Updated: Dec 17, 2020
We recently caught up with Maryland rapper Miles Drake AKA Until The Very End to chat about his creative process, inspiration, and his upcoming EP "Out Of Spite" which you can listen to here. To license any of Miles' music, or to find out more hit us up.
Where are you from originally, and where are you based now?
I was born in Washington D.C and grew up in PG County, MD. I'm currently based in Howard County, MD.
How did you get your start in music? What were some of your first experiences with music and creation?
I remember going to Best Buy when I was young and buying a computer microphone. I came home, plugged it into my laptop and recorded my first song using the computer's voice recorder. I couldn't wait to let my mother hear what I had done and she couldn't care less haha. I actually started my music journey as a battle rapper in middle school. I would spend part of my night coming up with topics to rap about during lunch the following day. Not long after graduating high school I found myself in the same recording studio that Wale recorded in. I was lucky to find a producer and engineer to follow me down the crazy road that is creation.
You just released an EP today. What was the process like, especially during the current pandemic? Were you able to collaborate with others, or was this largely a solo effort?
It actually took me a while to arrive at the idea of creating an EP.. 2020 has been a year of me releasing single after single. It's very comfortable to do it that way as I am able to put my entire attention into creative ideas around the solo release. With the year coming to an end, I felt an EP would be the solid way to end my 2020 campaign. For me the process is fairly simple. I've met a few producers throughout the year and developed a solid plan with them. I send them my crazy ideas and feelings for a song or project and they send me back gold. My engineer MK has held me down since 2015 and still allows me to belt out absurd notes in his home studio. This EP had a very experimental feel in my head and I knew it would be all me with no features. My producers Charlie Wonka, A Golden Coast and LESTER are scattered across the map. It was just MK and myself cranking out the madness. Clean environment, clean sound and another one under the belt.
How do you get in the zone creatively? What drives you? What’s your creative process?
The people around me know I pace like a madman when I'm developing a song or project. I typically come up with a feeling I want to embody and develop my production around that. I'm heavily influenced by film. I often think about the feeling I get from listening to the TRON LEGACY soundtrack. This EP allowed me to completely embody this feeling without trying to make anyone dance or get a catchy chorus stuck in their head. I flesh out feelings, artwork, song titles, promotion and marketing as the project progresses. The story builds until the very moment I'm ready to share. After that I watch it run wild like a proud father.
Your beat selection is always very on point. Do you try to be an integral part of the production, or do you like to sift through instrumentals to find something that creates a spark for you? Do you produce?
I actually work with my community of producers to develop a sound or sift through their catalog depending on a project. Most of the time it's just me pitching this crazy idea I have to them and allowing them free roam over sound development. I used to produce when I first began but quickly realized I would need more practice and learning. I think over time I just got used to focusing on the songwriting and recording side of things. Eventually I'll sit down and get back into it. This way I can drive myself crazy with perfectionism over snare sounds.
The visuals for your previous release were so cool. The claymation really brings nostalgia. Was there a specific inspiration for that?
I actually have a claymation figure from a song I released called "The Wonder Show". I knew I wanted to take it further so for my song "Bring It Home" I developed a story to accompany my release. I found this amazing artist in Egypt that brought my vision to life. I would say years of watching Adult Swim made me want to try something different with my artist branding. I would talk about Robot Chicken with my friends and now I can include myself in that creative conversation. I was lucky to work with another artist to develop new claymation for my EP. It's worked its way into who I am as an artist.
Top 5 songs or albums of all time and why?
My top 5 Albums would have to be:
Kanye West: MBDTF
This was the first project that showed me the complete creativity an artist can show through their project. From the production, features and short film I was very enamored with this album.
Lupe Fiasco: Food & Liquor
This album played a specific role in my youth. I remember having a CD player sitting on a plane heading to Atlanta trying desperately to remember lyrics to songs on this project.
Bad Boy's 10th Anniversary (The Hits)
Almost every Bad Boy hit ever is on this album haha. Absolutely no skips allowed on this!
Bon Iver: 22, A Million
I was going through a very tough time when this album came out. The sound design and melodies alone pulled me through. I was on a balcony in Mexico going through a breakup blasting this. Bon Iver definitely was my therapist.
50 Cent: Get Rich or Die Tryin'
I got this album as a youth and couldn't stop making finger pistols in the mirror. I know I pissed my sister off as I walked around the house reciting words from a life I hadn't lived in my 11 years.
Top artist everyone should be checking out right now but don’t know it yet?
I would say:
Until The Very End (Of Course)