Michael Donaldson

January 30, 2018

Michael’s passion is singular: music. From record store owner to DJ to consultant, he hits the sweet spot of combining his decades worth of historical knowledge with his unbridled enthusiasm for what’s coming down the pipeline. Sitting down with Q-Burn was musical storytelling at its best. Read on for a mix of nostalgia and excitement, and find out how he got tackled by one of his heroes.

Conservatively, I would say that mixing on turntables and being immersed in a flourishing underground music scene added two years to my undergraduate degree. The story I tell myself is that I made up for it by finishing my MBA in a 1-year intensive cohort program, but I digress …

It was the mid-90s and I was thumbing through records at a local shop called Vinyl Frontier when I found one that I liked. Wait! I’ve noticed this name on fliers before. It must be a local artist. The name?

Q-Burn’s Abstract Message

Truth is, Michael Donaldson has been a part of the central Florida music scene since long before I heard of him, and continued long after my turntables began collecting dust. He is a local House music legend and in many ways has spanned the entire music vertical. Originally a record shop owner of Bad Mood records, then DJ, producer, and nowadays music industry consultant. If you’re wondering what genre of music, you’ll have to hear for yourself. In my opinion he spans funk, disco, breakbeats & house.

Reinvention is a word I bring up often in this blog and the usual context is people who take a 90 degree turn in their careers. In this case, Michael has continuously reinvented himself within the same industry, cultivating a niche within the ecosystem. How committed is he to his new path? I recently asked him if he DJs anymore and he told me that in order to get laser-focused on production & consulting, he decided to sell (what I am assuming was one of his most prized possessions) his massive record collection. All of them. Wow, addition by subtraction. Let’s meet up with Michael …

[Setting: Call me nostalgic, but I like closing the loop and taking things full circle. Remember that record shop where I found the record? That’s originally where I met Cliff Tangeredi years ago, and he now owns a record shop call ReMix on Mills Avenue in Orlando. A big thanks to him for letting us meet and do this interview at Remix while surrounded by vinyl. I couldn’t think of a more fitting place to drop the needle and listen to Q-Burns Abstract Message.]

Dean: This is the perfect setting in here for this [interview], thank you so much, Nate [Manners – Cliff’s partner]. Mike, you’ve had a number of music-related careers … record shop owner, DJ producer, and now an industry consultant. How do you explain to laymen what your focus is today?

Michael: Today? I’m basically using all the experience that I have in all of these myriads of music-related professions, starting with my first job ever, which was working at a mall record store at the age of 16. I’ve never had a job in my life that wasn’t somehow in the music industry, which is a little scary to think about … but, as far as what I do now, I bundle all of this experience and help emerging artists or labels or … even in a lot of cases, I’ve even helped a lot of older artists … veterans who are a little flummoxed with how things are changing and how quickly things are changing. I can bring a unique perspective. I was actually talking to Gavin Hardkiss a few days ago on the phone and we brought this up that he’s a little bit like me in that he’s also not scared of the business side. I feel like I can really help people out because I have a toe in the business side and I have a toe in the artist side and I can see things from both perspectives. If I’m working with an artist and I’m telling them business-wise, they should do this thing, I can see from an artist side why they would be uncomfortable doing this thing. So I can create a compromise and help the artist understand why this thing is necessary.

Dean: What’s the number one thing people should hire you for right now?

Michael: Well, I guess just basically a new perspective. For a lot of younger artists, I feel like for the reason that not only have I been through both sides of Napster, that I was working professionally when people were buying CDs and distribution was a pain in the butt, as opposed to now where how many people are buying CDs and distribution is easy as just signing up to a website. I feel like I can bring a lot of perspective on how to leverage the new while still utilizing a lot of the strategies and tactics that have been serving the music industry for decades and decades. I think my optimism about it as well because I think there are a lot of other people with my perspective that are not optimistic at all. On the other hand, I’m so excited about where we are right now. Not just in music, but in creativity in general. I sincerely believe this is probably the best time in history to be a creative person and I think it’s not going to be the best time in history period, I think it’s just going to get better and better.

…a lot of people felt it was just desserts for an industry that was bloated.

Dean: So, you mentioned Napster. During college, the first time I saw Napster, I felt like it was like a candy machine where it was malfunctioning and I could just take out as much candy as I wanted. Obviously, that was a big turning point in music. I wanted to know, what was your thought when you first saw how quickly file sharing of free music took root?

