SAN FRANCISCO Fresh off a whirlwind spin behind the Beastie Boys, Invisibl Skratch Piklz turntablist Mix Master Mike is turning to the creation of his own second full-length album.
The LP, Terrorist, is slated to feature a collaboration with Rage Against the Machine singer Zack de la Rocha, the DJ said.
"I met [de la Rocha] when we played a show together [in January 1999], and ... we got heavily involved in hanging out and sharing views on music," Mix Master Mike (born Mike Schwartz) said on Friday while hanging out backstage at Maritime Hall. Mix Master Mike was the opening act for dub-reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry.
target="_new">hereto access a photo gallery of the Mix Master Mike And Lee "Scratch" Perry show.)
The easygoing turntablist said he hoped to hook up with de la Rocha to record the incendiary singer's vocals for an untitled Terrorist track. A Rage Against the Machine spokesperson, who requested anonymity, said it is unknown what the singer's schedule will be when he returns from a European tour next week.
Dressed in black sweat pants and a black sweatshirt, Mix Master Mike said Terrorist, due in September, will be preceded by the EP Eye of the Cyclops, which is scheduled for a late-February release.
"Right now I'm just doing movements, which consist of up to six or eight different beats," he said of the music for the EP. "On this album, I'm trying something different where I'm doing one side [as] a movement and [the other] one a movement, so it's like an orchestra-type deal" (RealAudio excerpt of interview).
Mix Master Mike laughed when asked if the music for which he uses only his turntables and vast record collection resembled the kind of classical compositions that are usually associated with multiple movements.
"It sounds like Johnny-Socko-the-flying-robot music," he said with a grin.
The 29-year-old musician also said he hoped to enlist such Skratch Piklz pals as DJ Q-Bert and DJ Apollo on the full-length album.
Although the various Skratch Piklz members are scattered and recording their own solo projects, Mix Master Mike said he expected the acclaimed San Francisco DJ crew to reconvene soon to record another album together.
"It's still up in the air, we're just doing our solo things now," he said.
In one of the strangest collaborations he said he's ever been a part of, Mix Master Mike was the DJ on the self-titled debut album from former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee's recent rock-rap project Methods of Mayhem. The collaboration came courtesy of his manager, Diane Leffitte, who said she's been friends with Lee for 15 years.
"I went and saw a Beastie Boys show and said, 'Oh my god, I just saw the most amazing DJ. I can't believe he played for 20,000 people. He freaked me out,' " Leffitte said, drawing a proud smile from the turntablist's mother, seated next to Leffitte on a couch backstage at Maritime Hall.
"I called Tommy in jail and said there's this DJ, and I know you're planning on doing a new record, and I think you need some new flavor, some hip-hop," she said. "Because the old Mötley Crüe isn't working anymore. You need to get Mix Master Mike on this record."
Mix Master Mike was featured on the album's first single, "Get Naked" (RealAudio excerpt), alongside Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, rapper Lil' Kim and funk legend George Clinton.
Range Of Possibilities
Although his gigs with the Beastie Boys and Lee have increased his profile and resulted in offers to remix artists such as hard-rockers Korn, Mix Master Mike said he prefers to concentrate on his own music.
"I'm trying to build my own way and build my own type of music," he said, "instead of trying to remix or help other groups out. Because I have this music in me, this different formula of ... making the turntables an instrument. Ever since I was a kid I always looked at the turntable as, 'Wow, that's the instrument of the future. That's going to be the future of music and I'm going to change that' " (RealAudio excerpt of interview).
With the ability to scratch congas, violins, drums and just about anything else on wax, Mix Master Mike said the possibilities on his instrument are almost endless.
"Sometimes I can't scratch the middle of my back," he said, jokingly.
Mix Master Mike released his full-length debut in 1998, the 31-track outer spacethemed Anti-Theft Device, which featured such scratch-heavy hip-hop tracks as "Ill Shit" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Supa Wyde Laces."
Mix Master Mike made his recorded debut with the Beastie Boys on 1998's Hello Nasty, which featured an homage to him titled "Three MC's and One DJ" (RealAudio excerpt). Mix Master Mike also DJ'd on the group's world tour in support of the album.
Mix Master Mike said he'll take a break from recording to mount a U.S. DJ tour with beatbox master Rahzel of the hip-hop group the Roots in March. No dates were available for the tour at press time.