By Fred Dintenfass   Published Oct 07, 2004 at 5:41 AM

{image1}"Making music is harmful to absolutely no one. You can be earnest and share, or you can be funny, or take on a character, or whatever -- it's wide open," says Malcolm Michiles aka Old Man Malcolm. "I believe in collaboration and enjoy it," he continues, and his discography proves it.

As a turntablist, DJ, and producer Michiles -- who can often be found behind the bar at Redroom -- was a member of seminal local groups Wild Kingdom and Citizen King and he co-founded the Milwaukee Creative Music Ensemble (MCME) with Jason Todd.

Michiles' reach extends far beyond Milwaukee; he has long worked with Chicago MC Anacron and his turntable skills can be heard on records by Garbage and Smashmouth.

As befits such an eclectic musician, Michiles actually got into DJing through breakdancing where he heard and fell in love with classic b-boy jams like Afrika Bambaata's "Renegades of Funk." His crew practiced to Egyptian Lover's soundtrack for "The Pilot" which they had to tape off the VCR since it was never released on record.

In 1989, Michiles started scratching with Wild Kingdom and, eventually, Citizen King. Michiles did his first traditional DJ gigs opening up for Citizen King on the road.

Being on tour provided access to more record stores, other DJs and the fickleness of hip hop fans: "I have a real regard for classic cuts and beautiful timeless music and I didn't like the looks I got when I played Cameo, so I put 'Old Man' in front so that people would expect some old school."

At the same time, Michiles is always looking for new sounds.

For several years he has been working with rapper and renaissance B-Boy Anacron on a project called Cornrows. Like Michiles, Chicago-based Anacron has a diverse array of projects: he teaches breakdancing at The Old Town School of Folk Music, owns a dance company, collaborated with rapper Murs on "Netherworlds" and comes down every Thursday to spin at the Hi Hat Garage.

Michiles scratches for Def Harmonic, which Todd describes as a "rap music, funk organization, astral-earth balance alliance." They've found an enthusiastic audience worldwide including Massive Attack's Daddy G and have received glowing reviews in respected magazines like Straight No Chaser and International DJ.

On "Examine My Face," the first album from Michiles' latest project, Minus After, Todd and John Kuester (Kid Millions) handle the vocals while Michiles does much of the production, scratching and "background clowning." Straight No Chaser calls the disc, "A P-funked spiked display of hands-up hip hop."

After years of collaborations Michiles brings diverse experience to his first solo release, a 7" on Frank Wobbly Records. "Pride in My Product" and "Eye Contact" feature funked up electro production and soulful vocals that sound like Prince playing a summer block party.

Michiles co-owns Bionic Studios with Citizen King guitarist Kristian Riley. At Bionic he records his own music as well as other bands, scores commercials, and recently mastered the "No Request Volume I" CD by DJs Kid Cut Up and Why B. Michiles DJed at their CD release party for a circle of breakers, blending the classic cuts that inspired him to create music with the newer songs by artists, who like him, keep on looking for the perfect beat.

Old Man Malcolm's Current Favorites:

Bootsy Collins -- Any. All. Constantly.

Beastie Boys: To The Five Boroughs -- Boroughs and boroughs and boroughs worth of old school heat! AND it's straight up political. Put the news on mute and turn this up.

A Tribe Called Quest: I'm taking my love for Tribe to the next level -- a tribute to Ali Shaheed Muhammad all played on a monophonic moog and the first drum machine all dubbed out with tape delay and spring reverb. It's called "ali vs. moog" and it will be out under the Old Man Malcolm moniker in a few months.

Best get ready.


Bionic Studios:
Frank Wobbly & Sons:
Minus After: