The Beastie Boys - Mix Master Mike

by Mario Martin
December 2004

Mix Master Mike and his Moog pedal of the Beastie Boys on the cover of Maximum Ink - photo by Dustin Rabin

Mix Master Mike and his Moog pedal of the Beastie Boys on the cover of Maximum Ink
photo by Dustin Rabin

November might be cold in Wisconsin, but just before Talib Kweli’s set at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, I had the chance to speak to one of the hottest DJs in the game. He’s the DJ for the headlining Beastie Boys and one of the founding members of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, but this 34 year-old California native waxes about music, life on the road and the like.

Maximum Ink: You recently released “Bangzilla” on Immortal Records. What were your influences and goals for the record?

MMM: My goal was harder driven beats. Just building them from the ground up. It took about 1 ½ to 2 years to make it and then I knew when it was enough tracks. As far as influences, I don’t know, um, different shit. Life in general really. Not really music, I’m more mature and responsible and it comes out in the beats.

MI: In Scratch you say Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” made you want to be a DJ. What was it like remixing the song with him in 2002?

MMM: It was amazing! That song sparked the idea of becoming a scratch DJ…and I was able to do my own take on the track. Amazing.

Mix Master Mike of the Beastie BoysMI: Since working with the Beastie Boys, you’ve worked with Tommy Lee, Rob Zombie and others. You’ve even done video game soundtracks. How has that affected your approach to the underground art of DJ’ing?

MMM: The more projects I do, it expands the art that much more. It’s great. It’s not just for one area of music, or life, and it expands the possibilities.

MI: Have you considered doing a collaboration with a live band (a la Linkin Park, Slipknot, etc.)? How do you feel about those collaborations?

MMM: No, I don’t find my place with any of those bands. I try to expand on the style I’ve created for myself. The collaborations are fine, but the DJ should just have a purpose. So he’s not just for looks and actually part of the band.

MI: You do a weekly radio show in L.A. on KROQ. Do you like the anonymity of radio?

MMM: I like using as a tool to get the music out to the kids. I’m glad to do it for the kids that can’t afford to go out and buy the CD. I mean, basically, I provide them with a weekly mix tape for free!

MI: What music are you listening to these days?

MMM: I like the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, the Compton rapper Game, everything really. I’m listening to a lot of Jimmy Smith, Miles Davis, Hendrix.

MI: What did you think of the election?

MMM: I think we’ve moved that much closer to Armageddon.

MI: Anything more on that?

MMM: Naw.

MI: Who’s your favorite Beastie Boy?

MMM: Damn man, that’s tough! That’s some favoritism…shit! I can’t pick, they’re all my favorites because they all have different personalities. They’re all my favorites for providing me the platform to do my own thing on the turntables. Big respect to those guys!

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CD: Bangzilla Record Label: Immortal
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