Obsessed with Being Better with Mike G
In Taste For Tenacity, Show 036, we hear from producer and fashion magnate Mike G. Mike walks us through his growth as an artist and how he encourages people to expand their fashion lineup.
This is Taste for Tenacity show number 36. Support for this podcast and the following message comes from Bowtie Advisors, we run the numbers so you can get back to running your business.
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Okay, so you’ve always wanted to be a creative. You’ve seen it kind of emerged throughout different generations. And this was back in middle school. So as you were going through high school, were you able to sort of act on that need for expression and that need to create something that’s never been out there, or were you sort of just focused on like, “bro I gotta get out of school as quick as possible.”
No, I started so I maybe like a fifth or sixth grade I started like rapping. Me and my friends we would like it was funny we would, we would like write raps. And we would like download instrument not even download, we would just like play instrumentals from like, there used to be like, instrumental CDs of like rap, some popular rap songs and we would like download these CDs and we would like just write raps to them didn’t have any way to record them. And we would just like write stuff and we would just like, rap them to each other. And then finally, my friend’s father was like, actually, no, actually his Yeah, yeah. My friend’s father, they had a computer. It was an HP and it was it was this white like dinosaur looking machine. And in it funny enough, it had a microphone built into the monitor, which was weird. So my friend got this program. And we would like, make i forget what it was called. It was like easy hip hop. And we, we would just like make beats in it and then we would like rap it to the mic. And then we were like, this is kind of just kind of fun.
This is fun? Yeah.
So then we like we bought we found I don’t know how we, we somehow bought equipment. It was like, you know, the cheapest way we could get at a guitar center. And that’s like really when we got into and this is like. This is maybe like eighth, ninth grade when we bought equipment but like Middle School six seventh grade. I mean, I remember there were times when like I would rap. I would put tapes in you remember how you could record over tapes? So what I would like get blank tapes and then like record into the like the the stereo, like some raps that I’ve written. me My friends, we would do that we would just like sit around like a boombox and we would just like, record ourselves over like, on tape. I probably have some tape somewhere there. They’re terrible. I actually forgot about that. It was just crazy. So that was in between us buying our own equipment. And then I think like, ninth grade came about and we ended up buying equipment. And it kind of just took off like high school. We started we did like, three talent shows. We won one of them. So I was in a rap group in high school, different names. It was like, one was called blackout. One was called the movement. One I forgot what the other one was called. It was we had so many names. We changed it like every year. Yeah, it was it was crazy. Exactly. Exactly. Always switching it up. Um, but yeah, we did like talent shows we would like we put out like mixtapes, we were like selling them in school. We were like traveling any way to like make a buck we were like doing little — I remember we did a show. So we were promised that the it was a it was like a talent show for the post office because my friend’s father worked for the post office. Okay, not my friends. A friend of my father worked for the post office and there was a talent show and I remember the talent show ended up being on a bench in Bell Isle.
Just hanging out.
We like — I don’t know how it went from this grand scheme of like you could win this we could do and then we ended up like performing on a bench in Bell Isle and we I think our my friend’s dad felt bad for so he like gave us all like 50 bucks. Oh and then we went and bought like a pop filter for our microphone to like, you know better recording so we put the money to good use.
Yeah. And I think that’s that’s such like a small detail. But that’s that’s cool dimension because you you want you said how many were there? Four of you in that group.
There was in the group there was a, there’s about four, four of us. Yeah,
So you get 200 bucks from singing on a park bench Bell Isle, a park here in Detroit, from sitting on a park bench and performing, you get 200 bucks and then say, all right, we got this. Let’s reinvest it in a way like yeah, let’s, we gotta we gotta up our quality. So now let’s just put it.ou were like, eighth ninth grade. Exactly. And that’s where your head was at. Where do you think that came from? What gave you the thought of like, not not even a question. Let’s pour back in.
I don’t know. Just I think we just wanted to be better. Like, like, from the the time we were recording on the HP. Yeah, when we got you know, we were like, this is actually fun. And we’re like, we would show people when people were like it you know, it’s not bad. like yeah, I mean, it was looking back on it’s like bad now. Like, people were like it is no you guys aren’t bad. Like people in school were like that you guys are sweet. And then we were like, okay, so we just like kept doing it and you know, anything you keep doing you just like you’re going to get better at it if you keep practicing at it. So we just like, there’s nothing else we did besides rap, play basketball and play video games. Like a lot of Halo was played. A lot of a lot of raps were written while we were playing Halo. Yeah. Yeah, so the we just want it to be wanted to be better. And we wanted to, you know, when we had this big dream of becoming, you know, rich and famous, this was like, at the time, I’m thinking that was like, ’07, ’06 so Soulja Boy was like, really big. And he was like, it was like, my dream to be like, famous in high school. Yeah, because it would have been the sickest thing in the world. Yeah.
