When Mikey Rocks walked into the SF HQ with Cool Kid’s DJ V.I.Pj, manager Rich and the obligatory film maker capturing every move the posse makes down under, it was evident that one member was missing. Apparently Chuck Inglish had come down with what is known as “travel sickness” also known as “performing too hard, partying even harder” so Mikey took the ropes and sat down with Sneaker Freaker to let us in on everything from stuck up celebrities, to parrots on beaches and of course our mutual love of sneakers.
What’s up Mickey? What’s going down?
What it is…
Is what it does! So how has Australia been treating ya?
It’s been cool so far, we’re out here in the summer time and I would normally be in the blizzard of a lifetime if I was at home, so I’m chilling man! I’m enjoying it!
How do you deal with the heat here? It’s not that bad actually
It’s not that bad, our heat is a lot worse cos we got that sticky – cant breathe outside – heat, so this is perfect man, it’s wonderful.
What’s been your favourite part so far? What have you enjoyed the most?
Well, the Laneway Festival was tight man, that was really cool, we went to a beach in Perth, that was dope too.
You don’t have beaches in Chicago?
We do, we have the lake but it’s dirty, it’s not that clean though. That beach had crystal clear water, you guys have parrots walking on the beach and stuff, I was like “what the….”, it was tight man
Alright, well let’s take you back and give us the low-down for the people who don’t really know about how you guys met up and how it all started.
It was about 2 years ago, a friend of mine had pointed me in Chuck’s direction, like “yo man you should check out this dudes beats and stuff, man I think you’d like them” because I was kind of like on my own tip when it came to my own style of production and just music in general and he was like “I think you two would be cool, so check out his stuff”
So what were you doing before this?
I was just producing at the time when I met Chuck. I’d been rapping since I was 9 but I stopped rapping for like probably 2 years at that point and I was just working on production stuff cos I kind of got bored with rapping and it was uninspiring right at that point. A lot of stuff that was coming out wasn’t that interesting to listen to and so I was just relying on my own joints that I was listening to. So I kind of put rap on the shelf for a minute and was just working on production and I went to Chuck’s MySpace page and was listening to his joints on there and as soon as I heard them I was like “these are dope man!”. He was on the same page I was when it came to style and influences and stuff like that, so I listened to all the stuff he had up and I was like “let me talk to this dude, and see what’s going on”. He lived in Chicago so I thought why not, so I hit him up and was asking him how much he charged for his beats, to get a gauge of where he was at. I forgot what number he hit me with, it was like 200 or something, something crazy, but I was like, “word, I wanna buy one” and he was like “oh ok, cool” and then one day we decided to just meet up at his house and go over some tracks and stuff and see where each others heads were at in terms of producing. I was just trying to meet people and kind of just meet like minded individuals because the circle of people I was dealing with were stagnant and stuck in the same old rigmarole and they were about the same stuff that was popular then.
At the time you were saying it was totally uninspiring, so is that why you decided to go back, to go forward, as you say “bringing ’88 back"? What was the sensibility of ’88 that was hitting it to you, that excited you to bring that forward to 2008?
It was the stuff I grew up on. As soon as I was born I was listening to Hip Hop because I wasn’t one of those kids that got sheltered like “you can’t listen to that!” My parents would put in anything when I was little, man, they would play any tape in the car. We were riding places and in the house they would just play anything and I heard it and I listened to it and I liked it, since I was little and luckily it was a lot of good stuff. My parents had good taste in music so I grew up listening to the good stuff. People say “well how do you know about all that, you weren’t even born, you can’t possibly know about any of that stuff”. I probably know everything because I was born into it, that’s all I knew.
It seems like this huge phase now, where a lot of people are going back – you've got the Retro Kids, you've got Fruition, that are bringing back that style from the late ‘80s to the early ‘90s and we are seeing it in clothing and shoes more and more. On the style side of it, you guys are hitting it on the old school tip but you’re also using current labels, you’re not just rocking vintage wear. I’ve seen you guys rock Mishka, Rocksmith, Nike.
Yeah yeah, it’s just all based on how we are feeling basically. When it comes to current labels we are picky with that stuff because there’s millions of them, everybody has got a line. I only try to rock lines where I think their designs are dope and they represent something cool. If you have a wack design, I don’t care what your label is; I’m not wearing it. If you’re the most basic up starting kid, this is your first t-shirt ever and you have no name, if it’s a dope design I will wear that any day over the most popular designers in the world. I’m all about what looks cool to me, I don’t really care about what name it is. And it’s weird cos a lot of street wear lines have got beef and all this crazy stuff with each other and they’ll get mad sometimes because maybe I’ll have on something from somebody they don’t like but I don’t care man, it’s all about what looks good to me.
