Mixed Solution is a local hip-hop group that indeed earns its name. Already two albums in, it’s a group traditional rap fans may find a little unorthodox.
This suits Dan Schneider fine. The 29-year-old Chicago native serves as the producer and multi-instrumentalist of this Triangle-based trio (all friends since high school in Morrisville), which includes Thomas Milmoe on vocals and Mike “Quiet Mike” DeMar as the band’s visual stylist, contributing video projections on a screen as Schneider and Milmoe perform onstage.
“It definitely didn’t necessarily start out as each one of us particularly leveraging our skills,” says Schneider, while at a downtown Raleigh tavern. “But, as we moved forward, we figured out which place each one of us was stronger in, and chose to focus our time in those areas.”
Schneider says things didn’t really jell for the group until they came up with the name.
“It was kind of a random occurrence, because we were like a mixed bag of interests and it’s, like, an audio-visual thing,” says Schneider. “We had an idea for it to be like that. So we just kind of arrived at that name. And once we got the name, then we started finishing all our tracks and put it out.
With Schneider’s live instrumentation, Milmoe’s introspective lyricism and DeMar’s intriguing video collages, Mixed Solution isout to organically converge on all your senses.
“That’s definitely something we’ve gone after for so long,” he says. “I have nothing against sampling. I love it. I love soulful hip-hop and I’m a big fan of all kinds of hip-hop that uses samples. But I’ve always been more into recording live instruments myself instead of sampling. It just feels more original, from the ground up, for me.”
While they took a break from recording and performing live in order to deal with their daily lives, a recent show in downtown Raleigh got them itching to get back to work. Now they’re doing shows again (performing at Slim’s Downtown tonight) and collaborating on a new album.
“It kind of reignited our passion for going back into it, you know,” says Schneider.
“It’s not about making it any more for us,” says Schneider. “It’s more about having fun and kind of back to what it originally started as.”