On the occasion of the release of Mike 2600′s new EP on Crossfaded Bacon, I hit him up for some insight into his world. Also, Mike also picked a digital chart to go along with the interview, you can peep that here
you’ve been down with the Lab since as long as I can remember. how did that happen?
During the summer of 1999, I put together a mixtape on my 4-track recorder called Yars’ Revenge – an hour of rock breaks (does anyone even know what those are anymore?) and excessive amounts of primitive scratching with plenty of comedy bits, Temple of Doom snippets, and WWF interview segments thrown in. Oh it also featured rap verses created entirely with the “Text to Speech” function on the Mac Simple Text program. I sent a copy to Turntable Lab (back in the era when the focus was scratch records, funk & breaks compilations, and DJ mixtapes) and never heard anything until one year later when someone (anyone remember who?) called me and wanted to order about 20 of them. From there, you guys ordered more and then continued to order more of my mixtapes and CDs and then you started letting me write product reviews and put things on your blog.
how did this release on Crossfaded Bacon come about?
Emynd and I have known each other for a while. I’ve been a fan of his music and mixes and vice-versa. Bird Peterson and I asked him to contribute a song to the Do it To it vol 2 vinyl EP we put out for SXSW earlier this year. Crossfaded Bacon started off as an outlet for Emynd and Bo Bliz to release their own tracks and promote their parties, but in recent months, it’s grown into more of a home for Emynd to get other music out into the world. Scott Matelic’s EP and the Roundhead EP are both super good. When I was asked to do an EP, I thought it would have to be all Baltimore Club. I didn’t want to end up cranking out some middle-of-the-road, cookie cutter Bmore stuff that I wasn’t even excited about, so I took a chance and sent in a rough version of “Now Here’s a Funky Beat,” based on some music I put together for my friend’s fashion show earlier this year. I got the green light and got to work finishing up the rest of the music and was lucky to have Emynd and Scott Matelic knock out some great remixes.
if you will, what are some of the samples you used?
It’s kinda all over the place – Fatback Band, Derek B (rest in peace), Jimi Entley, Cross & Switchblade soundtrack, The Beach Boys, “Style Wars.”
it’s impressive how you and Wes have grown Burlesque over the years. can you list 5 tips for people who are aspiring to open their own design entity?
It’s been a pretty exciting ride so far. My tips:
- Be ready to do some work for free / for trades. You can’t expect to start making stacks of cash right from the get-go. You need to build your portfolio and start building relationships with clients and that will sometimes mean doing work in exchange for food / products / handshakes / other things that don’t pay rent.
- Keep track of your hours and the work you do. Having all of your shit organized is beyond important.
- Learn how to work with clients. They’re not all going to approve the first thing you send them, they’re not going to send you all of the information you need when you need it, they’re going to make changes at the last second. You need to figure out the best way to deal with these things so that it’s fair for you and also fair for them.
- Keep in touch with people. Most of my best projects have falled in my lap just from bumping into someone at a restaurant or randomly deciding to email an old friend or client.
- Learn the difference between graphic design and art. Every project doesn’t need to be a chance for you to express yourself and try the newest Photoshop trick you just learned. Same goes with DJing – just because you got a bunch of facemelter bro dubstep mp3s doesn’t mean you need to spin them out right at your next gig for no reason at all.
speaking of jobs, what are some of the interesting non-design jobs you’ve held down?
I started working as a graphic designer right out of college and to be honest there wasn’t too much super interesting before that – I worked at a copy shop where I was able to run off tons of mixtape covers, flyers, and stickers without having to pay for them and I worked at a summer camp where my brother and I made up stupid music games for kids to do.
i know you like to collect things, what are you collecting these days?
My most recent kick has been postage stamps from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. They’re like tiny little posters and they’ve introduced me to some incredible graphic design work from all over the world.
what are some of your favorite things you’ve come across in your thrift store hunts?
I’m mainly looking for graphic design books and old weird stuff with cool ’70s packaging or logos on it. I was stuck in Bloomington-Normal IL for a few days and found this great book of drink recipes from 1969 with crazy psychedelic illustrations all throughout it.
you still collecting records? if so, what types of records do you look for?
I’ve slowed down with the obsessive collecting but am still picking up disco 12″s and oddball rap records. I’m looking for Israeli psych and funk records but have only had moderate luck in Minneapolis. I guess a trip to Israel needs to happen soon.
top 5 things about Minneapolis?
Getting to see all four seasons in full effect
Lots of people young & old who support good music and the arts
Minnesota State Fair
The Jucy Lucy
top 5 12″s of the moment?
Here are 5 12″s I’ve ripped into my computer recently…
MC Twist & The Def Squad “Shock the House”
Stereo MCs “Connected”
Alfonzo “You Are the One” / “Lowdown”
The 06 Style “Get it Going”
Tricky Tee “I’ve Got it Good”
Also super feelin’ my man BK-One’s “Tema Do Canibal” – a track he did with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble off of his “Radio do Canibal” LP.
top 5 things to eat?
It’s hard to pick five all-time favorites, so here are five recent things I’ve really enjoyed eating.
2. Indian lamb curry stew with sweet potato and parsnips.
3. Tea Leaf Salad from Burma Superstar in San Francisco. I’m normally not big on salads at all, but this is some next level delicious shit.
4. Sting Ray from Sanur Malaysian & Indonesia restaurant in Chinatown.
i’m guessing you like asian girls, am I right?
I’ve been accused of this enough times that I suppose it’s true.