Michael: I think everyone knew there was like a big change [coming]. I don’t know if I was necessarily scared of it. Like everyone, I’m fine to admit that I took advantage of it and I’ll even go as far as saying that I was putting my own music on it. I loaded all my DJ mixes on there because I was like I don’t want to be left out so all of my DJ mixes, all of my cheeky remixes that I couldn’t officially release … I had my own folder that I put all of that in and I was watching people download them and it was kind of interesting. But yeah, you just kind of felt like there was a change and I feel like what really propelled that change is a lot of people felt that it was just desserts for an industry that was bloated.

You have to remember that CDs were like $18 at that point and it’s almost like the joke of like the CD only has one good song, but it kind of was the case, usually. There would only be one good song and it was by design at that point. That’s another thing going back to perspective. I worked in record stores when CDs were brand new and came on and you would see how it was like, you’ve got to buy this CD. Right when CDs came out, it was hilarious because there was this message being spread around that CDs were superior to vinyl and superior to cassettes so you’ve got to rebuy your album on this CD. I would see audio file customers buy the CD and then bring it back and be like ‘there’s record pops on this CD’. I’m not talking about independent CDs, I’m talking about CDs from Sony and Warner Brothers, they would just be the record recorded on a CD, which is really funny when you go back and look at that.

Going back to Napster, the irony of that whole situation is that Napster would not have happened if it weren’t for how CDs were pushed on people. Not so much in that people were feeling a little bit ripped off by the price and the one good song, but also in that everyone who had a CD basically had a digital master of a recording in their possession and could rip it and put it on Napster. It’s just interesting when you look back because you feel like this tactic that created this huge boon for the music industry in the 90s is what eventually became its downfall.

Dean: Wasn’t it kind of inevitable, though?

Michael: I think so. I mean, I think a lot of things go in cycles like this. I really enjoy how the industry seems to be rebounding back from it. Both in good and familiar bad ways. There was sort of a feeling 10 years ago that the gatekeepers were gone and now we’re seeing gatekeepers coming back. But at the same time, there’s also an amazing opportunity for new musicians and young musicians and even veteran musicians because of the democracy of distribution that there is now … and even the democracy of publicity. All of this was unthinkable 20 years ago. It’s like if you wanted to be heard, you had to have signed a record deal and it was a record deal where you would get, if you were lucky, you would get 35% of what you were earning off of the record after expenses, and you didn’t own any of your masters or your rights to the songs. Now, that’s not only not the only option, but it’s actually a recommended and preferred option to retain all of your ownership and to go out on your own.

Dean: About ten years ago, I read a book about how songs and music are going to end up being a utility that you pay for, kind of like water and electricity and things like that. Now, I’m looking at it like wow, that author was completely spot on when you start looking at things like streaming services coming to fruition. So, right now, [this interview is occurring] at the end of 2017, where do we go from here? What is the future of music?

Michael: Well, I mean predicting that stuff is tough because no one would have predicted where we are now. I don’t think anyone would have predicted kind of what’s happening now even five years ago as far as the music industry starting to actually earn profits and streaming becoming accepted, but still on the cusp of mainstream. It’s interesting to see how people are making a living and labels are making money off streaming at this point when streaming hasn’t actually fully crossed the chasm just yet.

Dean: Do you think streaming right now is … are there a lot of have and have-nots with it? Is it just a small percentage of people making money or are more people actually making a living out of it?

Michael: I think more people are. A lot of the … I can’t speak for everyone obviously, but a lot of the people, at least big-name musicians, people you’d know that complain about the little money they make on streaming, don’t talk about the fact that they are locked in a record deal where they’re making 14% of whatever streaming money is coming in to the label. But I feel like, as an independent artist, there are a lot of opportunities to make money on the streaming. I do think that that shouldn’t be the only focus as far as a revenue stream. I think that’s part of the strategy. You definitely look at different things. I think that streaming opens up so many opportunities. I love it, I think it’s a cool thing. I mean, I talk a lot about the generation that I’m in and how I saw a lot of things switch. I was the last generation to experience certain things.

…You’re just like, oh my God, I’ve got to hear this record. I haven’t heard a note of it, I just read about it, but it sounds amazing!

Dean: [ha!] We’re Gen Xers, right? You’re a Gen X too [I’m assuming]?

