Interview: Must Die! Talks DJ Mag’s Popularity Contest, Bad Anime And Ending A Chapter In His Music


Just in time for the Halloween season is professional skull kid and dubstep demon Must Die! (aka Lee Bates) who uses his “might and magic mixed with some eternal sorcery” to whip up some wicked track in his upcoming EP “Fever Dream Pt. II” (out November 4). While on tour, VIBE had a chance to talk with the Houston-native to discuss how a teen flick gave him his stage name and the effects of bad anime on his music.

VIBE: To start off, we got to get the origin story. Where does one come up with the stage name Must Die!?
Must Die!: There was a TERRIBLE movie called John Tucker Must Die and in my usual fashion I thought that naming myself after something terrible would be a good laugh.

And if you could describe your sound as if explaining it to a toddler, what would you say?
Well, my music is pretty much geared towards toddlers so I think they’d understand. For the layman: Melodic, childish, and quirky.

You claim one of your musical influences to be bad anime. Could you list a few a few examples and how they have become a part of your music?
Goofy high pitched chirpy vocals and melodramatic melodies are a huge part of what I do, and I get a lot of inspiration from cheesy Anime that I find around the internet.

Manic depression is another influence you list. How do you capture such feelings in your music? Do you think without it, your music would be as powerful as it is now?
I feel like a lot of my ups and downs add dynamics and immersion to my music. That may be good or bad, but it makes it feel like ME, so I’m okay with it. Personality is everything in an over-saturated scene.

Now, the DJ Mag Top 100 poll was dropped recently, and you said in a tweet “Who even cares about the DJ Mag top 10? Congrats to those who are on it, of course. But I don’t judge talent by an internet list.” Could you elaborate on that tweet? What are your thoughts on this year’s winners?
I congratulate the winners, absolutely! I just don’t think you can capture an entire movement in 100 slots. There is too much talent in the universe to slam it all into one popularity contest.

Going back to your music, you have a new EP coming out, “Fever Dream Part 2’ (out November 4). From the teaser trailer, it sounds like you really are making a return back to original dubstep plus it’s already garnered a lot of support from your fans. How would you describe the EP in your own words and your thoughts on its positive feedback so far?
I really don’t know how the EP will be received. I am hoping my fans will see that I am trying to end a chapter of MUST DIE! I am aiming to expand and broaden my musical field after this release, so it’s sort of a finale to the saga. I will be experimenting a lot in the coming months with new ideas and sounds.

What else do have planned for the rest of the year?
Tours, writing, a wedding. I’ll be plenty busy!

On an ending note, who’s the craziest producer you’ve come across so far in your career, and what was the sickest thing guys did together?
I absolutely LOVED working with Eptic. He has such a good grasp on musical tonality and a clear artistic vision. Really great guy!