Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 15th 2010 4:31PM by Robert Evans
Do you have a survival kit for SXSW?
I'm looking to connect with cats that I have a relationships with that I don't get to see often. Like family, there are a lot of Detroit acts down there that are like family. It's going to be a lot of fun for the most part. I'm definitely bigger on catching up with family than with friends. We'll figure it out; I'm not putting too much stress on myself at all, kind of gonna be like a little vacation in the middle of the tour honestly.
How would you describe your style as a DJ?
I just want to have a party, good music for good people at good venues. I don't do all the super mixing, scratching, juggling s---; I just play stuff that people will enjoy listening to in an intoxicated situation. Depending on how much I drink, we see how crazy I get on the mic. At the end of the day when someone walks away from one of my parties, I just want them to say they had a good time.
What are some of your musical influences?
Of course, I'm known as being the ambassador for Detroit hip-hop music so you're going to hear a lot of that: you're going to hear Dilla, a lot of Slum. In addition to that, you're going to hear a lot of classic hip hop, east coast, west coast, old-school funk, R&B, soul, original samples, roller skatin' jams, barbecue music, soundtracks, TV Theme songs. Depending on how long my set is and where it's placed in the night, you'll hear a very wide variety of music.
With all that, do you have room for any musical guilty pleasures?
If I like some s--- I'm going to play it, and if I play it, it's the s---. Not trying to be cocky, or anything, but I definitely think I have an exemplary taste in music just being from Detroit, which is just such an honest city, and being so against the whole "yes man" thing in the scene. I try to be as brutally honest as possible.
What do you think of the vinyl resurgence?
The resurgence is outside of the boundaries of hip-hop. Hip-hop is in kind of a tail-spin right now vinyl-wise, for some odd reason. The distributors aren't putting out that many records. There are a couple of joints here and there. If I was in a position of authority at one of those places, I would see that there was a void and no 12-inch singles coming out at all. So there would be a market to release five to 10 brand new records a month. You press up 2,000 copies, they're going to be sold-out in two or three weeks. You just got to keep your quality eye. It's definitely a low-profit margin but s---, money is money. There's not a big mark-up on candy bars, but how many candy bars do people buy everyday? So much good music is strictly digital and I hate that. Put some records out, even artist themselves. Get $1000 and press up 500 12-inches and sell 'em for $5 apiece. You'll make $2500 dollars. It's simple mathematics.
You've produced a lot of records for other people, but you haven't put out much music of your own. Why?
I've got a record I just put out but I've produced numerous independent 12-inches out of Detroit. I've produced for Proof, produced for Dilla but I just had the first record with my name, House Shoes, as the artist on record at the Do Over in L.A.
You show a lot of love to Detroit, but you call L.A. home now. Do you split time between the two cities?
I get home when they got a check for me. I gave Detroit a lot of my time and energy for next to nothing. The Detroit hip-hop scene has really fallen off since I left because I was basically the only cat that felt responsible to make sure that we had something. That's one of the reasons I left. I took better care of the city than I took care of myself. Not just stress, but neglecting my own s---. I didn't travel outside of Detroit until 2006. I should have been traveling 10 years before that. You kind of got to get to the coasts before people pay attention.
What's the craziest thing you've experienced on tour?
Seeing the impact my hometown's music has had on people. 99 percent of the cats making this music are completely anonymous in their own city. You get over to Paris, or Amsterdam or Rotterdam, they might not know English, but they know every damn word to your song.
Why is that do you think?
Because in America, it's the rat race; it's not forward thinking at all. No one pushes the envelope here. Over there, they're waiting for the envelope. They just have such a hunger and thirst for what's next and what the next movements going to be in music.
Do you have any vices?
I've damn near let that s--- go. My son just turned one year old and it's just different. When I get off work and go home, I'm not trying to smell like alcohol and tress and be sideways, slant-eyed trying to hang out with my son. On the road, well, I've not been going nearly as hard as I usually do. But there will definitely be some eventful nights on this tour.
How did you come up with your name?
That's easy -- I just used to wear House Shoes all the time. I was going to Eastern Michigan University for about three and a half months; got kicked out for arson. That's a whole other story. Right before I went my mom got me this old-school granddaddy pair of black leather with red plaid on the inside. I wore them to class, and to the cafeteria, gym, to the mall. I can't remember a specific time when I was House Shoes, 'cause I was always just "White Mike." Then it just started to be House Shoes one day.
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