NMV Sit Down: Plug Migo
Plug Migo talks being a Mexican-American artist, working with King Louie and the best taco spots in Chicago.
We are extremely happy to present our first NMV Sit Down with the 31 year-old Chicago songwriter/producer as he continues to drop content during summer 2018.
SM: Steven Mainzer
PM: Plug Migo
SM: Hey Plug, how’s it going? What have you been working on lately?
PM: Lately, I have been working on the business side of things, since I like to be like a one man team in a way, even though I have a good amount of people around me that help me. I like to lead on all aspects on the business side, networking with people, I haven’t been so focused on creating music even though I haven’t stopped. I have been helping other artists with their craft, being an ear in the studio, connecting the dots with different artists. I’m working in different genres. Chicago is big with house music and a lot of my friends are deejays so I’m just taking different production styles, helping house deejays producing new music and crafting their sound.
SM: I didn’t even know that you were getting into house music? What drove you to do that?
PM: House was a part of my life growing up, Chicago is known for house, my sister was a huge fan…really just partying man, being out living life. I saw the way that hip-hop is different from how House it affects people. It’s cool to see people enjoying dancing and all that shit, and having a good time.
SM: The video Ratchet Thoughts you dropped recently is just another one to add to the collection for you and DadaCreative. Can you talk about how you started a relationship with those guys? It seems like you guys have a lot of chemistry.
PM: How that started, we met at a shoot, when I started working with Louie, he had the song ‘Til I meet Selena.' When I met him, Louie was like “I f**k with what you’re doing , I’m actually a pretty big Selena fan, I’m shooting this video, I want some Mexican culture in there.” This is the first day we chopped it up, he said if we can do some s**t to get the video a little bit lit on those aspects with some Mexican culture, then that would be dope. So, then they come over and Dada just walked in my house filming and that’s how I was introduced to Dada. It was dope because they had collaborated with Nick Brazinsky that day so a lot of up and coming talent was in the room. It was dope we were chilling in the room, so then I played one of my songs, and Angelo from Dada was like “Whose this?” I was like this is my s**t. He said, this is raw as f**k this is something I would want to shoot.” I thought it was dope he said that because I started to need videos for my project. I started seeing what Angelo and Max were doing and it hit me that, maybe it wasn’t the best route, but I just want these guys to shoot all my s**t.
SM: You wanted to develop that relationship?
PM: I knew it would be more beneficial for me art wise to build a vibe for somebody and it definitely worked to my advantage. I think me and Angelo would agree that some of his best videos are Plug projects, those are some of his favorites. That’s always something that I am proud of, I’m glad we got to reach that level of partnership and working together.
SM: What’s your plan for the next half of the year? It seems like you’re dropping video after video, any new projects in the works?
PM: I’m actually working on a mixtape and it’s kind of weird. It actually goes back to the beginning in my music when I wanted to start recording, like in 2005. I was in the street and getting money, I finally had something where I could buy my own computer and my own recording shit. But, at the time the industry wasn’t what it was today with regards to the Internet, and what the industry is now. The accessibility and the technology wasn’t there, I didn’t know a lot of engineers and producers, It was more of like a small hobby, like a home studio without the professional quality.
Since I didn’t have the luxury of producers and engineers around me, I just started remixing beats, around the time of 2005 and 2007 where I started to see the Lil Wayne era. I was like you know what, I’m learning beats and finding my sound, I didn’t have as much access to the studio, so I started writing to industry beats. The concept of it was re-rock, which tied into my life before rap. I thought it was interesting because the content was correlated with what I was doing in the street. It was about accessibility that kind of pushed me there. This was 2005, 2007 the idea got shelved and replaced with what I was doing in the street. Then, I thought about now how everything is going in the industry, I’m trying to pave a road for Mexican-American artists, there wouldn’t be a better time to do that for me than now. I definitely want to get a little more political and personal toward the industry with this project.
SM: What did you listen to growing up, what were your influences?
PM: My dad was a mariachi, he came here in 1942. It kind of trickled down, my dad had a lot of records he owned a lot of vinyls. No pun (*laughs*). That kind of played a big role, he was a really intelligent dude that listened to all types of music: jazz, that Brazilian kind of music, Frank Sinatra, Louie Armstrong, all those genres you can think of. It gave me a natural love for all music. Definitely a lot of Mexican music, the Three Ace’s, Selena, then my sister was a teen when I got into music so she listened to Tupac, Biggie , dope shit from the 90s. 'Pac made me do what I want to do now. Off the simple fact that Mexican gang-banging culture in the nineties was all I remembered, it was Tupac you know. The way these other leaders in the streets were paying attention to this dude, I was realizing as a Mexican-American we never had anyone fill those shoes, not in the Midwest at least. We kind of get categorized in the whole cholo lifestyle, which I think is dope but it’s a whole different vibe to the Mexican-American culture. I grew up pretty well cultured in music all around.