Michael: Right. So, one of those things, which is fitting since we’re in this record store … One of those things that I feel like I was in the last generation to experience is reading about a record. You read about a record and you thought, “That record sounds amazing!” And you cannot find this record anywhere. Your local store doesn’t have it … [Dean: Scarcity!] and you’re obsessing about this record, you’re just like oh my God, I’ve got to hear this record. I haven’t heard a note of it, I just read about it, but it sounds amazing. And you search and you search. Just from my own experience, I grew up in central Louisiana, in this little town where it was impossible to find any records. Two or three months later, my family goes on a trip to Baton Rouge and I was like can I go to the record store next to LSU because I know they have all of these cool records … and I find that record and I stick it in on the turntable and I’m just like, “Ahhhhhh.” I finally got to hear it. And that’s no longer happening. You know, teenagers aren’t experiencing that anymore.

Dean: It’s like instant gratification now, just a hyperlink away …

Michael: Yes … but, on the other hand, if I could have had streaming then, I would have traded it for that feeling in a heartbeat. I mean, I really would. There’s just something about being able to educate yourself about music so freely and I do feel like that is changing. Going back to the future of music, I do feel that is changing the sound of music and I think it’s in a good way. I mean, we’re seeing a blurring of genres and I think it’s just going to get even more and more blurred where people are mixing and matching. Country fans are into hip hop and hip hop fans are into traditional jazz. You’re just seeing this thing that I didn’t experience when I was a teenager, just this crossover. Maybe I was in the last generation that had these defined cliques, where you were a Punk Rocker, or you were Goth, or you were Hair Metal. Now, it’s like everyone is all over the place. I’m sure Nate can attest to this in the store … I’ve heard from people who have stores now and it’s baffling sometimes the different styles of records that one customer will buy. It’s just all over the place.

Dean: It can probably be attributed to how music has just permeated everywhere.

Michael: Yeah, and it’s like when I owned my store in the early 90s, someone would come in, you would see them, and you would think this person is into this type of music. And they would buy five records that would all be the exact same style of music. Now, it just seems like the boundaries are gone. I think that’s fantastic. I think that’s a really good thing. If there was a drawback to that, I feel like that’s one of the reasons why we haven’t seen any new huge musical movements. I think there’s been a lot of very important minor ones, but there hasn’t been anything like Hip Hop, or Grunge, or Rave. A lot of people are like why haven’t we had a huge generationally defining movement pop up in the last 15 years and I feel like that’s part of the reason why. I think big musical movements like that are spawned in isolation. There’s no longer really an isolation.


Dean: That’s a really good point. For any musicians out there, do you have any tips on how they can differentiate themselves in this current environment of this long tail of options?

Michael: I think the most important thing, which may seem very difficult in what we’ve just spoken about with all of the blurring of everything, I think finding a style and a sound, and even beyond that, maybe a technique and just how you present yourself, and stick to it. It’s difficult because you feel trends and things pulling you in all sorts of directions. A lot of patience is involved in this because if you’re sticking with a style that’s not necessarily on trend at the moment, you sort of have to stick it out and wait, but when the style you’re in becomes on trend, then you’re going to be the leader of it because you stuck with that style. I can use myself as an example in that when I started DJing here in Orlando and releasing records, I did a lot of dreamy downtempo and deep House sort of stuff, and that wasn’t really what people were playing in Orlando at the time. It was just what I really loved. I came from kind of like a shoe gaze, guitar-y, spacey kind of background, so when I fell in love with electronic music, I sort of wanted my electronic music to sort of go into that. That’s the style I chose.

There were temptations to bend my style and play a lot of what the clubs locally were playing, but I was just kind of like no, I want to really stick with this style that I love. It came around and some of my first productions got released on the West Coast. There was a label in San Francisco called Mephisto and eventually, Hardkiss, who I mentioned earlier, released one of my records on his label, Sunburn. And suddenly I was getting all these gigs on the West Coast and it was funny because I was playing more there than I was here in Orlando. But then it comes around and the style kind of filters over from there to here, and suddenly it’s like the dreamy down tempo House music is getting recognition where I’m actually living and suddenly I’m playing all the time here, too.

Yeah, so you’ve just got to be patient and stick to your guns. That’s another thing with how hyper everything is now as far as with the technology and the music and everything. It does not encourage patience and you do see a lot of artists that, because everything seems to be moving so fast, they think that they should be moving so fast. You can move fast and there are ways to move fast, but if you want to persevere, if you want to be like your heroes and have people listen to you 30 years later, it takes patience. You really have to stick to your guns, have patience, and let them come to you, really.

Dean: What’s the best business advice that you’ve ever received in your career that has continued to pay dividends?

