By Jay Tilles
Even in the digital age, some songs still require time to grow organically. Such is the case with Mike Posner‘s smash, “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.” Posner wrote the track back in 2014 as an acoustic song but he didn’t release it until a year later. Then, in 2015, SeeB (a Norwegian duo specializing in remixes) reworked the track. Almost immediately it caught fire throughout Europe.
“It’s a little deja vu-y with my first single, ‘Cooler Than Me,’ Posner tells Radio.com. “The same kind of thing happened. I wrote the track. It was me and Big Sean… I produced it. And then a guy named Gigamesh remixed it. That time it may have even been around longer. Maybe two or three years before the radio started playing it.” Indeed, Posner’s wait did pay off. “Cooler Than Me” charted in 19 countries reaching number 3 on Billboard Pop Chart.
The same thing is happening again. After more than two years, one of his tracks has caught fire thanks to the unexpected reception of a remix. Although Posner embraces remixes, having made dozens of them for A-list artists, SeeB’s didn’t stand out at first. “I was in a singer-songwriter phase. I was listening to a lot of Bob Dyland and Merle Haggard. They sent it over and I kind of just half listened to it,” he admits.
At first the song blew up in Norway thanks to SeeB, then quickly spread throughout the Netherlands and Europe and hit stateside months later.
But the irony… oh the irony. There’s a lot of it with “I Took A Pill in Ibiza.” “The track is about being done with the scene. The writing of that song has thrust me back into the scene,” says Posner through a chuckle. “That I think it’s comical.”
After “Cooler Than Me,” Posner’s former label was unable to get another single to connect and subsequent songs failed, leaving him in limbo for years. He sold his Porsche, his shoe collection and nearly everything he considered excessive and distracting, minus the house, and drove around the West Coast in a “creepy 1994 Dodge Ram conversation van” in search of himself. Staying with friends, attending Burning Man, even taking a pill in Ibiza, which resulted in him feeling ten years older. “Physically I felt terrible,” he confessed. “I think I gained many life experiences in that three or four hours.” But this wasn’t the first time the singer/songwriter has taken a psychoactive substance.
Posner, who says he doesn’t drink or smoke pot, does admit to taking psychotropic drugs, which he did a week prior this interview.
“Ever five months or so I take Psilocybin. It’s a way for me to take a look at my life from the outside. Psilocybin’s a fancy word for mushrooms.” But the last time he took the drug, he took too much, causing him to experience some disturbing visuals. So much so that he reached out to an expert, Dr. James Fadiman, in hopes of interpreting what he saw. “I saw some things I don’t really understand. I was totally freaked out. It was totally overwhelming. Time was all discombobulated, I felt like I was at two places at once. Past, present, future was all jumbled up. I felt like my normal life was not real at all. I was worried I wouldn’t come back. It was terrifying!”
But Posner thinks there could be a silver lining. Something beautiful could come out of it. “We can sometimes be too quick to categorize an event as bad or good. I think need some time to contextualize the event.”
So, the moral of the story is, if you’re going to take a pill in Ibiza, or alone in your bedroom, prepared for the unexpected.