Mr. Carmack’s music is the ultimate example of music that speaks for itself.
Not only because his beats are otherworldly, practically indescribable and inexplicable, but because the success he has achieved this past year was not the result of media blasts nor major label backing, but was simply the honorable outcome of true passion, hard work, and most importantly, his rare, raw talent. To think that a little over a year ago, he was a dishwasher in Hawaii. Now, he is at the forefront of the hip-hop and electronic scene, affiliated with innovative labels and collectives like TeamSupreme, Soulection, and Mad Decent.
When Carmack drops a new track, he blows you away each and every time, as if you're hearing his unique sound for the first time, and it's entrancing you all over again.
Somehow, the beatmaker just keeps delivering. This summer, he has been upping the ante, performing at some big festivals like EDC Vegas and HARD Summer.
I was fortunate enough to catch the busy guy at HARD and chat for a little bit. That is, after spending five tireless hours trying to find him in a park that happened to be the Bermuda Triangle for cell service. What I'm trying to say: So worth it!
EARMILK: So, how was your HARD experience?
Mr. Carmack: Good, good... festivals are interesting.
EM: Is it what you expected?
MC: Yeah, it was definitely. I wish I went to HARD in like 2007/2008.
EM: What is the weirdest thing a fan has said, or the weirdest experience you've had with a fan?
MC: Umm… A girl told me to sign her tits.
EM: Did you do it?
MC: Yeah, of course. I’d do anything for my fans.
EM: I saw that your birthday just passed this week, how did you celebrate it?
MC: I spent 14 hours in the studio, and I smoked an eighth of weed.
EM: How would you describe your music in terms of emojis?
MC: Emojis? Mmm… I’m just gonna give you a rundown of every emoji I use: thumbs up, the high five/prayer hands….that’s pretty much it. I just use those two.
EM: Can you tell me a little bit about your creative process? How do you choose samples?
MC: I just go through folders, endless folders and choose things that sound right. If I like the sound, but it’s not completely right, then I’ll make it right.
EM: How did you get involved with TeamSupreme and Soulection? What has that been like?
MC: Soulection found me through Soundcloud, when Soundcloud was just coming up, maybe they only had like 30 or 40 thousand users. That was a couple years ago. And TeamSupreme was a group founded by a couple… well, a friend of mine had friends from college who founded TeamSupreme, and my friend recommended me to his friends who started TeamSupreme, and for me to join. I was one of the last members to join.
EM: Have you had any particular mentors? Role models?
MC: Not directly, but I’d have to say maybe Madlib and J. Dilla. As for mentors, in my life I’ve had many mentors: my instrumental mentors--my French horn teacher, my band teacher--my parents, my family is a huge inspiration for me.
EM: What would you say is the greatest challenge as a producer and beatmaker?
MC: Greatest challenge is getting people to trust you. You have to sort of indirectly do it, by presenting yourself in a very perfect manner, seemingly. It’s like, you present yourself in a very flawless way, but at the same time, let them know you’re flawed, if that makes sense. It’s kind of a weird thing to do. When you’re walking around with millionaires, you just gotta respect their space, and make them respect yours.
EM: What scenario do you think would describe good vibes?
MC: People who come to listen to music for the sake of togetherness and unity and don’t depend on drugs to have a good time, but know that it’s a good way to get a very altered, different experience from a sober one. Not to demean a sober experience, because it is on the same level; it’s on the same plane of reality, it’s just altered, not better. So, for me, people who come and just embrace whatever state they’re in, and whatever environment, whatever place they’re in, and treat people with open-mindedness.
EM: Okay, if you were stranded on an island, which three producers would you bring?
MC: I’d probably have to say Diplo, my boy Colta, and maybe Clams Casino.
EM: What would people be surprised to know about you?
MC: I hate seafood.
EM: And you’re Hawaiian?
MC: Yeah, and Filipino.
EM: Okay, I just have a few more questions...If you could put three records into a time capsule, what would they be?
MC: I’d probably choose: Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, Madlib's Beat Konducta series, and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.
EM: What fictional character or cartoon best embodies your spirit?
MC: Courage the Cowardly Dog.
EM: What’s up next for you?
MC: I’m doing a tour with Djemba Djemba starting next week, and the rest of the year will be spent working on albums and new material!
Carmack carries a sincere and charismatic energy, and despite my brief time with him, I could tell he is one of the most down-to-earth guys. He is just doing what he loves, bullshit aside, and we love him for it. Carmack is on tour now with Djemba Djemba, so mark your calendars! Check out the short promo video below, get tickets, and get excited.
Memory Loss Tour: Part 2