Live it living on cloud nine that early. Yeah. So now all throughout high school your your to do list is video games, writing raps with your friends and what was the other one?
Yes. Right. So, you’re doing this all throughout high school? Yeah. In you sort of figured out early on. Like there’s something here. There’s something for me. What was going through your head as you started to wrap up your high school career? Were you thinking you you needed to go the college route? What were you hearing? What were you thinking? What were you feeling at the time?
I was feeling the pressure from parents, because, you know, they, you know, they wanted me to do the college route. I did. I really didn’t know what I want to do. I know I liked music. You know, I didn’t really, I didn’t really get into like fashion and stuff. I was into it, but I didn’t like really see it as like a viable career or anything. It wasn’t a path for you. Yeah, not not at that time. So it was really just like I want to do music. So, I ended up going to Henry Ford for telecommunications, which I got my associates degree which you know, I’m I’ve never used it. I can say But yeah, um, school was definitely not. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do. Yeah, I actually wanted. Actually, I wanted to be a graphic designer and I wanted to go to art institute in Chicago. I mean, thank God, I didn’t because I mean, they’re like one day like the bumped and I think so. Yeah, one of them is, yeah. So yeah, I wanted to do graphic design, but I think that didn’t work out. So I just, I started I want to do something like audio really, because I knew I knew I knew audio, you know, working on the programs. So I was like, maybe I can do something. And that was the closest thing I could do was telecommunications. Okay, but, and even then, like, I forgot to mention, like I’ve been making, I’ve been like, besides rapping I’ve been producing like beats since like, 2004. Yeah. My friend who I started rapping with he, you know, introduced me to that as well his name’s Dwayne introduced me to this program called Fruity Loops. Now it’s called FL Studio. But I mean, that was like 2004. And honestly, that actually making beats kind of went to the forefront and pushed rapping to the back as I as I got older. I’ll say, as I’m getting out of high school, I start off like, I want to where I’d rather. I’d rather make beats than then like be the rapper, I think.
Yeah. So what do you think? I mean, you said 2004ish. You started making beats, and that was on Fruity Loops. Great, great application name right there. Yeah,
right. This is like Fruity Loops like crazy. So I don’t know how they thought of that.
But hey, they they polish it up a little bit FL Studio now? It works. So what do you think about about making beats in producing beats in particular, kept your interest for that long of a period because sometimes it can be tough to stay committed to making one type of thing and you want to get out there, what do you think kept you interested in producing?
I think I was never the. I never felt I was as good of a rapper as my best friend, Dwayne. And then, so I never I never really thought I was like, the best rapper. I knew I could rap and people were like, oh, you’re good. Yeah, but, you know, hearing my friends songs. And I was like, Man, this is like, this is fire. How did you write this? Like, where’s your head? Like, I don’t even know how to rap like that. Yeah, but I knew making like making beats was something they weren’t really interested in. And I just was like, if I’m, like, I just want to make beats because that’s, you know, I feel like I can be really good at that in which, you know, the man hours I’ve you know, I’ve put in my what is it? 1000 hours, whatever, make a 10,000 hour 10,000 hours I’ve put that in. And you know, it my work my craft as as has progressed over the years. I mean, For that’s
Solid 15 years.
Yeah, it’s crazy. And I still don’t like opening up the program I still don’t know everything, you know, I go on YouTube and I watch other people make beats or I’m I watch. That’s one of my like things I love to do is just watch other people do things I love to do. So I watch people like DJ or watch people make beats or I watch people. I don’t know, rap, you know, whatever. But you know, just whatever creative I was, like don’t see other people doing things and pick up little things. And you know, you don’t always know everything.
Yeah. So I’m curious one thing that that can be tough, especially as as a creator is keeping your own style while trying to pick those tidbits from other people. Right. So you watch videos of other people. Yeah, DJ, other people producing how their process works. How do you maintain your own style, your own like your own identity, while you’re also picking and choosing from other people.