Michael: With regard to ownership, and I don’t want to get too much into the weeds, but the advice I got was regarding my music publishing, which is basically my rights as a songwriter to my songs. It was pretty much accepted that when you signed a record deal, you would give your publishing rights to the record label as well. It’s one of those things that no one really would think about, mainly because a lot of people weren’t educated on …

Dean: Or they’re just quick to sign. They were just happy to have a dotted line.

Michael: Yeah! You just didn’t really realize that there was an option to it. I had received this advice from a mentor of sorts, who basically said keep your publishing at all costs. When I signed to Astralwerks, that was the conversation they had with me. It was, okay, we’re going to pay you X amount of money for the record deal and we’re going to pay you double for your publishing rights, and I was like no, I’m not doing it. I want to retain ownership of that. To their credit, they were amazing to work with, they didn’t fight me. They were like sure, that’s your choice, that’s great. And that was the best decision I ever made.

Dean: For laymen reading this, what do publishing rights mean.

Michael: Well, I mean, on a very base level, it’s ownership of your song as it is written. Not necessarily recording. The recording is separate from the publishing rights in that the recording is the actual recording like when you play it, but the publishing is the actual song. So, someone could make a different recording, someone can make a cover of your song, and they will own that recording because they recorded it, but you still own the song. So they’re separated in that way. But if you sign your publishing to a label, then the person covering will own the recording, but then that label that you signed to will own the song instead of you. Without going into too much detail, over the years I’ve probably made more money by keeping hold of my publishing rights than what the label offered me for them. In fact, I think I recouped on that within five years.

It’s the Punk Rock dream if you want it…

This is kind of what my angle is when I’m helping artists out. I feel ownership is very important as a creative. You have the option to retain ownership of what you create … of your work. I feel like we are at a moment in history that because that option is there, it should be exercised as often as possible. I think a lot of my attitude towards this was shaped from the fact that I was, and I like to joke that I still am, a Punk Rock kid. And the thing that really attracted me to Punk Rock when I was young was the whole D.I.Y. aspect of it, where you didn’t need anyone to tell you what to do, you could start your own label, you could press your own record, you could sell your record at the shows or to your friends. You didn’t have to go through ‘the man.’ That was something that I really attached to and really liked. That’s actually what got me into Dance music and House music, too. It was the independence of it ’cause I got a little frustrated. I did the Indy Rock thing, had a band. There were some labels looking at the band and it was sort of like, this feels corporate. This doesn’t really feel like why I got into this. And when Dance music, or independent Dance music, started rising up in the early 90s, I was immediately attracted because to me, it was like the new Punk Rock scene to me. It was people putting out their own records, this whole sort of independent touring network, this group of outsiders who were all friends and part of something that no one else outside of them understood. I mean, it was Punk Rock to me and that’s what I enjoyed and what I wanted to be a part of. So now, it’s like we can all be punks, we can all be Punk Rock because we don’t have to go through selling for distribution. We don’t have to hire a $5,000 publicist. And we don’t have to give up rights to our songs. The saying that I like to speak to a lot of people who work with me, that they’re kind of sick of me saying, is I’m like, “It’s the Punk Rock dream if you want it.” It’s a special time in history to be creative. So yeah, going back that was amazing advice I got … ownership, retain as much as you can, just because you’ll look back in 30 years and say, “What do I have to show for what I’ve done?” If you signed a forever deal with a label then you really don’t have anything.

Dean: So, who is the most remarkable person that you’ve met? It can be anybody that you’ve met personally.

Michael: I don’t tell this story that often … but I do. [Dean laughs] I don’t tell this story that often in an interview context, but I do tell this story to a lot to friends of mine. It’s someone who just really made an impression on me at a really important time in my life. Being a Punk Rock kid, my favorite band was this band called the Minutemen out of San Pedro, California. I mean, I just loved them. They changed my life in so many ways like I never paid attention to lyrics before them because their lyrics were so crazy and intricate. They changed a lot how I thought about the world, how I thought about things politically. Or didn’t necessarily change as much as they made me think about the world and things politically. Just because I would listen to their lyrics, and this was the 80s … I listened to their lyrics and I would think, “Why are they singing about Sandinista?” And I’d look it up and want to read about it. So it was like this band that really touched me.

