Mix Master Mike kicks off Vail Snow Daze | VailDaily.com

Mix Master Mike kicks off Vail Snow Daze

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

Mix Master Mike isn’t a violent man, but there seems to be a trend when it comes to his EP and album titles. His latest CD is called “Napalm Rockets.” His most recent EP, “Plazma Ryfle,” is coming out on vinyl and iTunes soon. His website, http://www.mixmastermike.com, (you can download “Napalm Rockets” there for free) proclaims: “Mix Master Mike: Home of the Serial War Killer.”

“I see beat music as artillery,” Mix Master Mike said during a recent phone interview. “For me, it’s like energy. Musical energy is my ammunition.”

So just what is Mike, who you might know best as a contributing member of the Beastie Boys, fighting? Perhaps it is to stay relevant in a genre that seems to be expanding by the minute.

“It’s just a way of restoring order in the hip-hop universe,” he said.

But there’s one thing that 40-year-old Mix Master Mike, born Michael Schwartz, is not fighting for, at least anymore: For hip-hop to be recognized across the board as an artistic medium.

“For me, I was always an advocate that the turntable was a musical instrument,” he said. “Now I have four albums and I travel the world DJ’ing. Today I don’t have any trouble getting my point across –my point has already been made.”

Mix Master Mike said the explosion of digital instrumentation hasn’t really changed his process.

“I like to keep it traditional with two turntables and mixer, just as it started,” he said. “Only thing digital would be the laptop. But I use it the way I would use a record crate.”

Mix Master Mike returns to Vail tonight to kick off this week’s Snow Daze festivities. Organizers have dubbed the event “Rolling Stone’s Club Vail Dance Party.” The intersection of Willow Bridge Road and Meadow Drive will be one giant outdoor dance party, replete with giant lights, big flat-screen televisions and more for Mix Master Mike’s set, which will be synchronized to video.

“It’ll be similar to what you’d see in a big Los Angeles club,” said James Deighan of Highline Sports and Entertainment, the company that produces Snow Daze.

Except, of course, it’ll be outside. And there’s a chance it’ll be snowing.

Rolling Stones magazine came on board this year as a sponsor and this month’s issue of the magazine has a full-page Vail Snow Daze ad, Deighan said.

“That’s really put us on the national map,” said Deighan, who said he’s hoping for upwards of 75,000 Snow Daze visitors.

Deighan has brought the music producer to Vail a few times, including a gig at Spring Back to Vail four years ago, he said.

“The last time he played was shortly before they tore down Crossroads,” Deighan said. “Ironically enough, he’ll be playing more or less the grand opening of Solaris,” in the same location.

Mix Master Mike is the Beastie Boys DJ. His last album with them – “To The 5 Boroughs” – was released six years ago.

“He’s become a force beyond his Beastie Boys world,” Deighan said. “But we’ll get to hear a lot of his Beastie Boys stuff because he always treats us to that, too.”

After a chance meeting with Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys in 1994, Mix Master Mike would call him and leave him “musical” messages with his signature scratching.

“Yep, I left him four or five different messages,” Mix Master Mike said. “One of the actual messages was used on ‘Hello Nasty.’ That was kind of my introduction to being with the Beastie Boys. For me, I was very persistent. I had something they needed and they had something I needed.”

For Mix Master Mike, who grew up as a Beastie Boys fan, being associated with the band “was a dream come true.”

Mix Master Mike said he hopes to reunite with the Beastie Boys “early next year.”

“I count my blessings for the position I’m in,” he said.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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