You know it’s is you just kind of inherited. It’s like I was watching the interview with Pharrell and Rick Rubin the other day. Have you seen that one? No, it’s it’s really good interview but Pharrell was talking to Rick Rubin and Rick Rubin’s kind of asking him like, where do you get these like, these I like, how do you come up with the stuff you come up with and and he’s just like, you know, it’s all about moments and like listening to songs and just like thinking about like, how did they do this this song or how did they like make this chord? It’s like, like, this song has a certain emotion. And how do I recapture it in like turn it into something different but I want that like same hair raising like, like if it can make you feel something then like it’s doing its job. Whether it’s mad, sad or crying, or whatever it is, so like, chasing that, that moment is definitely something that I try to always, always do whether no matter what I’m doing.
I don’t know, it’s, you know, everyone has their own individual style. And I feel like you know, you take tidbits from like, this person or the this person or you see like, Oh, this is how they do their high hats, or, oh, this is how they did that affect transition into this song. I’m going to try to do it on this song. It might sound a little different when I do it, because maybe my hands aren’t moving as fast or maybe I’m using a different effect or something. But you know, everything I feel like everything you do, essentially, you could turn into your own, you know, it’s like no, no idea is like, so original, that it’s like, the first, you know, like sort of person I’m watching isn’t the first person to do that they probably learned it from somewhere else, you know?
Yeah. So like the elements that you’re choosing, you’re choosing because they resonate with you and your style and how you do things. Exactly. And in having your own literal, like the physical aspect of how you move things and how you shift things and progress things along with your own ear. And how that’s colored by your background. So really, it’s not taking a bit of Pharrell or a bit of a Rick Rubin, it’s taking that element and spinning it up with your own style.
Correct. And it’s like, what I may watch and like from something is totally different from what someone else may watch and be like, Oh, I like that. And the next person will maybe be like, Oh, I like that.
Yeah, two opposite pieces. Exactly. So now, you’re in high school and As you’re going through, you’re continuing to create throughout that time. Yeah. And now you’re at, you’re at Henry Ford, you’re working, you know, you’re still doing a lot of this stuff, but you’re getting a telecommunications degree. How did you balance your own projects and the stuff that you wanted to work on with, you know, that Associate’s Degree in school and if you had to work a job, how did you balance all those elements when all of them can be so taxing on you.
Very much so. And when I started working here in Henry Ford that was, that’s actually around the time I got like, my first actual job, I started working to express in Fairlane mall, okay, and I was working part time and then going to Henry Ford full time. And then still like, you know, rapping and doing stuff. I had a girlfriend.
So you had one or two things going.
I have a lot going on, but it was, you know, I can be I didn’t really care about school. I’m when it comes to I’m super Mr. Super last minute. Like, I procrastinate like the last minute, because I just I, you know, I didn’t really see me needed it or like, I felt like I was in school for, like, stuff that I could like, figure out my own, you know, like, the only class that I really enjoyed was a class– it was, it was actually a radio broadcasting class where we had to, like, come up with our own like, like jingles and like, you know, just kind of like it was it was kind of corny, but it was, it was fun because it allowed us to just like think outside the box and do something really creative when we got to record it and show it to class and everybody you know, it was fun.
And you’re producing just in a totally different way. Right. Like you’re used to making beats for songs. Yeah. Then they’re like, yo, make us jingle. Yeah, like, All right, I’m in let’s do it. Right. And so it seems like that’s sort of just fit with what you wanted to do anyway in that instance. But for the most part, you weren’t getting a lot out of that telecom degree compared to what you wanted to actually do.
No, not at all. When I look back at it, I mean, I don’t regret anything. Yeah. I, you know, I wouldn’t say it’s a waste. It was a waste of time. I definitely cherish those moments back then. But I mean, I could have, I could have probably done something else.
Yeah. But that’s, it’s again, like teach their own you, you know, what you were doing? And you knew that the school that you were studying didn’t really contribute to it. Yeah. So I mean, sometimes you just gotta shift your focus toward that which you care most about and that which matters the most. Yeah. So you’re wrapping up that telecom degree, you got an associate’s so so that was about what two ish years.
Twoish, I think failed a couple classes pushed it to three.
Okay. Okay. Which again, like if you you’re not about school makes makes sense. It fits with with where you want it to go? Yeah. So now you’re just doing your thing, right? Like, going to school. What all were you doing outside of school? And besides the job and besides that girlfriend at the time? What sort of stuff are you making during that time? Are you still making beats? Were you trying to rap more? What was your creative side?
