Mac Miller Talks About Religion, Twitter and His New Album, Which is His Best One Yet

Mac Miller Talks About Religion, Twitter and His New Album, Which is His Best One Yet
Ian Wolfson

Mac Miller will show off his newly-released Watching Movies with the Sound Off this summer on his Space Migration Tour. His sophomore album continues the musical evolution that he began with his Macadelic mixtape, providing a much more introspective and thoughtful sound than his Blue Slide Park debut.

Despite only being 21-years-old, the Pittsburgh rapper has already found a great deal of success. He was honored as a member of XXL magazine's Freshman Class of 2011. In November of that year, Miller dropped his first studio album Blue Slide Park, which debuted at number one, selling 145,000 copies in its first week.

Before arriving in Dallas to perform on Wednesday, June 26, at the Palladium Ballroom (1135 South Lamar), Mac Miller took the time to talk with us.

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How'd you decide to call it the Space Migration Tour?

It's kind of like the idea of taking a bunch of people out of their reality and into a different place, like into a new planet.

You've said that the title of your new album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, came from the way you make your music. So, which movies do you watch on mute while working?

Beetlejuice and nature documentaries and Quentin Tarantino films and anything that's just visually great and stuff. And the movie that I watch while listening to the album is Turtle: The Incredible Journey.

I've noticed that this album is much more personal. For example, you talk about your spirituality, about losing a friend and about keeping your parents together. What inspired you to make the album so much more personal than your previous works?

I think I'm just more comfortable with talking about my own life, or just talking about, like going, digging deeper, you know what I'm saying? But if you listen to my old stuff, it touches on it, like it was there. There's moments in all the records that get personal but it was kind of like overshadowed by other stuff, so I kind of wanted that to be the key point of this record, and to, you know, just talk about what's actually going on inside my head.

The new album talks a lot about spirituality. What are your personal beliefs about God and religions?

Well, I was raised Jewish but I went to a Catholic school, so I learned a lot about religion and it has always kind of infatuated me. I'm just very interested in it. But, as far as my personal views, I believe that there's something out there, but I don't believe that anyone knows what it is.

Do you have a favorite song on the album?

Yeah, I think "Avian," because that one, to me, is like the heart and soul of the album. That was one of the earlier songs that I made for it and that kind of set the tone for the sound of the album. And I produced it myself, so maybe I'm biased.  

You've got a lot of collaborations on the new album, including songs with Jay Electronica and Tyler, The Creator. What was it like to work with the other artists?

The cool thing is that we're all friends. So, to me, it was very organic in the studio. When you're working with your friends it's a lot easier because you're not like reaching out trying to make a record for this person and send it to them. [Instead,] it's like you guys are just trying to create something new. So, the collaborations were less like me trying to go to their world or bringing them to my world, but more of us collaborating to create something that is a new sound.

Is there anybody that you're hoping to work with in the future?

Missy Elliott. Dude, that's the next move. I just think it'd be a hit record. I mean, I don't know, man, she is just a very creative individual and I would just like to be in the studio with her and like really collaborate with her and create something, because she's one of the dopest writers that is around. She can sing, she can do everything. I'm all about Missy Elliott, dude. Hell yeah.

One of the guys that's going to be opening for you here in Dallas is Chance the Rapper. How'd you get paired up with him and should we expect any songs from y'all together in the future?

Oh yeah, definitely, definitely. I mean, I handpicked everyone to be on the tour, like I reached out to them personally. I had heard Chance before Acid Rap came out and so we booked him before the tape came out, which was tight because then the tape came out and he blew up, which is awesome. I'm happy for him. He's a good dude and he's a very talented artist.

Now that it's been a week, what was it like having your album released the same day as J. Cole and Kanye West?

It was dope. It's good for music to put kids back in the stores and have them purchasing music. And if I sell 100,000 copies then it'll be the first time in history that three hip-hop artists sold 100,000 copies of an album in the same week.

You've done covers of Bright Eyes and you play guitar and piano, have you ever thought about doing music outside of rap?

Yeah, I did a self-produced jazz EP under the name Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival. That was fun. On the tour too, I'm playing the guitar on stage and keys and everything. I'm definitely all about that making different kinds of music and pushing those boundaries.

Donald Trump has called you out multiple times on Twitter, what's it like to have such a famous hater?

Well, it's tight because the other person that Donald Trump has gone against is Obama, so, I guess I'm in pretty good company. But I don't know how serious he is. I don't know if he has fun or is actually upset, because he hasn't sued me or anything.

You blew up very young and you're still only 21. How has that affected your career and what's it like being 21 and being one of the biggest names in hip-hop?

It's crazy, dude. The one thing about being young is I have a lot of time, so it allows me to kind of relax and not like chase a whole bunch of money and fame and chase a whole bunch of stuff. It allows me to just sit back and make music because, you know, I'm only 21 years old and I have time to let my career grow however it can. I'm not trying to be a pop star, I don't want to be a huge artist yet. I want to save that for when I'm older. Right now, I'm just trying to make music and relax and have a good time. I'm in no rush.

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