“You can take the same chords and make a million songs, you can express them in different ways. It’s like a language and I’m just trying to learn to speak it more fluently”
Two rescheduled shoots, a sustained chain of emails, and a three-minute hold later, Mac Miller is on the line and I’m feeling pretty good—the same kind of good you feel after reaching an actual person on the DMV phone line. For the burgeoning artist, this is an incredibly busy time given that his fourth studio album, The Divine Feminine, was just released via Warner Bros. Records. Five minutes into our conversation and I can already tell Miller’s love affair with music is real—muffled sounds of rustling and movement reverberate on the other end of the line as Miller turns his hotel room into an impromptu recording studio.
I ask him what he does when he isn’t playing music, expecting to learn about a riveting hobby, or love for his native Pittsburgh Steelers. “Honestly, I really use my free time to make music,” he laughs before continuing, “I’m not always working on music for an album or for anything, it’s just kind of part of my routine.” It seems that for the self-taught Mac Miller, there is no escape from the creative mania that is music.
“You can take the same chords and make a million songs, you can express them in different ways. It’s like a language and I’m just trying to learn to speak it more fluently,” Miller explains. Even a quotidian trip to the coffee shop is a slow dance with creative imagination, as he chooses between four stage names—Mac Miller, Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival, Larry Fisherman, and Delusional Thomas—when placing an order. “Names allow me to create without the confined lines of personal narrative or identity,” he tells me. Curious as to who Larry Lovestein might be, Miller seems to anticipate my next question: “Larry Lovestein is the cheesy love side of me,” he explains only a little shyly, “that performs at casinos and just has a very hairy chest.”
“Dang!” the lead single off The Divine Feminine, is supernaturally smooth. Featuring buttery vocals from former Flauntee Anderson .Paak, and jazzy instrumentals that flit over Miller’s rhymes—had “Dang!” been released in May, it would have been that Summer song—the one you hear in every bar, coffee shop, and bedroom. Having taken more of an executive-producing role, Miller has stepped back from making his own beats with this album. The Divine Feminine captures his self-exploration through a melodious narrative driven by rich instrumental combinations. Miller tells me he’s trying to get the voice and instrumentation to align more for what he’s trying to get across, “I just want people to explore love and just feel good. You know?” He pauses, “Not necessarily happy or full of joy, but just content and present.”
Written by Jasmine Ashoori
Photographer: Abigail Briley Bean.
Stylist: Adrian Manuel.
Stylist Assistant: Martin Tordby.