One Time @ Bandcamp With… Tight Mike

I know 4/20 was 2 days ago and Monday is probably a haze by now, but the internet is easily searchable – check my words on Tight Mike’s debut here. Then press play and read up on the mans story.

Introduce yourself? How long have you been making beats?
My name is Tight Michael. Some people call me Grimes… Been making music electronically for about 4 or 5 years all together… Playing music since i was just a little baby boy.

Where do you reside? Is this where you grew up?
I am currently living in Vancouver, BC… I was born in the states… lived all around the U.S. before I settled in Van in ’07, My mom lives in Dallas, Texas , my pops in Tulsa, Oklahoma… I was a professional couch surfer at one point in my life haha.

How old are you?
23 and three quarters.

What do you do when you aren’t making music?
Listen to Rick Ross and drive around the city really, really slow.

Is Bobbin&Weavin your first project? How long was it in the making?
I did a couple small projects around 2004-2005, but I took a long break from making music when I started travelling… To hard to hold on to equipment and what not… but this is my most focused effort… yet.

Are you happy just making instrumental jams or do you envision emcees and or singers on your tunes?
To be honest this tape was kind of a way for me to chop the 100 or so loose sketches i had kicking around and just get the best ones out so I could move on and get more focused. A lot of these are just microwave beats and random blunted missions from ’09 and ’10. Its kinda like my journey back into making electronic music since i haven’t touched it for 5 years.

I already have some more in depth projects under way… I am definitely interested in working with some vocalists… especially some spaced out r&b type of shit… so if theres any inspired young ladies out there with a good voice HOLLER!

Do you have any vocalists you are working with now?
Right now I have a top-secret collaborative project in the works with a good friend of mine from Oakland, California (shouts to the bay!)… Its definitely more vocal… its sort of a free-form rap/r&b experiment at this point. You might even hear me touch the mic from time to time, but i wont call myself a rapper just yet… i just listen to beats over and over all day so i tend to start spouting out funny hooks and weird quasi thugged-out raps and shit haha…. I guess thats not so top secret anymore. woops

What vocalists do you have on your dream list?
Man I only caught the tail end of the early 90′s hip-hop thing. For me the singers that still get me are like TLC, Brandi & Monica, early Destiny’s Child, of course Aaliyah… That late 90′s swag you know, fisheye-lens, choker collar necklace all that shit haha…. As cheesy as it is right now, it all comes full circle and I think people are gonna start appreciating that flavour again in the next little bit.

As far as MCs… Shit man I’m real picky with that type of thing… I don’t want to fall to hard into that backpack leftover thing… not to say that there isn’t dope rappers in that scene, but I’m more interested in the dudes who talk about real things… real life shit… funny shit… a lot of southern rappers are ill to me, that new K.R.I.T. mixtape/album thing is apples&bananas. Uh bay rappers always had a special place in my heart, i love ridiculous slang and mc’s that don’t take themselves to serious and shit. basically things that make you go “hmmmm”. Also being a producer… the delivery is HUGE. I spend a solid amount of time tapping out drums to get them right, so the rhythm has to be on point.

What role has Flying Lotus and the whole Low End Theory/LA “beat” scene played in inspiring your music?
Not to jock anyone, but i probably wouldn’t be doing it at all if it wasn’t for that whole thing. Around 2003 I started expanding my tastes beyond just urban music, and slowly began checking out labels like Warp and Planet-mu and what not… But at that time there wasn’t as many hip-hop influenced electronic cats out there… I was making electronic inspired hip-hop music then… so to see Lotus come out on Warp a few years later doing exactly what I wanted to see 2003-2005 era, and be killing it like he is… it wasn’t even a question to me.

Are you playing out? If so, is it more traditional DJ set or are you doing a more live production set?
I try to keep a minimal set-up at the moment because I may or may not be living in Canada in the next few years with my Work Visa… So As of now I am loyal to the AKAI APC40… You can live sequence your own music as well as DJ with it… and the FX controls are buckwild… “Possibilities endless” type of equipment. If you use Ableton live for any aspect of your production… get it. I also play keys and enjoy beating on shit so I am trying to incorporate more live instrumentation into it all.

