When Mac Miller and I get on the phone, he's walking in to his brand new house in Los Angeles. Miller, who turns 22 next month, is finally looking forward to some time to relax after a whirlwind year which included two albums—June's Watching Movies With The Sound Off, his well-received sophomore album on Rostrum Records, and his new live album Live From Space, out today (Dec. 17) with five brand new songs from the WMWTSO sessions—a national tour with Earl Sweatshirt, Action Bronson and Chance The Rapper and a European tour with Lil Wayne. But it's not going to be as simple as just kicking back and chilling out: Mac Miller's got a new responsibility these days.

"I got some dogs to raise," he says, clearly a little distracted by the phone call. "They crazy ass terrier poodles. My dog actually is just figuring out that I make music, it's a beautiful thing."

Miller's been off tour since the end of October, right around the time he got his now-four-month-old pups, who he's only had for a few weeks. "It's wild though, from the first day I brought [Ralph] home he's just been following me everywhere, like I don't even need a leash," he says, before laughing and joking about how adorable that image is. "Mac Miller and a dog. It gets me chicks."

He may seem like he's all grown up—he's a homeowner and a doggfather now after all, having left behind his Pittsburgh roots for an L.A. adult life—but Mac Miller can still be the random, off-the-wall goofball he's been since he got his first look into the industry with 2010's K.I.D.S. mixtape. When asked about when he started thinking about putting out a live album, something almost unheard-of in hip-hop, his response was typically all over the place: "I wanted to do a live album for a long time. Holy shit, in other news, I just opened up these cookies, and they're gingerbread sheet cake. This is about to be wild. Okay, so, alright. Okay. Um, yeah. The live album is something I've always wanted to do." Later in our conversation, he took his dog for a walk, stopping mid-answer to ask the pup whether or not he was going to poop in his neighbor's driveway or if they should keep walking. "Bro, make the decision," he says to him. "Don't eat a plant."

With Live From Space with his buddies/backing band The Internet officially out today, XXL asked Mac about his upcoming collaboration with Pharrell, his new track with Future, and what it all means for 2014. —Dan Rys (@danrys)

XXL: How's it going?
Mac Miller: It's good, man, I just got home, I just walked into my house and my dogs are here, so it's a good start to the day.

The last time we spoke you were in England about to go out on tour with Lil Wayne. How'd it go?
It was fuckin' horrible, man, and I hated it, and I hate everyone there, I hate everyone. [Laughs] Nah, dude, it was amazing, man. They're great people. The tour was awesome; I'm so used to Mac Miller tours where everyone is there to see you, that to go and do something where a lot of people don't know who you are was just surprisingly very fun for me and refreshing. It has more to do with just raw talent, it's not like, 'Hey everyone, go crazy 'cause you know my song!' It's like, put on a good performance and they'll respond. I got a lot of great reactions, and had a lot of fun.

When did you get the idea to come out with a live album before the end of the year?
I wanted to do a live album for a long time. Holy shit, in other news, I just opened up these cookies, and they're gingerbread sheet cake. This is about to be wild. Okay, so, alright. Okay. Um, yeah, the live album is something I've always wanted to do. I played instruments, I've been making music that's dope for a live band for a long time. So it's just dope to do it, and I'm really happy with how it came out. We have an incredible band that played the music with me, and all these songs get new lives.

What kind of energy did The Internet bring?
I mean, those are my really really close friends, so I think that's really the energy that that brings. [Eating] Those are my close friends. And when you're playing on stage with some musicians, it's cool, you know? It's like, 'Hey, we all love music and we have a cool connection.' [Background: 'I'll take the dog for a walk. You wanna take Lil and I can take Ralph?'] When you're playing with your friends, it's magic, you know what I'm saying? You're enjoying every second of it, and that language is such a different kind of language, and it's something that you can really feel. So when the vibes on stage between the musicians are really good, everyone's gonna feel that. So that's what happens; we're all having such a good time and we're all friends. People feel that vibe.


I wanted to ask, too, about these five new songs. Were they leftovers from Watching Music—I mean, the Watching Movies sessions?
I don't want to do this interview, dude, you just got my album title wrong. I'm done. Yeah, dude, they were... you can't watch music, dude, that's not even possible.

Wow, that was a brain slip. I started thinking about the gingerbread cookies, and you know how that goes... [Laughs]
[Laughs] It's all good. They taste good, bro. The cheese cake kinda tastes like lemon, which makes me think they're old. Where were we? Oh yeah, the new songs. Yeah, the new songs were leftover cuts off the album that didn't make it, and I just thought for me that it was important to show people songs that didn't make the album. I think it gives them a better perspective of the album, like how [it] was too melancholy, or too depressing at first. So like, 'Life' is an example of how it was too depressing; that was a song that was supposed to be right before 'Youforia' before, and we just thought it was too depressing at the end. And this is where they belong; these songs belong on something that's attached to Watching Movies With The Sound Off, nothing else.

I really liked that track with Future—it was real jazzy. It took him out of that normal element that you hear him in.
Hell yeah, dude, Future's not just for the strip clubs, Future can do other stuff, too. To me, that's what a collaboration's supposed to do. Collaboration is when two artists create something new together, and I think too many times people, you know, when they think, 'I'm about to make a song with this person,' they make a song for that person. And that's not really how it should be.

You recently spoke about Pink Slime with Pharrell. You said it was going to come out next year at some point?
I hope so. I gotta call him, I'm gonna call him after this interview because people keep asking me and I don't have answers. Last time we talked, we were just talking about that we still wanted to do it. We had a quick checkup, like, 'Hey man, do you wanna do this?' 'Yeah. You wanna do this?' 'Yeah.' 'Okay, well I'm gonna come to Miami.' He's like, 'Perfect.' But I gotta really find out when I gotta go to Miami. We gotta do it.

Last time we spoke you were talking about how you haven't really had a break since K.I.D.S. came out. What's on the horizon for you now? Are you going to take a little time off?
Yeah man, I'm gonna chill. I got some dogs to raise.

What kind of dogs do you have?
Terrier poodles. Some badass motherfuckers. They crazy, bro. They crazy ass terrier poodles. My dog actually is just figuring out that I make music, it's like a beautiful thing.

How long have you had him for?
A couple weeks now, but he's four months. It's wild, though, from the first day I brought him home he's just been following me everywhere, like I don't even need a leash.

That's incredibly adorable, dude.
I know, right? Mac Miller and a dog. [Laughs] It gets me chicks.

So you gotta be a father to these dogs, take a little time off, then hook up with Pharrell at some point. Are you gonna be getting back in the studio for your own material, too?
[Speaking to his dog: 'Hold on buddy, you got your leg caught in this leash here. Alright. Oh, you're pooping? No, you're pooping. Okay, keep moving. You gonna poop or you're gonna not poop, bro, make the decision. Don't eat a plant. Poop, if you're not pooping you're in these nice people's driveway.] [Laughs] I really have four records that I'm working on right now simultaneously, and I'm really deep into each one of them. So far, I'm working on the music. I just became a homeowner. So there's a lot of steps that are happening in my life right now that are really exciting. We'll see where it goes. I'm just along for the ride, man.

Those are some pretty adult moves right there. It's like you're settling down.
I know, right. I'm getting a haircut weekly now. It's nuts. I'm an old ass man. But I think it's all about finding the sense of comfort to be able to just have creative freedom and just chill out and to make music again for the sake of making music. So it's going well. I'm happy, which is a great thing. Just that, being happy is really awesome. [Laughs] I know you were worried.