Mike Dean, the self-proclaimed 'synth goat,' is the producer behind some of the most impactful projects released in recent popular culture. His short list of credits includes Kid Cudi, Kanye, Travis Scott, Beyoncé, The Weeknd, and hundreds of others. Dean's work has ultimately coincided with the success of Kanye West, in which Dean executive produced several of his most successful works and tracks.
Producers are often overlooked for their contributions to the music industry. Dean is inseparable from the tracks and albums he has worked on and directly accompanies the movements they follow.
On July 3rd, 2022, Mike posted an image of his Spotify streams/contributions (tweet link) to a user questioning that he was a nobody and didn't deserve to be on tour with the Weeknd. Quickly the heckler was put to shame when Dean screenshotted his account, totalling 71 billion (yes billion) streams and a whopping 1.9k contributions.
Dean's set at the Weeknd's show was exciting and unlike what we expected from the event. On stage, he had several analog/digital systems and played what seemed to be a partly improvisational set. During the performance, he would sing into a distorted mike where his autotuned voice laid over more ambient works. To us, it echoed prior creative endeavours he had produced (with a strong emphasis on synths) and was an accurate representation of his current sounds/aesthetics.
Many in the crowd were confused by the performance and didn't fully understand what was happening. This isn't to say the performance was bad (quite the opposite, actually). Dean explored a more abstract notion of what music can be/represent. More and more, we see artists at live events exploring this type of music where playing it can evoke an emotional response. It's more abstract in production but has quite a stirring effect on the listener.