Last month, thrash titans Metallica made the surprise announcement that Grammy award-winning DJ, producer and Beastie Boys affiliate Mix Master Mike will be supporting them on their North American tour dates. Ahead of the WorldWired Tour starting in May, Music Week caught up with Mix Master Mike to find out how the unexpected booking came about, and how he is planning on winning over metal fans with his DJ set...
How did your booking with Metallica come about?
“Well, I found out that the band was a fan of my work and they actually reached out to my management team. I believe it was Lars or Kirk that said, How about we get Mike on tour? I got the call, I was like, Wow, I’d be honoured to open up for you guys!"
Had you actually met Metallica before or are they just fans of yours?
“We’re fans of each other, I guess. I was mixing rock when I first started DJing, this is like 1986 or 1987. It's kind of come full circle - who would have thought it could go from me mixing Master Of Puppets and Ride The Lightning in my bedroom to being asked to join them on tour? It’s crazy.”
Did they give you a brief as to what they want from your DJ set?
“Basically, just do what I do in a metal atmosphere. They want me to open up for them, which is great. I guess they want to use me as a sparkplug and get the people amped before they get on.”
You’ve moved between genres before with the Beastie Boys, but is there any trepidation in opening at a metal show?
“I’ve always been an aggressive musician. I’m not even going to say an aggressive DJ, I’ve always been an aggressive musician. I’ve always been a risk taker and luckily I’ve been blessed to do this for three decades now. For me, I put myself in the fans' shoes and go, Okay, if I was sitting there and I saw a DJ come up, what would entertain me? At the same time, you do it with integrity, you don’t compromise, you just orchestrate people’s emotions during that time. They’re coming to see Metallica and you’ve got to facilitate that – you’ve got to get them ready for that - but at the same time you go, Hey, this is what I do with the turntables so before Metallica comes on, check this out! You’ve got to give them a high powered appetiser.”