Music Wunderkind Mike Sabath on Tibetan Bowls, Todd Phillips, and Train
This is SOUND ADVICE, a weekly destination for playlists curated by Interview’s friends, enemies, and lovers. Over the past few weeks, we’ve gathered playlists curated by Rick Owens, Chino Moreno, and Patia Borja. This week, we’re feeling sexy and joyful thanks to the artist-producer Mike Sabath, who you might recognize as the barefoot member of Shawn Mendes’ post-workout smoothie squad. What some might not know is that Sabath, at 25 years old, is something of a musical prodigy himself. He’s produced hits for his pal Mendes as well as Lizzo, Pharrell Williams, J Balvin, and Meghan Trainor. Now, he’s taking center stage as Mike Sabath & The Moongirls, making pop music that’s infectious, raw, and sensual. The band’s first release, Album 1: BEING HUMAN, includes songs like “Magic” and “Sexy!”—both live up to their name and show off Sabath’s fierce vocals and musicality. Below, he answers our questionnaire and reveals which Stevie Wonder song he wishes he’d written and why he’s inspired by Todd Phillips’ film Joker.
Where do you dance? In my living room at my home. In the studio. In the grass under the sun. At a dance party on the occasional evening that I go dancing with my friends.
What’s on your bedroom playlist? I made this piece where I played a bunch of old Tibetan sound bowls and I like to play that in my bedroom to wake up peacefully.
Last song that made you cry? Eddie Benjamin playing “Gravity” when he was going through an emotional time in his life. He gave us all of his heart at that moment on stage. It was really special. That’s my brother.
What was your first concert? My parents said they were taking us to Hibachi for my older brother’s 10th birthday but instead took us to see Train [Laughs]. So, Train.
Who’s your favorite artist no one knows about? Sekou, but he’s probably gonna be known by everyone in like, a day. He’s special.
Who gets control of the aux? I do.
What’s a song you wish you wrote? “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder.
What’s your favorite song right now? “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” [Laughs]
What do you listen to when you want to feel sexy? “Sexy!” by Mike Sabath & The Moongirls.
What do you listen to when you’re high? Weed? No way, that stuff’s bad! Just kidding. [Laughs] Hmmm depends on the setting but I deeply enjoy “Journey In Satchidananda” by Alice Coltrane when I’m in that state. Especially hits on the beach at sunset.
Headphones of choice? Audio Technica M50X and Airpods.
What instrument do you play? I play the voice, drums, piano, guitar, bass, and clarinet. Drums was my first instrument, clarinet happened so I could be in the wind ensemble in high school.
What movie has the sexiest soundtrack? I’m not the best at knowing entire soundtracks honestly. But for some reason, my body is saying Boogie Nights.
Whose movie would you like to score? I very much would love to score many movies in my time here. Scoring a Todd Philips movie would be beautiful. The score on Joker is one of my favorite scores ever. Really inspiring. Some of the most speaking I’ve ever heard a cello do.
Who is the Queen of Pop? Madonna.
What’s your favorite form of escapism? Creating art.