Well you’re not getting paid to wear it.
I know, I’m not getting paid so who gives a shit. It’s all about what looks good to me basically!
On the sneaker tip, growing up in Chicago the Jordan is HUUUUUGE there...
HUUUUGE, it’s another world man that people don’t know about. Jordans in Chicago are so serious that I mean, mad. I remember for the VIII’s, the Concord VIII’s people were getting shot over those. My mum wouldn’t let me get them for a while. I did end up getting them but she was like “you better not wear those when you go over your cousin's house” cos my cousins lived in the "HOOD" hood, so she was like “you can’t wear them when you go out there”. It was on the news like mad peoples was getting robbed and shot over those.
How long ago was this?
This was probably, ah, like ’94 ish when the VIII’s were first coming out, so around then I don’t remember the exact date…
I’m just asking because we are so far removed from any of that over here, we are sheltered from all of that
You guys are a long way away, the other side of the world, its nuts
Do you always rock Nike? Is that where it’s at for you?
Mostly I rock a lot of Jordan, a lot of Nike. The only thing I haven’t really got is, or brand of shoe I’ve rocked, well…I’ll just say the ones I rock consistently. Jordan, Nike, dope Reeboks, Vans, Puma. Basically just lines that have got classic designs, really dope classic designs that I can roll with because I don’t like really technical looking sneakers with watches and flash lights and all that stuff
No L.A. Gears for you then? No L.A. Lights?
Oh, Ill rock L.A. Gear, I just like classic designs, so yeah it’s all about the mould of the shoe, the whole design of it, is what will get me into it. I guess all the shoes I have are classics, like Vandals, all the old Jordans, I haven’t bought any Jordans past XVI, those are the last new Jordans I bought.
So it seems natural then that you guys may have something in the pipeline with a collab, it seems the thing to do?
We’re friends with Brand Jordan right now, and we’re going to get something rolling hopefully, we’re going to get some stuff moving. We got some stuff popping with Nike too. Nike and Brand Jordan have been really interested in what we are doing and they’re pretty eager to get something working.
What do you think the attraction is with these brands approaching you? Peter Fahey booked you guys for the Sneaker Pimps show in Chi-Town to perform with Slick Rick and Jeru Tha Damaga and then you get these people that are so into your style and sound, do you think it’s because it’s so new and refreshing in a retro way or is it because it seems authentic to them, it’s not something that is forced for you guys.
I think maybe it’s a combination of both. I think you can definitely tell we love this stuff and it’s pretty much we’re doing this strictly for the love of it and we love doing it, it’s not for the money or anything, because we don’t make any money. I’ll get on the recording right now and say we don’t really make any money, so it’s all about how much fun we have with it and I think that attracts a lot of people to us, the fact that they see that this is fun to us, we love doing this…
You’re hanging out too with, I hate to say fans, but the people that come to your shows. You hang out afterwards and chill out, you’re pretty approachable
Yeah, we’re just regular dudes you know. I was living in the dorms in college last year. You’ll never see us get to that superstar kind of attitude. It sucks and that was kills a lot of peoples careers man, you get that whole vibe about yourself and you elevate yourself to all other people, that sucks man. Nobody digs that shit.
Have you encountered that with some artists that you may have looked up to and when you meet them they are a bit like that…
A little bit, it depends on who you meet. Most of the people I really respect, that I’m really into, they are people like me. They don’t have that aura about them and that’s why I respect them and look up to them. If they do have that attitude about themselves I don’t really like them anyway, so I don’t ever really meet them. Everybody I like, has pretty much been how I’d expect them to be.
So what’s coming up next for Cool Kids?
We got a bunch of new music about to come out. I’m not going speak on the exact format as to what it will be bought out as, but there’s new music.
And you signed with Cake.
Cake is our joint, our label, and our brand
So, totally independent?
Yeah, all independent for us. We’re pretty much doing it on our own right now. If anybody’s got any good ideas and wants to pitch in and help, that’s always cool to, but right now it’s independent now and we’re pretty happy.
Extra images taken from the Cool Kids MySpace page