An interview with Mic Kellogg

Milwaukee artist Mic Kellogg self-produces hip hop tracks in his Riverwest studio and has just released a new EP Make This Last. Our partner 88Nine Radio Milwaukee caught up with the artist and chatted about staying positive, going back to his roots and headlining the venue where he got his start. See Mic Kellogg live at High Noon Saloon in Madison on Friday, Dec. 7.

How did you get started in music?

I always had a love for music. How I got started on a more serious level was right at the end of high school. I went to high school in Madison and I had this class called Hip Hop Studies my senior year. It was the first hour of every single day. We would walk in and make beats, write music, or just learn hip hop. It was pretty crazy.

Our final was to put on a hip hop show. Everyone produced their own songs. That’s when I got introduced to the production side of things.

Pretty much every song I have out right now is also produced by me. I spend a lot more time on production that a lot of people know, actually. That’s one of my main loves, producing. I play the background part for a lot of different artists. That’s how I grew my own sound; I started making beats for all my friends that were around me. Slowly I started to shape what I wanted my beats to sound like.

I was doing hip hop shows back then, but I wasn’t that serious about it. I didn’t have any music online. I sort of just shaped my producing craft for two or three years after high school. I moved out to Colorado right away and I was just a ski bum out in Breckenridge, Colorado, working on music a bunch, but still not putting anything out.

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Finally, my friend Damien [Blue] lived with WebsterX in 2014. I knew Webster was about to put out a project, and we didn’t really know each other, but I decided to move back to Milwaukee and pursue music more seriously.

I lived with Damien and WebsterX for a year, and we created and created. That kind of started everything for my first project, Breakfast.

I read that your EP Make This Last revolves around chasing happiness and acknowledging things in your life that make you feel the best and keeping those around after going through a dark time. This music scene has seen a loss because of depression, and I was wondering if you wanted to talk about your story and the message of turning things around, acknowledging that you went through something dark. Sometimes people only see how “Instagram happy” people are and feel alone in their darkness.

For sure. I had an experience that happened to a lot of people I know, but last year I got robbed at gun point and beaten up really badly by like five people, and pistol whipped. I got sent to the hospital, and it was all just for my phone. It really messed up my perspective on everything. It changed me forever.

I was messed up, I just wanted to stay inside, I had trouble creating — it was really intense. I didn’t really speak up about it to anybody except the people closest to me. Then, I started to shelter myself, kind of cut everybody off. It just sucked, I was really low.

Then I started talking about it more and more and that really helped. It just took time, really. Coming out of that and getting back to creating was one of the best things. That made me realize how hard I need to work. That sparked a lot of ideas for me. That’s when I came up with sticking to my roots, doing something very Wisconsin, being outdoors – the deer, homegrown, hunting “up north” feel. I wanted to get away from the city and put that into my music, too.

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I know so many people who the same thing has happened to, and there is so much random, senseless violence that we’re surrounded by. That’s really when I started writing that “Keep Lovin’” song to spread positivity. Now I really try to preach positivity in all forms and to help anybody out in their endeavors.

This story is from our partner 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

Find the full interview with Mic Kellogg on 88Nine.