The Internet is filled with amazing music that no one listens to. While many– namely, record executives and artists of Jay-Z’s stature – claim the Internet has ruined the music industry, it’s done great things for musicians who lack Beyoncé’s stage presence and Miley’s industry connections. Today, anyone with a computer can download FL Studio, create a Soundcloud account, find niche audiences, and deliver fresh sounds to Internet crate diggers like myself. I recently discovered Mi Ka’s charming “je suis charlie” during one of my manic Soundcloud blackouts. The track is melodic and upbeat and nu-disco-y everything that one would expect to hit the Internet like wildfire, so I was surprised to find very little about Mi Ka in my Google searches. I decided to hit up the mysterious Mi Ka and find what he’s about. It turns out he’s a 20-year-old math student in South Germany. Read our conversation below.
Labeling Men: How long have you been making music?
Mi Ka: I have been playing instruments since I was 4 or 5, but I started making electronic music at 15.
Labeling Men: Describe your sound in one word.
Mi Ka: Narrative.
Labeling Men: Do you have another job in addition to making music?
Mi Ka: Yes, I’m studying math at the University of Stuttgart.
Labeling Men: What are you working on right now?
Mi Ka: This summer I want to drop a three track EP. I have one track finished that is called "Sommertage" which in English means "summer days," but the other two are still in the making.
Labeling Men: Does Germany influence your sound?
Mi Ka: Yes, of course. There are great musicians like Marek Hemman or Jonas Mantey in the techno/electronic music scene who really have influenced my sounds. Besides there is this varied mixture of the countryside and the city/night life that inspires me.
Labeling Men: What is the music scene like in South Germany?
Mi Ka: There are lots of minimal techno, deep house, and tech-house artists. People like dancing, the clubs are crowded and the atmosphere is incredible. I think we prefer smooth, danceable and minimalistic rhythms over those aggressive big room/EDM sounds.
Labeling Men: Have you been to the US? How does it compare to Germany?
Mi Ka: I went to New York City two years ago and all I can say is that things are much bigger. The cars, the buildings and of course the hamburgers. It was a great experience and I would love to visit LA in the future.
Labeling Men: Who are your musical influences?
Mi Ka: I love the producers/DJs Marek Hemman, Jonas Mantey, Parra for Cuva and Mr. Carmack, but I also listen to a lot of acoustic stuff like the jazz pianist Keith Jarret or Nils Frahm. I also love Elliot Smith and hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar, Apollo Brown, and the German rappers Umse and Chefket. All these artists influence my sound in a certain way.
Labeling Men: Who is your dream collaboration?
Mi Ka: The singer Sia.
Labeling Men: What is your favorite song you've made?
Mi Ka: I don’t know why but it is "frühlingswind" because it is so simple and I was incredibly happy when making it. It means “wind of spring” in English.
Labeling Men: What’s your vice?
Mi Ka: Sometimes I overthink things or fine-tune too much on my songs. I should more let things breathe.
Labeling Men: What inspires you?
Mi Ka: Basically my home, my friends and my current feelings.
Labeling Men: What is your favorite song of 2015?
Mi Ka: There are lots of songs I’ve loved, but the one that really stood out was Kendrick Lamar’s "i.” It is an incredible piece of art with a true, powerful meaning, when you really listen to his words. He preaches about peace, love and equality.
Labeling Men: Can you tell me about the inspiration for the song " je suis charlie"?
Mi Ka: I made the song after the terror attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January…. This song is my contribution to the victims and a song for free speech and against violence. I wanted to convey comfort.
By Anna Dorn
Photograph by Johannes Roth