Mac Miller talks record stores, writing, and moving to L.A.

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First Posted: 7/8/2013

Mac Miller received my call with a sleepy yet friendly “Hi!”

The kid’s been busy. Miller’s second studio album, “Watching Movies with the Sound Off,” was recently released by Pittsburgh’s own Rostrum Records, a label that represents Miller’s friend and fellow ‘burgh rapper, Wiz Khalifa. Miller wrapped the first season of his MTV reality show, “Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family,” chronicling L.A. life with his hometown besties, and just signed on for a second season of domestic antics.

He’s been on the road with his “Space Migration” tour since June, hitting up nearly 40 cities across North America with his crew of openers including Vince Staples, Chance the Rapper, and The Internet with a few dates booked with Meek Mill, Action Bronson, and Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt. Mac and I chatted before his show in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

THE WEEKENDER: How’s the tour been going?

MAC MILLER: It’s been amazing, it really has. It’s been very, very ,very, very fun… I think I have the best tour of the summer, just with all the acts that are with us.

W: Is there anything that you’re working on now, any collaborations that we should know about?

MM: Everyone on tour has been kind of leaning towards making music together, but really we’ve just been pushing this album.

W: I saw an MTV segment where you talk about the value of kids going to a CD shop or record shop, saving up money, and going through the whole process of getting a physical album.

MM: Yeah.

W: You’re playing at the Sherman Theater and they have a great record shop nearby called Main Street Juke Box (606 Main St Stroudsburg). When I lived in Pittsburgh, I used to go to Jerry’s (2136 Murray Ave., Pittsburgh) Is there any record shop that you used to go to in Pittsburgh?

MM: Jerry’s Record Store, you know, for sure. And I used to go to The Exchange (5858 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh) as well when it was called The Record Exchange.

W: Do you have a favorite record shop in the country?

MM: Jerry’s.

W: It’s so good!

MM: Hell yeah.

W: What’re you listening to right now?

MM: I’m listening to this dude named Chance the Rapper… Have you heard of him?

W: No. What’s he like?

MM: You should check him out. He’s really tight… There’s a lot of music. Right now I’m on my Radiohead. I’ve just been listening to Radiohead.

W: Their newer stuff or the older stuff?

MM: It’s f—king “In Rainbows.”

W: Did you hear “Atoms for Peace?” It’s with Thom Yorke and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers.

MM: Not yet.

W: They just put something out.

MM: It’s crazy?

W: It is crazy! It’s good, though. Anything we should know about the title of your album, “Watching Movies with the Sound Off?”

MM: I think it just kind of deals with turning off the sounds of the outside world and just envisioning your own reality, creating your own reality.

W: That’s great. Do you ever find that you have cinematic inspiration?

MM: Yeah. A lot. A lot of documentaries, a lot of surreal-type movies and stuff like that.

W: Do you ever think you’ll bring your music into a movie like (Wu-Tang Clan’s) RZA did with “The Man with the Iron Fists?”

MM: Hell yeah, I’d love to!

W: I was wondering if you have anything to say to young people who are trying to do what you did and write their way up.

MM: I mean, I think that you are going to have people who are going to tell you that you’re not good enough. You’re going to come across a lot of negative energy… It’s the same thing as sports, you know? You got to practice your free throws. You got to practice. You got to keep writing, you got to break down any walls or barriers that you might have for yourself and just write from a standpoint of unlimited possibility.

W: When you write, do you have a composition process? Do you get the beat first, or a single line that you work from?

MM: It all depends. It all depends on the song. Everything is different.

W: In the song “S.D.S.” you say, “I’m no god.” Kanye has the line “I am a god” and your new albums dropped on the same day – was there any correlation there?

MM: No, no, no, no, no. It’s just more of a comment on celebrity culture and people looking up to musicians and artists…

W: Like idolizing?

MM: Exactly.

W: How do you feel about your move from Pittsburgh to L.A.?

MM: I love it. Love L.A., man. L.A.’s a good place.

W: I saw that you have a label: REMember.

MM: Yeah… It’s something that I’ve started with one of my best friends back home, trying to give people I grew up with something to believe in…to be heard.

W: So it’s a way to get voices out there that wouldn’t be out there?

MM: Yeah, exactly.

W: Do you have anything coming out soon on that label?

MM: Yeah, there’s an artist named Vinny Radio.

W: Is there anything else you’d want me to put out there for people who want to catch you on your tour?

MM: Yeah, to check us out and…also make sure to check out my new album.

W: Sounds good.

MM: Hey, and say nice things about me. (Laughs)

W: Say nice things about you? Well, I got that covered. (Laughs)

MM: Alright, that’s cool.