Sir Michael Rocks or Mikey Rocks – a musician, designer and world traveler. Sir Mike, one of the founding members of The Cool Kids alongside Rapper/Producer Chuck Inglish, had an early start at the age of 16. After releasing their studio albums titled “Gone Fishing” and “When Fish Ride Bicycles”, Mikey Rocks started his solo career. In 2011, the Rocks Report was the first solo release followed by a slew of mixtapes through 2014. His debut album Banco was released July of 2014.
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Mike O’Keefe: Describe the excitement leading up to a trip or tour. Is traveling something that you enjoy most? Why?
Sir Michael Rocks: It’s a new adventure every time. Even if it’s somewhere that you’ve been before it’s like starting a new adventure. You gotta get prepared and get your stuff together man. Before I go on a tour I like to get mentally prepared and kind of get ready for what I’m about to get into, because tours last up to months at a time sometimes. You definitely want to ease into that the couple days and weeks prior to takeoff man.
It’s exciting and there is a little fear involved, because it’s a new experience each time, but I love it man. I get to meet cool people from all over. I get to see parts of the world and experience different cultures, foods and everything man. It’s probably one of the best feelings in the world, especially for a guy like to me to adventure and see my surroundings it’s just a great feeling. I even have my favorite airports at this point. I get around enough to navigate all the places that are cool to me man, and avoid places that I don’t like. I somehow find a way to get to the places that I do no matter what.
MO: Out of all the cities you have performed in, are there any that stand out in terms of crowd atmosphere? Was it inline with the city’s nightlife?
Photo courtesy | Brent Pearson
SMR: I really like Sydney, Australia. It’s one of my favorite places man. The crowds are crazy. It’s really young crowds. They are really energetic and ready to just go wild man. Being in Sydney is also key as well, because they have a pretty cool nightlife. It’s a really big metropolitan city man. It’s tight. It’s also kind of tropical as well, so it’s really beautiful man. Sydney’s crowds are really tight I really appreciate going there. It was pretty fun last time I performed there.
MO: When visiting a new city, what is the first thing you try and do? Does it differentiate from a city you’ve been to and know well?
Sir Michael Rocks taking in the Chicago River.
SMR: Whenever I’m visiting a new city, I always like to find the best local food spot. If I’m on a coastline somewhere it might be seafood. If I’m in a rural area then it might be beef or steak or some kind of chicken. So I just try to get into the best local food spots and try the local flavor man. Get the real taste of the culture and not the KFC — the stuff all over the world.
When I first started traveling I used to do that. I used to kind of eat stuff that I knew, because I was scared like, “ahh man I don’t know what that is — I just want to eat some McDonalds.” As I got a little bit more experienced I started trying a lot of the local flavor and really started to find some great stuff man. I really started to find some surprising things all around the world. So now I just make sure I find the best food spots when I touch down in any city.
MO: Plenty of Seafood.
SMR: Plenty. Plenty. Plenty. I’m a big seafood guy man and definitely down with fresh fish, fresh crab — lots of lobster. Especially cities like Seattle man — Seattle and Maine. All these coastal cities are really good for seafood.
MO: Coming from the Chicago suburbs, now living in Miami, you’ve experienced two different ways of life. Knowing what you know now, what destination could you see yourself living in next? Why?
SMR: I recently went to Bangkok, Thailand and I just fell in love with that city man. It’s so amazing, because it’s a huge, busy, metropolitan city, but it’s got a really tropical climate as well. It’s a very rich culture, with beautiful surroundings and environments. The nightlife is really cool. Girls are beautiful. The food is good. The living is really cheap and affordable man. It’s really got everything that I like.
MO: How was the language barrier?
SMR: It’s very, very minimal actually man. They speak a lot of English. The language barrier is almost non-existent. It wasn’t hard at all to navigate around and find what I needed. It was pretty easy for the most part. It’s beautiful. I could see myself definitely living there, for a little while, at some point in my life.
MO: You performed in Tokyo as The Cool Kids. Was the flight there the longest you’ve been on? If not, what was? And how did you deal with the length?
An avid eater, Sir Mike always dips into the local cuisine when he’s away.
SMR: Yeah, I’ve been to Tokyo as The Cool Kids, but I’ve also been to Tokyo on a vacation before as well. Both times were different experience I’d have to say. When I went for the show, we were performing this stuff man. We didn’t get to spend much time, we were only there for like three days. It was nowhere near enough time, because we were so busy the whole time. I didn’t really get to experience it the way that I had hoped.
When I got to go back again, on a vacation, I got more time to see the city and go do stuff. I went to different comic shops and checked out anime and different food spots. I was able to link up with some people that I know out there and go to some parties and actually enjoy myself. Tokyo is one of my all-time favorite places. I love Tokyo dude. I love Japanese culture and anime video games and everything they’ve done for us man. I’m a big fan.
Photo courtesy | Totororo Roro
MO: How does music and travel fit together?
SMR: Music and travel are pretty much two of my biggest quests in life. I make music so I can go travel and I travel so I can get inspired to make music. Traveling around definitely inspires me to write different songs. It gives me new ideas and new outlooks on things man. Every time I travel somewhere I get more inspiration. It gives me more fuel to come back and record. It gives me more ideas to leave with. It just kind of refreshes me man.
It wakes you up when you’re traveling, because you’re in a new place and sometimes you just have to be on your toes and you gotta be focused. You gotta be on your toes and aware of everything around you. You’re looking for new things to enjoy while you’re out and about. Traveling and music pretty much go hand-in-hand for me. They both inspire each other man. Music inspires me to want to travel and sometimes I want to make music for a feeling that I had in a certain spot. I was here, I was doing this, and I had this feeling. I want to make songs that can kind of capture that feeling.
MO: When’s the next trip and what for?
Photo courtesy | Tiago Fernandes
SMR: I either want to go to Hawaii, Greece or Bangkok again man. I’m in between those three man. Bangkok I might go there to actually record in May — depending on a few little factors. Hawaii I would like to just go there, because I haven’t been in a while — since like ‘09. I definitely want to be somewhere warm, but I want to avoid the Caribbean this time. I’m kind of over the Caribbean right now man. I want to go somewhere with cool beaches, but not the Caribbean.
So maybe Hawaii. I’ve been looking at a lot of different places in Greece. I haven’t been to Greece yet, but I’ve been looking at tons of places. I think that would be a tight trip too. Sometimes I’ve got to just find the right person to bring with me man. I like to sometimes travel with my associates. You know travel with a friend or something so I gotta see who’s down to roll with me.
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Further listening: Check out Sir Michael Rocks’ debut album Banco, SoundCloud and YouTube.
Additional photos courtesy | Complex.com | NahRight.com | SmackWaterMusic.com