The Making of Faces, Mac Miller's Most Crucial Project

The Making of Faces, Mac Miller's Most Crucial Project

10 18, 2021

The Making of Faces, Mac Miller's Most Crucial Project

Long before it was one of the most beloved releases of the 2010s mixtape era and a career-shifter for Mac Miller, Faces was a “behemoth project” sitting in the inbox of his longtime producer and mixer E. Dan. The movie-length collection of out-there tunes features some of Miller’s most moving work, and it’s also a testament to the freeform manner in which the Pittsburgh-born artist had been making music since relocating to Los Angeles in June 2012.

“My first reaction was ‘Holy fuck this is a lot of songs done relatively quick,’” E. Dan says. “I didn’t fully appreciate how it would sit in his catalogue and I think it occupies a really important place [there] now. But to some extent, at the time, it really was me staring at 20-something songs going ‘I have a week to make these sound as good as I can.’”

Originally released in May 2014, Faces is officially on all streaming platforms as of October 15. It’s not exactly the fork in the road moment of Mac’s career—that would be 2013’s Watching Movies with the Sound Off, the ambitious, acclaimed second studio album that helped redefine Mac as a serious artist. But Faces was Mac fully coming into his own as an all-around musician, opening up about mortality, love, and drugs with real candor, while exploring fresh sonic territory. Sure, he became a major star with 2011’s Blue Slide Park, but scathing coverage of that LP had stuck with him, and put Miller in a position where he sought to reinvent himself. (“That record made Mac Miller, and then the rest of the time he spent making Mac Miller who he wanted Mac Miller to be,” says Josh Berg, Miller’s engineer and right-hand man during this period.)

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