Masspike Miles Jumps In The Mix [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
New York, NY -- In mid-April, we jumped In The Mix with Embassy Music Board, the ATL-based foursome who introduced their globetrotting take on hip-hop to listeners everywhere with debut mixtape Embassy Presents International Ties Foreign Affairs. For the third installment of the Booth-exclusive interview series, we're giving readers an up-close-and-personal look at Masspike Miles, the Boston R&B up-and comer who brought us "Get It Together" and "Perfect Woman."
The son of a renowned jazz musician, he made his entrance into the industry early; at age 11 he was already signed to Warner Bros. as the frontman of R&B group Perfect Gentlemen. Since then, Miles has made his mark as a songwriter and producer (he and Antagon1st make up production team Tha Track Dealers), as well as founding his own label imprint, Life 4 Life. Currently signed to Maybach Music/Def Jam, he is preparing for the release of his debut album, The Struggle (which has yet to receive a release date). In the meantime, though, you can download a free copy of his street album, The Pursuit Of Happiness, which features guest appearances Rick Ross, T-Pain, Shawty Lo, Fabolous, and B.G. among many others.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Masspike Miles describes how his early exposure to the jazz greats has influenced his sound, and gives his thoughts on the state of the industry in '09.
You credit your father, who has a background in jazz music, for playing an intricate role in creating your passion for music. Does jazz music influence the music you currently make?
Yes, most definitely. The first songs I ever heard were jazz records, such as "All Smiles For Miles" by Miles Davis. My father used to sing it and play it on the piano all the time.
It's no secret that the music industry is experiencing "challenging times." How do you plan to personally combat this slump?
I'm passionate about my music, which I've been doing it for well over 15 years professionally, and I haven't made a damn dollar. Of course, I'm in it for the love of music. Whether we are in bad times or not, my love and passion will always be for music, so I'm not too concerned about the slumping industry. Maybe now we can get some good quality music and the essence of music will shine through because it wont be just for the money any more.
When creating a record, where do you tend to direct your attention to the most?
Well, it really depends on my atmosphere, but I usually focus on the music composition and the writing, as well as the marriage between the two.
How do you go about selecting production work, which provides the best accompaniment to your style and sound?
I go for three basic components, which I believe are rhythm, harmony and melody. These [components] make a track sonically in tune, and if they are in place, you've got a phenomenal record. That's how I choose my music.
What is your ultimate goal for 2009?
To get the attention of real music lovers, as well as to bring good music back to the game.
Michael Hannah was a contributing writer to this interview.