Caligula Talks Trap: "Kind of Bummed How Mainstream It's Become"
Damaged Goods and Mikey Millions are a couple of monsters on Miami's dance music scene. But when their powers combine, they transform into something much more sinister.
As Caligula, these dudes have caused serious dance-floor mayhem. And they continue to be the go-to local openers for the biggest names in the bass game.
Tonight, they're slated to open for Mt. Eden and Figure at Grand Central, as well as Doctor P when he makes the roof shake at Revolution Live on Friday, June 7. But they still aren't satisfied.
Damaged Goods and Mikey Millions' come-up story is extreme and unusual. The pair was first introduced in 2010 by mutual friend Sam Baum of the Overthrow. A quick introduction in the studio left them interested about working together.
They made a few remixes real fast, just for fun, and submitted one of M.I.A.'s "Steppin' Up" for a big remix contest, hosted by HARD. To their total surprise, they won, and they were quickly jetting across the country.
"It was so fast," says Obi, AKA Damaged Goods. "I met Mikey two months before, and next thing we know, we're in L.A. at Red Bull Studios as Caligula. We've got a logo and everything!"
It was surreal for sure, but they guys don't let the glamorous side of things go to their heads.
"We probably weren't ready really," Mikey admits. "Our production, looking back at it now, was so basic, and we didn't have any of the techniques we do now. We listen to that stuff and it's awesome, but we're just like, 'Wow, we've come so far.'"
Mr. Millions went to college for engineering and takes pride in his ability to artfully mix and master his own creations. Because of his studies, he can recreate a sound the duo likes, help create new and unique approaches, and give everything they touch a clean finish.
"We're trying to develop not a new sound," Obi says. "We want to somehow fuse our older stuff with the newer stuff and try to tighten everything up. Just keep innovating."
Like a lot of bass-driven acts, Caligula's interest has been piqued by the trap house movement. But unlike a lot of EDM freaks, the hip-hop game is nothing new for these two. Years before he met Obi, Mikey actually got his start producing beats for hip-hop artists. And he sees a lot of his past in this "new" musical direction.
"It's almost like stuff [I made] eight, nine years ago," Mikey explains. "Back when Young Jeezy first came out, that version of trap, the real kind, that whole thing that came out of Atlanta and stuff. That was my shit at the time."
Obi, too, is no stranger to the 808 bump.
"I kind of get bummed sometimes how mainstream it's become now," he says. "I used to travel to Atlanta a lot, and 2 Chainz and Future were so underground there."
In fact, he was so engrossed by trap that its abrupt popularity almost freaks him out. "I think it's kind of weird, though, because there's so many people doing it now, and we're kind of true to it."
So, what does an artist do when everyone goes left? Go right, obviously.
"That's when it's fun to just go make a house tune or something," Mikey points out. "That's what we've really been doing, I guess. Experimenting with different tempos, but still using our Caligula wobbles and heavy drums and all that kind of shit."
"We're trying to diversify," Obi says.
The Caligula dudes are working hard to broaden their sound and keep it fresh. But they're also taking the time to make everything they produce uniquely their own. They know some people with limited range might find their experimentation odd. But Obi and Mikey aren't afraid of change. In fact, they know they need it in order to survive and keep the fun in what they do.
"You can't limit artists. That's the number-one thing," Mikey insists. "What we have coming out is going to surprise some people, but it's only for the better."
Caligula. Opening for Mt. Eden and Figure. Thursday, May 30. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $20 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
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