Mike Dean speaks about the collaborative approach to production Kanye has adopted over time.
Apart from being a pioneer of the "Dirty South" sound, Mike Dean has been working with Kanye West since the beginning. Though his official writing credits may only reach back to Graduation, he has been involved in at least the mixing process on each of his albums since The College Dropout, and has become a more prominent collaborator over time. Along with Jeff Bhasker, he carried much of the instrumental work on 808s, MBDTF, and Watch The Throne (If you hear keys or guitar on a Kanye track from this era it's quite possibly Dean). The producer spoke with HuffPost Live about his work on Yeezus, as well as how Kanye's production techniques have addapted over time.
”[West] is more the producer that oversees everybody now," he said. "He gets teams of producers to work under him. When I first started working with him, I mixed two, three songs on his first record at my house in Texas. I'd say, 'Ah, I could help you on this track.' He'd say, 'I make beats. That's what I do.' That was 10 years ago, I guess. Now he lets everybody put input in and he sorts through it. We’ll have eight producers putting parts on one song and then we’ll just pick through it, pick what’s good."
Dean explained that with the sheer number of producers on each track, ideas can shift quickly. "Usually one person will start something and eight other people will add parts," he said. "Sometimes it'll end up [that] the person that started doesn't have anything on the final song, but they're still producing."
Mike explained that he is pretty much the main force behind pushing for a Watch The Throne 2, as he enjoyed the maximalist approach to the first installment, something they deliberately moved away from on Yeezus."It's just an evolution, I guess, of learning how to make records," he said. "We're kind of pulling back to more minimal now. We're trying to. It's hard not to make an epic record if you can."
Watch the full interview below.