Michael Keenan


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Daily Hype Hip-Hop Indie

Weekend Millionaires – Skizzy Mars & Katelyn Tarver

August 14, 2015

weekend millionaires skizzy mars art
Free Download | Weekend Millionaires - Skizzy Mars & Katelyn Tarver

As promised by the man himself, it’s “SKIZZY SEASON”. Coming off the great reception he received on My Friend — and basically everything else he’s dropped — Weekend Millionaires is yet another one for the books. Michael Keenan is the mastermind behind the production as per usual, and although the groovy instruments are still in play, the minor chords and creative percussion arrangements make this song feel less happy-go-lucky and more up-beat young and reckless. The hook from Katelyn Tarver provides a catchy melody that rides throughout the song, and the verses from Skizzy showcase a completely different, refreshing, and mature style of delivery. The Penthouse Music group never fails to release bar-setting — or even trend setting — music, and ‘Weekend Millionaires’ is definitely worth a download, a share, and a follow for Skizzy on twitter and soundcloud.

Daily Hype Hip-Hop Indie

Come Back – Skizzy Mars & Marc E. Bassy

June 8, 2015

come back skizzy mars marc e bassy album artwork art

Free Download | Come Back - Skizzy Mars & Marc E. Bassy

This is the dream team right here; Skizzy Mars, Marc E Bassy, and Michael Keenan have an unrivaled chemistry in the studio that can only be described as creative bliss. Hopefully you caught their last collab No Problem, but if not, take this chance to get acquainted with their sound. Michael is a versatile producer, but maintains a coherent sound that resonates with ambient synths, jazzy vibes, and perfectly placed percussion. We did an interview with him last month that gave us an inside look into his process and development, so check that out if you’ve got a minute. Marc’s vocals have this new-age R&B sound that’s easily identifiable, and having just released his East Hollywood EP last month, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear him dropping new material with Penthouse Music prodigy Skizzy Mars already. Skizzy just hopped off his Red Balloon tour, which hopefully means we can expect a steady stream of new content from him this summer. He and Marc released this sort of eerie love-song as a plea for a second chance with a girl they mistreated and lost somewhere along the way to success. It’s a super vibey, really downtempo track that pairs well with any midnight smoke session. Check it out, cop the free download if you like what you hear, and be sure to follow Skizzy, Marc, and Michael on twitter to show some support.

Daily Hype Interviews

Michael Keenan (Interview)

May 9, 2015

michael-keenan-interview

How did you get into producing? What projects and artists did you collab with before Skizzy?

I’ve been playing all kinds of percussion instruments since I was in the 3rd grade. I was always involved with a lot of different classical bands. For the most part I really didn’t like it, and didn’t even want to have anything to do with music until my friend showed me a program called Reason, which is where I found out one person could use a computer to write, record, and arrange an entire song just by using a midi keyboard. My mind was blown, so I ended up going to college for music production. Before Skizzy, I was mostly working with college friends under the name “Mikey Fresh,” a name some friends came up with in college. Once we got going on the Skizzy project I decided to take the new Skizzy releases as an opportunity to re-brand myself. I have 2 cuts on Skizzy’s Phases under the Mikey Fresh name.

How did you and Skizzy Mars meet and start working together?

Skizzy and I share the same management (Penthouse Music). We just started kicking it, and then Skizz brought me on the G-Eazy and Logic tours. From then on we’ve been brothers, just working on shit non-stop.

Since you’ve started working together, you’ve given his music a distinct “indie” feel. Was that always your style of production? What are some of your notable influences?

The Skizzy sound is something we created for him. It has elements that show its me, but this sound wasn’t in my catalogue until we started working together. I am not the kind of producer that has 100’s of beats for artists to go through; everything I make is made on the spot, tailor-made for that person. However, I am influenced by a lot of music, which I think helps me blend genres. Growing up I listened mostly to Motown stuff and some classic rock stuff. The Doors were huge for me, and MJ was always in rotation. As I got older I got into TLC, other R&B, as well as stuff like Everclear and 3rd Eye Blind (my step brother influencing me). I resisted Rap for a long time until sometime in middle school when I discovered De La Soul. Then everything from Dilla to Kanye were on my iPod. Everything inspires me now.