I was still rapping. And I was I was making a lot of beats, like probably, like, those were the times where I was just like, like pumping beats out just like, like crazy amounts. Yeah. Um, it just started to shift where like, I was like, rapping a little less. Like, I mean, my friend put out a project called Cosmo Gray. And that was like, the last — this was maybe 2010, 2011 maybe. And that was like the last time like I can really think of myself like like really, really like focused on like writing raps and like trying to write songs. But uh, yeah, after that I like completely was just like I, you know, I just want to produce I just like, you know, I don’t I just kind of like being in the background like, yeah, like, you know, I’m like in the background like, looking at looking at the, you know, if the artist is performing I’m in the back on the stage like Yeah, maybe. Yeah, this is my shit.
You, you laid the foundation and you made it so that you know that artists can look their best if what you’ve made. Yeah. So you’re you’re kind of on the back behind the scenes guy now. Yeah. When you’re making music going forward, correct. And so what after you finished that degree? Did you start getting into, did you stick with your job at you said Express?
I was working in Express. And I worked there for maybe a year and a half, two years and I knew so in Fairlane, H&M was right across the hall. Okay, and so this is when it’s starting to coincide with like fashion. And I wanted to work at H&M so bad. Like it was I was like, that’s, that’s all I wanted was to work at H&M because it was like, it was foreign to me. So now I thought it was dope. Like the clothes were cool. Like, you know, I was starting to get into fashion. So I was like, I wanted my pants to fit slimmer, you know? Like H&M was the only like, I’m like, 2012 I don’t even know when I got my job like 2012 maybe 2013 it was like the only place to really find like, slim fitting jeans around here. I didn’t want to like fork up the money, you know? Yeah. Um, so I was like, I really want to work at H&M. Eventually ended up getting a job at H&M. Yeah, and I worked at H&M for maybe three years. And that was like 2012 to like, 2015. 2015. Yeah.
So that’s I do want to say to it is sort of a coming of age. When you finally want pants that fit you correctly. Exactly, exactly. It’s when you know like okay I’m just about a semi functioning adult now like let’s do it.
And it is crazy because people always ask me like how did I get into fashion and it’s it’s it’s like growing up with my mom and two sisters you know they like always made sure I looked good going to school or like always made sure like my clothes look good. Like they would like buy me outfits outfits for Christmas and they would like make sure a certain. If the T-shirt had a certain color it wouldn’t match the same color in the jeans. They were my stylist and even in high school you know I remember a couple comments and and girls were like Mike G your dress was pretty interesting, pretty flat. I was actually pretty mad in high school when I didn’t win Best Dressed. Really. Like things were like in my mind rumbling but like I wasn’t going to be like the thinking about like, fashion as a career or like a path.
But it was interesting to you. Enough. Enough to, to want to be the best dressed. Yeah. And then so now like this this fashion side is is starting to rear its head a little bit this this producer side is definitely reared its head you said this is sort of the point in your life when you are kicking out the most consistently, right? how did how did all those things start to come together? You know, these different like side interests? How have you seen those kind of come together to where you’re at now?
Um, it’s, you know, I mean, I really feel like music and fashion, you know, they coincide with each other. You know, artists, they, they need to look their best, you know, they need to be you know, they’re always at the front row. The shows are always like, you know, they’re always getting the picture taken, you know, so they always You know, try to look their best at least like, I mean be honest, like a lot of celebrities like dress like trash. But it, you know, I had to come to the realization is like, you know, they’re like regular people, like not everyone in real life dresses well. So, you know, just because they’re rich doesn’t mean they’re going to dress well as well. Yeah, um, but I think it was just, you know, as as as I’m doing music and like fashion and, you know, rearing its head. I’m just like, how can I make these two things like work together? And I really like, up until like, maybe two years ago, I really it’s really like been starting to like, make sense. People, it’s funny because people have always like been in my ear telling me like things I need to do. When I worked at H&M, all the girls they were like Mike, you need to be a stylist Mike you need to do visual. Like there’s not a lot of sweet guys that are like stylists and all this stuff and I was like, Yeah, you’re right. Maybe that Yeah. And you know, I’m like, I’m hearing it and I remember it, but I wasn’t really doing anything to, you know, to do anything about it. Yeah. Up until maybe like two years ago.
