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When it comes to sneaker collections not many people come close to the lyrical genius that is Mikill Pane. We spent the day at his sneaker box filled flat talking to the Hackney rapper on where his love for trainers comes from, his most favourite pairs, and what he has in the pipeline for 2014.
Where did your love for trainers come from? Has it become an addiction?
I think it’s a psychological thing, well there are a lot of things, like for instance my parents maybe couldn’t afford them when I was younger, because my parents are Nigerian. Every penny they ever got went into my education and they used to buy me things and that, but the most important thing was my education and they had to sacrifice a lot for a good education so sometimes if I wanted a pair of sneakers my mum and dad wouldn’t get them for me because the money could be better spent elsewhere and I’d get really mad inside. When I grew up and I had like my own sort of disposable income, even though a lot of that money was coming from my parents, I spend a lot of that on sneakers. Even when I had these shi**y retail jobs, I never really gave a s**t about drinking and that, so I used to spend all my money on sneakers and I’d budget. As long as I had enough food to eat for the week, I would spend whatever I had left on trainers. But yeah that’s where it stemmed from, I love the aesthetic from a good shoe, but rightly so, no child should have an insanely large amount of sneakers, but if you have the income to get it when you’re older by all means… so it’s the aesthetic mixed with the fact I couldn’t get them.
I don’t know if it’s an addiction. An addiction is kind of an impinge on the way you live your life, so like a drug addiction, you might not get a steady job because you’re always thinking about your next hit. I don’t go on stage and think ‘s**t, I really want a pair of trainers!’ You know what I mean? I love trainers, and if I can get them I’ll get them and because I’ve got a decent relationship with Nike, a lot of the time now thankfully I don’t have to buy them. I don’t know if it’s an addiction, it’s just a really profound love, I’d prefer to call it that, but some people might want to call it an addiction.
Honestly, how many pairs of trainers would you say you own? By the looks of the boxes piled up around your flat, it’s more than a shoe racks worth…
It’s borderline 700, give or take. In this flat there is easily around 400 something. In this room alone there’s like 100 pairs. But at my mums I’ve got more pairs over there, and then my sister has got some at hers. Definitely borderline 700.
So when you want a new pair of sneaks, will you buy them online or go in-store?
I never buy online. The only things I buy online are plane tickets. I don’t know why. I like tangible stuff and I like the experience. Even though I don’t do as much sneaker shopping as I used to as I now get them sent to me, I will still go out and actively buy shoes. Favourite stomping grounds are like Foot Patrol and even Footlocker they have a good Air Jordan account, I’m still up in Footlocker quite a lot, so yeah I never buy online. I think it’s so much better buying shoes in-store, even if you don’t try them on, it’s the experience knowing that you’ve got them there and then. Say if you got sent the wrong size then you’ve got to send them back… So what if they didn’t have the shoe that you wanted but it was online? If I had to then yeah, but I’ve never come across that yet. I’m pretty sure things run out quicker online then in-store now, everyone is online.
So Air Jordan’s sell out rather quickly, how do you go about getting Jordan’s?
I either go on release day quite early, or I’ll get them sent to me, but if I can’t get them, I can’t get them. I didn’t get the Jordan 1 Bred, the black and red ones, but I’ve got the black and blue ones, so I thought I cut my losses and the black and blue’s got sent to me, they couldn’t even send the black and red one’s!
You must have a few pairs of trainers that mean something special…
Yeah a lot of them do man. A lot of the trainers I get are like sometimes they’re for gigs. I’ll have a particular pair that reminds me of a gig I played. For instance, my favourite festival last year (2013) would be Bestival and I wore… what shoes did I wear for Bestival? I’m pretty sure it was a pair of Vans Old Skool. I can look at these and they’ll remind me of Bestival. Hands down my favourite festival. Or there are trainers that I just love like the Air Max 90 OG – for the photos we’re taking here, and that’s my favourite shoe of all time. I wore them for my album cover, s**t like that, it’s just the best colourway ever, that shoe means a lot to me, it’s been immortalised on my album, for me anyway.
What is the most you’ve spent on trainers?
