As many have suspected, it’s not easy working on an album with the best rappers in the game. Renowned hip hop record producer, audio engineer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Mike Dean gave fans a glimpse of the type of effort and tireless work that went into Kanye West’s latest album, DONDA.
It’s well known that he’s been West’s go-to man when he’s ready to record, and they share quite an impressive creative relationship that has spanned many years. In fact, Dean has been rolling with Kanye since the days of The College Dropout. This latest project was no walk in the park, even with that type of familiarity.
So much so that rumors began to surface that making the album had begun to affect his mental health. While some joked that he had been kidnapped to finish the album, it was revealed that Dean left the stadium where Kanye was recording because of a “toxic environment.”
He eventually revealed that he was committed to the project but had chosen to work from home. Dean shared more about the stress of creating DONDA while being interviewed by Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1.
Dean said the experience was interesting it was also “gruelling” because it took up a lot of hours and included a lot of changes. He said this was a result of the many listening parties that were held. He maintained, however, that he was happy with the final product.
“Yeah. Came out great though. Kanye had three listening parties. So each listening party was like a test kind of. And after each one, I think he wanted… I can’t talk too much about his process. He took all the information he got from everyone, including online reviews, personal friends’ reviews, and he just kind of digest it all and adjust the album the way he wants,” he added.
Holding the listening parties did help immensely in the end, he continued. Dean added that he looked at how the crowd moved to different songs during the parties. He would use that information to add to the tracks.
Mike Dean also has a new album called ECHOPLEX (LIVE 2021), a visual project with songs from his synth-fueled studio drop 4:22.