Brooklyn-based Mick Batyske – who performs under the moniker MICK – isn't your normal DJ. In fact, he's not even your average artist. For years, the turntable technician has utilized his piano and drums skills to create masterful mixes and keep crowds moving everywhere from Las Vegas to the White House. The 10,000 recently spoke with MICK about his career as a musician and businessman, the state of the music industry, and his life as a new father.
Unlike some DJs, you're actually a musician, with a background in piano and drums. How does this influence the music-making/mixing process for you?
It influences it a lot. I hear music differently. I hear it in key. I hear it in tones and colors. I see rhythm and hear movement. It becomes an extra sensory experience for me. Master & Dynamic headphones actually help me to interpret all of that.
In addition to releasing critically-acclaimed mixtapes, you've also DJed dozens of high-profile events for the NBA and NFL, and even curated the soundtrack to EA Sports' NBA LIVE. How do you view the ties between music and sports?
Music and sports are so similar. They are also two of my biggest loves, specifically hip-hop and basketball. Biggie said it correct – I think it was Biggie, at least – every rapper wants to play ball, and every baller wants to be an emcee. Sports and music are two of the most creative outlets people can use to express themselves. It's no secret there's a huge synergy. Music can amp up an athlete's performance like no other. That's why audio is important for all athletes, whether they're professional, amateur, or even gamers.
Many of the larger events you've DJed are for brands and corporations. How do you adapt your live DJing to these settings?
I'm a music lover, first and foremost. I was blessed with a gift to know what to play in any setting, for any crowd. It doesn't matter the age or demographic; I'm able to win them over. Plus, my career is very brand-friendly. I work hard to create lasting relationships with these brands and agencies, and we create a relationship that is more than client-based.
You're not only an accomplished DJ, but a businessman as well. You've got investments in tech companies, experiential agencies and more. What's next?
DJing has led to some fun reverse hacking of my life. Before I was a DJ, I was in grad school getting an MBA which I planned to use in a career as an entrepreneur. Then DJing became my "startup", if you will. Because I've been fortunate to be successful at this, a lot of doors have opened with some influential people and exciting ideas. I'm now able to take advantage of both sides of the playing field. It's truly a dream.
You recently became a father, the latest in your long list of accomplishments. How, if at all, has that changed your career?
Oh my God. It's everything. Myles is THE BEST. The most amazing child ever. I mean, I'm biased, but so what? I have never been happier. I've also never been more focused. I work ten times harder now than I ever have, which is scary. But I'm also trying to work twenty times smarter as well, so I'm home more. And beyond just being home, being present. There is a difference.
What do you like most about being a dad?
Everything. The way he laughs at me when I do something silly. The way every day is new and fresh, because he's doing something he's never done before. The way my wife has become this magical wizard of motherhood right before my eyes.
Going back to music, how do you feel about the state of the industry at the moment and where do you see it heading?
I think it's in a really good place. Streaming has changed everything. Music truly has become a free commodity, which is scary to some, but if you embrace it you can really find unique loopholes to really win. There's a lot of bullshit music out there of course, but there's also tons of great stuff as well. The acceptance of streaming, along with heightened attention to curation, has made it easy (and legal) to find great stuff from the past and present.
Social media has also become tied into not only the music biz, but everyday life. What's your approach to using the various social media channels out there and how do you feel about their integration into the music world?
I love it. It's a way for my fans and clients (and potential future fans and clients!) to see who I really am. What makes me real? What makes me authentic? My followers know all of that and more. Obviously I don't share everything, but we all know some really fake people online. My persona is pretty much who I am in real life, and I'm proud of that. I have a lot of brands working with me now as an influencer outside of DJing, which is fun and tells me they're in tune with who I am as a person, not just as a performer, so I feel like I'm doing something right. Plus, musically I can share all my projects with my fans with one push of a button. What's better than that?