Having recently dropped his all new epic album, “Bukowski’s Epitaph”, we had the pleasure of catching up with Mike Shank to discuss how this all came together among other stuff!!
This is what went down:
dhh: First up Mike… incredible work on Bukowski’s Epitaph! It really takes me back to the very essence of your work… the production is so hard hitting and your flows are impeccable as always. I was personally, very taken back by the entire project and found myself experiencing such a wide variety of emotions as I went from track to track; at some points I was exacerbated, and then almost euphoric, and then, frustrated and eventually brought to tears with the last track “Dead Friends”. It’s definitely one hell of a ride and I can deeply feel your emotions at play throughout. I / we could take guesses all day but, I highly assume it’s not just about one thing… so, what the real major inspiration for this project?
MS: It’s hard to say why these songs came together (for me). But if it’s about people, I can’t say… sorry. A lot of it’s about loss.
dhh: No problem at all man; I’m sure a lot of us can relate to that sentiment all too well… So then, on this album, we see you working with some of the best producers we can think of. How did you guy’s work together to concoct this clever culmination that seems to just meld together so seamlessly?
MS: I am lucky to know some incredible producers. Everyone who provided to this project, I respect so much and hold in high praise. But, the way the album came together is all due to DJ Adatrak. He brought my vision to life.
dhh: It really did work so well! How much time did you spend on this album, start to finish?
MS: Start to finish, as far as writing goes, a couple of years, but, we recorded the vocals in one day.
dhh: Wow, that’s unbelievable… I’m amazed! Any insight to offer on the title “Bukowski’s Epitaph”?
MS: I titled my album that because I’m a big fan of Charles Bukowski. His epitaph reads “Don’t Try”… Something about that intrigued me and stuck in my head.
dhh: Interesting… well, for me anyway, “Saturday Morning Soundtrack” was one of the most epic projects of our time and I have yet to come across something so raw, uncut and just downright badass! It’s also the first time I had the pleasure of crossing paths with your music… you’ve since changed your name from Impulse to Mike Shank and done various projects with different artists, including your mind-blowing group effort with DJ Pseudonym and Ecid on Sector 7G… so, what was the inspiration behind the name change and who is Mike Shank really?
MS: I changed my name because, (1) rap names are dumb, and (2) I played a show, opening for E&A and Themselves and a kid came up wanting to shake my hand and asks, “Hey man, what’s your name?” and I said, “Mike”. He was perplexed, and then he says “No, what’s your code name..? I sighed, because I hate rap names (most of the time)… I had also been thinking about calling myself Mike Shank at that point already. Mike Shank comes from a documentary called “American Movie”.
dhh: Again, great insight there, thank you… well, from my experience, the artwork on a lot of your projects is very identifiable to you as an artist and one can almost sense it’s a Mike Shank project just by looking at the cover. Is this purely coincidence or is there something deeper in the artwork you choose to represent your project? Given this… How much say do you have over the finished product and how closely do you work with the artist involved?
MS: I like to be involved with the artwork; with “Dead in the Heart (S7G)”, I told the artist (Louis LaPierre) I wanted a girl and a heart and certain colors and he ran with that. For Bukowski, I talked with the artist, (Dakota Hicks) and told him the title and the feeling of the record, and he did what he did. I am very blessed to know amazing people.
dhh: I can definitely see that.. so, who are your greatest musical inspirations then(All genre’s)?
MS: That’s a hard question… of course RSE… Respect due. Then, I would have to say Freestyle Fellowship, Deftones, Wu Tang, Eyedea, Rodney Mullen, Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, Daewon Song… I could go on forever.
dhh: haha, I’m sure you could… so, what about your “top 5”?
MS: I can’t answer my top 5, or we’ll be here all night. Freestyle Fellowship… Myka 9 all day!
dhh: I definitely feel you there and hell yeah on the Myka 9! OK, so feel free not to answer this, but, rumor has is that 1200 Hobos has a new member… can you confirm this and if so… this opens our minds to a list of endless and exciting possibilities; what can we expect from Mike Shank in the near and/or not too distant future?
MS: Dibbs and I planned a project, but things fell through. It’s life.
dhh: Truth! … so, do you have any favourite places you’ve performed and any you’d really like/plan to in the future?
MS: Denver has always been a joy… also San Francisco was amazing, but I love Minneapolis! I love the Triple Rock and The 7th Street… I love my home.
dhh: Nothing wrong with that.. What about your “dream” collab?
MS: I’ve already had my dream collab… Eyedea. So happy to call him my friend. Other than that, it would definitely be Myka 9, and Chino Moreno.
dhh: Dope! …well I really hope those happen sometime and honestly can’t wait to hear them when they do… the Eyedea collab on “Scrap Metal” was definitely mind-blowing to say the least… he really did touch so many people’s lives (myself included) and continues to do so to this day. R-Eye-P!♥
dhh: OK, so one last question then before we wrap this up… Any advice you’d like to offer to up and coming indie artists and/or producers?
MS: Just keep doing it… If you love it, just keep doing it. Hendrix wasn’t built in a day. Keep searching, keep exploring… you’ll find what you love.
dhh: Well Mike… I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. We really do appreciate it and wish you nothing but the very best for the future. Keep making music man; your work is nothing short of incredible and I for one truly appreciate everything you bring forward in it! Feel free to hit us up any time you’d like with new works etc. As long as you keep making we’ll keep passing it on to the world for as long as we’re able to. Oh, if you’re ever in South Africa for any reason; hit me up. I’m sure a quite few people out here would love to see you perform.
So, if you haven’t already…
you can pick up a copy of the album right here:
It really is a completely breathtaking piece of work, start to finish and I can’t recommend it enough!