Interview: Mike Stud
Mon, 01 Jul 2013 16:59:07
Mike Stud throws a few curveballs on Relief. The Rhode Island rapper's got an impressive and intricate flow that's married to an immediately potent, get this, pop sensibility. Stud finds a way to effectively merge clever hip-hop heart and big hooks for a real homerun. One of the most inventive young voices in rap has just stepped up to the mound…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Mike Stud talks Relief and so much more.
Did you have one vision in mind for Relief? It feels cohesive from beginning to end.
That's exactly what I was going for. We made a lot of records over the span of eight months. I was off tour, focusing on it, and working every day on records. We had a ton of records. I wanted to keep it focused and make it fluid like that. I'm really excited with the way it turned out. I originally had it at 15 songs then I shaved it down to where I felt like it flowed. It makes me happy when people see that. I wanted to keep it me and fun. That's what I was going for. A big part of my artistry that gets overlooked is some of the more meaningful records. I wanted to make sure I had all of those in there. I really focused to make them all work together and be one complete project. That was definitely the goal.
What's the story behind "Past Gone"?
That's easily the most meaningful record I've ever done. It's a true story. It's something I'm dealing with now. The girl is somebody who I met on tour, and she's struggling still with depression. I connected with her on a human level, and I was very drawn to her story when she told me about it. I thought the song turned out cool. It was something I wanted to do and share with my fans. It's her story. It was really cool to see the reaction from the people who listen to my music. They reached out to her tumblr, which is anonymous, and gave her tons of support. We talk a lot still. That record is probably something I won't ever do again. I wanted to shed light on her and how she feels. She liked it, and some positive things came from it.
Where did "I'm Not Sorry" come from?
That's a record that was so natural for me to write. It's something my fans and the type of kids who listen to my music really connect with. It's a popular college saying like, "Sorry, I'm not sorry for partying". No one has really put it in a record. It happened naturally. I wrote it really quickly. I got great production on it. The record came out very cool. It's the most pop record I've done. That's the way I wanted to do a pop record. I want it to still be me. I want it to be something I'm connected with. It's probably the most fun record.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
Yeah, it is. Songs will always become a story in some way. I think it's my strongpoint as a writer musically. I don't shy away from it. It's not really an effort. It's how I write songs. There's always a storyline, and the imagery is pretty vivid. It's a part of who I am, and it's what my fans expect. It's a big part of the artistry.
If Relief were a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a good question! I think it's a combination. When I was making some of the records, the label people were listening and saying, "I could hear this in Project X as a theme song". Partying is obviously the storyline of that movie. Project X is one answer because I definitely involve the partying aspect. As far as the emotional side goes, if I could narrow it down, it'd be a personal narrative. I want to say a Mark Wahlberg movie [Laughs].
Maybe The Fighter?
That's actually a great example because it's based off his childhood a bit. That's perfect. The personal side of it is very important. The things I'm saying in my records are always me. I write about things in my life that I'm experiencing. When you hear the personal meaningful records that aren't about partying, they stem from my life.
What artists shaped you?
I started making music two years ago. I'm very influenced by the people I was listening to and who I'm listening to now. I listen to all of these guys who are very successful now and are doing great things with music. I listen to guys like Kendrick Lamar. I think Drake is a very complete artist. Kanye West is a dude who breaks barriers. These guys are doing the right thing and leading the way. That's who I'm drawn to. It's important for me to stay with the now.
Have you heard Mike Stud?