I think I was 15 or 16 or something … I remember, I subscribed to Rolling Stone magazine, because it was the 80s and that’s what you did when you were a music fan, and I remember going through the new issue and there was this little, tiny news item on the bottom. They would have small paragraphs that said ‘news this month.’ It said that D. Boon of the Minutemen was killed in a car accident. He was the signer and the main guy. I was like, oh my God … it was just devastating. It was like my best friend had just died. I was so connected to this band and the band was so connected to their fans. All the records had an address on the back and you knew this address went right to them. So, I wrote a letter. I had this connection with Mike Watt, who was the bass player. The lyrics he wrote and his persona in the band just really appealed to me. So I wrote a letter to him. It was like this letter of encouragement and I was just like: Watt, I know this is terrible and I know this is tough, but I really need you to keep going and keep making music. And two weeks later, I get this letter back and it’s from him. And he’s just pouring his heart out and he’s like, but it’s just so tough, and I’ve never written some music with anyone but him, and I don’t know what to do. I wrote him back and we ended up writing back and forth. This was so crazy because I was like 15 or 16. It was just so nutty.

Eventually, I had my 80s version of a blog, I had a Fanzine, I had this idea where I was going to do a compilation cassette, and I wrote Watt and I said, if there’s anything that you have … and I got a cassette from him and it’s like this song of him playing bass, and he said that it was one of the first songs he’d written since D. Boon died. This goes on and on, and people who know the history of the band know that he formed this band called fIREHOSE right after that. It’s little ‘f’ and all capital letters after that. And the story is that the singer for that band was kind of like me, but he took it one step further where he showed up on Watt’s doorstep and was like we’re starting a band, I’m getting you out of the house and we’re going to make music. So he started this band and as I said earlier, I was living in central Louisiana, and probably I was 17 or 18 and they were going to play in Baton Rouge. I was like, I have to go, you know.

He jumps over the table and grabs me in a bear hug. He like tackled me onto the floor…

So I drove the two hours, go to the show, I walk into the club, and right at the door is this table where they’re selling their merch, and there’s Watt selling his own merch. I walk up and I’m all shy because I was terribly shy then. And I walked up to the table and I was like hey Watt, just wanted to say hi. I drove down and I wrote you a letter … and he yells at the top of his lungs, “MICHAEL!” He jumps over the table and grabs me in a bear hug. He like tackled me onto the floor. [both laughing] I was like whoa, what is going on. He said, “Let me find someone to take over, I want to hang out with you.” I was like what?! He found someone and we went to the restaurant next door and we just sat there and talked for like 30 minutes until I’m the one who closed it because I started getting completely uncomfortable that I was like monopolizing him. I was like I’m going to go watch the opening band some. It didn’t even stop there because I went in to watch the opening band and I’m kind of grooving to them and then suddenly, someone’s poking my shoulder, and it was Watt saying, “They’re pretty good!” I was just like what is going on. So, it was just that impression of like your heroes are like you. They’re cool and they have feelings and emotions and uncertainties. I think that experience completely made me realize that it wasn’t like this unattainable level to work in music and to be someone that people can look up to while at the same time still being on their level and still being like the working man.

Dean: That’s an inspirational story of a fan-artist connection. On the flip side of inspiration … people often say that the music industry is one of the dirtiest. Do you share that perspective?

Michael: I mean, there’s a lot of dirty industries. I think that music and Hollywood and book publishing, any industries like that, I do think they have an exploitable angle to them in that you’re sort of capitalizing on people’s dreams. A lot of times its dreams that people would do anything to obtain. So I don’t think it’s necessarily unique to the music industry. I think it’s unique in the fact that plumbing companies don’t have the same problem or things like that.

Dean: So it’s unique talent that perhaps is exploitable, leverage-able on a much larger scale rather than doing an industrial task.

Michael: I think it also has to do with that someone who loves music and wants to be a musician will turn a blind eye to the contract that says hand over all your rights, or you’re only getting 20% or something like that. Or even sign a contract without consulting a lawyer because the person is like you’ve got to do it today. That said, I’ve never had experience with that personally. I know people who have, but I never have. A lot of the people I’ve met in the music industry with various facets of power have always been great, nice, and totally generous. And another thing, too, that I think people have to understand … and not that this really excuses it … but when you have a lot of artistic types and creative types running businesses, there’s going to be a lot of issues because they’re not good at business. [laughs] You know, if you’re a record label owner who is also the artist on the record label and you’d rather be making music, you’re not going to be sitting there doing precise accounting. Which again, not excusing it, but I think that not in all cases is there malice or ill intent. I think a lot of it is just flightiness and irresponsibility. I feel like artists are a lot more educated now and the school of the internet really helps with that a lot. I think people like me, and people who do what I do … the profession I have didn’t exist so much ten or twenty years ago. I think that makes things easier, too. So yeah, I think dirtier and shadier than a lot of industries, but not unique in its shadiness to other creative industries. As we’re kind of seeing in the news these days with regard to Hollywood and how it exploits people.

