A few weeks back, I was able to sit down with Mac Miller after his performance in Eugene, OR, as part of his "Macadelic" left-coast leg. Hate him or love him, Miller always puts on a wild show, and performs for well over an hour. With upcoming collaborations with Pharrell, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Waka Flocka Flame, Earl Sweatshirt, etc., Mac Miller still has a lot of things to release in the next few months. Look for the collaborative EP with Pharrell, Pink Slime to before 2012 is through, and his sophomore effort, Watching Movies With The Sound Off in the first half of 2013.
So you're on the west coast run of the "Macadelic" tour - how's the tour been so far?
Mac Miller: It's been good man, it's my last tour of the year, it's a great feeling.
Any crazy stories you can tell us from this tour?
Mac Miller: The tour has been pretty relaxing, it's been show after show. I've been touring for two and a half years, so not much distraction from it.
This is unofficially the "PlaneCarBoat" tour, right? That was a cool song with ScHoolboy Q. Where were you when you wrote that song, and what was the inspiration behind that song?
Mac Miller: Just in my house man, I was making this beat and Q had come over, and I was talking about songs that people like talking about, like "I'm in the Benz..." or "I'm in the Yacht...", and I thought it would be funny to combine them all into a PlaneCarBoat.
You have YG and Travis Porter out on this run with you. What can you tell us about those guys?
Mac Miller: Great performers, both of em'. YG I've known for awhile, because we were on the freshman cover together, and Travis Porter, yeah man great performers, probably some of the best openers thus far on tour.
Can you describe a typical Mac Miller show for someone who's never been to one before?
Mac Miller: Oh yeah man, it's a little bit of everything, you know? I'm young, 20, but I have somewhat of a catalogue, and I like to go through it all and do songs from 2009 until now, and keep all the different kinds of fans happy.
Yeah, K.I.D.S. came out a little over two years ago. Do you get sick of some people complaining that Macadelic wasn't like K.I.D.S. was?
Mac Miller: I mean, I understand it, but to me what it is that I can't go back to that place in my life anymore, and it's a great place, there's no point in trying to duplicate that. You've got to let a project be what it is, you know what I'm saying? You gotta let K.I.D.S. be K.I.D.S., and just follow the story.
Last time I came to a show was last year on the "Blue Slide Park" headliner, and you played some guitar for everyone. What first inspired you to pick up a guitar and play?
Mac Miller: Well I've been playing guitar since I was 10, so I've been playing guitar longer than I've been rapping. I dunno man, I just wanted to show people everything, you know? I try not to limit myself with genre and what kind of music I make, and I just wanted to throw a little cool thing in the show, and play some guitar.
I think it comes back to "PlaneCarBoat" and the production side of things...
Mac Miller: Yeah, yeah.
Who do you consider to be some of your inspiration when it comes to guitar? I know Lennon seems to be one...
Mac Miller: Lennon, Bob Dylan, Elliot Smith, as far as bands goes, Pink Floyd for sure, Bob Marley and the Wailers.
It's cool, you take some modern chill indie stuff like The Temper Trap and incorporate it into some of your stuff. I actually talked with one of those guys a few months back, they liked the track.
What's the one song in your setlist that you really look forward to playing every night?
Mac Miller: I really like playing "Angels", I really like that song a lot, I don't know why, but I really just love performing it. That singing part on that song is just so big. "Missed Calls" is also a great song to perform.
Yeah yeah, people really know that one. That's the last single off "Blue Slide Park", right?
Mac Miller: Yeah.
You've heard of Sean Price before, right?
Mac Miller: Oh of course!
Have you heard the collaboration he did with a hardcore band, Cold World? They put out a track called "How The Gods Chill", it's an agressive punk rock song, and the video has a bunch of stage diving and moshing and stuff, it's real cool. If you were offered a chance to collaborate with a heavier band like that, would you do that?
Mac Miller: Yeah man, I'm down to collaborate with all kinds of music. If there's a band that genuinely dug my music and they wanted to do something creative and cool, hell yeah, as long as it came out good.
Oh yeah, this was good
Mac Miller: Yeah, Sean Price wouldn't do anything that wasn't good.
You have the Pink Slime EP with Pharrell, there's a few songs from that on the setlist. That'll be out late Christmas season, right?
Mac Miller: Yeah, i'd say before Christmas.
How many songs are on the tracklist?
Mac Miller: There's gonna end up being 5 or 6. We have a bunch, but we just wanted to consolidate it.
How'd you first hook up with Pharrell?
Mac Miller: For awhile, when I'd get asked in interviews "If you could work with one person, who would it be?", and I'd always be "Pharell, Pharrell, Pharrell". And then someone I know, knows someone he knows, and this one day, he called me on the phone right out of the blue, and it was awesome, he's a great dude, I just talked to him on the phone the other day. Yeah man, Pink Slime is gonna be in your face, loud music, which is always good.
I guess you've been talking to a lot of people about collaborating: Waka Flocka Flame, Earl Sweatshirt, DJ Jazzy Jeff, etc. When's the Jazzy Jeff project coming out?
Mac Miller: We have the date, we finally picked a date, cause it's perfect. I can't tell you the date yet, but it's coming out very early next year.