Okay. Yeah. So then what changed two years ago when when you brought those worlds together? Did you just up and decide, like, you know, this is something I want, let’s do it, or was it that was it sort of organically coming together in your life because you knew those were two things you really loved. It was kind of just having organically like people would ask me to style. Um, you know, at that time, I was working at a job called kootenays, which was downtown. So I was like, I’m working my way I quit H&M to work there. So I’m like working my way up to like, the fashion hierarchy of like, you know, of price points. You know, I went from selling like, you know, $30 pants to like $130 pants. Yeah, so I’m like trying to you know, working my way up to luxury ladder and kind of just seeing how like, how things work and like, people are like, oh man, you got great style like you know, can you style me or people are hitting me up like you know can you like do my closet over and you know just things like that.
Yeah. Little little spots where they figured you could help.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
So now what are what are some of the differences you noticed? As you worked up that luxury hierarchy and as you went from like, fast fashion to long-term fashion or more durable fashion, we’ll call it.
The customers in fast fashion are a lot worse than the luxury store customers. And I know people would probably think otherwise like people will probably think the opposite. Think that, you know, the rich people are not even maybe we’re not going to call them rich, maybe they they can they can afford a little bit more. That they’re like maybe a little snobby or a little. They just probably think they’re a certain way, but it’s, you know, I’ve been I’ve definitely encountered a few. But to say just say the least, like most of the people, most of my clients that I deal with, they’re like, really sweet people. Like they like look out for me or they like, they like talking to me when they you know, they text me they like, give me free clothes sometimes. Yeah. Yeah, so I think that’s one huge difference that I you know, definitely can think of, you know, it’s just different worlds, you know, H&M and Express youre like, your shift is folding clothes for, you know, four or five hours. Yeah, or you’re on the register for four or five hours. You know, when you’re when you’re working like a luxury store, you’re like client telling and like, actually actually putting together someone’s wardrobe. You know someone Yeah, someone’s coming in they looking for like, what’s new? And then they’re like, what can I wear with this? And then, you know, they, they really want you. They really want you to style them. That’s, that’s, that’s a big difference. And then I would get that to H&M too. But like, you spend too much time with a customer on H&M. And they’re like, what are you doing?
What are you doing? Yeah, you’re just trying to, you’re just trying to get me to buy more stuff. Yeah. So now, I’m kind of curious because I’ve never particularly had you know, this one style or like been able to identify what my own style is, right. So when when a new client comes into you or when someone comes into the store, how do you go about figuring what their style is and then finding the right pieces to compliment? How do you piece that together without kind of creating your own style on them?
So what I will say is, I try to push people out the box you know, One of the worst things I hate hearing people say is, it’s not for me, or it’s not my style. And, to that I say, it’s not your style, because it’s never been on you. Like it’s you just have never tried it. I could say that about a denim jacket that I’ve, you know, if I’ve never worna denim jacket, I can say it’s not my style,
Because you’ve never worn it.
Exactly. Like I’m just like, put it on and see. What what it takes for people to like really, like change their styles is what I’ve noticed is validation. So, you know, if you wear something you think is kind of wacky and kind of crazy. And then you go outside and everyone’s like, Man, you look like you look cool, like you look good. Yeah. And you’re like, Thank you like I was actually like, a little anxious about wearing this because it’s not really what I would wear but like Thank you. You know, things like that are what helps people turn the tide and like really change their perspectives on like, wearing different clothes, whether it’s like a looser fit, or like it’s a it’s a skinnier fit, or it’s like a, you know, an oversized hoodie or, you know, tortoise shell glasses, you know? Yeah. Um, yeah.
So just finding ways to essentially get up. Oh, it seems like you have to, to get just up to the line of it being too much for them to give it, give it a try. Yeah. And then just kind of ease into that line, get them to wear it, and then you shift the line further out, and you kind of slowly push them.
Again, it’s all about it’s all about just slowly progressing is you know, you can maybe get them in, you know, so so what I do, where I work now is I can tell what someone’s into, based upon like, what section they kind of gravitate to. So like, the store is kind of laid out in certain sections. So we have like our avant garde designers, which are usually the Japanese designers in one section and it’s like, it’s usually black, and it’s usually like. It’s for most people, they would consider it weird. It’s you know, blazers and they’re like, half cut out or like, big pants and they’re like, drop crotch. Some people will call them diaper pants. Yeah, I’m, like, even some people might say they’re like, ill fitting clothes, but like, they’re intended to be that way. Yeah. So if you walk over to that, I can kind of get a idea like, actively looking at I can get an idea of what your style it kind of is. Versus if you walk over to like, you know, a blazer and some, some some trousers. I can like, okay, she’s kind of conservative or maybe she’s looking for an outfit for work or, yeah, you know, you kind of pick up on like, the little things and even like, even like, how people are dressed. You know, I never judge anyone coming into the store, but I can tell kind of what their style is based upon how they dress.
