If he had his way Mix Master Mike, one of the most celebrated DJs of our day, would be fighting giant monsters amid the Tokyo skyline.
Instead he’s a superhero behind the turntables, having arguably garnered the most attention for his enduring stint as DJ for the Beastie Boys. He appeared on three of the influential rap group’s studio albums, including its final disc, 2011’s “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.”
These days Mix Master Mike is working magic all over the place, and recently got his geek on by giving the “Teen Titans” TV theme song a makeover. Mix Master Mike’s take on the tune is tagged to the new animated comedy “Teen Titans Go!,” which airs 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesdays on Cartoon Network.
MTV Geek: Your version of the “Teen Titans Go!” theme song is about 15 seconds long, right?
Mix Master Mike: Yeah. It started out as three minutes. [Cartoon Network] told me about it and said, “We need a new theme song.” I went into the studio that day and created a whole three minute song. So they picked what they liked, and it’s 15 seconds. It’s amazing. I’m really happy the way it turned out.
Geek: You didn’t mind the powers-that-be trimming it down?
Mike: Not at all. It came out great. When I do projects like this I want to create more than I have to, so it gives [the client] an opportunity to choose what they like instead of me having to go back into the studio to remix whatever they want. I just give them the whole cake.
Geek: How did you get your game face on for this particular project?
Mike: I studied and examined the original theme song. So I thought I should do a 360-degree switch over. I felt the need to amp it up a bit more than it was. I put my whole hip-hop, drum-and-bass twist on it. It was me just experimenting. Then I started thinking about the kids who would be watching, and how to get the children amped for it. I wanted it to be the kind of theme song that would still be stuck in their heads when they’re older, something timeless.
Geek: When you were a kid, what were you watching?
Mike: I was watching lots of Japanese anime. “Ultraman” was my childhood hero. I loved “Speed Racer,” “Johnny Socko and His Flying Robot,” “Green Hornet” and that stuff. ...I have the whole “Ultraman” DVD collection, and I own some of the Ultraman toys. In my past life I think was Ultraman. Hayata is me.
Geek: The new theme song is awesome, and another one of my favorite Mix Master Mike moments is that voicemail of you scratching on the Beastie Boys album “Hello Nasty.”
Mike: I had no idea they were going to use it [for the song “Three MC’s and One DJ”] until [the late Adam] Yauch played it for me. And until this day people still think it was a planned message that I recorded in the studio. But I just left it on Yauch’s answering machine at about 2:30 in the morning.
Geek: Other than the “Teen Titans Go!” theme, what are you working on right now?
Mike: I have an iPhone app that’s available on iTunes. It’s called Mix Master Mike’s Wheelz of Steel, and it’s two turntables and a mixer in your pocket. I just figured everybody should have two turntables and a mixer in their pocket instead of just an iPod.
Geek: In this situation, you won’t be weighed down, and it’ll increase your mobility.
Mike: [Laughs] Exactly. It’s really exciting. It reads your iTunes library so you can mix whatever you want on that thing.
Geek: You have all of these projects happening. So what does Mix Master Mike do on his day off? How do you unwind?
Mike: First of all I drink a virgin mojito and lay underneath my umbrella in my backyard when it’s sunny and chill. I have this device called Reason 6.5. I just mess with a bunch of sound effects. On my days off I’m creating things. I have no time to waste.
Geek: Of course there’s the cliched story of an artist waking up in the middle of the night with an idea. Does that happen to you?
Mike: All of the time. It’s a gift and an amazing curse at the same time.