Words by Ms. Naomi Francis Parker
Style and music are two entities that rarely separate. From collaborations between artists and high fashion labels, to artists themselves creating their own labels and shifting their creative talent, many people find that the relationship between sound and style is a harmonious one. Mick Batyske, better known as MICK, is definitely one of those people.
Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, MICK moved to Brooklyn in 2008, where he soon began spinning for an incredible array of private events and shows. With everyone from Jay Z, The NBA, Adidas, GQ, Miguel, Public School, Coach and even Michelle Obama wanting a taste of MICK’s Hip-Hop inspired, soul loving sounds, he is musical storyteller, digital entrepreneur and style tastemaker. However, music isn’t the only thing that MICK values. His wife, Rana, and one-year-old son, Myles, are at the heart of everything MICK does, with his Instagram feed regularly featuring enviable family photos and his son’s impeccable style (check out #mylesxb and you’ll see what I mean). MICK’s undeniable creative influence is what gives him such an interesting edge, putting him at the forefront of music, tech, media and fashion, and showing how sound can tell a story about all of those things and more.
What is a typical day like for you?
It’s not the typical DJ life. That’s for sure. My life is basically the normal life of a creative entrepreneur. I wake up around 7. My wife Rana is usually up around 6 with our son Myles, who is one. I take him for a morning run around Brooklyn (new parent advice: running strollers are life savers). I’ll get home, we pray, then eat breakfast. I then spend a few hours at my desk working on various business things. I’m involved with several startups (DotDotDash, Localeur, and Anchor), so I like to check in with those guys and see how things are going. I’m doing a lot of speaking to various brands and organizations on creativity and culture. So, I try to spend some time every day developing and cultivating those ideas as well. The afternoon is usually lunches and meetings. Living in NYC, it’s important to stay connected to past, present and future clients. Then at night, it’s time with Myles and usually off to an event.
What would you consider your defining moment in your career, the moment you realised you’d made it in the music industry?
I did a mashup project several years ago called Viva La Hova, mixing Jay Z vocals over Coldplay samples. They essentially recreated one of those mixes live at The Grammys and, ironically, my wife and I were there in the audience. It was surreal.
How do you curate your music for a new gig or project? How do you find inspiration?
I try to immerse myself in what it is, how it looks, how it feels. I create a mental picture of it for myself, and then let my brain subconsciously do the work. I get a lot of great playlist ideas while running.
You’ve worked with some legendary artists in the past including Adele and Miguel, and you’ve also worked with some top brands including Adidas and Coach. How does music translate itself into fashion for you?
It’s all the same. Especially now more than ever. Kanye reinvented Adidas. Historically, Punk Rock and Hip-Hop have influenced every major fashion movement. In music, you try to create things that will resonate with the people, but add your own spin to it – fashion is the same. Anyone can wear a black suit, but how can you add your own twist to it?
You did a collaborative video with Complex back in 2013 where you said, “there is truly a sound for everything” – Do you think this is true of fashion?
Totally. There is a sound for every look, there is a look for every musical vibe. I listen to certain vibes when I’m getting dressed in a certain way. It helps put the look together.
In music, you try to create things that will resonate with the people, but add your own spin to it – fashion is the same.
Do you think your career as a DJ has had an influence on your personal style?
Absolutely. It’s evolved so much. I used to be a very bad dresser, haha. As my career has gotten better (and after I met my wife), I kind of figured it out. The old phrase “dress for the job you want” is very true in music as well.
If you could describe your style with a song, what would it be?
It would be a tie between “So Whatcha Want” by the Beastie Boys, “Classic Man” by Jidenna and “Starboy” by The Weeknd. Three totally different aesthetics, but my style is somewhere in the middle there.
How big of a role has your family played in your musical journey?
The biggest role. My wife has inspired my journey since the day that I met her. And my son inspires me creatively everyday, just by watching him. One of his first words was “deejay”.
Your son has amazing style as well; it has to be said. Is that something he gets from you?
Haha, thank you. I would like to take credit for that, maybe a little, but that’s all Rana. I do contribute to it though.
As someone who loves sneakers, who’s on your radar at the moment in the sneaker world?
KITH kills it every time. Nike Prestos. Adidas NMDs. Greats are a fantastic new brand. New Balance has some top secret amazing collabs coming out next year that are inspired by some iconic pop culture figures… But you’ll have to wait until next year to see. There is a new brand out of Portugal I really like also called Last Sole, I may be doing some work with them which is exciting.
You travel all over the world for gigs and projects. Which is your favourite country for style inspiration?
Paris, with London and Berlin as a close second and third.
What can we expect to hear from you in the coming months?
I’m about to do a remix project for Moxie Raia, who is managed by Scooter Braun’s company and is amazing. She is super soulful and the truth. Check for her!