Interview with Milkman, an Up and Coming Mashup Artist from UCSB
I had the opportunity to interview Gregg Luskin last week or–as he’s know to the music world–Milkman. Milkman is currently one of the leading mashup DJs in the world. Believe it or not, he’s a student at UC Santa Barbara. It’s great to see there are college students leading cool lives. Keep an eye out for him. Here’s the interview. ~Kelly
What year are you and what’s your major?
I’m a third year. I’m actually a computer science major. I got really into computers in high school and as you can tell with my music it’s very tech-oriented. I’ve also been really into music, so the whole computer science side of it really interests me. Whether or not after college this DJ thing goes anywhere, I feel like with a CS degree I will always have the opportunity to work with computers and music to bridge the two.
What do you use to DJ?
I run off of a MacBook Pro; I’m a huge Apple guy. When I first started–in the dorms actually–my roommate showed me a few of these other sample-based remix artists and I was intrigued. I’ve got music ADD and I can only listen to 30 seconds of a song before switching over to another part. I’ve always been good with computers, so it fell right into place with me.
Believe it or not, I started with GarageBand and Audacity. My song “Trial and Error,” which is the first song I ever created and is on my first album “Lactose and THC,” I used Audacity to timewarp the songs and used a keyboard. I listened to the song to get the pitches right and just threw it all together. That literally took about a month, every single day on GarageBand.
Now I’ve got a lot of toys. When I perform live, I run off 2 MacBook Pros which are MIDI clocked together. I run through Ableton Live, which is a fantastic program. Anyone trying to get into remixing or music production, it’s a great program. I highly recommend it. On top of that I’ve got a Novation SL 0 which has got knobs, faders, buttons… I map all those to Ableton. I also run with a BCR2000 from Berringer. I’ve got a few audio cards, USB hubs… and all that is just bring the tracks in easier and manipulate the tracks more easily. Using a mouse and a keyboard on the spot is kind of ridiculous. My most recent upgrade have been Jazmutant Lemurs. They are just these monitors that are gigantic iPhones; they have infinite touch.
How do you balance your school and this hobby that’s blossomed into a career?
Hopefully my parents aren’t listening to this right now. It’s pretty tough; I have a Jekyll and Hyde-esque alter ego. Monday through Thursday, I’m this nerdy computer science student writing programs in C and C , hidden in the corner of the lab on campus. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I’m flying across the country doing shows. It’s fun but it’s really difficult. This music thing has taken off more than I expected it to. I try to balance them equally, but the most important thing is obviously school because you never really know what’s going to happen tomorrow. There have been countless times where I’m flying back and forth from Pennsylvania and Maryland, just sitting there with my vector calculus book trying to finish up my homework.
I definitely don’t have a free minute in my week.
Are you finding that you have a reputation around Isla Vista and UCSB?
Yeah, it’s pretty funny. My friends from freshman year get a kick out of when we go somewhere and someone will recognize me. We’ll just be cruising down DP and a few of my songs will come on. We just start laughing.
For me, this is just fun. I like DJing, I like making people dance, making music. It’s just really funny to see the level that it’s gotten to. It really is weird. Sometimes I take a step back when I’m playing a show and when people are really excited to see you, it’s really weird. Especially for me, who’s just up and coming. It’s definitely a reality check.
How has this hobby changed the way you view your schooling?
To be honest (hopefully my parents aren’t listening, again) my computer science degree is a fallback at this point. The way things are going and if I keep working hard, I feel like I can make a career out of this DJ thing, whether it’s me actually DJing or if this entertainment company I’m starting up. That’s really where I want my future oriented. The whole goal is to get a collection of DJs and put on events. That way when I get older and I’m this old washed up mashup artist, I’ll have the young up-and-coming guys.
Hopefully in the future you’ll be seeing a lot more from Milkman Entertainment.
Check out everything Gregg and his crew are up to at milkmanmusic.net and keep your eye on this rising star.