When you watch Mykey perform, you realize how self-sufficient he is. With a simple floor pedal, he seamlessly transitions between verse, bridges, and hooks. His manipulation of beats he produced himself match with his lively guitar playing, displaying how self-contained his music is. While Mykey performs alone, his music is incredibly accessible, as his songs speak to universal themes like love and growth.
Although he makes everything he does look and sound effortless, Mykey made it clear that it’s the result of years of hard work. Although he's only 22, he's been investing considerable time into music since he was 14. Whether it be as a studio assistant, a writing partner, or a working musician in licensing, he’s gained experience in a variety of positions in the industry. When it came time for him to release original music, he was more than ready.
The work paid off, and Mykey’s debut record Faces has racked up over 120,000 plays on Soundcloud alone. Since the release of the album (which is featured below), he’s been hard at work on a follow-up, but he’s still performing. At a recent show in his home state of Maryland, The Intangible sat down with Mykey to discuss his background, music, and what’s next for him.
The Intangible: What did your parents play around you when you were growing up? What’s your mom and dad’s favorite stuff to listen to?
Mykey: [Laughs] Their music taste is so weird. My mom loved bluegrass, which is really weird because she’s a lawyer from New York, who loved bluegrass for some reason. My dad was obsessed with the Twilight soundtrack...
TI: The Twilight soundtrack?
TI: From the movie?
Mykey: He was obsessed with it for some reason.
TI: Wow...interesting. So when you first started to branch out on your own and develop your own taste, what did you start listening to?
Mykey: It was mainly just stuff on the radio, so pop stuff and rock stuff. Whatever was on.
TI: How long have you been recording music, when did you start doing that?
Mykey: I started recording in like 8th grade, so I must’ve been 14.
TI: What [DAW] did you start on?
Mykey: I actually started on Protools, cause when I was 14 I got a job as a studio tech at this recording studio.
TI: That’s kind of early for a studio tech job.
Mykey: Yeah, it was really lucky too because my boss, I worked for him for 6 years, his thing is he got middle schoolers and high schoolers to work for him to get them into music. He’s a really cool dude.
TI: I assume that’s where you learned a lot of your production skills?
Mykey: Yeah, that’s definitely where. It was a bluegrass and roots music studio, like exclusively. Sometimes there would be blues and jazz stuff, but that was definitely a humongous influence of folk and older music.
TI: So that’s what initially turned you on to folk?
Mykey: Hell yeah. I would not know any folk if I didn’t work there.
TI: So your album Faces, did you produce that all by yourself?
TI: That’s a lot. What’s the process like when you have to work on an entire project, and then you have to hope that it’s actually as good as you think it is?
Mykey: It’s tough cause, I wrote the whole thing kind of myself. I had a writing partner at the same time, but we wouldn’t necessarily write songs for certain things we’d just write together. A lot of the time we’d just write songs that would never go anywhere or we’d write stuff for other people. He helped me write like two or three songs on my record. We would just keep on working on shit until something felt special.
TI: How often does that "special" happen?
Mykey: Not that often, dude, we wrote over 100 songs for the record. We were just like “none of them are great.” [Laughs] So we just kept cutting them and waiting for something cool to happen.
TI: How long was the process? When did you realize you were working on an album, and when was it done?
Mykey: So two years ago I started making singles and putting them out because I just wanted to start making music. So I did a little three track EP that I just threw up on SoundCloud, nowhere else. I did a single, another single, and then the last single I released was “Monsters In the Dark”, which got a lot of buzz. I was like “crap, I should make a record”. Right after I released that I started working.
TI: What vocalists do you draw inspiration from when you sing?
Mykey: It’s actually weird, I draw from a lot of the newer folk artists. Folk is a genre where people don’t care what the vocals sound like, they’re telling a story. So a lot of the time the vocalist is like, unique because they’re not “singers”.
TI: Anyone specific?
Mykey: I really like Dan Auerbach in his solo stuff, ‘cause he does a lot of folk. I liked Kaleo just ‘cause they’re like a blues band from Iceland which is kinda lit. [Laughs]
TI: That’s interesting. What artists inspire you when it comes to songwriting?
Mykey: That’s a good question, kind of like...everything. Which is actually a really bad thing because my genre is all over the goddamn place. Yeah, whenever I have a cool idea the production just kinda comes later. Which is really bad, you should just make a song. They all sound in the same vein.
TI: What’s a quality that exists in every “good” song to you? You hear it and go, “ok now I know this song is good”.
Mykey: Oh shit, another good question. I feel like it’s easy with sad songs because if you write a sad song and it’s about to make you cry, it’s lit.
TI: You know it’s working I guess...
Mykey: Yeah it’s nice, but another super easy thing is if you’re writing a banger and the people around you are just like “holy shit”.
TI: How has electronic music influenced and affected your music? There are definitely elements in there that aren’t 100% traditional folk.
Mykey: Oh yeah definitely, I’ve just always loved pop music. The production is just really cool and I’ve always been messing around with DAWs and stuff.
TI: Any favorite pop producers?
Mykey: It’s a lot harder to know them by name because a track can have 9 producers on it. Currently, I really love the production that Finneas O’Connell did on Billie Eilish’s record.
TI: Isn’t that her brother too?
Mykey: Yeah, it’s insane.
TI: Ok, here's a curveball. I’ve been told you have an affection for deep sea diving, could you explain that?
Mykey: That is so random actually, I tried to explain this a while ago and then I just ended up writing a song called “Diver and The Girl”. I’ve had a reoccurring dream for as long as I can remember of a deep sea diver coming out of the ocean and then just meeting a girl on an island. Can’t explain it, probably some traumatic event caused it to happen. [Laughs]
TI: So that’s just what you’ve been going with?
Mykey: Yeah I thought I might as well make a story out of it, I made a song, I wrote a book about it that nobody knows. I kind of just hid that away...
TI: I’m sure it’ll come out at some point.
Mykey: Yeah it’s been sitting on my computer for like 4 years.
TI: Alright, thank you. Is there anything else you wanna say, any new music on the way?
Mykey: Well I’m working on an EP right now. It’s been taking me a really long time because after the record I got a manager who linked me with a sync company, and the company’s been sending me a lot of work. So I’ve been writing a bunch of stuff for other people, so it’s taking a long time.
TI: Understandable, it’s what you gotta do sometimes.
Mykey: I’m putting the focus back on my EP.
TI: Should people expect it within a few months?
Mykey: I’m trying to do end of May, this is actually a super surprise. I’m trying to accompany it with...something.
TI: Something huh? It’s all good we’ll stay vague.
Mykey: Yeah, let's do that.