Last year I was asked to play the role of the DJ in a music video for an upcoming artist, theMIND. I didn’t really know much about him or his music, so I decided to familiarize myself with his work and loved what I found! Although we didn’t have the chance to kick it much while we were working on set of the video, I could tell theMIND is one of those cozy souls that you feel like you’ve known forever. So here’s my introduction of theMIND to all of you- an artist you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for!
Vashtie: Where were you born and raised?
theMIND: I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania- North Philly uptown to be exact.
Vashtie: Where did you move after that?
theMIND: I moved to Chicago when I was 18 years old. I decided to come to Columbia College. I knew I was either going to attend Berkley School of Music in Boston or Columbia College in Chicago and I was like “Fuck it, I’m going to Chicago…”
Vashtie: When did you start making music?
theMIND: I started writing (didn’t really know what I was writing at first) I want to say it was like poetry, just writing in general at the age of 9. Then I started recording myself on bullshit recording programs on Microsoft computers at the age of like 12. I just remember sneaking and using the memory on the computers – then I started to really get into it when I was 16 when I built a studio in my dad’s basement.
Vashtie: Who are your musical influences?
theMIND: Stevie Wonder, Andre 3000, Mos Def— I’m a huge huge fan of Dru Hill, Musiq Soulchild- anybody from Philly really. Chrisette Michelle, Jill Scott, all those guys
Vashtie: What are your top 5 favorite albums?
theMIND: (In no particular order)
1.Stevie Wonder- Key of Life
2.Frank Ocean- Channel Orange
3.Kendrick Lamar- Section .80
4.Outkast- Speakerboxx / The Love Below
5.Kanye West- Late Registration
Vashtie: Name someone you would love to collaborate with- 1 person that’s alive and 1 that’s dead- and why
theMIND: Alive – I still have hope, so I would say Kanye- I really want to do a song with Kanye. I think if I could bring him over to my world and mix with his world, it’d be amazing. I’m curious to pick his brain and see how he actually thinks about the composition of records.
Dead – I know this is cliché, but fuck it, Michael Jackson. Any interview that I’ve ever watched of someone speaking about working with Michael Jackson, they always said that he was the best person to ever work with and that he brought out the best in people… I would want to add Quincy Jones in that mix somehow – he’s the true magician in it all.
Vashtie: Tell us a little about the inspiration behind Mercury Rising
theMIND: Mercury Rising – I was trying to make a song, and I reached this blockade where I couldn’t talk about the things I didn’t want to talk about anymore. I don’t know what it was, I guess I became fearful of being completely, for lack of a better word, “naked” in front of people. So this is around the time when I was still covering up my face as this anonymous figure “theMIND.” No one knew who I was, so I was completely afraid to do that. It was because of these dark memories and all these other things, that I think Mercury Rising came from a really dark place – and because of that, I also wanted to make a song that was like a lullaby…this beautiful song.
When I first started writing it, it was cool. But I was in the booth and my engineer and member of THEMpeople (who produced Mercury Rising), L-Boog, was like “I can’t connect with you bro, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” So I damn near cried, because it was cry for help, almost a warrior’s cry to my sisters and to myself and anyone who has come out of my predicament. I don’t think people know how hard it is to be like “Yo, fuck it!” I understand this shit is fucked up, like it’s hard. People say, “The sky is the limit” and shit like that… but NOT if you were from where I’m from. There are a lot of people who are still in that same predicament – I wanted to make a song where it actually felt like you were flying. I felt like I spread my wings by making that song. That’s the inspiration really, just being able to spread my wings, and a conversation to my sisters…
Vashtie: How did the concept of the music video develop- Was it your idea? Kid Super’s idea? Explain the collaborative process…
theMIND: It was a little bit of both. But I have to say Kid Super was the genius behind it. We linked up with Kid Super because he’d done a claymation trailer before, but this being a full music video, we didn’t really know how long it was going to take. Kid Super had a dope idea – where the characters would be on the block of where I’m from and the guy in Chicago was representing me. Together we came up with this really dope story, and then just expanded on that and it came to be what it is…fuego.
Vashtie: Stop-motion is known to be a labor-intensive filmmaking process. How long did the production of the video take?
theMIND: I want to say almost a year. If not a year, at least 9 months. From conception – it was probably almost a year. We started working on it in the beginning of 2015, then mid-way through the year, he finished up the first part of the first set. Toward the end of the year he finished up the last part of the set, then we filmed everything after that. The crazy part about it is, I went to architecture and design school – so I know how long it takes and understand everything that goes into making it.
Vashtie: What’s been the most interesting response you’ve received from the video?
theMIND: Someone said it almost felt like an acid trip, so I think that was dopest one. Another person said the video is exactly what they saw in their head when they first heard the song- that was dope as fuck too. But the acid trip is the dopest one. I think the song itself makes it feel like your flying and since there are 3D pieces of artwork, it just compliments it even more. I think the video made me love the song more.
Vashtie: What songs or video releases should we be looking forward to from you?
theMIND: Pale Rose! Another one of my favorites off the project. Plus, I shot the video in New York with you! It’s gonna be super dope, I’m looking forward to that one.
Kirk Knight, theMIND and Me on set of his Pale Rose video in 2015 where I played the DJ
Watch theMIND’s video for Mercury Rising, below!