Mike Sabath Talks New Body of Work “Album 1: Being Human,” Working With RAYE, Being Strikingly Different & More
In an industry that’s constantly changing, few artists can carve out their own unique sound and style, but Mike Sabath has managed to do just that. With a voice that’s soulful and powerful and a production style that’s both classic and modern, Sabath has been making waves in the music world since he first burst onto the scene.
Sabath’s newest release, Album I: Being Human, showcases his impressive range and imaginative prowess. The album was a product of the pandemic, during which Sabath retreated to his brother’s shed for comfort and musical inspiration. “Music is my breath in this life,” he says. “Making this album coincides with my everyday experience.” The album started with the song “Being Human,” a track that perfectly captures Sabath’s emotional depth and his ability to blend classic and modern sounds. As the album took shape, Sabath’s band The Moongirls joined him, adding their energy and creativity to the mix. The result is an album that’s both deeply personal and collaboratively inspired.
Sabath’s approach to production is unique in that he combines traditional recording techniques with more modern technology. “We recorded most of the record in a very traditional/classic way, recording live through the tape, etc, and then I blended those raw recordings with my more modern production style which brings the classic sonics into the modern era,” he says. The result is an album that feels both timeless and current, with a sound that’s all its own.
One of the standout tracks on the album is “Sexy!”, a song that’s as fun and infectious as its title suggests. Sabath says the song was inspired by his experience in Tulum, where he found himself dancing and connecting with people from all over the world. “That raw real energy was some energy I hadn’t felt in a long time after the pandemic,” he says. “Being out with the people in the culture, feeling it with people of all races, all everything, there are certain songs that just move all of our bodies deeply.”
Sabath brought that energy back to LA and turned it into a song that’s both playful and deep. “We just started jamming it from there,” he says. “I was kind of just fooling around, honestly, at first vocally and singing these melodies and saying sexy and all this fun weird s**t and it was kind of a joke at first. We almost didn’t even record it.”
But record it they did, and the result is a track that’s become a fan favorite. “It became one of my favorite songs on the album,” Sabath says. “I’m so excited you have it now and more people are getting to have fun with it.”
Sabath’s ability to blend classic and modern sounds comes from his deep love of music and his willingness to follow his heart and his inspiration. “Creating coincides with living for me,” he says. “I believe the journey of any type of artist is following that magnet of inspiration. Following what pulls your heart, what heightens your frequencies, what inspires you!” Mike’s journey as an artist has included working with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Shawn Mendes, Lizzo, Pharrell Williams, and J Balvin. But for him, one of the most rewarding experiences has been executive producing RAYE’s album. “Being able to build that record with Rachel (as I call her) from the ground up, and us being best friends, it’s just been so magical,” he says. “People are finally getting to hear and see and feel the real her.”
Catch Mike’s full in-depth interview below.
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience working on this album?
Music is my breath in this life so making this album coincides with my everyday experience. This album started during the pandemic in my brother’s shed where I had set up a little studio. I was in need of immense heart pouring and there it flowed into Being Human, the first song I made in that shed and the first song I made for what became Album I: Being Human. The record making process began alone and evolved into this collaborative record with my band The Moongirls which formed along the way. I feel that gives this album a special flow to it because it has both my isolated energy as well as the combined energy of me and the band which creates this dual flow on the album.
The way I approached the production was in line with the concept of duality running throughout the record in that we recorded most of the record in a very traditional/classic way, recording live through tape etc, and then I blended those raw recordings with my more modern production style which brings the classic sonics into the modern era. There’s also some songs I recorded completely differently like “Beautiful” which I made on top of a mountain in an air stream. It was magical. This record is full of love and care, real musicians, string orchestras, water, you name it hahaha. I’m really excited for everyone to have it so you all can enjoy it and so I can share more.
How do you get into a creative mind space before creating?
Creating coincides with living for me like I said above and I believe the journey of any type of artist is following that magnet of inspiration. Following what pulls your heart, what heightens your frequencies, what inspires you! Lately, I’ve been meditating before creating to focus my energy more and be more intentional and present with whatever is about to occur. It’s most important to just stay open and let the magic flow when the magic flows and say thank you when it does.
Tell me a bit about this new single “Sexy.”
So, “Sexy!” came about after I was in Tulum celebrating a wedding. We were out there dancing, out late in a place where there were people from all over the world there to party, essentially. In those clubs, certain records were making the entire range of humans move deeply, dance, feel good, dance on each other, sing to each other, look into each other’s eyes and connect on a deeply musical, sweaty level. And most of those records were old records, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, “Kiss”, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” etc. That raw real energy was some energy I hadn’t felt in a long time after the pandemic, and honestly, I never really went out much growing up so it’s energy that I hadn’t felt a lot with lots of people in general.
Being out with the people in the culture, feeling it with people of all races, all everything, there are certain songs that just move all of our bodies deeply. That energy is what I came back to LA with surging through me and I literally landed, went straight to rehearsal with The Moongirls and I had this drum beat in my body, and I said, John, play this, boom, boom. And Aus just got his Rickenbacker bass and the first line he played on that bass was the baseline of “Sexy!” and we just started jamming it from there. It was coming straight out of the DNA of dancing with the people. I was kind of just fooling around, honestly, at first vocally and singing these melodies and saying sexy and all this fun weird s**t and it was kind of a joke at first. We almost didn’t even record it. When we were at the studio finishing the album, this was one of the songs that I was like, I don’t know if we should even do it. And then, of course, we did, and it became one of my favorite songs on the album.
