Beloved Los Angeles DJ (Thee) Mike B (born Mike Brillstein) has had a crazy career that’s spanned working for Madonna’s record label, opening for Junior Vasquez at legendary NYC club Twilo and DJing for the likes of Slash and Ludacris. These days, he can be found at parties around L.A. and the world — he’s as comfortable rocking a high-end bottle service spot as the most dirty and downlow dive bar. Since this month marks the one-year anniversary of Mike’s awesome Scion Radio show, we found out a bit more about what he likes to play, where he likes to go and all the amazing music he’s about to release on labels including Fool’s Gold, Mad Decent and Jesse Rose’s Play It Down.
And don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to stream this month’s show, featuring special guests Joyce Muniz and Matpat. Keep going and you’ll get a free download of Mike B’s seven-track Tite at Night compilation plus watch he and Steven Bloodbath’s video for the dub-fueled dance track “Iration,” featuring cameos from Omar Doom, Matty Pipes and Jen Lasher.
How would you describe the style of music you like/play?
The most honest answer would be to say I play what I really and truly like, whether it be hip-hop, house, reggae or electronic music of any given sub-genre. I spend most of my time digging for and listening to tunes, and I try to present each genre in the correct context. Like when I’m playing rap, I try to channel Funk Flex or Stretch Armstrong by doing clever mixes, and making sure that there’s some reason for going from one song to the next. But if I move into house music, even if it’s in the same set, I try to present it the way I think DJ Sneak or Doc Martin would – letting the tracks breathe, and doing mixes that complement the tracks and blending subtly for minutes at a time.
It’s the one-year anniversary of your show! Who is your favorite guest you’ve had on?
Off the top, I’d say Brodinski has been one of my favorites. He played a great set, but so did all the other guests. The thing that makes his appearance a stand out is his epic French accent – him pronouncing “Shout out” as “Shoot out” (which he did like 15 times) still makes me laugh to this day when I listen back to it. I remember my girlfriend at the time wanting to listen to it over and over, which was understandable, but discomforting. I also got to do a really cool segment with Para One where, as opposed to playing a DJ set, we played specific tracks that had a story and talked for a few minutes about each one. I thought that was especially fun because it gave insight into him as an artist and not just what he was playing recently.
Tell me a sentence or two each about three of your favorite tracks you’re playing on the show this month.
Jesse Rose and Thee Mike B “Shuffle The Paper”
I was super stoked to premier the track I produced with Jesse Rose. It just dropped on Play It Down. I’m unbelievably proud of this. No promo.
Toddla T Sound “Worst Enemy”
It’s a perfect piece of unclassifiable genre-bending emotional goodness.
Linda McCartney “Seaside Woman”
This is a Lee “Scratch” Perry-produced jam from a post-mortem compilation that Paul McCartney put together. Playing it reminded me that I can do anything I want on this show.
Along with the show, Scion Radio does parties every month in Los Angeles (and formerly New York as well). Tell us about your favorite party.
There was one we did in July with Todd Edwards and Nick Hook. Both those guys just radiate positive vibes, so playing with them on the same bill was amazing. Nick brought The Gaslamp Killer to play with him in NY and the whole room was dancing.
What are some of your favorite clubs and club nights in L.A.? If people come to LA, where can they check you out?
Right now, Hemingway’s is the best club. The Well and A Club Called Rhonda are the best nights.I do a Thursday night at Hemingway’s called FICTION with my lil’ bro Rick Rude, and I’m a resident at Dim Mak Sundays at Drai’s in Hollywood.
What have you got up your sleeve production-wise?
I have many projects. There’s Camo UFOs with Nate Day; our remix of Major Lazer’s “Get Free” just dropped on Mad Decent. The second EP from Fifteenth – a project from Sammy Bananas and I – is about to drop on Fool’s Gold in the coming weeks. Morse Code and I are gearing up to drop some new POOLS stuff for the summertime. I’m also working on a mixtape with the incredibly talented Michele Wylen; her voice is unbelievable and she’s a great writer and producer. Jesse Rose and I have gone back in the studio as well to follow up “Shuffle The Paper.” There’s lots of other stuff that may be too early to mention.
How did it come about that you collaborated with Jesse Rose?
Jesse and I have been friends for a few years and one night while hanging out at Drai’s he casually said, “We should make a track.” I was taken aback, as he’s one of my favorite producers. Ideas like that get thrown around a lot, but Jesse is a make-it-happen guy. I came to his studio with samples a few days later and the track got done in just a few sittings. It was awesome working with him and we had excellent studio chemistry. I’m really excited for our new stuff to get done. Working with him is literally a dream come true.
Who is your favorite other person named Mike?
The pro skater Mike Carroll. I don’t know him personally, but he’s epic.