Mir Fontane talks South Jersey roots, career milestones, and his drawings
Within the realm of artistry, there are numerous modes of creation. Rappers, singers, poets, painters, and hand artists—the list goes on. Amongst these professions, however, exists a rare breed of creators who possess the ability to mold and present their craft directly from experience. They are difficult to come by, but they stand out nonetheless. When Mir Fontaine dropped his sixth studio project, Melody Monster, in early March, it served as an extension of what is already well known about the Camden artist—amongst many other things, the man is a purebred creator.
A pen or pencil—and something to use it on—has been Mir Fontaine’s domain for quite some time. Drawings and poetry in adolescence translated seamlessly to lyrics and rhyme schemes. Mir’s songwriting draws from personal affairs stemming from his environment; direct relation between artist and listener is often hard to achieve, but his ability to formulate concise records allows for a transparent window between both parties. Mir's ability to excel in other art forms is ever-present; his acid-induced drawing discussed in our interview is now being sold as his first NFT.
This past week, we had the chance to sit down with New Jersey prodigy Mir Fontane. We asked The Melody Monster what keeps him motivated, and with a strong response he stated, “The job is not done.” Get to know Mir Fontane now; in 20 years when you have kids, do not let your son pull a Scotty Smalls from The Sandlot and not know who Macaroni Tony, The Melody Monster, or Mir Fontane is.
...It's up and it's stuck!
Nick: What's up, man? I like to start interviews off by asking how you are. How is everything going on in your life—mentally, physically, and career-wise?
Mir: Mentally, everything's great. Career-wise, everything's great; I just dropped one of my personal favorite projects. And, I'm just happy to work; I'm listening to it right now.
Nick: Of course, man. I've been listening, and it's great, dude; well-done all-around. Tell me a little bit about your life growing up in South Jersey and where you're at now.
Mir: Growing up in South Jersey, my outlet was drawing. I was really into storytelling. My grandpa being an educator, it was really easy for me to teach myself how to learn and teach myself how to read and write at an early age. I was really advanced reading-wise; I used to have picture prompts for standardized tests and stuff like that, and that was something that I used to get mad excited for. Just being able to create your own world... That's pretty much what I was fascinated by. But as far as just growing up in Camden, specifically, it was like any other inner-city; I feel like you got to have tough skin, especially just being from Jersey. You got to be able to know who you are, or the industry's gonna let you know for you. That's pretty much it. I mean, you gotta walk in your own shoes; you gotta understand who you are as a person.
Nick: What was it like selling out the TLA (Theatre of the Living Arts)? I thought that was a really cool milestone in your career.
Mir: That's something that we talked about since we first started making noise in Philly. Because, you know—South Jersey doesn't have any venues or stages that you can really showcase your talent. So, the closest thing was Philadelphia, so we would go there probably like two-three times a week and just shut down every show we had for whatever bill. We always say driving down south, you always wanted your name up there, like, "Yo, they're performing here!" So I was like, "One day, we're gonna have our name up there." And for it to come to fruition and then sell it out and do the crowd walk... all of that was just a dream. The whole time I was up there, it was like I was just feeding off of the energy from the crowd. I definitely want to go back there when the world opens back up; that was one of my favorite shows to perform.
Nick: On April 26, 2020, you posted an Instagram of one of my favorite drawings of yours. The caption was "Have A Nice Trip." Can you tell me what inspired you to draw that picture?
Mir: So, I was tripping on acid. Acid helped me get through depression; I was doing acid like every two weeks, you know. So, I drew a picture when I was peaking on one of my acid trips. I was just wanting to draw what I felt like; I didn't really have anything set I wanted to draw. I started off just drawing what I thought I looked like at the time, and that transformed into, like... I was just letting my mind pick the colors; whatever color attracted me, I was just using that. All of it was just like how I was feeling—like, how my shirt was just turning to space, and there was a black hole, and then there was a wormhole. There was a lot I was thinking about as far as like duality, life, death, rebirth... everything has a meaning. Now, I feel like just off of that drawing, it kind of helped me get into what I wanted to create with Melody Monster, because the whole album was based off of our acid trip. So, if you listen to it, you can kind of hear how it's all over the place while it's still cohesive. So, yeah—that was just another way for me to give an outlet to my emotions as I draw.
Nick: What was it like being recognized by Tyreek Hill for your song "Bodega?"
Mir: That was one of the most random things ever, but it just means that my music is getting around now. I mean, whether it be word-of-mouth or a playlist, it means my name is in rooms that I'm not even in, and that's always a good feeling. If he heard it, you don't know who else heard it. It's been countless times where I've introduced myself to people who already know who I was, and it's just been shocking. It's just a blessing and something that I don't take for granted.