Yeah, and it’s, it’s not even like judging it. It’s it’s a reference point. Like, if I say what kind of car do you like? Or what kind of cars do you like but you’re driving. I drove a 2002 Chrysler Concorde like clearly I would not be a car guy because I am not big into cars. So if you’re a car salesman you’re gonna be like look this kid something reliable that’s all he wants send him out exactly. Whereas like you roll up in a Bugatti it’s like shit. We got to find him another Bugatti
Okay, so now that’s sort of that’s, that’s where the fashion part of you is, is working at now. What’s going on on the music side? What do you been? What have you been doing there? I know. You said you’re a DJ and you’re still a producer.
So I’m still producing. Jay Adams. We’ve been working together. Hopefully we have a new project coming out soon. Hopefully. Yeah, we gotta really get to work on it. We have actually like DJing is kind of this I must say 2019 has been just a tremendous year of just like growth, really, because I was like bedroom DJing for like, maybe two years. My friend Rob Blacknoise gave me like this little, this little machine, like a little controller they call it and I was just like using that to play around on the program tractor. And just like in my bedroom and just like, you know, men living room just like kind of kind of fucking around on it. And I’m like, Damn, like I couldn’t I can really do this. So I went and bought like a, like a beer controller and I’m like, 2019 I bought a beer. Around this time last year. I was like, Mom, I want this. I want to start DJing for real. She’s like, All right, I’ll buy it. Yeah. Mom buys it for me like Christmas last year. The first show I have is with Jay Adams actually in New York and Brooklyn. And the rest is history. 2019 I’m like, you know what? I’ve been in my bedroom too long. There’s too many times where I go to shows and I’m like, I’m listening like DJ and I’m like, Man, you’re like, make some noise really bad. Yeah.
Or like, you are not good at this.
I’m like, why are you playing this song? Like nobody wants to hear this song.
So two quick things first, for those of you wondering why the name Jay Adams sounds so familiar. Back on show 14 we we chatted with Jay that was that was one of my favorite shows to record show 14 is survive with Jay Adams. He was he was he was just dope to talk to.
Yeah, he is a good man. He is so smart.
Yeah. Oh, he’s brilliant. That’s great. One thing that that’s really interesting in particular about DJing is there’s two totally different sides to the to the process. So like, first, you have to make it sound good. You have to make the right mixes you have to have things tie in correctly. But the interesting part and sort of the wild card to it is you got to read the rule and you just hit on that like why are you playing this song no one’s no one hears about it yeah so how that that second element seems like it’s the wild card is like reading the room reading where people at and figuring out what they want to hear. So how do you, when you’re in a room do you walk in and say look these are the first five songs I’ll play them see how they respond and go with whatever they they jive with or what does that look like for you?
Its so in the beginning it was just kind of as I was building my song library in my like in my computer Yeah, I was just like going to gigs and I was like, I’m not just play whatever.
Play Free Bird.
I would literally just like pick random songs like that made sense based upon what I was playing. Yeah, and just like and just play them like it was like stuff that I like, but then I’ve recently like started like, making like for each gig, like certain playlists, because I’ve noticed, like, there were times when, like, the roommate, like, you know, everybody might go to the bar like people might start stopped dancing and I’m like, I got a really really like, make sure I’m like reading the crowd in that like dropping the ball on like the energy. So like making a playlist, which is something I’ve been doing recently is like a crucial thing that I would say is super important to where I’m at right now and DJ.
And I’ll I’ll say anecdotally too. Seems like one of my favorite things to watch happen, like at a formal party or at you know, I had a couple formals for the fraternity I was in, you know, going to wedding stuff like that. Yeah, I love trying to see the DJ, especially if it’s just like someone that we know, or, you know, just someone doing it for fun. Seeing them, try and navigate getting everyone to move. From dinner through dessert, and then on to the floor, because that seems like, like it’s just a struggle.
Because then you have like full stomachs. And it’s like, Are people really just trying to like trying to really bust a move on a full stomach?
They’re trying to nap.
Five courses and little dessert too, some wine.
