From the point of view of staying on the forefront, we always try to keep an eye out onto some of the potential players ahead. Mike’s Dead is a bit of a post-goth sensation that has taken the U.S. by storm, but not from the new direction of industrial experimentation, but from hip-hop, trap and EDM roots.
Mike’s Dead is a twenty five-year old musician who grew up on 2000s metalcore, DJed in his late teens and early twenties, experimented across genres, and has now decided to park himself in the space of heavy music. In fact he’s just released a music video for ‘NIGHTMARES’. Having released a couple of songs this year ahead of an EP, Mike is delving into his unclean vocal range, distorted guitars and a bit of a lone-wolf metal band edge. We jumped on zoom with the L.A. based singer/songwriter to learn a little bit more about the ‘Dead’.
“It’s crazy ‘cause I grew up on alt-rock and nu-metal,” Mike says – “stuff like Linkin Park, Good Charlotte and Gorillaz,” which is quite a wide range. He likes experimental music and it seems like the uniqueness of nu-metal when it first started out was quite appealing to Mike.
But it wasn’t this wide-range of alternative rock or metal that Mike dabbled in first when making a name for himself in the music industry. “I’d say underground hip-hop was kind of where I evolved,” Mike delves. The fact that I produce all my music was [limiting] because I didn’t know how to play guitar,” but then he picked it up in the long days of COVID isolation.
“At the time I had already brought on my guitarist who’s in my band and he started teaching me fundamentals, so [I began] blending the modern rap stuff with the electronic elements, mixed in with that rap-rock sound.”
From then on, Mike was ignited with motivation to produce heavier music. It’s an interesting time in the showman’s career to turn to rock and metal, as his extensive fanbase has been built on other various genres, but it’ll certainly keep his fans curious. Two years ago Mike’s Dead released a ‘We’ve Lost Touch’ a song and music video that’s close to hitting a million views, and although that song is not what Mike is most proud of, he has even higher expectations of himself.
“For me, it’s like ‘damn, why not ten-mill’? Every artist is always competing with themselves so I see a million being not that much.” Mike doesn’t rate the particular track as he sees it as an experimental opportunity to test his clean vocal effort. “I realised where my range was after that song and so when I recently went on tour, I never played that song.”
Despite abundant musical talent around the world, and particularly in the city of angels, we all know that it takes more of a strategic game to get noticed, and Mike’s Dead is playing that game, and he seems to be winning at it. “I’ve done really well on social media,” the 25-year old states factually – “and I think it’s because I’m very outspoken and honest. I don’t give a shit about very much. I’m just forward and kind of tell my story, and I think a lot of people can identify with that.”
The eclectic musician has observed the behaviour of some of his generation’s biggest artists and noted their successes. “In [today’s] modern age a lot of people are trying to appease their fanbases, which is kind of like PG content to make money, and it’s just like – I don’t give a fuck if I offend you.” Mike says this while reflecting on some big names – “just like the OGs, like fucking Alice Cooper and Eminem. All these dudes are just thoroughly themselves and so authentic.”
Beyond his attitude though, Mike’s also across the latest social media trends and is leveraging platforms like TikTok, like many other artists in 2021. “The one thing with social media is you never know,” alluding to how interactions and engagements are going to go. “I’ve had songs do well on TikTok where they didn’t have a trend or anything yet, I just woke up one day and they were trending and I was like ‘yo, what’s happening’.
Outside of the social media game, Mike has been influenced by nu-metal and a wider range of millennial breaking metalcore. “I think my first concert I ever went to was Linkin Park, and KoRn was the opener. After I kind of graduated from that, I went into the post-hardcore metal scene like Bring Me the Horizon, The Devil Wears Prada and that kind of stuff.” That evolved to more of the horror/industrial influences of Rob Zombie and others, even including Rammstein.
In the two tracks we’ve heard so far this year from Mike’s Dead, it’s clear that this is a transitory era for him, there was even a scream or two in ‘NIGHTMARES’, but he’s still warming up those vocal cords. “I haven’t been screaming for that long, but definitely have it down, I just can’t do like an entire song if that makes sense – I’d wreck my throat.” Mike tips his hat to “the main metal dudes who have been doing it for years.”
‘SICK’ and ‘NIGHTMARES’ are the first two tracks to his upcoming EP Revenge which will keep you guessing with its release date. Mike wants you all to really take in these singles before he drops his first EP like a bomb. “I just want to give the singles time to breathe. This EP is going to be my biggest body of work and I just don’t want to rush it too much.”
As far as his stage-name goes, Mike’s Dead ain’t going to delve into that mystery publicly just yet.
“That is the one question I’ve never answered in an interview and I still won’t answer it. It’s got such a great narrative and is a really powerful statement, because it really goes really deep into my history growing up so I’d rather save it for like five years later into my career.”
Interview by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
Check out Mike’s Dead’s full set of releases on all streaming platforms here
Get started with SICK’ and ‘NIGHTMARES’ from the upcoming Revenge EP.