As we’ve seen with the success of local rap superstars like Post Malone and Fat Pimp, the music scene in Dallas is always evolving. We got a chance to catch up with indie artist, Metal Mike, to discuss how he’s found his place as a creator of Hip Hop/Metal music, the tour life, and much more.
7 Star Dreams: Hey Mike, for the benefit of those who don’t know you, tell the people who you are and how you got the name “Metal Mike”.
Metal Mike: Hey ya’ll, I’m Mike Ames aka (Metal Mike). Actually the name was given to me by my punk rock friends to identify which Mike they were talking to, way back in the end of high school days; so I guess that means it’s derogatory in a way! (Haha) But yeah, I used to have long hair, and was the standard metal shirt wearing, beer drinking, guitar player. The name just kinda stuck around once I started touring and getting out on the scene.
7 Star Dreams: Last time we spoke, you had a show in Downtown Dallas which we bought tickets to but missed your performance. How’d the crowd react to your music?
Metal Mike: Actually the crowd’s response overall have been really positive. Not as much of a “We really enjoyed your songs/music” kinda way; but more often a “Wow, we really didn’t expect anything like that and it be good to come out of your mouth!” And a lot of “I don’t normally listen to this kind of music, but I really liked that last song, I couldn’t help jamming to it!” (Haha) Which is cool, because I like breaking people’s expectations and throwing them a curve ball, but in a good way. I keep hearing that I should hook up with Tech 9 or the Juggalos because my stage show is so crazy with giant shotguns, chainsaws, and skull masks! I like to have a good time on stage.
7 Star Dreams: You and your partner in crime, Mr. Jonez, have been building a buzz in the DFW metroplex for some time now. How’d you two meet and how does that feel to see your hard work finally starting to pay off?
Metal Mike: Well, I met Jonez at a local bar called Best Days in Garland. We’d shoot the shit, and one day he played a song he recorded and it was killer. So I gave him a beat CD I’d been stuck on, and left on tour for like a month. Came back, saw Jonez and he said he had some songs to show me; and that he did! Since then, he’s composed most of the beats you hear, but we’ve gone different paths lately in terms of style. He’s more into the singing R&B scene, and I’m pretty focused on the straight hard hip-hop side of things.
And it’s great that people are starting to take notice. I’ve been meeting more and more artists just like me (with the drive and talent doing things on their own), looking for signs of life in their city… I just wish there was a more serious push among clubs and artists. Murphy’s has a great open mic on Wednesday’s that Spaceship Oahasis and DJ Lady Q host, that I always try to attend. But still, it’s like I see the same artists bounce around from these [local clubs] without ever getting a real push towards going places…
7 Star Dreams: Being a Caucasian rapper (I know you probably hear this all the time), do you feel any pressure being compared to superstar artists like Eminem?
Metal Mike: Well, yes of course, but not just because I’m white. There’s my initials, MM (Metal Mike). I’m very comedic/psycho killerish in my rapping style. I dye my hair weird colors sometimes, but I try to stay away from blonde, if I can (because of the Em thing). Eminem, of course, is one of my favorite rappers of all time. I try to be as different as I can musically from not only him, but from everybody.
I just wanna bring a new element to the hip hop game. I might have songs that you can tell are definitely influenced by Eminem, but in no way do I wanna be just another white Slim Shady… It’s kinda a curse now all white rappers have to deal with, which isn’t fair to the really good crazy artists out there that are overlooked for fear that they’re just another Slim Shady copycat. I think Eminem would be intrigued by some of the way I flow my words, and I would love to hear his criticism about maybe ways to do it better. But I’m Metal Mike, a different white candy all together! (Haha)
7 Star Dreams: What’s life like for Metal Mike outside of the Music Industry?
Metal Mike: Funny you should ask; I don’t have a life outside of the music industry!! For real, I’ve worked the last 8 or so years touring with the band Sevendust as their lighting director; and when I’m not on tour running lights, I work as the lighting guy at the 3 top music venues in Dallas (HoB, Bomb Factory, and Trees. So, I’m at a concert pretty much every night. And when I get home from that, I go in my garage or in my car and record my own stuff until I have to go back to work again. So there is no life outside of music; if I’m not making my own, I’m helping someone else record theirs or something!
I also have my own company called “Get N Da Zone Productions” and I make music videos and do graphics, logos, and art for other bands around town who need the help, but can’t afford too much, like me. I have to always be creating something or moving towards a goal, life is to short to sit back and just watch.
7 Star Dreams: If you had the opportunity to sign with a major label, who would it be (or do you plan on staying indie)?
Metal Mike: I’d love to hook up with of course Dr. Dre, because I think he’s really smart business wise and knows how to present music that’s not always gonna be welcomed into the scene very openly. Plus, he makes sure anything he puts out sounds amazing and that’s key. But another white guy getting with Dre is a fairy tale. Realistically, I think my home would be with Strange Music. It’s perfect for music as dark, twisted, and obscene as mine is.
They treat their artists right and there’s a lot of togetherness in their camp (a good twisted genius brotherhood). I’d love for Strange Music to get a hold of my music. I think they could turn it into something even more spectacular!
7 Star Dreams: Tell the people about your latest project.
Metal Mike: Actually I’m a little stuck because I’ve been sitting on like 2 mixtapes, a metal Mike & Mr Jonez “songs we have left you haven’t heard yet” kinda of album called “Monumetal Mike & the Ghost of Mr. Jonez”, and then a solo Metal Mike album. I’ll drop the name for the first time here so it can’t get stolen (you’ll know that’s my shit). It’s gonna be called “Metal Mike – The Rapocalypse.”
It’s gonna be real different than anything anyone has ever heard but still hip hop to its most genuine self (like I’m not gonna have a bunch of rap/metal songs with guitars all over the place blah blah. That’s not hip-hop). Yeah there will be guitars and stuff, but not like you’d expect. I want to create music that can’t be put into any certain genre completely… Something that can be enjoyed by all types of music listeners or just your average Joe!
7 Star Dreams: Last, but not least, where can new fans find you online?
Metal Mike: The best starting point would be www.metalmikemrjonez.com. Or on Facebook under the official name “MetalMikeTheRapper“. I’m always open to hear from anyone anytime about anything so I can also be emailed at MetalMikeSMD@yahoo.com. Thanks again for taking the time to get inside my head a little and let me share with you things I hope you will enjoy!!
Author: Farlin Ave
Naheem “Farlin Ave” Houston is a musician and founder of 7 Star Dreams. When not busy being an entrepreneur, he works as an entertainment news journalist for the mainstream Hip Hop station 97.9 The Beat in Dallas, TX.
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