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photo by andrew acacio
So I finally got a chance to have a Q&A with my longtime musical acquaintance, Mike Baker the Bike Maker. Recently releasing his debut EP, “Now or Never,” and one of the founding father of the HONOR ROLL, this Bay-Area MC does it right by baking together a storm of songs with hip-hop, rock, electro influences.

Okay so I know you can’t make bikes..but can Mike Baker the Bike Maker Bake?
Yeah, that's gonna be a negatory. Mike Baker the Bike Maker does not make bikes, nor do I even bake. I guess I should try living up to my name in some aspect.
 
You know, you could actually be called Mike Baker the Mic Baker.
I never have considered that, but that's a good one, what, with me melting microphones and such with the heat that I be spitting. And just to make things clear, "the heat I be spitting" are rhymes, not the dragon breath.

You’re dubbed the “Secret Agent of Rap” and a couple of your tracks “Espionage” and “The Chase” have subtle hints of a spy in our midst. Is there something we should know (or will you have to kill us).
No danger to you and your readers, I'm an agent of the arts. Just working to make musical stimuli that help folks get off their asses and stop settling in terms of the sounds they let in their ears. But it's not just a sonic mission, [because] I'm a be going for the visuals too. Creating music with my Honor Roll family and others, to live and love your life to.
 
What’s the Honor Roll?
The Honor Roll or HNRL, is my immediate family musically. If anybody I work with outside HNRL are like my "cousins" or "friends", then HNRL are my "brothers and sister". We consist of Trackademicks (MC/producer), DJ Tap.10 (DJ/HNRL Gatekeeper), 1-O.A.K. (singer/producer), Josie Stingray (MC), Moxmore (MC), Spank Pops (MC), Whiz (MC/HNRL creator) and myself (MC).

Now or Never. (EP) Talk about it.
Now Or Never is my baby. AN EP to introduce myself to the world as the man I am. The whole HNRL is featured on it, and it features production from Trackademicks and 1-O.A.K.

I was inspired to come out with an EP first, instead of a full length, by The Beatnuts and Pete Rock & CL Smooth. At the start of both of those groups' careers, they released solid EPs that were short, but sweet, that had no room for filler. The Beatnuts with Intoxicated Demons and Pete Rock & CL Smooth with All Souled Out. In my heart of hearts, because of those two groups, I've always felt like an EP would be the best way for me to "Kool-Aid Man" onto the scene.

In a musical climate where too many artists release projects that have hella filler, a 5-8 song project with a [lot of] quality control behind it will make a [little] mark, at least.
 
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That picture of you on the cover shows your impeccable fashion sense when you were a child.
Gotta give it up to my mom, Mrs. Gloria Baker. She always had me looking fresh as a kid. I wish I still had that t-shirt from the cover, but in "me now" size.

Upcoming shows?
There will be many shows this new year, but right now, just locking myself in The Academy (the HNRL studio, like our own Hall of Justice/Batcave/MI6 headquarters) with the rest of HNRL to crank out the group album as well as everybody's individual solo projects.
 
Favorite Show location.
I think my favorite show location so far, has been The Standard Downtown (LA) rooftop, cuz visually, it's just dope scenery to perform in, and The Dakota Lounge in Santa Monica, [because] I did my first solo show there, and it holds weight in a sentimental fashion.

Whats it like growing up in Alameda, CA
Alameda is a very calm city. In middle and high school, kids would always [want to] be hard and claim they were from Oakland, but fools were always frontin’. As a kid, this place would be hella boring, but as I started college, I realized that it's definitely a haven for serenity. Like any other city, shit goes down, and it seems like there are some bad apples these days trying to cause some problems, but it's still a good place to get away from the more up tempo madness of the faster paced Bay Area cities.
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photo by robyn reyes

Collaboration Wish List
Besides HNRL, who I can honestly say are my favorite artists, I'd say Little Dragon, David Bowie (70's), A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, J*Davey, Nikki Jean, Mos Def, Kid Sister, Daft Punk, The Beatnuts, Large Professor, James Brown (60's and 70's), Astrud Gilberto, Curren$y, Prince, Everything But The Girl, Phonte, Dilla, Primo, James Murphy, Metro Area, The Neptunes, Slick Rick, Outkast, Art Blakey and probably a whole host of others I can't think of right now.
 
Your personal blog site Speak Freely” has numerous dedications to really hot girls. What famous female would you love to have in your music video.
Who wouldn't I want in my video!?!? Rosario Dawson is always gonna be up there for me, as well as Eva Mendes. But right now, I'm having a Zoe Saldana epiphany. And since I was 9, Naomi Campbell could get it, so she definitely can cameo in any video of mine. Oh, and not [to] forget Freida Pinto, because she's so gorgeous, it's almost like teleportation.
 
Ariel vs. Belle.
A: I'm a have to go with Princess Jasmine or Pocahontas.


(interview by marjolyn ustaris)
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photo by robyn reyes

      Download the "NOW or NEVER" EP  here.



{music videos}

"Say Goodbye to Love (Trackademicks Remix)" video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0bIZ9P2DV8

"The Chase" video"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOIkWlQyc60

"Espionage (Live)" at the Key Club in LA"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-etwbXQNQU


To keep up-to-date on upcoming shows, track releases and everything else Mike Baker-related, you can find him here:

http://mikebakerthebikemaker.com
http://twitter.com/mkbkrthebkmkr
http://mikebakerthebikemaker.blogspot.com/
http://www.youtube.com/bikemaker
http://mikebakerthebikemaker.tumblr.com/
http://www.formspring.me/bikemaker

 


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