The Up-Turn Presents: A Conversation With Michael Uzowuru

We first introduced you to Michael Uzowuru about a month ago.  Since then he has started to get the recognition he deserves for his work after producing Domo Genesis’ celebratory 4/20 track, “Cashmere”.  I highly doubt Michael’s climb is going to end here, so I thought it would be a good time to catch up with him.  We talked about beginnings in the music world and the success of his friends in Odd Future.  Once again, to keep the informal nature of our conversation, I have barely edited the text of the interview, which you can read after the jump…

-TC

TC: So, I think the best way to start is by asking you to simply introduce yourself, tell everyone what you do in maybe a sentence or two.

MU: i am michael, and i make music.

TC: Simplicity is always good, and the music is good too. What first got you interested in music?

MU: thank you. what, first got me interested in music. hm? i’d say the drums, back in elementary school.

TC: Did you play in your school band?

MU: yeah, i played trumpet in my junior highschool band.

TC: I played trumpet too. I always found it interesting how some of the most creative artists, like Pharrell, got their starts in school bands. Maybe you had a different experience, but I barely ever got the opportunity to be creative in band class because my teacher only wanted us to play exactly how he wanted and never let us explore.

MU: i didn’t really get to be too creative. but i enjoyed playing music, and it was the best feeling when all the sections would come together and play the song we’d been working on for like a week or two. i remember how good it used to feel. it felt good to be a part of something… then playing those little concerts in the gym was swag… my band teacher was the same band teacher gwen stefani and all of “no doubt” had. they went to the same junior highschool as me.


TC: Yeah, I think its important to play an instrument when you’re young and be involved in music even if you aren’t really creating anything. Anyways, I’m sure the music you were playing back then was a lot different than what you make now. How did you first get interested in composing hip-hop instrumentals?

MU: kanye west. freshman year. i remember how everything panned out. so it was the summer going from 8th grade to 9th. it was my sisters birthday, so we went to this summer jam concert… and kanye closed it. i’m a pretty introverted person, but by the end of the show i was on the chair throwing up the roc. i’ve never experienced a performance like that in my life. so that was that. later that month, the week before school started to be exact there was a dance for freshman. i wasn’t planning on going. me and my mom went to ralphs in the after noon, and i picked up this time magazine with kanye on the cover it said “the smartest man in hip ho” or something a long those lines. i still have that magazine til this day. after i read the article over and over. i cut out the photos and put them all over my binder. but anways back to the story… my friend at the time, michael parker’s mom stopped by my house and dragged me to the dance for in coming freshman. and i dressed like kanye. and people were calling me kanye lol. then came the first day of school, i wore this long sleeve polo and some red jordans… and ever since then i was tagged as the kanye kid. people were always calling me kanye. i started wearing polos every day. etc. etc. then i was like, i might as well start making beats. my good friend at the time justin latham gave me fl studio… like 3 lol hahaha fl studio 10 is out now. so do the math. my beats sucked so bad. but that’s how i got started making beats. it all started with a kanye west show… i usually never talk this much but you’re cool.

TC: Haha that’s really interesting. People like to think artists go through some profound experience and are all of a sudden masters of their craft. I believe that no matter how talented an artist is, they were most likely terrible at some point. What do you think your problem was at the beginning, not knowing enough about the technical side of making music? Not being able to find your niche?

MU: idk, probably a mix between not knowing how to us frooty loops, and not knowing how to make music period. who knows… it took me a couple years to finish pokemon. so you can imagine how long it took me to figure out frooty loops lol. it was like a good 3 years before i figured out how to sample. and i never thought to google it either lol *shrug life

TC: And now you’re producing for someone who pulled one of the biggest crowds at all of Coachella. How did you first get to know Domo and the other members of Odd Future?

MU: i met tyler on the internet. then we’d send songs back and forth. and talk about sa-ra. and badu and all that. one day i sent him this beat, and he loved it. but he thought domo might like it better. and i met everyone else through tyler also.

TC: It must be crazy to see how big they are getting now. I’ve only known about them for a little over a year and I was speechless when I saw the size the crowd at Coachella.

MU: yeah, it is pretty crazy. i can’t really grasp all of how big they are.

TC: In the future are you hoping to take on the role of beatmaker and just produce for other artists like with ‘Cashmere’, or do you want to make more solo music kind of like what Flying Lotus does?

MU: i’d much rather be a producer and work with artist. let our sounds rub off on eachother.

TC: Yeah, I feel like its much easier to get into a creative process when you are working with other people. Who are you hoping to work with in the near future, and who would you work with if you could work with anyone dead or alive?

MU: dead or alive? mos def. kanye. madlib!!! erykah badu. tupac. dilla. and uhhh… odb. yeah. maybe miles davis. yusef lateef. i cna’t think of any one else.

TC: Any upcoming collaborations you can tell us about, or is that confidential for now?

MU: i have some cool surprises.

TC: Surprises are always a good thing. Any final shoutouts or things you want to promote?

MU: yeah, shout out to you for interviewing me. this was a cool interview.

TC: Thanks for doing the interview, its always cool to be able to talk to an artist who’s music you really enjoy.

MU: and shout out to who ever drew this picture:

TC: I second that shout out.

MU: haha peace man.

tccarr14The Up-Turn Presents: A Conversation With Michael Uzowuru