Q+A: Mick Boogie
The renowned DJ chops it up with SLAMonline.
SLAM: Musically, who are some of your biggest influences?
MB: Jazzy Jeff is my DJ influence, for sure. Growing up I loved groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie boys which kind of led me to do the mixtape last month.
As far as rappers, the holy trinity of Jay-Z, Biggie and Nas has always been my favorite along with groups like A Tribe Called Quest.
SLAM: That’s cool that you were able to work with Jazzy Jeff on a few projects. That must have been a dream come true.
MB: It was amazing! It would be like playing basketball with Jordan, it’s one of the highlights of my career.
SLAM: You’ve worked with a ton of artists from all across the board, is there anyone else out there that you would like to work with?
MB: Let me think…people always ask me that and I never have a good answer. It really depends on the day of the week or what I’m feeling; things come based on the situation.
SLAM: Let me rephrase that then: Are there any new artists that you’re into or genuinely excited about?
MB: There’s a kid who’s really dope from Connecticut who just moved to New York who’s making a lot of noise. His name is OnCue. He has a lot of labels trying to sign him, he just did a lot of songs with Just Blaze and 88 Keys. He’s probably my favorite new artist.
SLAM: You just did a Beastie Boys tape, how did that project come about?
MB: I’m at the point now where most of my mixtape projects are either brought up by an artist or a brand or a label and I do them for artistic and financial reasons. But, sometimes you just want to do something just to do it because it’s something that you love. The Beastie Boys have been in the news a lot lately because they just got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I always kind of wanted to do something in the back of my head, so this was the perfect time.
I did some research and found a bunch of really cool tracks that I thought the average fan may have never heard, mixed it all together and it turned out really well. My Twitter feed has been going crazy, people have been e-mailing me and calling me and it’s nice. The reaction has been way better than I thought so I’m very happy about it; they’re one of my favorite groups of all time in any genre of music.
SLAM: The whole dee-jaying culture has changed so dramatically with the introduction of technology like Serato. I see it as both a gift and a curse. Do you consider yourself more of a traditionalist DJ with blends, mixing and cutting and how do you feel about this new generation of DJ?
MB: I’m kind of in the middle. I had years and years and years where I carried crates and crates of records and I’m totally happy I did that because it built my whole sound and vision and built character. At the same time, I’m in a great position now to capitalize on the digital world that we live in. What it’s done for creativity in the DJ game is crazy, it changed the whole world.
I’m just glad I’ve been able to have been a part of both worlds. I’m definitely not one of those people who are letting technology pass me by. A lot of people have stayed traditional and have become more irrelevant, I would never allow that to happen to myself. I think technology is the greatest thing to ever happen to the DJ world.
SLAM: What would you say sets yourself apart from other DJ talent out there? What makes Mick Boogie the go-to DJ?
MB: It’s the diversity in what I do. Some people know me from mixtape stuff which tends to get very creative and conceptual. Some people know me because I was the DJ in the club last night when you were there, some people know me as a straight up underground hip-hop dude. Other people know me as a guy that plays indie rock and crazy, weird 80’s punk stuff.
The secret to my success has been the diversity. You have to really dig to know what Mick you’re getting that night because I tend to go a lot of different places with it. For some it’s a curse, but for me I have been able to turn it into a gift. It allows me to authentically play in a lot of spaces. I could comfortably sit and do a bunch of different things which, I think, has enabled me to have longevity in this game.
SLAM: Do you have a favorite genre that you spin?
MB: When I was a kid, I read an article in a magazine about dee-jaying and it said, ‘You always want to keep the crowd happy, but always keep 20% of the music for you as well,’ so I keep that in the back of my mind. You want the people to be super happy, but you want to leave your mark on what they heard as well.
If you go out and play the same ten records that everyone else plays, you’re not going to be any different than other dee-jays. But, if you play eight of those ten records and two of the other ones and find a unique way to work some of the other stuff in, you’re going to set yourself apart from everybody. There’s certain artists that you can play at every party–you can play a Jay-Z song at any party and everyone will love it.
SLAM: You’ve been featured in some adidas ads, how did you get involved with them?
MB: I’ve done a lot of cool stuff with them. I did a whole Run DMC project with them. I do a lot of their DJ related events for their basketball stuff, we have a lot of dates coming up this summer as well.
SLAM: That’s a dope brand to be involved with considering the whole history of adidas and hip-hop. Was that something you were excited about getting involved with?
MB: The one thing with adidas is their relationship with hip-hop is really amazing, dating back to Run-DMC in the ’80’s and moving along to today. They have a guy that works there, his name is Jon Wexler who is just one of the most on-point music people you’ll ever meet and he runs all their global entertainment stuff. The ideas that go through that office going between footwear and music are pretty crazy so we’ve been able to work on some pretty awesome stuff.
SLAM: Are you an avid sneaker collector?
SLAM: What are some of your favorite shoes of all time?
MB: Jordan V, VI and VII are some of my favorite from growing up. I love a lot of the Jeremy Scott adidas stuff that’s coming out now, I think some of that stuff is pretty cutting edge. You can also never go wrong with classic kicks like Shell-Toe adidas. As a kid it was all about the Jordans, for sure.
SLAM: Are there any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
MB: Lots of stuff. Jazzy Jeff and I are working on Summertime 3 which is coming out pretty soon. I’m always doing events, I travel pretty extensively. I’m doing an event this week for Instagram at the W Hotel which I’m very excited about. I’m doing a big event for Red Bull in Las Vegas on May 5 for Cinco De Mayo. I post all my dates and events on my site, and I’m active on Twitter and Facebook so that’s definitely the best way to stay up on everything that I’m doing.
My business partner (Terry Urban) and I own a mixtape site called Mixstream as well which is something we started last year. A lot of the sites that have mixtapes on them are complicated and confusing and some of the mixtapes on there, quite honestly, suck. So we thought, what would be the mixtape site we want for this where the music is going to be better and the imaging is going to be better and the user experience is going to be way better? So we created that and solved that niche. We’re about to go really, really hard with that this summer; there’s so many amazing things we’re going to be doing with that site.
I believe that if you’re going to do something, you should just do it and then adjust on the fly. If you sit at home always thinking, ‘I better keep adjusting and adjusting before I put something out,’ you’ll never do it. I’d rather put something out that’s good and over time fine tune it to make it great instead of always waiting.