Dean: We’re sitting in a record shop. Are you amazed at the resurgence of vinyl? And why do you think it’s happened at this scale?

Michael: Yeah … I guess I am amazed. I don’t think I’m surprised and I think there’s a difference there. I’m amazed and very happy with it, but I don’t think I’m surprised because I feel like there’s always going to be a need for something tangible. For something that gives you a connection with your favorite artist when you can’t have the artist give you a bear hug and take you to a restaurant and talk to you for 30 minutes, you’re going to need something else. Having an album cover to look at with information, and the picture, and the feel of it, the warmth of it … that’s something that a lot of people need. A lot of people are actually buying records and not listening to them.

Dean: It’s more like a collectible almost?

Michael: I think so. I think it’s like a badge. For a lot of people.

He’s holding the record in his hand, out over the crowd…

Dean: Is there a little bit of scarcity there? Going back to your story about how you’d read about an album. Like you can’t just click and have your record instantly. You actually have to physically get it. So do you think the scarcity aspect is also driving this? [Since only a finite amount of records exist but infinite digital duplicates can exist]

Michael: There’s some of that, too. I think that definitely plays a part. I like to tell the story and I remember telling this story a long time ago when it almost seemed like people were ringing a death bell for vinyl. I remember seeing this photo, and it’s like my favorite photo ever. I hate DJ photos, I hate photos of DJs DJing, I think they’re like the most boring [Dean laughs] uncreative photography there is … but that said, there’s this one DJ photo that I love. I think it’s just fantastic. It’s of this British legend names Gilles Peterson, who is most known for being a big BBC host, but he also pioneered Acid Jazz. I think he actually coined the term ‘Acid Jazz,’ but anyway, he’s kind of a legendary figure in England. His DJ sets are legendary in that they go all over the place. There’s this photo of him playing, and it’s taken from the crowd, like someone on the dance floor has taken the photo. He obviously had just played some song where everyone was just like oh my God, this was the best song we’ve ever heard in our lives. And you see all these people from behind with their hands just raised in the air, and he’s a little higher than them in the booth and he’s bending over, like acknowledging them with this big grin on his face, and he’s holding the record in his hand, out over the crowd. Holding it like yeah, this is the song I just played. And it’s just like, you just need to see that picture and you’re like of course vinyl is not going away. That’s like all you need to see. I mean, he’s not going to hold a USB stick, like yeah! [laughs]

Dean: So Michael, you stood the test of time and you’ve had a long, distinguished career in music while many others have come and gone. What’s your secret to being outrageously remarkable?

Michael: Well, I guess if you think in terms of people talking about you, I think that’s something that I try for. I feel like there are ebbs and flows in that, I feel like there are periods where people are not talking about me or are forgetting about me, and sometimes I don’t really know if I need people to be talking about me, to be honest. I just want to live a creative life. That’s kind of the goal. I feel like there’s some remarkability in that. Just always being creative, always looking for the new, and always having opinions on it. Embracing what’s to come rather than being fearful of it. I sometimes say that I have an odd relationship with nostalgia. I don’t really consider myself a nostalgic person and I feel like a lot of that for me personally is because I want to keep the door open for what’s yet to come and what’s new. To talk about another English DJ legend, I read an interview with Andrew Weatherall, who is probably best known for being the producer on a Primal Scream album. He was asked the question, “What’s your favorite time in music history?” And he said five minutes ago. And I was like, man, I would have been high fiving him for hours if I had been in the room with him when he said that because that’s exactly how I feel. It’s just like I get so excited and so pumped on what’s happening now with music and I love nothing more than arguing with people who say music was so much better in the 80s. I’m like, no it wasn’t! I just think being excited and hopefully inspiring others with that excitement and living the creative life … that’s the way to strive for remarkability.

Thank you, Michael. This interview gave me a shot of nostalgic adrenaline while at the same time being eager for the future.


Check out Michael’s music here & connect with him on Twitter.

Interview pictures by Josh Johnson. Check out his work here.

Can I send you an e-mail when my next interview posts? Subscribe here to be an insider