“You have to make sure everybody who needs anything gets it and that all the interviews are set up and its all coordinated. You have to find the writers for the magazine and believe it or not there aren’t that many dope people out there.”
Halftime: So, let us know your responsibilities as editor of Elemental Magazine?
Mike Piroli: That¹s a lot of shit. You have to sort through the music and listen to everything. You have to make sure everybody who needs anything gets it and that all the interviews are set up and its all coordinated. You have to find the writers for the magazine and believe it or not there aren’t that many dope people out there. It¹s the whole nine. There is a lot of different shit. It¹s not a one-person thing either, it’s a tight knit team. Any kind of independent anything isn¹t going to have a humongous staff to rely on so you have to do a bunch of different things at one time.
Working with you directly I know you do just as much writing as any of the other writers on staff. How do you handle that in addition to the editing duties?
Mike: Fortunately it¹s the main thing I have to focus on so I have time throughout the day to do everything. I just try to knock out certain shit at one time, but usually when I write I¹ll take the time out to sit down with it and get back to the other shit. It¹s kinda hard to balance, but fortunately everybody who is involved with the magazine is real on point so it makes it easy overall. Everyone handles things the way they should and it runs efficiently.
What do you feel makes a good story and what are you looking for when you are reading other people’s work?
Mike: People that are thorough and know what time it is. Not only do they know about the artist that they¹re writing about but are thorough. You can tell in how people write how much they know and how much they are into it. I look for that. I really like the artist to be portrayed in a proper light. So when I read other people¹s stuff I look for substance and how thorough they are with it.
For someone aiming to be in your position what are some of the key skills needed?
Mike: The key thing would to be able to do a bunch of shit at one time. There is a lot of stuff going on and there is a deadline every month that has to be met. That¹s the main thing. It¹s a lot of different shit.
What’s the normal routine from planning the issue to the finished product?
Mike: We always get a jump on what¹s what as much in advance as we can. We want to make everything fresh. In the beginning of the month a lot of planning is going on as far as who is in the magazine. As the weeks go on towards the deadline you have to schedule the interviews, the photo shoots and assign the stories. Get music to the people who are writing reviews, decide all of that and put it in effect. About halfway thru you check to make sure everything is going down the way its supposed to be. Shit is gonna happen sometimes but if you¹re on top of it you can deal with it. It just gets more hectic towards the deadline.
What story have you enjoyed the most that you¹ve had in the magazine?
Mike: There are tons. The Jay Dee story was thorough. I¹m a big Jay Dee fan so I thought that was dope. The Ghostface story your boy just wrote is real dope. Every month there is a bunch of shit. It¹s hard to remember everything that’s in the magazine.
Is this something you knew you were going to do or did you just fall into it?
Mike: I never went to school for journalism, but I’ve always been into writing and into music. Basically everything started with Elemental when I tried to apply for an internship. I tried to get a spot and it just worked out.
What has been the biggest compliment you¹ve gotten since you officially took over as editor?
Mike: The biggest compliment was when I interviewed Freddie Foxxx. Right before I interviewed him he got a phone call when we walked into the room. When he got off the phone he was like that was Preme and he said you just did some shit on him and it was ill. That was probably like the biggest compliment pretty much. That was some shit I really wanted to do, that¹s probably my favorite shit that I did. I’ve been big on Gangstarr since forever so that was real dope to get the opportunity to do something like that.
Have you had any problems with labels or artists when you were putting together an issue?
Mike: Definitely, that’s bound to happen. Nobody in particular. It’s not something that happens very often but when you¹re dealing with a lot of people all the time there are bound to be people that can¹t keep up and that causes conflicts. Nothing major though just regular shit. A lot of times it might be just issues with getting there on time, but its not a problem.
What¹s the best thing about your job and what¹s the most difficult thing?
Mike: The best thing about my job is that its hip-hop. That¹s the best it could possibly be to me. I don¹t think there is a worst thing. It’s a dope ass job. I can¹t front it¹s cool to be able to see something every month that everybody feels is official and is representing things in a proper light. To me that’s the most satisfying thing. I bitch just like everybody else about shit but at the end of the day the pros outweigh the cons by so much its no contest.
What suggestions would you have for up and comers interested in getting involved with writing for magazines?
Mike: Get at magazines with stuff that you¹ve written. Even if you haven’t written for anyone major you can put together reviews or stories. As long as you have writing clips, that¹s like your resume. Just get it out to people. Try to figure out every avenue to get to people and through that you can get involved with shit. Once you figure out you want to do just get some clips, get at people, and be persistent.
What artist haven¹t you covered that you would like to do?
Mike: Pete Rock. We’ve had Pete Rock in the magazine but me personally that¹s someone who I want to do. Tribe Called Quest is definitely one that hasn’t been in the magazine that I would love.
Where do you see yourself with Elemental five years from now?
Mike: Hopefully rolling strong. That¹s what we¹re working towards anyway.
The Bullets (stupid questions we ask anyway)
Who do you think would win in a lyrical battle Mc Lyte or Queen Latifah?
Mike: MC Lyte
Fugees vs. Digable Planets?
Mike: Fugees. Digable Planets are dope but I don’t think you can compare those two besides the fact that they have a girl and two dudes.
If you can go anywhere in the world where would you go?
Now I’m gonna go down a list of people and you give me the first thing that comes to your mind even if it’s a grunt or whatever.
Mike: Ahhh, garbage
Mike: He¹s a funny bastard
The Fat Boys
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
Mike: Fuck him.
Mike: The Man
Mike: She¹s a bad bitch
Mike: Garbage, I’d like to punch Nick Cannon in the face.
Saturday Night Live
Mike: Used to be dope
Mike: I don¹t know how I feel about that.
Mike: The man, thug life
Mike: That’s a weird one man what the fuck?
106 & Park
Mike: I like Free but I hate AJ
Mike: She’s dope
Mike: Can’t front on that
Mike: He’s not an emcee
What would rather see go down as legend 100 years from now Illmatic or Reasonable Doubt?