When did you decide to leave your home-town and head to the West Coast to start making music? How did you know the time was right?

I lived in NY for probably a total of 8 years. I always thought Cali would be good for my blood and would bring something else to the table creatively for me. Actually, right when we were finishing up The Red Balloon Project, people were knocking on my apartment door everyday. Either the dudes painting the walls wanting me to send them the songs, or my land lord trying to kick me out of the apartment for being noisy. Basically, once they pushed me out I couldn’t find a new apartment I liked and could afford, so I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do. I remember walking around deep in Brooklyn trying to find something, and being so frustrated that when my manager called me to discuss something we were working on I freaked out on him, and in that moment he found a house in LA with a room that was already acoustically treated for a studio. So I hung up the phone and called my mom to tell her I was moving to LA.

Walk us through your production process: What’s a day in the studio with Michael Keenan like?

Vibes are the most important thing in a session for me. A day in the studio looks like me answering emails and sending out edits first thing in the morning, then playing around on the keyboard, or kinda jamming a little with another person — if, say, a guitar player or something is here. Then treat that as a sample and build a beat around it while whatever person is writing. Then we record it and mix it a little and export the demo. Sessions are usually over at that point, and depending on the day I either go back to work on something else, or chill out, watch some mindless TV, or play some games before I pass out.

How many instruments do you play?

I play all percussion instruments, from drum set to xylophone, and piano a bit. I guess we should also include turntables too. I would like to start learning guitar in the next year, but for now I have to mumble my guitar parts to friends that play and hope they understand what I’m saying.

Any must-have studio cravings?

I crave to have a good pair of speakers and a keyboard haha. Food wise, Skizz and I are both weird and don’t really like eating in sessions. Just kinda beast a big meal at the end of the day.

How would you personally describe your sound/style?

I would describe my sound style as a mixture of everything; pop and urban with a bit of a jazz influence. Even my most urban tracks have some pop element, and even my most pop tracks still hit hard. I usually like to involve some kinda jazz element when possible too.

Something that I didn’t expect to hear was your collab with ex-Neighbourhood affiliate Olivver The Kid on his latest album Taste&Tone. How did that connection come about?

The connection with Olivver The Kid came about when Skizzy and I came across his song “Attica 71” somewhere somehow. He and Skizzy started talking online, and we had the “Time” track, which Skizzy sent to him and he turned around in 24 hours with that hook. Right after that he put out Lucy and we asked to remix it; the dudes vibes just work with ours.

Another prominent artist you’ve worked with is 2AM Club’s Marc. E. Bassy. Although he produces a lot of his own material, your production seems form-fitting to his vocals. When you produce for artists, do you make instrumentals that suit them best, or that suit you best? Who’s adjusting to who’s style?

I like to think that I do adjust to each artists style, but it can take time to figure out what that means exactly. Marc is just another artist I just click with, so its easy for us to work and create different sounds. The new track “Free Love” on Marc’s East Hollywood EP that I worked on sounds different from a lot of the other stuff on there, but I really didn’t want anyone else but Marc to have it.

How do you continue to grow from here?

Growth from here comes from just experiencing life and pushing myself past my limits. I meet new people all the time, and learn from myself and the people around me.

If you could collab with any vocal-artist, who would you work with?

Jeremih for sure.

If you could collab with any producer, who would it be?

1982 Quincy Jones.

Is the rockstar-producer lifestyle something you aspire towards, or do you prefer to keep to yourself and celebrate with a small group of close friends?

I’m for sure a studio head, and I’m not out all the time, but I have a lot of dope friends all over the place and I enjoy getting them together to have a good time.

Favorite victory drink?

Chocolate Milkshake.

What’s next for you in 2015?

2015 will be the next level of PHM, and on a larger scale. Lots of new talented minds bringing new ideas to the table. Lots of new collaborations coming out with some artists I’m very excited about.

Lastly, what’s the best place to find free new music everyday?

I gotta shout out University Hype, of course.