That’s how it goes sometimes with something really great. It often comes with confusion between is this amazing or horrid hahaha. I personally feel like this one ended up being amazing. And then the video… that’s the full moment. Austin’s brilliant video direction combined with the magic of real joy, real dancing, us picking out all the outfits, our friends being in it, everyone just having a great time, Christopher Pearson killing DP, editing it ourselves with our super talented friend Oliver Pearson, everyone’s heart just comes through. I’m so excited you have it now and more people are getting to have fun with it.
You’ve worked with global artists like Shawn Mendes, Lizzo, Pharrell Williams, J Balvin and more. What’s been the stand-out highlight moment so far? Yeah, getting to work with all these artists has been a crazy honor and a dream of mine. I’ve always wanted to work with powerful, cultural artists so I don’t take it for granted. But possibly the most standout moment so far has been getting to executive produce RAYE’s album and helping her connect on the global level that she now has. People are finally getting to hear and see and feel the real her. Being able to build that record with Rachel (as I call her) from the ground up, and us being best friends, it’s just been so magical. And getting to watch her talk about it and perform it and seeing how emotional it is for her and how fulfilling it has been for her and how much people have been connecting with it, crying to it, dancing to it, and feeling all the love we poured into that music has just really been so beautiful and fulfilling.
This is also the first time that I’ve directly made something and thought it was incredible and then it went on to touch millions and millions of people which put a lot in perspective for me. It made me realize that this is real, that what we put into our art really does touch real people, not numbers or algorithms, literally people, and that tangible understanding made me further realize the responsibility we have as creatives to put the most love and highest frequencies possible in our art so that when our fellow human family encounters it, it can be a healthy interaction.
You released your own album at only 14 years old and in the 7th grade you produced and wrote “Hand In Hand” and orchestrated the song alongside 140 kids from his school to raise money for charity. How did these early moments in your life prepare you for where you are today?
Ooo I like this question. Yeah, I think just trying things and following that child excitement in me was very impactful. I was lucky enough to have the space and time to try and looking back, I mean, I didn’t even know what producing or songwriting was at that time. I just loved making music and knew that’s what I wanted to do from a super young age. Yeah “Hand In Hand” was special in my early experimenting with using music to make an impact in some form. And I think it was good practice of bringing something pretty large together as a baby producer. I made my GarageBand album when I was 8 and it was really just an album of GarageBand loops. I was exploring sounds and arranging and putting things together. I think what was most helpful was me not knowing a lot, not knowing what category it fell into, not thinking about becoming a good producer or thinking about becoming a good writer or anything, I was just letting my passion lead the charge and was trying things and became obsessed with hearing sounds I made. I also loved watching people perform on stage and always had a deep craving to be up there. That early period ended up helping me practice writing/producing but more importantly it sent me on this path of following things that I’m passionate about with a childlike perspective. It’s like that now. It’s about how what I’m working on makes me feel and then following what I believe in.
What message do you want to convey to your fans with your music?
The main message on this album for me is accepting our humanity. It’s being okay with any and all versions of yourself. Being the true version of yourself every day. One day you might wake up feeling like a god, the next day you might wake up feeling like a piece of s**t and that’s just what comes with being human. I’m doing my best to accept that myself and my music reflects all those different emotions for me, both the depths of my heart as well as the surface of my desires because I’m not always deep hahah. I think us being able to embrace ourselves will help us embrace all the versions of each other and understand that we’re not always going to come as the best version of ourselves each day, and that we have to be compassionate which will ultimately lead to a more loving environment for us to exist in. There’s more to us than I think a lot of us find because society often puts us in these boxes and I don’t think human beings fit into a box. We have many sides to ourselves and when we’re in these boxes, we often miss so much beauty in us that is waiting to be discovered. I’m still exploring so much of myself and I will continue to do so through my art and share it with all of you so we can all try and accept every piece of us, even the parts that no longer serve us.
What’s next for you?
We’ll be doing as much touring as we can this summer, sharing that good love! I’m working on some super secret (lol) new records for myself as well as other artists and I am just very excited and honored and grateful that I get to make and play music and create art. I hope you like what happens!
The definition of Contrast is “to be strikingly different.” What makes you strikingly different?
It’s funny, I was looking back at the original answer I gave and my heart and mind were in such a different place at the time. My ego was trying to come hang out haha. “In the most humble way possible, me and my band are truly great, all of the music and art you’re getting is actually coming directly from our hearts and fingertips and we’re doing all of this out of love.” All we can do is be our honest selves at any given time though and that was my answer then. My current answer is that we’re doing this because we must. This isn’t a hobby, this isn’t just a want, this is a need. I personally need music in order to breathe and I believe in my heart and my frequencies and I believe that putting those frequencies into art and sharing them can help raise the overall frequency of the humans my heart encounters. I believe the purity of why we do this has been lost on a large scale and has been damaging to us as a society but I also believe in duality so here we go, back up again.
In the most humble way possible, me and my band are truly great, all of the music and art you’re getting is actually coming directly from our hearts and fingertips and we’re doing all of this out of love. Thank you. Love, – Mike.