1. Fifteenth “Get You Down”
2. Geisha Twins “Can’t Stop” Feat. Roma Adrian
3. Steven Bloodbath& (Thee) Mike B “Iration”
4. Glass Actor “Apeirophobia Pt. 2”
5. DJ Dodger Stadium “Late Night Respek”
6. Evan Stalker “Ensenada Lights”
7. Over The Top “On Fire”
LA is obviously full of strong rising talent, and I couldn’t think of a better guy than Thee Mike B to compile some fine selections for the newest Scion AV release. As one of our city’s finest DJs, Mike B isn’t limited to just producing and performing. Since getting his start in the club scene in the late 90s in NYC, Mike B has become an important figure in the industry and one of LA’s most respected all around DJs. When it comes to working in the studio or hosting his own parties and events, Mike has always proven his consistent relevancy and power. Now that him and Scion have teamed up on the recently released “Tite At Nite” compilation, we can listen up and give our full attention to the current wave of LA’s titest nite people.
“Tite At Nite” is now available as a free download on Scion AV’s website, in which all 7 tracks can also be shared and streamed. Featuring a new track from his own project (Fifteenth) with Sammy Bananas, Mike B proves that he puts a lot of time into both making music and staying on top of what producers in the area are up to.
I was really happy to see one of my friends, Evan Stalker, included in the tracklist. When I originally got the email about this compilation, I figured it would be a perfect time to give Evan a proper introduction and ask him a few questions. His featured track “Ensenada Lights” seems most fit for a late night freeway cruise en route to your afterhours gathering of choice. Read on to find out exactly why Evan is indeed tite.
I really admire artists and label heads that put their taste first and make the rest work out, especially when the music they want to support isnt the most commercially viable.
Before moving to LA, you spent some time in New York; is it safe to assume that’s how you met the On The Prowl guys? How did joining the label come about?
I was in and out of NY for a few summers before I moved there after school. It was kind of a story from a different era; I just gave Jacques [Renault] a cd and he was interested in signing one of the tracks. We hadn't met previously, and that literally was it. Then later when I was in LA, I sent over more music and we decided to move forward with a full EP.
What made you want to come to LA? What are some of your favorite things about this city?
There were a lot of reasons, but mostly because LA seemed like a good place to make music and have a career in design + post production. LA also has its own crazy energy that I missed in New York. My favorite LA things are its people, the weather and the forgotten music (and video) technology treasures of LA Craigslist.
Around when did you start spinning records and producing? Were you collecting vinyl for a while prior to DJing?
I bought a few records here and there before I was DJing, but didn't really collect vinyl in a serious way. I always listened to electronic music and wanted to DJ but didn't know anyone who did for a long time. I was always around old turntables and 70's hifi speakers… my cousin and I used to take apart busted stereos for fun. I remember once we tried to "mix" on two CD walkmens by literally soldering them both into the same input cable.
What were you listening to growing up, and do any of those songs/artists provide you with any influence today? Who do you really admire today as far as inspiration?
I listened to a lot of stuff growing up; not that much of it is a direct inspiration on music I make, but you always carry little bits of everything you hear forward. I remember I heard "Rubicon" by Alan Braxe and Fred Falke in high school and was like “who makes music like this, what is this?” And the Playgroup DJ Kicks mix I heard around the same time made me feel that way too.
Who I admire today is a whole article on its own; there are a lot of people! As I make more music the really prolific people are most remarkable to me, especially the ones who are able to balance touring, original production, and involvement with a label. Jacques Renault and Marcos Cabral for instance do this well. Jus-Ed also comes to mind. I really admire artists and label heads that put their taste first and make the rest work out, especially when the music they want to support isn't the most commercially viable.
Do you work on music from home, or do you own/share a studio space?
I have a little work setup at home, but I wish I could afford to pay rent on a real studio to treat and do proper mixing in. However, I can't imagine not being able to work at home, or at least close by. The perfect situation is the studio next door.
Being involved with Scion A/V is great; they bring a lot of resources to the table when you work with them, so something like this is a bit different than a blog doing a free compilation.
What are you using in in the studio for your productions? Any special gear you’d like to tell us about?
I have a lot of outboard stuff that I use; I just bought a Yamaha e1010 bbd delay that is I guess the newest thing. I had to repair it and was able to modify it to get these really long delay times, but the best part is the way it sounds when you sweep the delay time. It has this bizarre, alive, liquidness to it and the feedback can also sound really rich. When I had it open to repair, I would shorten the delay time and modulation depth randomly and it was this dark, chaotic, dub nightmare noise world coming out of it.
Describe your production process. How do you like to work on music? Does your approach change with each track?