SM: I feel like you have quite a niche, melodic trap along with catchy hooks to give your own twist. When writing a song what comes first for you, the hook or the verse?
When it comes to the process, I don’t have a recipe I use every time. It’s more like how does life inspire me or where I am at in life right now to make this record. It can start either way but it starts with life mostly, s**t that I’m feeling or going through. When I’m creatively stumped I feel like I should go out and get some experiences in. It’s definitely an emotional process.
SM: How so?
PM: It’s all about how I’m feeling. A lot of the times I’m writing these songs to my own beats. When its from scratch, it starts with how I’m meeting with my mood and that’s going to set the tone with what kind of beat I’m making and that beat will set the tone with my feelings. It’s a very personal process, most of my best work gets done when I don’t have too many opinions around or people around that will give opinions or will sway what I’m feeling.
SM: You are one of those artists that switch hits. What do you like more rapping and singing or making beats?
PM: I want to say I have an equal love for both sides. I say this to people that sometimes want to be rappers, a musician is a musician. You’re not just a beatmaker or a songwriter, they play off each other. If you want to be a better songwriter learn an instrument, I can’t really say that I have a preference you know. To me, its just being a musician. Its not just one thing really. It’s kind of fucked up also, because they do that in hip-hop a lot.
Hip-hop is the most segregated version of all, you got the backpackers, trappers, nerds, and at the end of the day its music, it shouldn’t be different and you should all show appreciation for it, just like any other genre. I like to be able to create from any point of view. At this point I enjoy working on any different type of music really.
SM: Can you spoil any upcoming collaborations you have with any artists?
PM: I’m just working with a lot of new and upcoming artists I guess you can say. Not even new but we have this studio called The Island in Goose Island, a lot of people come through there: King Louie, Valee, Asa and a lot of times it has to do with Dada because he’s linking the dots over there. Malcolmflexx is the engineer, and he’s doing s**t for everybody and its just cool vibes, so I would say he’s someone I am excited about, not necessarily with what we’re working on together, but what he has for himself, and all these people seem promising. But I rubbed shoulders and talked about doing work with Valee and Louie, that’s my guy. And Mikey (Dollaz), those are my guys. Planning to shoot a video with I.L Will soon.
SM: "Skrrt Skrrt" with King Louie and Mikey Dollaz was one of my favorite tracks from 2017. How did that come about and what’s it like collaborating with those guys, as they are some of the drill pioneers? I know you have a bunch of tracks with Louie.
PM: Honestly I feel like a lot of the times I have worked with Louie and Mikey, who had a name for themselves already when I came in, it was about how much I inspired them to get on it you know? Louie is the kind of guy where you’re going to show him a record and he’s going to like it or not. Sometimes I feel like I bring something out of him you know. He’ll be like "Plug went crazy on this, so now I know I gotta go crazy, for that one." I just set the tone with him you know. For "Skrrt Skrrt" I did the beat, I wrote the verse, then one day I was recording Louie and I played him the song, it was kind of like a freestyle and had no hook, so I was like, “I guess its missing a little something." Instead of putting an actual hook, I just threw Mikey on it and he liked it and spazzed on it. I feel like everyone was just feeling it. Feeling that inspiration to one up each other.
SM: Best Mexican spot to eat in Chicago?
PM: You just gave me the toughest question. Chicago food is no freaking joke, there’s a bunch of places, I like tacos from Atotonilco, there’s one on 26th street in Little Village, I guess I say the city joke when it comes to those is, “Tacos so good they’re worth getting shot over.” It was always known as a rough area for Mexican Americans, Little Village has always been the hood. There’s some other places I could shout out, Nuevo Leon that burned down, the one in Pilsen. La Palapa is another one.
SM: Who was your favorite cartoon character growing up and why?
PM: Donatello from the Ninja turtles because he was cool and edgy but he also had the nerdy side to him. Donatello was the intellectual, inventor, scientist. It definitely gave me some creative inspiration there.
SM: If you had any piece of advice for upcoming artist, what would it be?
PM: Hard work and consistency will get you further than anything and that the times that you want to quit is that you should realize that you’re really making advancements to your goals of what you really want to achieve.