2012 has been a good year for music. I know I found some songs and albums that will be with me for years. More importantly, however, I discovered some young artists whose careers I will follow. A lot of these EPs and mixtapes are debuts for artists. These are, perhaps, the first glances at the future of music. Check it out.
Hit continue reading to see the lists and hear a sample from each EP and mixtape.
A few months ago Mikey Mike sent me this track with the message “here’s the next joint…about introducing a girl to acid.” How awesome is that? Spin this for the first time and two things might hit you: 1) this shit is weird and 2) yeah, I get the acid references. Spin it for the second and third time, and you might realize what the song really is–a lullaby. Mike told me making this song (on a handful of shrooms) was his way of calming down and just keeping himself from tipping. Make this one the intro to the next CD you make for a girl… maybe don’t tell her about the acid thing though.
It’s not all so so bad when you turn up your heart and you turn down your head.
Mikey Mike is one of the many producers that lives behind-the-scenes, writing and constructing songs for major label artists. He has worked with some of the biggest names in music (Wale, Sia, Stargate) and is looking to transition into a legitimate recording artist. Earlier this year he released the amazing Chainsaw Love EP, which quickly became a favorite among Sunset readers. Now, he has given us the privilege of premiering his brand new track “Seven,” which finds the Maryland native in full nostalgia mode. I’ve had this song for awhile, and it’s safe to say it’s in my top five of the year.
Along with “Seven,” we have an exclusive interview with Mike. It covers everything from the arduous process of getting a song approved for a major artist to the story behind the “Chainsaw Love” concept.
Arjun: What is the process for writing/producing songs for other artists? What order of people have to approve a song for it to get through to the artist? And then who makes the final call for whether it will be on the artist’s album?
Mike: There’s a ton of things that have to happen for a song to go through and actually get put out, and the process is a little different with each record. With the last song I was working on, just to give you an idea of how it could go when things go right, I had a rough sketch of a track and a really dope hook laid down. There’s no point in polishing a turd, so besides spending hours tweaking and shit, I sent a rough around to the A&Rs and managers I work with to see if any of them were fucking with it. One of them really dug it, so I developed more, passed it back, then Sia finished writing the verses and Stargate flushed out the production, and then a few days later it’s in a studio in LA, getting played for artists, etc. If one of them was feeling it, they would cut the record, and then it would go into a pile with the other 20 or 30 songs they’ve cut for their album. Then, the A&Rs, execs, artists (if they have clout) put their heads together and pick the best 15 songs or whatever, and then if your really lucky, one day you get a call like “hey your song made the album” and then this is the part where you scream back into the phone “SHOW ME THE MONEYYYY HO!!!!!”
Arjun: Do you generally write a song in a single sitting or do you find yourself going back to an idea multiple times until the song is complete?
Mike: All depends, but generally I do them in pieces, maybe a hook here, verse idea there. But a lot of times I find the best stuff gets written the quickest because when you get in that heavenly groove and everything is flowing, it just kind of writes itself, like someone just kind of planted the idea in your head or your heart or whatever and you’re just transferring it down to paper.
Arjun: What percentage of beats would you say you actually use out of all the beats you produce?
Mike: I usually don’t even flush out a beat or production until the whole song is written if it’s something for myself. So if I have something written and I record it and I still like it after a couple of days, I will finish the track then. So in that sense, almost everything.
As promised here is the entire Chainsaw Love series from Sunset favorite Mikey Mike. Every song on this project takes a new angle on love and gives us a tiny glimpse into Mikey Mike’s most personal secrets. Lyrically it is purposefully raw, showing off Mikey’s greatest flaws in all their glory–not hiding behind any preconceptions of fakeness. Sonically his voice is emotionally powered–desperate at times, confident at others. And yeah, he talks at the end of most of these tracks, and that’s fucking awesome. The production on the EP features a completely unique synth-based sound (all self produced).
Are you sold yet? Stream/download the entire EP below. Let us know what you think!
If you have been paying any attention at all to my Tape Tuesdays, you may have noticed that my past two mixes have contained a song by this guy Mikey Mike. But who is Mikey Mike? Simply put, Mikey Mike is the guy who is behind the scenes on some of your favorite tracks. He is an established producer who has made hits for Wale and is currently working closely with Sean Kingston. On the side, Mikey has been quietly dropping bombs on his SoundCloud account. The song below is the third part of a four part Chainsaw Love series, which in Mikey’s words is about “young dysfunctional love.” It follows the same brutally honest, extremely raw (and occasionally hilarious) lyrical style of the other parts of the series, which is honestly refreshing. If you’ve ever been in any sort of relationship with the opposite sex, you’ll be relating hard to most of what Mikey says.
