Since moving to LA, Pittsburgh-born rapper Mac Miller’s house-cum-studio nicknamed The Sanctuary has become a hub of creativity. From TDE to Odd Future, anyone who is anyone on the West Coast has spent time hanging out and recording in Mac’s pool house.
When Clash calls Mac to chat about his new mixtape, ‘Faces’, he is uncharacteristically low-spirited. “It’s pretty sad, dude. I’m moving, so we gotta rip this place apart, and I’m sad to see it go. It has a lot of soul, but it’s just going to become a pool house again.” He soon enough composes himself. “Whatever though, you know, bad endings are good beginnings.”
“The hallucinations have stopped, finally, thank god / But my adrenaline reserves are burning out, and I’m staring straight into the face of a total psychotic freak out,” begins ‘Faces’ closer, ‘Grand Finale.’ The quote is taken from Bill Murray depicting gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in the semi-autobiographical film Where The Buffalo Roam.
“This project was like hallucinations and sleep deprivation turning into everyday life and seeing faces everywhere,” explains Mac, speaking to Clash for the first time since his summer 2013 cover feature. “What is a face? What’s not a face?” explains Mac of the sample – which was chosen by his engineer Josh Berg, who incorporated a narrative into the mixtape’s 24 tracks.
“He put all of the samples together at the end,” says Miller. “I had so much shit that I had to step away from it, and I sent him the tracklisting and he put it together. We both love speaking through that type of thing.”
“I’ve never recorded something for a project per say, I just create,” he continues. “I’m not trying to plan so much, I’m just trying to let things take shape and let the universe guide me, if you will. But once I decided that I was going to call it ‘Faces’, I think [that influenced] the music that I was creating.”