Most I’ve spent on a pair of trainers… Well people have spent a lot more, but it is like a big figure, like £350. I got them in Flightclub LA for around £300 over in the States.
What pair of trainers would you consider recommending to a friend?
It would depend what they were for. If it was just a shoe, for just the aesthetic of a sport shoe, I’d say the Air Max 90 or the Air Max 1. But it would depend, if they were running… I’ve been running a lot with the Fly Knit Lunar 2, luminous green ones and they are good.
You keep all your Instagram followers happy with a trainer of the day post, is it nice to see what people think about your taste in footwear?
In a way it is. In a way it’s not. I put my Instagram pictures up because it is something to do. For me the two main types of people on Instagram are: people who put stuff up on Instagram purely for approval, and people who put stuff up on Instagram because they think it’s a good photo or just because they want to, it’s a little log. I never do stuff for approval, so that’s why a lot of the time when people say you “you should’ve done…” “I don’t like those…” I’ll just block them. I didn’t put it up for their opinion. Even if they’re not like offensive in their language, just the fact they are giving me their opinion or disapproving of something, it makes me think I don’t want that kind of person following me, because I’m not doing this for your approval, I don’t even know who the f**k you are. I just put things up because I think it’s a nice shoe and you know I like to put up nice photos on my Instagram. Like I said, I love the aesthetic of a shoe and at the end of the day it’s my taste. So I’m definitely one of the later when it comes to Instagram posts. I put stuff up because I want to, not because I’m seeking approval. It’s good for people to see for instance, for people who are interested in shoes they might see a shoe on my Instagram that they like which inspires them to buy it.
Have you ever considered making your own?
I would yeah. It’s funny. There not my own pair, but a couple of years ago Nike invited me to go do a couple of Nike Air Max 1 ID’s which was quite cool to celebrate a couple of EP’s I’d released. As far as my own shoe, it’s hard I reckon to make your own shoe because sometimes I just get the feeling that creatively, aesthetically when it comes to shoes, everything’s already been done. So even with the Yeezy 1, Tinker Hatfield and Kanye West put their heads together and made this shoe. One of the nicest shoes of all time I think, but it’s a hybrid of shoes that have been made before. So you’ve got the midsole of the Jordan III if I’m not mistaken, you’ve got the toebox which is reminiscent of the Bape Roadsta, the upper has got elements of the Jordan V and its loads of different shoes in one. But then you’ve got the Yeezy II, which in my opinion isn’t as nicer shoe which is completely original you understand, there aren’t many elements on that shoe which are obviously taken from any other shoe, but the Yeezy I is a nicer shoe than the Yeezy II.
The reason I’m in two minds about making my own shoe is because it might just look like something else so I think it would be quite hard.
Would you ever collaborate with any kind of brand and if so which one?
Yeah totally man! Nike everyday! But rather than try and make my own shoe, I’d rather collaborate with them on a pre-existing shoe and just think of the colourway, the materials and maybe stick a logo on it.
Music wise, what’s new in the world of Mikill Pane?
I’ve had my head down all year! I’ve been writing and recording, I’ve got loads of new s**t. I’ve done some quite cool collaborations, but I’m not allowed to talk about them quite yet, but it should be quite an eventful year.
The new E.P (You Guest It Too) has got us excited for next year, with some really big collaborations such as Lorde, for me it’s on par with the You Guest It E.P. What can we expect from you this year besides the tour happening next month?
I can’t really talk about the collaborations, just because with music there’s always politics. You can do a tune with someone, that’s all well and good, but you need to know when you can release the tune versus when the person you’ve collaborated with is releasing other stuff, things can’t clash. So that’s the reason I can’t talk about it, the tunes are there, but we’ve just got to confirm everything before I can say anything.
There’s just loads of live stuff, my live sort of profile should ascend this year and improve and yeah music and gigs is all I can promise and then a few surprises along the way as well I reckon.
Finally, what one #hashtag could you use to sum up your day with PAUSE Mag?
Erm hashtag #sneaky. Haha yeah #sneaky.
Interview: Jordan Bunker
Photography: Benjamin Glean