As always, Mac Miller is up to something. While touring to promote his latest LP, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, inspiration strikes. The idea hits him just after his usual meet and greet before a show. Chilling backstage at the Revolution Concert Center, he briefly pauses in an attempt to compose himself before a smile from Idaho to California manifests.
“I was actually just thinking of this awesome idea for my meet and greets,” Miller says emphatically. “I’m going to come out wearing an adult diaper and nothing else.”
His ebullience is evident even in our brief phone interview. Though only just old enough to drink, Miller has a knack for going above and beyond the typical rap disses and throwaway samples that make the contemporary rap scene about as intrusive as a Youtube ad. Miller hit his stride with his newest studio album, an endeavor marked by introspection and the dissolution of a four year relationship that lasted from his junior year of high school to just last year.
Though the Macadelic mixtape was the most immediate cathartic release for Miller’s post-breakup blues, Watching Movies with the Sound Off stands just as strongly as a heavy-hitting endeavor to reclaim his roots. The rapper knew exactly what he wanted in an album. As his goals shifted, so Miller refocused on making music for music’s sake. That effort included trying his hand at production work.
Under the name Larry Fisherman, Miller worked in a public studio on his first production gigs. The name came about to protect his identity though the moniker has not only been revealed as Miller but credited on Watching Movies with the Sound Off. Miller says he’s got 90 more names in the bag. More important than allowing anonymity as he tries his hand at production, he found that a whole new world had opened up to inspire and inform him.
“I feel like everything at this point is an influence. People be crazy acting like only three things influenced them but I’m really influenced by just sound. You can hear a bird chirping outside and use that as inspiration,” Miller tells the Appeal.
With an ear to the ground and a focus on the sounds around him, Miller’s stage show has also grown in leaps and bounds, making The Space Migration tour his favorite so far.
“You’ve got to see the show now,” Miller says, “I’ve got a band and we play half the show with my band and half with just me so it’s like you’re getting two shows in a night. You get the contrast. It really makes a difference with the vibe.”
Miller’s excited to get back to SF, though his immediate thoughts on the city have little to do with music or venues.
“Oh, SF is tight! That’s where I met my lawyer,” Miller instantly responds.
He’s also got an appreciation of Bay Area rappers and a deep respect for E-40 but what he really pushes is how awesome his lawyer is. It’s a quintessential Mac Miller response: unexpected, but welcomed.