Usually I start with the drums and one other part... but the drums are the backbone of the track, so they have to be good. Most of my tracks also start with a bassline. A lot of tracks I love succeed without going much beyond those two elements, so I try to stick with that in the beginning. I just try to keep things as simple as possible generally, and focus on making the best sounds I can, which is why I like using analog synths so much. I'm trying to get better at keyboard so I can play more parts in and compose faster, but I've actually gotten really used to just writing most of my drums out from the start; I work most quickly with them that way. I don't really have a good sampling workflow, but I wish I could do more with it... it's just like I feel like sampling is so easy now, so you want to be sort of clever about it. A lot of sampling tropes are getting a bit worn out now because it's so accessible. That being said, there are always people who make use of the tools beyond the obvious, and in this case I think of Gerry Read's stuff, which is great.
Would you consider yourself a gear nerd? What are your drooling over these days? If you could pick 3 more pieces of equipment for your setup, what would you choose?
Yeah well obviously I'm a huge gear nerd. I guess I want some drum machines; maybe a 909, or the Tip Top Audio module 808/909 clones instead. I saw them at NAMM and they're good. And I want a modular synth, which is kind of like the ultimate nerd piece; there are so many good filters and CV processors now. If things could just appear though, I really want a Roland SH-2 and some Mytek converters, and maybe a Mono/Poly. But I also want some old stuff with tubes and transformers in it to track things through. A new desk is also on the wish-list.
On the topic of the “Tite at Nite” compilation, how was that opportunity presented to you? Was it hard to figure out what kind of track you wanted to do for it?
Mike B mentioned he was working on it and I sent him a track; he was excited about it but not that excited. I had just been down to Ensenada to DJ at Eurobar and had a great time, and was working on this track with a laid-back, traveling vibe afterwards. I didn't think much of it, but I played it for Dan [of Cosmic Kids] and he was really encouraging about it. So then I thought maybe Mike would like it, and it turned out he was very happy with it.
What are some of your favorites from “Tite at Nite” ?
Every track is good! I haven't met the Over the Top guys or heard their music before, so I guess their song was the most surprising to me since I'm not familiar with them.
Would you say that free compilations like this are an important thing today? Would you be interested in taking part in more?
It seems like now there are more opportunities for artists where the value exchange with a label or blog isn't exactly monetary, which isn't necessarily bad. It can really help for people to stand behind your work and send it around. Being involved with Scion A/V is great; they bring a lot of resources to the table when you work with them, so something like this is a bit different than a blog doing a free compilation.
Tell us your favorite Mike B moment/memory.
My top favorite moment was when he convinced/bribed a passenger bus to take myself and several other people a mile and a half to our cars at 3 am in downtown LA. We were walking/running from a warehouse party that caught on fire.
Haha I remember that! What’s been keeping you busy these days apart from your graphics work? Any exciting future release news you can spill the beans on? Any goals for this year that we can look forward to?
My graphic and editing work keeps me very busy. So far my On the Prowl release is the only other thing I have set up for this year, but I want to do things with some LA labels and hopefully other ones that aren't local. I'm currently finishing up some music and the sound of the tracks will really determine who I'll reach out to.
When it comes to DJing, your ideal setting/environment would be _______.
A nice (elevated) booth, a good system, 500 people, and a warehouse with some treatment to kill reflections. And of course a crowd that wants to go the distance with you.
Do you have any upcoming nights in which we can catch you doing your thing? Where are you most likely to be found in the later hours of your weekend nights?
Yes, I play at the Avalon in Hollywood about once a month for their Control party. There's a side room that C-Town does a great job with booking deeper sounds than the main room and it's always a great time. As for where I like to go out, there are always parties happening in private spaces where you can hear amazing music for as long as you can stay awake. And then of course, there's the Rhonda franchise, which never fails to deliver.
What is your latest random record find that got you stoked?
Fastrax 1 - "Philly Time." Another $2 amoeba treasure.
Name some fellow LA homies that the world should be keeping an eye out for.
Man, there are a lot of people doing stuff here. Cosmic Kids are hard at work making magic as always. Stephen Bloodbath and LOUISAHHH are doing great stuff with the NYCPARTYINFO and Pipes projects, in addition to their solo work. Mike B is killing it with his Fifteenth project with Sammy Bananas, along with his solo stuff. Body High is doing big things and is about to release a fantastic EP from Todd Edwards. James Del Barco and Cromie/Nik Hlady are really heating up...look for releases from them later this year. Photocall Music is just releasing "Flying Tiger of Love," which everyone should pick up; not often do you get to hear Roland System 100 beats. The Classixx guys have a new release soon that's cool with an amazing video for their track "A Fax From the Beach." Also, my friend Breezy Nix has an insanely cool and strikingly ambitious project in the works set to manifest later this year, if the stars align correctly.
At this point, who would you like to give mention to or thank?
Thanks LA for being so beautiful, and thanks everyone out here for being so friendly.
Any final words before we wrap this up? Perhaps some words of wisdom or a quote?
Don't drink the kool-aid unless there's acid in it.
And that's a wrap! If you like what you've seen and heard, make sure to follow these guys to stay informed with the latest music and happenings: Evan Stalker, (thee) Mike B, & Scion AV. Also big thanks to Edward Negron for taking Evan's photo.