Mylo Mu is a producer, rapper, poet, filmmaker, photographer, and founder of arts collective, Black Magic, currently based in Berkeley, CA. His chromatic, mind-bending work hopes to stimulate all facets of the human experience, with immersive experiences that help us rediscover the beauty in our everyday.
How would you describe yourself?
Most recently, I’ve been defining myself as a wave. Like, a wave of energy. I try to emanate that in everything that I do. Living outside of very confined structures of what I’m supposed to be. A wave of energy that could run through anything. That’s kinda like the hope of my art. Being able to transcend every barrier. A wave of meditation in a sense, more so. I want to bring peace, bring positive energy, wherever I go.
Tell us about your work.
Something I actually try to bring forth is Black psychedelia. I think Black psychedelia is almost nonexistent in the sense that it’s not pronounced. People think that there’s psychedelia and go, “Timothy Leary, 1970s, white kids in the park,” right? But when you think of Black psychedelia, there’s so many different experiences. Different intersections. When you’re experiencing with the body and the mind, and trying to figure out your identity. And even symbols; I love symbols. My music, my art, everything’s about symbols, so I’m trying to figure out how we understand symbols different. From person to person. From reality to reality. From different cultures as well.
My shit is heavily steeped in Blackness, though. From “Black Power and Flowers” to “The Poetry of Black Ecstasy”, to “Free Radical” — and it’s not because it’s talking about Blackness. It’s because I have to tune into the Black experience. I live it.
My music also seeks to extend beyond racialization, because it’s nonexistent. But it’s for everybody, because I think that’s the point. Everyone has a uniting piece or a uniting factor. And I think that certain things, like dreams, are enough to unite everybody. Part of my psychedelia is engaging with dreams. Making the surreal evident. We all understand having dreams.
Your art is left purposely vague so that people can have their own interpretation in relation to yours.
Yeah. And also, another part I love about just art is that everyone has a different intuary in relation to me. ‘Cause I am Mylo, but Mylo is also a thing. I’m a curator. I’m just creating spaces.
How’d you get started in art?
In reality, drawing. As a kid, I used to draw all the time. Middle school was when I started making beats. Everything expanded from there because sound inspires all of my visions, and my beats came from hearing MadLib, MF Doom, Dilla — and it was going from their samples too. Hearing their background music made me want to understand how they did it.
Can you describe your artistic process?
My process….it depends because it’s very fluid for me. It really depends what I’m going through. Every project, every idea, I let it come from life. I don’t like to overplan my artistic process.
For music, I like to listen to sounds. Like research. Jazz, Coltrane, Sun Ra. And then from there I create beats; I let the sounds inspire the vision. Like, what reality am I in? What space am I in? The sounds emanate the space and that’s why it’s psychedelic. I’m seeing the sounds; I’m seeing the colors.
What kind of reaction do you hope people get from your work?
I like people to feel happy, truthfully. And that’s not always easy because not all my music sounds happy. My shit usually all sounds gritty and warpy, but I think happiness is a possibility because it’s also about healing. So, I think through speaking my truth, people could connect with it. And that’s the best part.
What are some people who have impacted you?
My mom. My mom is one of the biggest influences because literally music became big [for me] because my mom is a singer. And for me, love. Like, you listen to my music, a lot of it is psychedelia. But within it, I also put romance — and ecstasy. The idea of the erotic. I like to go to that space, because that’s a source of inspiration for everybody: desire. Everyone desires, whether it’s negative or positive, we all have desires. And I think going from that space is when you get to the space of positivity and creativity, because you can start imagining.
Given unlimited resources, what would you create?
It would be very colorful. It would be filled with light. But it would be a big ass living space for artists. And have a studio for everything. A big space for people to just live. A utopia. I just want everything to be beautiful. I want to be able to curate a living space that’s ideal for me. Something that has all the radiance, all the colors, all the textures that I want. I want to create that for artists, because another thing is there’s a lack of space [for artists]. There’s also a lack of collaboration because we’re all fighting for space. So, if I could build a space for peaceful coexistence, I would. Laughs.
Why do you create?
It’s the only way I can keep living. Nobody in the world is gonna give us our dreams. I create for everybody who feels like they have no space. I create for all the kids who don’t see themselves on TV. I create for all the males who don’t want to be hyper-masculine. I create for all the women who want to hear some cool shit not about, you know, fuckin’ bitches and gettin’ money. Because everybody knows it’s more than that, you know what I’m sayin’? I do it for all the margins. I want to find that space that’s not talked about. I also reflect the people I’m around. I create for our experiences. I create for the margins.
By Eda Yu
Photos by Darrin Wallace