The actual cherry on top. So now you’re building playlist, what does? What does that mean for someone who has no idea what that means.
Just just a selection of songs that I think will fit the place where I’m DJing. So you know, if if I know I’m playing a place where it’s like house and techno music, you know, I’m gonna put like, you know, so my favorite like house and techno songs but it even goes farther than that. It’s like, you know, depends on the certain like genre of like house and techno I want to play is it like, am I allowed to play a bunch of low five like how songs am I going to play? Like some like, oh Detroit like house? Am I gonna play? Like some more? I don’t want to. I don’t it’s not like EDM but maybe like a little bit of throw a little disclosure in there a little. A little more mainstream. Yeah, like because I know like, you know, stuff like that gets the people pumping. But I still like handpick each like even if it’s like a hand like a mainstream song. It’s like, if there’s only a few that I like, really can like manage this is this is a good one. Yeah.
What’s your favorite type of venue or favorite type of event?
I really like playing small spaces. Small spaces where people want to dance not like I hate playing party when like, everyone’s just like standing around and like looking too cool. And just like drinking it with our shows. And yeah, and I get it. I mean, I get it. Sometimes I’,m that person, it depends who’s DJing. But, you know, I really I like I DJ because I want to make people move. I want to make people dance. I want people to have a good time. You know, I just had a show last Friday at electric studios for an art exhibition. Yeah. And, you know, the whole night was kind of rap and hip hop, and everyone we know, they were they were hype, and they were, they would jump in and they were they were doing a thing and it was, it was good. It was good energy. And I get on and it’s like house and techno. And immediately the people who didn’t want to hear it left, and but the dance floor still was like, packed, maybe like 50 people, which is like dancing and like, you know, people were come up like it was mostly girls too. So it was like, I’d rather girls consumed. I feel like girls consume the most music or they they can definitely help propel you and get your name out there more so than like, the guy the guys just want to stay in and look cool. You know, the girls, they want to dance. Yeah. And I’m here for that, you know, I want to make people dance.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
But it’s, it’s, you know, that’s all I want to do. And as I’m playing people were coming up to me like, what song is that? You know, I like this song and yeah, some girl was like, I’ve been waiting for this kind of music all night and I’m like, this is this is life look up. Yeah, this is what uh, this is what makes my day or even there’s a story. There was a girl, girl or guy, and they really wanted to dance. But they were like there was like a dance circle going on and they really want to dance. And they were like a little too afraid too, and they gees what happened? Um, they were afraid to dance. They wanted to get in this dance circle so bad. So I think a couple minutes passed, and then you look over. And they’re like, just like in the dance circle, they’re just like, free. And just like, and that’s what I live for. They were like she, I don’t even know if she or he, you know, but um, yeah, they were just free and just dancing. And it was beautiful. You know, that’s what I live for is to like, if I can be the soundtrack to people’s freedom. I’m here for it.
So I think that’s a good spot to kind of move into the next portion of the show. And these are our Quick Hits. So it’s going to feel a little faster. It’s gonna feel a little quicker, hence the name. I don’t know. I just want. So first, what do you think is one of the biggest takeaways and lessons that you’ve learned from all your projects so far?
Biggest takeaway and lesson. That’s a hard one. I mean, I can say, you know, perfection isn’t perfection. Like, don’t spend too long on something, you know, you got to put your stuff out. You just have to, you know, you never get to build an audience, you’re never going to build, you know, your’re never going to build a following if you never just put your shit out.
If you wait for it to be perfect, you’re gonna miss your opportunity.
Facts, facts. What else is there? I mean, just making sure the product is good because, you know, no one’s gonna want it if it’s a bad product. I mean, as simple as that whether I mean that’s close for anything music or design or fashion and, you know, architecture, whatever. Like people won’t like it if it’s not a good product. You know, it could, you know, people’s tastes are different. But for the most part, if it’s a bad product, like, people won’t want it. If it’s bad music, people won’t want it. There may be a market for some sort of shitty music, but for the most part, it’s bad and nobody want it.
So now what is the one piece of advice if you had to give one that you would give to your 20 year old self?