What's it like working with someone legendary like DJ Jazzy Jeff?
Mac Miller: It's dope man, Jeff's a really cool dude. I came to his house, and I met his family, he made me fish. He's a great guy to talk to, he's someone who enjoys all the different forms of my music, from the classic sounding hip-hop shit, to the whatever. So yeah, that was dope, it's great to have the pioneers have respect for what you're doing.
Yeah, I mean, some people might have problems with your music, but at the end of the day at least you have DJ Jazzy Jeff giving you props.
What are you working on with Flocka?
Mac Miller: Flocka's just that dude, man. Me and Flocka spoke on the phone, he actually called me, I don't know how he got my number, but I woke up one morning and I had a missed call from Flocka. So yeah, we just chopped it up, and we're going to send some records back and forth.
And then Earl?
Mac Miller: Man, the Earl records that we've done are probably some of my favorite records I've ever done, we did a bunch of records. That's just the homie, you know? Earl kinda just comes over and kicks it, and if we feel like making some music, than we make some music, but he's just a real good dude. He has probably the most interesting and dope taste in music, he listens to all types of shit, and he has a really good ear.
Will some of the stuff you guys were working on appear on your sophomore full-length?
Mac Miller: Yeah, definitely.
Are there any guest spots on your sophomore full-length?
Mac Miller: The first album was like zero collaborations, so the second one is full of a lot more collaborations. Earl's on there, Vince Staples is on there, Action Bronson's on there, Gucci, a lot of people. And then the whole TDE movement is a big part of the record, they're good friends of mine as well.
Can you share the album title?
Mac Miller: Not yet. [Album has since been titled "Watching Movies With The Sound Off"]
What's the current status on the Lord Finesse lawsuit?
Mac Miller: Still open, so I can't really speak on it.
But you guys are still working closer to resolving it, right?
Mac Miller: I hope so.
It's really too bad, you know? How are you supposed to ask permission at that point?
Mac Miller: Exactly, I was nobody back then.
Looking into the fall and into 2013, what sort of goals have you set for yourself?
Mac Miller: Just you know, I'm staying independent, so I'd like everything to keep growing. I really want everyone to listen to this album, whether they've been a fan or they're not a fan. I think this next album is going to be the most important one in my career, just no matter how successful I get, because this album is the stepping stone to grow into longevity, and just to show that things are growing and improving.
Do you have any pressure for this album, or do you feel more relaxed since you did so well with Blue Slide Park?
Mac Miller: Before, I used to have goals with sales and try to have the #1 album, and I just don't really care about that kind of thing anymore. I don't care if you buy it or download it, I just want people to hear it.
Dude, I saw you were wearing a MOD SUN tie-dye hoodie on The Breakfast Club. What can you tell me about him?
Mac Miller: Great dude. I met him at a festival awhile ago, and he gave us a card for the wallet that was also a grinder. He's a real nice dude, I just really love that sweatshirt man, I wear it all the time.
How much of his music have you listened to?
Mac Miller: A little bit, I haven't checked out as much as I should, but I definitely have checked out a little bit, I heard that song he did with ScHoolboy Q, which is dope. That hoodie is fucking awesome, he's a real cool dude.
What were the last few albums to really blow you away? I know you liked Channel Orange...
Mac Miller: Channel Orange (Frank Ocean), Habits & Contradictions (ScHoolboy Q) , Control System (Ab-Soul), and Section 80 (Kendrick Lamar). I'm a huge TDE fan, so all their stuff that they're doing is really dope.
Over the last few years, what have you learned about your fans?
Mac Miller: I've learned that all they want from me is to say something. As long as I do that, I think they'll be cool...which is dope, that's all that I want them to look for - I don't want them to chase a sound, I want them to chase a message.
What do you think about the NHL Lockout?
Mac Miller: Yeah, it's fucked up.
I mean, Pittsburgh was right in the mix last year.
Mac Miller: Yeah, Pittsburgh will have a good hockey team next season, they always figure it out.
This the year that they come back to take the Stanley Cup again?
Mac Miller: I can only hope so.
When are you back on the road after chilling out for awhile?
Mac Miller: Yeah, I'm not going on the road for awhile, man. I'm working on finishing this album.
So the Pink Slime EP, and then the next Full-Length album, right?
Mac Miller: Yeah, Pink Slime, and then the next album.
Is the next tour going to be a tour you do going to be in support of the next full length?
Mac Miller: Yeah, probably.
So it'll be a headliner?
Mac Miller: Yeah, I was going to do something with Wayne in Europe, but I don't know if we're still doing that. But yeah, the next tour is going to be very planned out in like a different type of thing than anything we've ever done before.
Yeah, after speaking to a couple of bands, they mention that a lot of fans overseas are more aggressive than fans here in the states...
Mac Miller: I mean, yeah, Europe fans tend to treat you like a superhero because they don't have as much exposure, so they go hard.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Get ready for the next album, man, that's all I can say.
Cool music to listen to when you just want some feel good stuff. I really like this kid and I think he has a great following. I saw him last year on the BSP tour and I had tons of fun watching him perform.
By the way, really awesome you included Pittsburgh. His hometown pride is what I love most about him.. maybe I'm biased because I live there but lets go pens!