What’s your studio consist of?
Well my music consists of a mix of samples and keys… So I have a few keyboards… various midi equipment… I use some of my friend’s mpc’s and sp-4′s etc. from time to time, but like i said i keep a minimal set-up, so the APC is the root of my studio right now.

What’s in your ears today?
First thing I listened to this morning was “MNDSGN – Yeau” off his joint EP with Devonwho, its one of those tracks I crave to hear first thing in the morning with my coffee. Those Klipmode dudes and dudettes are murking it. After that I had a puff to some Kon and Amir – On Track vol. 1 mixtape, its nice to work to funk and soul and non-beat stuff when i do my day job, cause if i don’t, i just end up getting to hyped up and wanting to make beats instead of money… the eternal struggle. After that I listened to Low Limit’s mix for brainfeeder… that dude is definitely on some wizard shit. Right now I am listening to the sounds of downtown Vancouver and my dog snoring.

What did you parents play around the house as you grew up? Are they at all musically inclined? Do they listen to your music?
Its funny that you say that because when I first started sampling and messing around with records, my mom was behind it 100%… she was like awesome im gonna give you all my records out of the garage to make more room. She was really into Prince, The Gap Band (who are from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I was living at the time), Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, so on and so forth.

My mom is down for the cause man, sometimes I think she is more into electronic music than me. She put me on to Prodigy’s Fat of the Land album when I was just a youngin… That probably opened mad doors into electronic shit to this day. When I went home to Dallas for christmas she was jamming Flying Lotus in her car cause I had left a mix cd with Massage Situation on it, and she used her iphone to figure out who it was haha. Techno-mom.

My pops is a good ol boy. He mostly likes Old Southern Blues music, classic shit. I love that stuff too man. Its in my blood. He plays a lot of different instruments, and co-owns a small acoustic guitar company in Oklahoma… He also is a retired Radio Disc jockey, (so was my grandpa)… I thought I would be the first to break the music tradition, but it caught up to me.

My mom is down for my music for sure… she’s into instrumental stuff way more and likes groovy shit… My pops thinks it cool, but not really his bag.

What was the first music you really latched onto as a fan?
Haha mannnnn… The first tape I can remember that i HAD TO HAVE was the Dangerous Minds soundtrack… Coolio’s song was real cool, but it was the Big Mike “Havin’ Thangs” track that got me… Something about that Pimp C hook, and Mike’s delivery and his name being big mike, and me being a southern kid… I dunno it was like magic haha.

Do you see your tunes more hiphop or electronically inspired? Does it really matter?
I really don’t think “genre” exists anymore after all the hipster mash-up shit blew up and then settled down… and i think art imitates life… and it seems like all lines are getting blurry in this day and age.

Whats in the works for next?

Is making music something you are pursuing with a career in mind? Or is it more just something you do for fun?
It would be amazing to live off this shit… but in this day and age it takes a lot of work to get ahead in the music game. I got a pretty dope crew behind me… more than just music, we have all bases covered for media… Animators, film dudes, illustrators, graphic design, audio engineering, dancers, firefighters etc…. So I feel like if we play our cards right and stay unified we can do something with it… in due time.

Day job?
Graphic Designer

You familiar w/ any NW hiphop?
A few cats in Van, not so much in the rest of the Northwest unfortunately… I have barely had the chance to come down to Seattle, and never Portland but I hear great things, and hopefully I will get the chance soon. In general though I find that the Northwest has some of the dopest taste in hip-hop, and style in general… Its something about that “hibernate for 8 months, then party for 4″ lifestyle haha.

Last words? Shout outs? Rants? Words of wisdom?
Man big shout to my crew(s) SPACECAMP, 97, CRIMEWAVE… all the homies in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas City, Van, My boy Killa Kayle in Oakland, Hakai in New York. I appreciate the support guys for real!

Shouts to my dude J. Todd for his ill photos.

This is another Van cat in SPACECAMP named Geewuht… Definitely check his first beat tape… rugged shit.

Everybody stop polluting shit and start creating!

Shouts for the interview, and to you guys in general for grinding and shedding positive light on your scene!

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