Mac Miller spoke with staff writer Ming Lee Newcomb about what playing Llamapalooza means to him and his relationship with late Colorado College student Reuben Eli Mitrani who passed away while studying abroad in September.
How long did you know Reuben?
– I’ve known Reuben since 2002.
How was the relationship between you and him?
– We were best friends [at camp]. We had a very close crew that met at Emma Kauffman Camp [in West Virginia] and remained in touch and very close throughout the years. We all kept in touch during the school year and had some of the most fun I’ve ever had once summer came around.
How do you remember him?
– He was one hundred percent genuine and kind. He was very respectful to everybody and treated everybody fairly. He was funny and just someone you could always count on to be a true friend and lend an ear. I used to send him all my music to get his opinion on it. Reuben cared about all of his friends as if they were his family. We were, and always will be, a family.
About the song that is coming out on your new album that is dedicated to/about Reuben, what was your process for writing the song? What does it mean to you?
-The song was made immediately following the funeral. It was a very life-changing experience for me. It captures the emotion I went through upon that realization of what happened. I never thought that was an actual possibility, even when he was in the hospital. I still can’t believe it, but that song was a form of therapy for me. It’s not easy to talk to somebody, about something like that. Writing a song is how I get my emotion out.
Reuben’s mother said that REMemberfest was actually your idea. How did you come up with the idea?
– I know that Reuben loved music and just wanted to do something positive to impact the world. I wanted to help his family put together something that will continue to give the types of gifts that Reuben wanted to give to the world. In his short life, Reuben has made an impact on a lot of people’s lives. I wanted to share that impact with the world.
What do you hope to accomplish with REMember?
– I just hope that he can look down and feel proud of everything going on in his memory. This is all a representation of who he is and how we can share that with the world.
What inspired you to come to CC?
– I wanted to come to his school and see what his environment was there. I was never a part of his college life. I want to see what that was like, and I want to come to celebrate his life with anyone that knows him or knows of him.
What is the contract like that you finalized with the school? (I know that the proceeds were originally supposed to go to the REMember Foundation after travel was covered, but is that the actual case?)
– I don’t know what the business is. I’m just doing the show for Reuben and not for money. I’m not sure what the specifics are.
How do you feel about your upcoming performance at Llama?
– I just hope it is something meaningful for everybody. This one is not about me; it’s about something bigger than that.
What should students expect from your performance?
– They should just come and let go. Everything that is going on outside of the concert doesn’t matter when the music starts. It’s our escape. It’s where we can go to feel free. It is for Reuben.
Ming Lee Newcomb