maybe one day youll walk into a supermarket and see a DJ scratching. It wont get me mad but Ill start to wonder where its all heading.
Pique: You do a lot for the next generation. You started up the International Turntablists Foundation, you do a lot of workshops with kids. What keeps you motivated in that regard?
MMM: I guess just being true to the art, not taking it in a way where its all about making money. You want to show kids that theres something else to do than getting in trouble. Its like the whole hip hop breakdancing era, instead of turning to trouble they would break, now its the same approach but in a musical form. The turntable is outselling the electric guitar in some places.
Pique: What qualities do you need to be good at turntabling?
MMM: Definitely takes a lot of hand eye co-ordination but you also need a real love of all types of music. Im not just a DJ, Im a musical historian. Scratching comes from taking a bit of everything like jazz, old rock, hip hop and tying it in. Its a universal art form so you need to get into the study of music. Thats what I did, I studied a lot of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Hendrix and studied the way they played their instruments and I try to adapt that to the turntables.
Pique: Youve won heaps of awards but whats the title that means the most to you?
MMM: My first title, the 1992 Battle For World Supremacy in New York City. That was the highlight, to be the world champion at DJing. It made me want to battle everybody until I just cant battle anymore.
Pique: So tell us some of the secrets behind your famous scratches?
MMM: Theres the Zig Zag which is playing the turntable like a percussive instrument and waving the record back and forth with two hands really fast, creating a zig zag pattern. Its crazy. Something you gotta see. Then theres the infamous tweak scratch where you turn the power off and manipulate it with your thumb.
Pique: Is it still your mission to covert people to the wonders of scratching?
MMM: My mission, my brigade is to show the world that the turntable is a musical instrument. We play the turntable as violin, drums, keyboards and everything else thats out there.
All presale tickets to Mix Master Mike are sold out but 100 tickets will be available on the night for $20 each. Its a case of first come, first served from 7 p.m. DJ Death Star Dub and DJ Tanner are opening.