I would probably say, actually thinking about coming forward and stuff. I will honestly I will. I would say go to school. If you are going to do the school route for something that will make sense later in life. And it may sound crazy because it’s like, how will you know it’s going to make sense later in life but like looking back on life, and it’s never too late to go back to school, but I’m like, I would really love to be, you know, an architect, or I would really love to be a furniture designer or like industrial designer or, you know, for, you know, study philosophy or like, I love the way like the human mind works. So I would really just like, I don’t know, I think we are just make the decision of going to school, right after high school too quick. It’s like, I don’t even know what I like. Yeah, you know, I’m 20 you know, 28. And I just, like started reading books two years ago. Yeah. And like, I like books now. Like, I’m not I can’t say that I finished all of them. But I read tidbits from them. And I like take things from them and then they stick with.
Yeah, so better way to put it like or another way to put it is fuck around for a bit. Figure out what you like. Yeah. And then be be willing enough and ballsy enough to go for it and go after it however you can.
Yeah, I mean, you know, as cliche it is, you know, if you don’t take a risk, you know, you’ll never see what the rewards were that risk was.
Love it. What has been one book or resource that has helped you along the way.
I will probably say I’m really, I don’t know if this is like cliche to say, but I really I really liked Malcolm Gladwell. So I really like the Tipping Point, which, you know, sad to say I’ve been reading it for like two years. I haven’t finished it but I like I started. Stop it. And then I like, start, go to the beginning because I’ve already forgotten like what I’ve read. Yeah, but the the best thing I remember from one of Malcolm’s books was it was like this six degrees of separation. And it’s, it’s like, I think it says, you know, people think six degrees of separation is everyone’s connected somehow in six degrees or less. And it’s really that everyone is connected to certain people in six degrees or less, because certain people are connected to more people, you know?
Yeah, it’s those those super connectors. That are that, that that rule applies.
And I kind of feel like, you know, I wouldn’t say I’m a super connector, but I feel like as you know, I’m navigating my way through life. I feel like I’m meeting cool individuals. And I’m always thinking about who can I put in place or who can I you know, if someone’s like, I want to shoot a video I’m like, already like, I got a guy yeah, like and I’m like, he’s he’s like dope as fuck, he’s like, super good or it’s like, you know, I want a photo shoot, you know, plenty of friends will take photos or you know, need a need a mixer and engineers like, you know, I need a I need some screen printed. It’s like I got all these people. You know, I got all these people backlogged in my head. That like if somebody’s like you know I need this and I’m like, I got you.
I got a guy. Yeah. Love it. Now Mike where can people learn more about you? I will say just because I have a written down here your Instagram handle is atm_at.the.moment. Sorry to interrupt. Where can people learn more about you?
Right now definitely just Instagram. I’m working on a portfolio yeah and just Instagram I have a Twitter. My Twitter is uh let’s see what my Twitter is actually it’s a JordanATM. My name and my name used to be Jordan ATM which was a it got too confusing so I just switched it to ATM which stands for at the moment. Yeah. Well, yeah, that’s where you know, I usually post my gigs on their Instagram and Twitter.
Mike G. DJ, stylist, producer, creative at the moment. ATM pleasure chatting with you Mike.
Thank you. Thank you Ben. Appreciate it.
That does it for this week’s show with Mike G. Now it’s been a minute since we’ve had a creative on and I was really really excited for this conversation plus, I’ve run into Mike a couple of different times he is friends with Jay Adams who I featured back in show 14 and and he produces some of Jay’s music. And so it was really good to have someone on that comes from that creative background because there’s stuff that’s totally different in that world. From what you hear in a standard you know, business or even in a startup or an entrepreneurial community. About the the early parts of Mike’s story is the fact that they just wanted to be better. That’s why they spent hours making beats in basements and in rapping over songs when they were in middle school. They wanting to get better and they wanted to improve their quality so when they made a couple hundred bucks from that talent show that wound up just being at a park bench, they took it and immediately invested it in better equipment. It wasn’t, you know, looking for an ROI or looking for something in particular, they just wanted to be better. And that’s what they were focused on throughout the early parts of their story, and you can see how that compounded as we walked through Mike’s background. There’s also a very careful balance between knowing that no one wants a bad product and understanding that waiting for perfection is a mistake. And so you have to figure out when you’ve gotten things polished and good enough to release to the broader world, while also understanding that you will never get it perfect and if you tinker over every minute detail of a song or have a piece you might lose the underlying identity and the underlying feel of that song in trying to seek perfection. Alright guys, happy new year. It is officially 2020. There’s a 2020 vision joke in there but I have glasses so I couldn’t see it. Haha, there it is. Wishing you guys all the best. Happy New Year go out and make 2020 just to kick ass year. From Taste for Tenacity show number 36. This is Ben Trela. Thanks for listening.