Ya know, it’s been awhile since we spent the day with an artist. I decided to change that in more ways than one. Normally, we hang out with artists who fall somewhere in the pop to punk realm but it was time to introduce something and someone new to Punk Junk, rapper Mike’s Dead. You might be thinking, a rapper? How can a rapper be punk (by our definition)? Well, if you’ve ever listened to his music, you’d know it’s not just rap. It’s rap with elements of RnB, rock, punk, and much more. He’s an artist who has created his own genre and run with it, which we love to see.
We started our day meeting up with Mike at the venue. We started talking about how there were some fans already outside and some of them had been there since noon (doors opened at 7pm). To which Mike replied “They (his fans) are psychos, in the best way possible.” We then moved to the green room so we could talk about the tour, his music, and everything. Normally, I like to put the interview portion a little later in the day so I can get to know the artist better and they can become more comfortable with me kind of being a shadow. Luckily though, Mike was super easy to talk to and hang out with so it felt like we just skipped that step.
With this being his first real tour, there is obviously gonna be lots excitement so I definitely wanted to know about how everything was from his perspective. “So far it’s been fucking crazy” he told us. He did say having back to back shows in different states was pretty hectic, but it was still great - good turnouts, amazing fans, and some cool surprises. His mom actually flew from Texas and surprised him at the Chicago show where his dad also lives. Obviously having a parent come surprise you is a huge deal but I was curious to see if any other moments stood out from the tour. “I can’t think of anything super specific” he said, but then mentioned the night before in Philly. “Since it was all ages, they had a hard curfew and they kicked us out and it was pouring rain … I took pictures with people for 30 minutes. I don’t give a fuck, I will literally get sick.” And knowing how important his voice is to him on tour, that’s some dedication to his fans right there. We then discussed how they would spend one of their upcoming days off in New York attending SantaCon, aka thousands of people dressed as Santa enjoying an all day bar crawl through New York City. Then we randomly discussed Boston and some history, which then turned into Mike telling us he’s never been to London but he would move there if given the chance cause he’s obsessed with the culture over there.
After getting sidetracked with random conversation, we got back on track. If you know of Mike, you know he’s pretty open about having anxiety. So I was curious if it was something that bothered him more on the road or if he’s had to change up his routine to manage differently. He explained that he really hasn’t been stressed on the tour. He loves what he does and it doesn’t really freak him out. One thing he has struggled with a bit was working with different people’s schedule. “I definitely want to be professional about the whole tour, but it’s like hey I also still want to have fun.” So he’s trying to focus on balancing everything “because at the end of the day it’s like, this is my job. Chill out, there’s way worse things that could be happening right now.” He also went from “I don’t get stressed out” to a story about him freaking out before a show all because he was getting lightheaded because he didn’t have enough to eat and drink that day.
I then brought up his start in music, in which he was a DJ and mainly did it as a hobby. He then looked at me and asked, “how did you know?” Let’s just say, I’m great at doing my research. Turns out, he was in a screamo band originally, but that broke up very early on. Then he started making beats on his computer for fun, which after making a warm up tape for his lacrosse team, it turned into the school using it for most of their teams. Then he started DJing with his friend, and did a lot of gigs together. Then he moved to LA to go to school and discovered he liked making a different type of music but hated his voice. His friend told him with his voice, he could definitely do rap music and to just write a couple songs then go from there. And thus, Mike’s Dead was born.
We then talked about social media a bit. Mike has previously stated he’s not a huge fan of it and doesn’t even really like it. “The first year I lived in LA, I didn’t have any social media” he told us. But obviously as a musician, he has to be somewhat present on social media, so how would one balance that? Apparently he definitely posts a lot less than he used, but he posts when he wants. Whether it’s 10 times a day on his Instagram story or nothing for a couple days cause he’s working in the studio. “If people care, they’ll pay attention to what you’re posting.” He even discussed promoting things like singles and merch drops. Post once, people will click it. Post a second time, some people who missed it will see it. Post a third time, it’s oversaturating because the people who really care would have seen it by now.
Then I was curious how he balances releasing so much music in a year. Turns out, he hasn’t released a lot of music this year. Despite releasing a dozen singles and an EP in 2019, “That’s not a lot. Trust me.” He then discussed how it’s basically having high demand versus low supply and deciding when is the best time to release music. “Just basically understanding what exactly works for you and having enough confidence in it.”
Once we were done chatting, Mike had to soundcheck so Rachel and I headed out for some food before the show. Once the show started, we went back to the green room to hang out for a bit. We were all joking around, having a great time. Even the security guards bonded with the tour. We then took some photos before he had to go onstage and DJ for Ryan’s set. Normally they had a separate DJ, but for the last two dates it was gonna be Mike.
When Ryan’s set was done, Mike came back out for his own performance. Obviously, everyone was stoked. This was his first time in Boston and the room was pretty packed. And there was a very special girl in the audience who’s 11th birthday it was. She met Mike backstage before the show and was ecstatic. Then Mike schemed with her mom to have security escort her onstage and Mike had everyone sing Happy Birthday to her. He had told us earlier he was gonna throw her on his shoulder, and I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. Then came one of my favorite parts near the end of the show. Mike crowdsurfed not once, but twice. They held him up once, why would the second time be a problem? Nope. He hit the floor. Don’t worry, he was fine. And I got a good laugh out of it.
After the show, we got to watch Mike meet literally every single person who came out that night. The venue curfew was pretty late so he took as much time as he needed with each fan. There were lots of hugs, photos, videos, and gifts. Once everyone was gone, we said goodbye to Mike and his crew. I honestly had an extremely fun day and no one tell Mike, but I’m pretty sure hanging out with him was one of my favorite features I’ve done.
All Photo Credit to Allyson Hibbard