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Smile Back: Mac Miller Interview With The Smoking Section

smile back

TSS: Where are you currently on the “Blue Slide Park” tour?

Mac Miller: Santa, Clara, California, man.

TSS: And how’s it been going so far?

MM: It’s been crazy. We’ve sold out everywhere. Everyone is really excited. All the fans have been coming out and getting really into the show.

TSS: Well with all of your releases over the past year it makes sense that your shows have been doing so well. How’s it felt getting the new material out and building a bigger fan base?

MM: It’s been a great year taking things to the next level. At the beginning of the year we were touring off the material from K.I.D.S. and just started heavy touring with this year’s material. We’re getting new things happening every month and response to the new album has been really positive.

TSS: So talk about Blue Slide Park. What can everyone expect to hear from you when it drops?

MM: I think this new album should kinda just be like a new beginning in its own way. It’s almost the start of my career in another way. I’ve been doing the mixtape game for four or five years now. This round of touring started the next level. On Blue Slide Park it won’t box itself to one genre or sound. While recording the album I just wanted to make good music. It didn’t need to be anything crazy. I just need to be myself on the new record and people will hear that.

more after the jump

TSS: I feel like people can definitely tell that you incorporate a lot of different sounds. What in particular were you listening to when you were recording?

MM: There was a lot. I was listening to a lot of Janis, Outkast and Tribe in rotation. Kendrick’s (Lamar)Section.80 was played heavy too—I love that album. I also listened to tons of Michael Jackson, Nevermind, ODB’s Return to the 36 Chambers, Frank Ccean. There was a little mix of everything. Also, the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack helped inspire me. People need to check out if they haven’t already.

TSS: With the success of you and Wiz Khalifa over the past year is there a definitive Pittsburgh sound that you’ve also been trying to incorporate?

MM: I think that there isn’t really a definitive sound. That’s what makes Pitt what is it. It has everything. There’s pure hip-hop and there’s dudes that make straight trap music. There’s a little bit of everything. It inspired me. It made me go everywhere with it. I don’t wanna box my sound in. Being in that environment has allowed me to experiment with it and explore new stuff.

TSS: You included a lot of production from I.D. Labs on Blue Slide Park (the production team that consists of Mac and frequent production partner, Big Jerm), but also have some assistance from Mansions on the Moon. How’d that collaboration come about?

MM: They actually went on tour with Wiz and me. That’s how we met. They have a really cool sound. Even though they dabble a lot in that upbeat house sound, we didn’t use any of that. I helped play some of the instruments myself on the Mansions on the Moon track and fans are going to get a more chill vibe.

TSS: Is there anything in particular you want to accomplish by releasing Blue Slide Park?

MM: I just wanna connect music for people. There are different aspects on the record for everyone. For most people they have their own genres and they stick to it. But in the end I see this music thing as all the same thing. You can you find something you like in all genres. You can be a fan of all types of music. The shit I make is kinda a reflection of what I listen to, what I like.

TSS: Since you’re incorporating all of these different aspects, which tracks do you feel will really catch people off guard once they hear them?

MM: “Under the Weather” and “Missed Calls” are going to catch people off guard for sure. They’re very musical and they’re, uh, some shit that no one’s ever heard of before. “Under the Weather” is some funky shit. It’s like some Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers meets some fucking boom-bap. “Missed Calls” sounds like The Postal Service—something off the Garden State soundtrack. I play my guitar and at the end of the day I want to keep that diverse aspect involved in my music.

TSS: Those tracks sound very interesting, but it’s not surprising: people who have been going to your shows know how much you love playing your guitar during sets. Would you consider it your favorite instrument to add to your production?

MM: I think the guitar is always something dope to add. It can be used one-hundred different ways and it can do one-hundred different things. Especially when it’s original. As far as adding keys, if you ask E and Jerm, you know, my favorite kind of keyboard to add, they would say road keys. It’s like real cool and real pretty sounding. It’s like a mix of piano and xylophone.

TSS: Going back to the “Blue Slide Park” tour, how have you been able to really keep energized with so many shows packed so tightly together? Has it affected the energy level you’ve brought to all of your shows?

MM: The people who come to see me keep me going. The fans keep me going. The shit is way bigger than me. Music is for everyone. When you start creating music you kinda take on a responsibility of what you do is more than for yourself. People do a lot of stuff to see you. I can’t bitch about traveling when I want to show up and perform for my fans.

TSS: And what about the people who just haven’t embraced the Mac Miller movement? Are you concerned about their coming out or their feedback to what you’re doing?

MM: I mean I see it and I see people talk shit and say negative things. It’s cool with me. You have to expect that and know it’s going to happen. Everything kinda comes with it. People love you and hate you. You have to deal. Even when Lebron gets hated, he’s gonna go down as one of the best to ever play. That all happens. I have my fans and I have people who love me. People who don’t just don’t get it. They don’t know what’s going on. If they don’t wanna find out, that’s fine. If you know the whole story, that’s fine. I just keep making music and just go along with it. I’m not trying to be something I’m not.

TSS: You’ve used social media like Twitter and mixtape sites like Datpiff to really get your music to the people who do support you. How do you feel that you’ve benefitted from its use?

MM: Well you have the old formula for social media where you just wanna get discovered by a big rapper and a big label. But with today’s social media it gets me discovered by the fans. There aren’t any U-turns. Now I can get discovered by people who wanna know me. You can develop a business side and it changes things.

TSS: You mentioned new guys like Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean earlier. Kendrick’s in the (XXL) freshman class with you and Frank’s really been catching on. Any chance that you’ll do something with either in the future?

MM: Me and Kendrick are gonna make some music together. We met on the freshman cover. He’s a genuine dude. Those are the dudes I get along with. Me and A$AP (Rocky) got some stuff coming. I would love to work with Frank Ocean. I dunno if I reached out if he could reach back. But it would be awesome to collab with him.

TSS: Those projects could definitely make some waves if people heard them. Anything else that you want people to know?

MM: Blue Slide Park, November 8th. I hope people remember that date forever.