Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Interview: Mirage

We recently had the chance to get with local artist Mirage... thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule man! Here's what he had to say...

Can you give your fans a quick bio of yourself?

Im Mirage I am a native of Austin Texas. A Founding member of Kinetic Entertainment and C.E.O of MelodicScience Recordings. I have done 2 albums (Rhythm Gumbo, and Bonafide) and im working on a 3rd. I have done 1 EP which went national on GoodVibe Records back in 2000 called L.I.A.R and I have done 3 mixtapes (Formula 512, The Other Side Of Texas vol. 1 and 1.5). I am a soulhop artist and a graduate of Prairie View A&M University.

Which is your latest CD? and how do you think it differs from your previous works?

The album that I am working on right now is self-titled M.I.R.A.G.E it will be released on MelodicScience Recordings in the fall hopefully. The big difference with this project is that I am trying to break out of this box that some people have attempted to put me in. From my last cd I have heard a lot of titles being thrown around concerning my sound (positive, safe rap, old school etc), and that kind of made me work harder to break out of any pre-conceived notions that any previous friends (not fans) had of my music. On my previous work I have had one maybe 2 producers that I worked with per project with L.I.A.R I worked with Tee Double only on my last album BONAFIDE I worked primarily with Arson Optics. On M.I.R.A.G.E I am working with at least 7 different producers I have 11 songs done as we speak and I have worked with different producers for almost every song that I have done. I have production from Arson Optics, Element 7D, Ivan Ho, Young Nick, Mr. Cree of Supastar Dj’s, Maxwell Covosier, D. Powers, and Dj La Di Da. It is really interesting how they all touch different parts of my repertoire with their music

What gives you inspiration and how does that transpire into your music?

At this point my inspiration is life. Day to day things such as going to work, paying bills, being with my friends and family, taking care of your kids, making my way in this life and what the average person does to make it. I am a firm believer in the fact that people listen to music for few reasons, 1) To dance or have a festive atmosphere. 2) For feelings that it provokes (good, bad, mad, happy, sad, love, motivated). 3) I also think that music is useful tool to educate. It transpired into my music by affecting my content since my voice is my instrument. On a more personal note I drew inspiration from the lack of recognition that I get as an artist, I have the proverbial chip on my shoulder when it comes to being an emcee.

Which artists inspire you the most? and why?

In the modern time I’m loving what im hearing from Sa Ra, Raphael Saddiq, T.I., Kanye West, Scarface, Twista and almost anything that Outkast does. I also draw inspiration from my peers such as Tee Double, Bavu Blakes, Young Nick, Element 7D, Arson Optics, PoP and D. Powers. In the realm of “old school” artist, Donny Hathaway, Roy Ayers, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Al Green, James Brown, Rufus Thomas and the list goes on and on. These artist are so real to me, not in the sense of over doing it to prove they are “real” but they just feel so natural that it is hard to not get into these artist.

What has kept you in Austin? especially since it's only been recently that Houston has blown up.

Well I have considered leaving many times, don’t get it twisted and I am still considering the benefits of expanding to other markets. But what has kept me here is personal reasons, I really felt like I needed to be here for my family, I have a younger brother that will be graduating from high-school this spring and I wanted to be here guide him through this time in his life. Also some of the elders in my clan have fallen sick here in the last few years. Also I have a great base of support and help here in Austin, im from here so you know home is where the heart is. I mean I know damn near everyone or they know me and sometimes it is not easy or smart to leave your base of operation. Im Austin 78723 till its over.

How do you see the scene in Austin? and where do you see it going?

Well let me give you the good and the bad. The bad, there is a lot of cliquish shit here meaning that everyone has a crew and they pretty much stay in that click and don’t move around to get with other artist. There is a lot of imitation going on here, meaning that a lot of cats in town are basing their sound on another city’s sound and culture mainly Houston there is nothing good that can come from that in the long run. There is a lack of major support of the hip hop artist here in town due to the fact that a lot of them sound like they are from somewhere else. Some people are not open to new things here in town; they are not exposed to a lot of new things outside of mtv, bet, and the radio, thus without knowing it they think that it is not of good quality if it is not in a major media outlet.

What is your favorite venue to sing at? and why?

Well I only sing in the shower (laughing) but my favorite place(s) to perform are Antones, the Mercury (now called The Parish) and Tambaleo. I love Antones because the sound is great when the soundman is on his job, The Parish because of the atmosphere and the sound its just a cool place to be. Tambaleo cause of the atmosphere it is really laid back and grown.

Can you give us 3 of your most favorite Austin artists?

I’m loving what the Gutta Gang is doing with their music and they are good cats on a personal level as well. Im a fan of Bavu Blakes, we go back to the early 90’s with our relationship and the man Element 7D he is just so versatile and he does everything he does well.

What is the best piece of advice that someone in the industry has given you?

I once had a conversation with Q-tip and Chuck D and the thing that Tip told me was to be dedicated to sharpening my craft but to also be business minded and learn all I can about the business because the artistic side will come natural if I am a true artist. What Chuck D told me was to think about the music industry in terms of making a living, not in terms of popularity. He said to not worry about being the biggest baddest rapper but being an business man. He made an interesting analogy that stuck with me he said “the music industry is like a lay-up drill in basketball practice everyone will get a shot, but you have to be ready when its your turn. So do all you can all the time not just when you get on”.

And a more light-hearted question: Have you seen a correlation between your level of success and quality of hoes?

Ahhhh you wild man, but nah I cant say that I see a correlation between the 2 cause even with moderate success at this point I can say that I deal with quality women. My uncle was a pimp and he told me back in the day “if you cant pull a 10 find a 9 that loves you. If you cant find a 9 that loves you get a 8 with a good attitude that loves you. If you cant find a 8 with a good attitude get a 7 with a good attitude and some money. If you cant find a 7 give up” and I have followed that advice since I was 15. so when I have some big time success I will be able to answer that better for you (laughing).

Any parting words?

Please just continue to support my movement MelodicScience Recording Movement visit me on myspace ( Keep your eyes open for my album M.I.R.A.G.E coming this fall. Also look for a live album that I did with my band last year during a residency over at the Tambaleo lounge also on MelodicScience Recordings ( You also have the mixtape in the streets right now called WDRT RADIO which was done by my dog Young Nick go support that it is hot, it got a very good review in the Austin Chronicle. Please, please, please come to the shows I perform at, most times they are free (u don’t have an excuse) and don’t be afraid to cop a cd for the low price of $5 I promise you will love it. Last but not least call your radio stations and request local artist such as myself cause the stations have the music they just think no one wants to hear it, so make your voice be heard.

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