Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: MillionYoung

millionSaying that success came easy for Mike Diaz, the creative power behind electro-funk outfit MillionYoung, sells his development in the music world a little short, but saying that success came fast for the Floridian musician is certainly appropriate. Still in his early 20s, the composer has already recorded an LP on indie label Old Flame, and has continued to gather followers through his presence on MySpace, Tumbler and other tools of Internet music distribution.

millionSaying that success came easy for Mike Diaz, the creative power behind electro-funk outfit MillionYoung, sells his development in the music world a little short, but saying that success came fast for the Floridian musician is certainly appropriate. Still in his early 20s, the composer has already recorded an LP on indie label Old Flame, and has continued to gather followers through his presence on MySpace, Tumbler and other tools of Internet music distribution.

Prior to his show at U Street Music Hall on April 27, the News-Press caught up with him to ask about the fast start to his fledgling music career and what the days ahead may hold.

Mike Hume: How did you get started making a name for yourself?

Mike Diaz: I’ve been doing stuff like this since high school. I was just putting songs up for streaming on Tumbler and a few other places on the Internet and the ball started rolling there. It was pretty quick, maybe just like a month or two and it was pretty transformed. I used to play by myself and now I’m joined on the road by one of my friends, so we’ve got the whole band thing going on.

MH: And how did you decide to make the kind of music that you do?

MD: It was kind of just putting a lot of different influences together. I listen to a pretty varied palette and it’s just a combination that seemed to happen on its own. I like things that are really rhythmic and so I’m into a lot of Funk and Motown and Soul, but also a lot of New Wave and 80s stuff too.

MH: What’s your creative process like when you start to write a song?

MD: I usually start with rhythm stuff, just a beat that gets in my head and build onto it. Sometimes it’s just weird sounds and stuff like that. I use a lot of Ableton software and stuff like that. I love how open it is, you can make sounds from scratch pretty much. But it’s also a good amount of trial and error, trying different ideas out and sometimes I’ll have an idea, play with it for a little while and then move on to something else. I can get pretty erratic with the writing process sometimes.

MH: So now the flipside of that question, when do you know how to stop?

MD: You do and you don’t. We play with that idea the last time for the most recent record we recorded and it was about a year-long process. We got to where it was really clicking with us and the songs were really fun to play live. Sometimes we’ll just play songs live and see how crowds respond because crowds can tell you a lot.

MH: What can people expect from your live show?

MD: Well, it’s kind of been growing pretty much every time we’ve gone out. We’re moved into a setup that we really like. There’s three of us and there are a lot of elements in the songs that aren’t solely keyboard driven so we have a lot of drums, bass and guitar, but there’s still some keyboard stuff too. We like to keep it varied. I want everyone to enjoy themselves, dance and come back to see us again.

MH: What’s up next for you?

MD: We’ve been playing with a lot of soul stuff listening to a lot of Teddy Pendergrass and Otis Redding. We’re trying to take it in that kind of direction maybe even find some people to play some horns for us.

  • For more on MillionYoung, visit www.myspace.com/millionyoungmusic.com