Mick Boogie and Jonathan Mannion, if there is one thing these guys do extremely well, it’s make mixtapes and take pictures (respectively). So when the Beastie Boys were deservedly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last weekend, Mick thought it was a perfect time to finally fulfill his long time desire to create something unique in honor of these legendary New Yorkers. To take it a step further, Mick recruited Mannion to shoot the mixtape cover in the precise location that appears on the Beastie’s 1989 classic Paul’s Boutique, which the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes as “a landmark project in hip-hop history.”
The mixtape, Grand Royal, just dropped this morning and contains 80 minutes of Beastie Boy rarities, remixes, demos, live versions, outtakes, and more. Download it here. Read our interview with Mick and Mannion below where we discuss the project and their crafts.
Mass Appeal: Was that the impetus behind doing Grand Royal?
Mick Boogie: I’ve been waiting a LONG time to find the perfect moment to do this, and this is it. I don’t believe you should do projects just to do them. The timing has to be right: planning, buzz & marketability are the difference between a dope project people consider a classic and a dope project nobody downloads.
How did you get with Jonathan Mannion to re-create the seminal Paul’s Boutique cover for Grand Royal?
MB: When I figured out what I wanted to do musically, I had to figure out other things to tie into that to make it extra special. Jonathan is a legend in the game and I have had the privilege of being a friend of his for years. We are both originally from Ohio actually, and we decided this would make an amazing first collaboration. So we went down to the LES and captured a few moments, and the rest is history.
What is the most iconic Beastie image out there?
Jonathan Mannion: There are so many images that flood into my head: the video “Sabotage” is the richest set of visuals in my mind. They took a chance, believed in the vision that Spike Jonze crafted and executed perfectly. I have two non-moving images that strike a chord with me: the cover of Beastie Boys Anthology, The Sounds of Science and the image from Licensed to Ill. Long live the Beastie Boys.
Have you ever met Nathanial Hörnblowér? What do you think of his work?
JM: I have had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Nathanial Hörnblowér a.k.a Adam Yauch a.k.a MCA. When I shot him, he was definitely not dressed up as David Cross was in the video, I believe [also] directed by Nathanial, where he played the “role” of Mr. Hörnblowér brilliantly. But, yes, I have met him & photographed “the man, the myth & the legend,” but not in full regalia. I salute Jeremy Shatan for the execution of the photo & Mr. Hörnblowér for his art direction.
How have the Beasties influenced you musically?
MB: I’m one of the biggest Beasties fans out there. Their music, specifically the stuff in the middle of their career.
“Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, and Ill Communication changed my life and inspired my musical vision. Hence, most of the mixtape focuses on the rarities, remixes and demos of that era. True fans will be in for a treat!” – Mick Boogie
Do you remember the first time you heard Paul’s Boutique and realized how much sampling would change the face of music production?
MB: Yes. It was incredible. No album today could come close to affording the amount of samples on that album. The Beatles and stuff. C’mon, it’s not happening. So ridiculous and amazing.
Which Paul’s Boutique song speaks directly to your existence on Earth and why?
MB: I always loved “The Sounds Of Science” because of the sample, and because I was a nerd—I used to do my chemistry homework to it. In retrospect, “Hello Brooklyn” also reflects on my life as I moved to Brooklyn four years ago. Since that day, my life and career got WAY better.
What made you choose the title Grand Royal?
MB: Well, it was the name of their record label. I always thought it was a cool name. Plus, they name-dropped it on “Get It Together.” The motto of “Grand Royal – Guaranteed Every Time” seemed to apply to everything the Beastie’s touched in the ’90s. I also did a T-shirt collaboration with one of my favorite brands, Homage, that goes along with the “Grand Royal / Guaranteed Every Time” motto. More importantly, we are giving back a portion of the proceeds to Adam Yauch’s favorite cancer charity. Click the image below to buy and support.
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 Billion, thoughts?
Point and shoot camera of choice?
JM: I would say that Leica D Lux 4 for quick snaps. Truly though, the iPhone is such a convenient tool that is most employed for quick thoughts. That said, I’d much rather point and shoot a Polaroid 195 Land Camera. Yeah there is that extra step of focusing manually, but the results are worth the effort. Point & Focus & Shoot.
For a more in depth look at the history of the Paul’s Boutique album photography, visit this great article from the NY Minute blog on Arte.TV.