If I’m a piece of shit, well you’re the toilet paper / Okay I’m lying girl, I’m the one who needs you more / You’re John Lennon and I’m Ringo Starr
Bonus! Catch up with the Chainsaw Love series. Stay tuned for part 2 within the next few weeks.
I wanted to make a mix that could document a long, dangerous, overly emotional, fun, sad night, so I made The Night Out. This is the mix that could soundtrack those nights you spend with your obnoxious group of friends (that you love even though they are obnoxious) as you jump from place to place around the bomb ass city creating havoc wherever you go. This is the mix for those nights that start off crazy and fun and awesome and then end with short sentences and awkward goodbyes. Listen below.
Use the sleeves on my sweater, let’s have an adventure, head in the clouds but my gravity’s centered, touch my neck and I’ll touch yours, you in those little hot waisted shorts
- Sailor & I – Tough Love
- Mesita – Ken Caryl
- Art of Sleeping – Empty Hands
- Martin Solveig – The Night Out (Madeon Remix)
- Mikey Mike – Girlfriend (Chainsaw Love, Pt. 1)
- Charlotte Gainsbourg – Anna (Moonlight Matters Remix)
- I Heart Sharks – Summer
- Samuel – Brooklyn
- Wild at Heart – Darling
- KO KO – Float
- Get Well Soon – Not Enough
- KO KO – So Strange
- Kilo Kish – You’re Right
- The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather
- Shadows on Stars – Sweat Pant Bandits
- The Belligerents – Infatuation
- matt pond PA – Wild Girl
This Tape Tuesday features an eclectic assortment of music. It starts out with probably the best opening track from any album this year. Then, it moves into the endlessly catchy title track (kind of) by tree, only to be taken up a notch with the strangely unknown Skizzy Mars track, “Meant for Me,” which I think is one of his best songs yet. After another relatively unknown track, the mix takes a more folksy tone with a Matt Longo track (thanks to an email from him, which I almost didn’t open). Leading up to the interlude (edited by yours truly), the songs become more indie rock. Each song in this middle section of the mix is uniquely catchy. At least, I think so. ‘We are the universe.’ then ends with two haunting tracks from powerful female vocalists followed by an intense love (but also kind of hate) song that will make you want to square dance or some shit.
No sun revolves around you only, how could you think that you’re lonely? Our universe is vast but gravity will hold you back and overcoming obstacles is easy when you got control.
- Frankie Rose – Interstellar
- tree – Universal (ft. Ariel Thiermann)
- Skizzy Mars – Meant for Me
- Mikey Mike – If I Ain’t Stopped Lovin’ You by Now (Chainsaw Love, Pt. 4)
- Matt Longo – Level-Headed Man
- Raider – Lady, Lady
- The Griswolds – Mississippi
- Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
- Reptar – Sebastian
- San Cisco – Rocket Ship
- Fixers – Another Lost Apache
- Fixers – Iron Deer Dream (RAC Remix)
- The Lumineers – Ho Hey
- Imagine Dragons – Tokyo
- Made in Japan – What It Is
- Lady Danville – Operating
- M83 – M83′s Interlude
- Chairlift – Met Before
- Charli XCX – Stay Away
- Alexander Rybak – Fairytale
I’ve spent the past couple of days laying low and listening to music. I’ve turned down offers to go out on the town or explore different areas of the city, only to find myself alone by my computer engrossed in the crevaces of new lyrical patterns or instrumental orchestrations. It’s times like these that I am able to remind myself how much music means to me. The past month has been an interesting one. There have been emotional roller coasters (as you probably noticed if you follow me on Twitter), but there have also been moments of feeling like I can take over the world. It’s all part of the realization that life is a day-to-day thing. From one day to the next, you never know what’s coming your way. Be prepared for what will be thrown at you and you’ll make it through okay, I suppose. But today? Today feels like just another day.
Shout out to the people who led me to find these songs. They’re part of my story, one way or another.
Just another day around the way, try to make today better than yesterday
- Blind Pilot – Get It Out
- The National – Exile Vilify
- Frederick Squire – All Things Past Serve To Guide You On Your Way
- Rhye – Open
- Mikey Mike – Joy Fire Freedom
- Air – Seven Stars
- Of Monsters & Men – Six Weeks
- beat radio – teenage anthem for the drunken boat
- David’s Lyre – English Roses
- Priory – Lady of Late
- Stori – Just Another Day