Mixmaster Mike on Scratch vs. DJ Hero: "Our Apple Is Going to be Juicier"
Check out more images from the event in Ivan Fernandez's photo gallery.
There are two types of Mixmaster Mike fans. There are those who love him for his work with The Beastie Boys and there are those who love him for his work with Invisibl Skratch Piklz. Both groups came out to Playhouse Hollywood to catch his special two-hour set at the Red Bull Thre3style event. We spoke with the turntable auteur about life in L.A., sampling and his upcoming album and video game.
You're originally from San Francisco where you established your career with Invisibl Skratch Piklz. Why did you decide to head south to Los Angeles?
I've been here for 10 years and I moved because I met this real cool girl and I ended up marrying her. We've been married for the past 12 years and it's a beautiful thing. I also got family out here. The Beat Junkies, J Rocc, Babu, all those cats, they're like my brothers. L.A. has embraced me and I embrace it back.
How are the DJ cultures in each city different?
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that San Francisco was the Mecca of the scratch DJs. It was me and Q-Bert and our crew. We started out there and then we came over here. It's good being out here from a business aspect. There are so many different things out here. The tree here is full of different branches. In San Francisco, you hone your skills, you chill out but out here you get discovered.
You signed on to help with the development of Scratch: The Ultimate DJ video game. How is that coming along?
The game's gonna be dope. I'm very happy with the direction of it. Bedlam in Toronto is working on it right now. They got their hearts into it. I turned in my original track today. I also have a character in the game. You get to be me when you get to a certain level in the game. It's awesome.
How does it compare to DJ Hero?
DJ Hero is a whole different thing. It's in the whole mash-up area. This one's gonna be more about scratching and be on the MPC (MIDI/Music Production Center) tip. It's different. I'm not taking anything away from the guys on DJ Hero but I think our apple is going to be juicier.
Speaking of electronics, how has technology changed the culture? It's difficult to find someone who isn't using Serato.
It's a gift and a curse because it's on your computer and people think they're DJs automatically and the whole "paying dues" aspect is out the window. You can't fight technology and I'm not fighting it one bit. I'm not carrying a crate of records on my back every night. I carry four records with me now but I treat it as a record crate.
You also appear in the documentary Copyright Criminals. How'd that come about?
These rap cats approached me and said they were doing a film about copyrights and stuff like that. It was dope to raise awareness about the art of sampling where they ask how far is too far because times are changing.
I like to be a ninja about it. Whatever you're using, you just have to smash it up into little bitty pieces and replay it to where they don't know what the fuck's going on. My last record had about 200, 000 samples but it was constructed in a strategic way.
That's up there with Girl Talk.
He's probably at a million. I try not to be so ADD about it. I have a record coming out called Plasma Rifle where I've honed it down to where you're not hitting people over the head all the time. You want people to get up and breathe and then hit them over the head.
The album's coming out with the custom Mixmaster Mike Skullcandy headphones in May. They're going to be packaged together. I wanted to make an all-in-one pair of headphones because they're always one thing that's wrong with every pair I use. I wanted something diverse where you can DJ with them or answer the phone with them.
What do you think is the next step for DJ culture in L.A.?
Well, next for me is to DJ on the MIR space station. Look for Mixmaster Mike live by satellite on the MIR space station.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.