The Echo Chamber

“Artist-generated, dolphin-friendly, Auto-Tuned when needed. We the best.” From the mind of Beastie Boy Mike D comes The Echo Chamber. After three decades with his record-breaking, culture-shaking band, he’s designed magazine covers, record sleeves, and his own wallpaper and accessories. Now, he designs radio. “I think, in our own way, we ended up being a radio station of our own design because we were inspired and informed by so much different music that we put into what we made,” Mike D tells Apple Music. “Either by just trying to sound like something or sampling something or talking about it in our lyrics, we were like a gateway band.” Below, he speaks more about that connection.
What drew you to wanting to host a radio show? “I remember years ago, as a band, we kind of always wanted to have a radio station—maybe a show—but technology didn't really exist that aligned with that. And I didn't want to just do a show for the sake of doing a show and not have a vision or an idea of where I'm going with it. Then one day it kind of came to me: When I have friends come over to my house—and it's been this way since I was 12 years old—I'll put on a record and they'll be like, 'Oh, cool. What is this?' And they’ll put something on and it's kind of this back-and-forth dialogue. And I thought, 'You know what? That could be a cool show.'”
How does that idea connect to what Beastie Boys did as far as surfacing artists who shaped you? “I feel very grateful that we somehow had been inspired by all this music that we love and then that's helped some of our fans dig deeper and discover more. I remember we were in our studio we had in New York City, Oscilloscope, that was actually [Adam] Yauch's place, and we were like, we'd like to have a show and just play stuff we were into, nothing more complicated than that. I should try to find this. Somewhere a hard drive exists that has our two or three attempts at doing these shows.”
How do you discover music now? “Part of the answer is the same way I always have. Both in terms of old records that are new to me and new records and reissue records, there's nothing that beats going to a record store in terms of getting the biggest grab of music and inspiration in one hit. Number two, it's just the same old way of just friends. And at this point, thankfully, I have cool kids who listen to cool music, so there's always this exchange and sharing of music that way. I think one of the things that I do really like in the streaming world is the wormholes. You listen to the playlist and you discover other things.”
Who have been the guests you learned the most from? “What I think about are these moments—it's, selfishly, music that I got turned on to by different people that I didn't expect. I remember when the artist Doug Aitken was on my show, there was some German things and also some world-psych things that he kind of put me onto. That was great and unexpected. There was this song by this early-’80s band Kleenex—Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth was on and it was something she played. Now I put it on playlists all the time. I remember going back and forth on songs with some of the girls from the band Warpaint and I was really surprised because I didn't realize they were DJing out, playing some of those same things that I was, but then also introducing me to some different things. It's those moments I really like.”

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