There’s nothing ambiguous about choosing “Must Die!” for a stage moniker. When said artist, born Lee Austin Bates, shoots his darts he hits the cork every time making clear his artist message, song narratives and sonic structuring.
After VIBE pegged the bass music-rooted DJ and producer’s impending rise to glory last year, we’ve sat back watching without surprise as his career sprouted like ticket-holders to the main event. He’s now remixed for everyone from Zomboy to Candyland to Borgore (to name a few), and dropped his own releases on labels ranging from Dim Mak to Mad Decent to Atlantic, among others. It’s clear: Must Die! is far from seeing the death of anything but his anonymity.
“I feel like a lot of my ups and downs add dynamics and immersion to my music,” Bates told VIBE in an interview last October. “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.” Fast-forward a year and Bates is more than okay, he’s about to release a full-length album on Skrillex’s OWSLA imprint titled, Death & Magic (set for release September 30, 2014).
We have the multi-layered record, “Imprint,” featuring lyricist Tkay Maidza premiering exclusively today on VIBE. The track highlights Maidza spitting fresh rhymes over Must Die!’s warbling loops and drums tied together with click-track-y claps. Adding various effects that go from sparse to cohesive to resinous by the song’s end, Must Die! imprints big anticipation for an exciting album to follow.
“Death & Magic is pivotal to me. It’s both an opportunity to release music on a grand scale, and an opportunity to really hone my craft. The title is very indicative of the musical tone of the whole album, equal parts moody and bright I wanted to weave between two vast extremes of musicality in order to show a full spectrum of diversity in this release. I feel like with certain songs I was forced to struggle with execution. That was a lesson I needed to learn and a challenge I needed to overcome. I’m very happy with the album and I think it shows nearly every tangible quirk of my sometimes-polarizing personality whether subtly or otherwise.” – Must Die!