We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael (MG) Gross and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michael (MG), have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?

Working in any field that also happens to be your complete and utter obsession creates a tricky dance between personal and work balance. In the case of Music, those lines are fantastically and dangerously easy to blur. For so many people, music is a lifesaver; it’s medicine for your soul. When you make it your job too, that can create an uneasy relationship with the thing you love. It takes practice, and plenty of mistakes, to keep that relationship healthy.

It’s been a long, long process to know when to turn off the work side of the brain and to just enjoy the music. Henry Rollins has a method which I subscribe to now, which is to use Monday – Friday for new music discovery, thereby free-ing up your weekends to listen to whatever you want: classics, favorite albums, podcasts, whatever. Guilt free.

Finding that balance of work/life in Music reminds me of a conversation I had very early on in my career with Michael Fitz (of Fitz & the Tantrums), where we were working together and I asked him what he liked to listen to when he got home at night. His answer was “Nothing! I like to be in silence when I get home. I’m surrounded by music all day, so when I get home I need a break.” I think about that conversation often and the importance in creating a boundary of separation.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The art of pairing music and moving media is my work, and something I love to do. I happen to get paid to do it, which makes me an extremely lucky and privileged person working in the creative industries. Having said that, I’ve busted my butt to be the most passionate, hardworking and knowledgeable person in the room every time. Thats how you build up a reputation — hard work and passion. People see that. Over time you gain their trust. It also helps to know how to identify an opportunity and work to seize it when it’s in front of you. That just comes from experience and learning from your mistakes.

By no means have I “arrived” though; one has to always maintain that restlessness of wanting to get better, of knowing that you’re not done and that there’s still more to learn and accomplish in your field.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

For a day trip — North County Malibu. A drive up the coast, with a stop at Big Dume and then further north to my favorite restaurant on earth, Neptune’s Net, for steamed seafood, clam chowder and tall boys of Mexican Lager. People-watching at the Net is legendary — bikers, barefoot surfers and tourists, all mixing together and enjoying that last stretch of coast before Ventura County Line.

For an evening — Dodger Stadium for a game under the lights. Maybe a drive along Mulholland. I miss the old Venice of 20 years ago, when we’d go to the Townhouse and James Beach and end up on the beach afterwards. At least there’s still Hinano’s, thank goodness. Best Turkey Burger in town and a great jukebox in the back.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shout out all the people in my life who who have gifted me music in some way over the years. My (now) wife used to make the the best mixtapes on cassette tape when were were dating in college, complete with homemade artwork. My friend Sean Vienna who gifted me that first Broken Social Scene album, opening up a new world to my ears. My friends in high school, who’d drive around with me up & down PCH at night listening to “The End” by the Doors on repeat and high volume. KCRW DJ, MBE founder and LA music icon Tom Schnabel, who would invite me over to his house for food, wine and profound evenings of musical education and audiophile listening sessions. Lastly I’d like to shout out my father, who was a Deadhead and handed that love down to my brother and I. Music is a GIFT; the people who know that secret are the people to cherish in this life.

Website: https://www.squeakeclean.com/

Instagram: @meknowingthetruth

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mgknowingthetruth

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