Daily Hype Hip-Hop Indie

You Always Know The DJ – Skizzy Mars & Allday

May 5, 2015

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Download You Always Know The DJ - Skizzy Mars

Allday’s original track You Always Know The DJ was a song that had been stuck in my head for weeks when it first dropped last summer. At the rate Michael Keenan and Skizzy Mars have been going with their back to back great indie-rap remix releases, I should’ve known this song was in their sights. The vibey percussion pinned to the mellow piano chord progression makes up the core of this song; which is the basis for Skizzy’s niche style. Allday’s hook is still a major part of the track, and although Michael works his magic to make the two artists blend seamlessly, there’s still a significant distinction between their voices that makes this song sound more like a single from Skizzy Mars than a remix to Allday. The breakdown at 2:15 will give you goose bumps; Skiz doesn’t always flex his vocal abilities, but when he does, he makes sure his sound is flawless. Enjoy the free download, show Skizzy Mars and Michael Keenan some love on twitter, and share this track with your friends via the links below. Oh, and stay tuned for our interview with Michael Keenan dropping this weekend; he’s basically defined the sound for Penthouse Music over the last few years, so it’s definitely a name you should learn a little bit more about.

Daily Hype Electronic Hip-Hop

Mine – Phoebe Ryan & Skizzy Mars (Michael Keenan Remix)

February 20, 2015

Mine (Remix)

Download Mine - Phoebe Ryan & Skizzy Mars (Michael Keenan Remix)

Teal-haired mermaid babe Phoebe Ryan has been an underground music artist since 2013. However, the 23-year-old LA-based songwriter has been establishing herself as a prominent name in the music scene recently. Her recent ascension into the spotlight can be attributed to her R. Kelly/Miguel Mash-Up ‘Ignition/Do You’, which dropped last month and premiered on Billboard. When I first heard this track, I was struck by her innocent and almost child-like vocals, but I found myself pressing play over and over again. Her unique-sounding voice captured me. “Mine” was her first original song, and it was incredibly well-received by audiences, garnering almost 150,000 plays on Soundcloud to date. Rapper Skizzy Mars and producer Michael Keenan certainly took notice and decided to collaborate with her to create this feel-good remix. Keenan adds his signature bouncy, anthemic production beneath Ryan’s charming vocals, and Skizzy throws in a few chill bars, hitting on Ryan in the process: Hey Phoebe I really love your hair. You’re so beautiful, so damn beautiful. Oh the things that I would do to you. Keep your eyes on this lady on Twitter, because this is only the beginning of her takeover.

Daily Hype Hip-Hop Indie

Quality Time – Skizzy Mars & Rockie Fresh

January 5, 2015

qualitytimealbum

Download Quality Time - Skizzy Mars & Rockie Fresh

While fans wait anxiously for Skizzy’s debut album ‘The Red Balloon Project’ (which goes up for pre-sale on iTunes tomorrow), Michael Keenan and Skizzy decided to drop a freebee to show just how dynamic their indie-rap sound has become, enlisting Rockie Fresh for a formfitting feature. Quality Time is the kind of track that’ll get a room full of hipster girls to start swaying; uplifting synth, a mellow arpeggiating bass-pad, and a snap/clap based drum beat come together to create this fully developed indie style, which bears a vague resemblance to Ratatat’s earlier work. That being said, noone has mastered this production technique the way Michael has. He and Skizzy seemingly created an entirely new genre in 2014, emphasizing the connection between stoners and hipsters to find some beautiful middle-ground. The verses are lavish, as per usual; Skizzy flows about expensive brands you’ve never heard of, smoking blunts, and seducing sexy young girls. MMG’s Rockie Fresh sounded surprisingly comfortable on this beat with Skizzy. We haven’t heard many rappers attempt to spit over Michael’s unorthodox production, so I was skeptical when Rockie’s verse echoed in, but his pace and lyricism falls right in place with the direction of the track, and the only aspect I could find to complain about is how brief his verse was. Regardless, this track is fire, and hopefully indicates some more dope features on the Red Balloon Project dropping sometime next month. For now, keep up with Skizzy, Michael, and Rockie via twitter and keep your fingers crossed for more free previews.