It’s been almost three months since our last mix as part of the Your EDM Mix series; but we’re back, and better than ever. Today we bring you an exclusive hour long mix from special guest Mike Hawkins which serves as a review for the spectacular year that the Danish-man has experienced.
Enjoy the interview below while you listen as we talk about the past, present, and future for Mike Hawkins.
So before we get into this mix, tell us a little bit about your background and your quick rise as an artist in 2014.
As for my background, I’m a rock-kid who grew up on music 24/7. I wanted to start a rock-band badly and played drums for a while, but a major problem was that I couldn’t compose everything – so, I started experimenting with producing and got bitten by it. Suddenly I was able to pretty much compose and create every aspect of the music I was doing! It really all started for me this year when I began working on some different singles. For a while I had been just feeling out the general vibe of EDM and kinda felt there had to be a way to be a bit in between it all. I wanted to be cinematic, ravy, and eclectic, but you couldn’t really argue with the effectiveness of the proper big EDM stuff out at the time. So I kinda hit a sweetspot which ended up with records like Soldiers, my remixes for Martin Garrix and Zedd and some big major-label stuff that all really took off. Before I knew it I was touring the entire year. There’s of course more things to it – I’ve been working with some really talented and great people that really understand my vision, and it’s also been a big part of it that I’ve been able to run Megaton on the side with friends who really care about good music.
You touched on it briefly, but what records of yours can you point to as really defining releases for your career thus far?
It has to be the ones mentioned before I think. I was doing a small live-stream the other day and was showing off a ton of music. I’m one of those guys who makes 500 records and only releases one of them. I sometimes re-visit the records and wonder why on earth I haven’t released it all – I sometimes feel like the general audience is almost like “missing out” on all these fun little ideas I do – but I am all about quality above quantity. I’ve missed so many deadlines when it comes to my music because I want it to be perfect. It’s all about the music, the rest is secondary.
Soldiers really took off – some other records that really helped break me on the scene has to be Jump on Hysteria, Hot Steppa on Spinnin and perhaps my remix for Zedd on Interscope. At least those are some of my own favorites!
From working in the studio to touring, how has life changed on a professional and personal level with your recent success?
On a professional level it actually hasn’t rchanged a whole lot besides naturally just bigger shows and more stuff to do. I’m still working with the same crew that helped me break through and surround myself with the the same people. I think one of the few things that really changed, maybe, is that all of a sudden you’re hanging out with the people who used to be your idols – and it doesn’t really cease to get weird. I mean, some of the people you knew well before either broke through. I feel super blessed to have been hanging with guys like Martin or Henry Fong before any of us was really anything, and even though everything is on an entire different level now, it’s absolutely absurd how big Martin has gotten for instance, I feel theres still a certain deep rooted respect for each other having known what “came before” it all. Then on the flip side, I’ve gotten to befriend people who I used to really look up to. And sometimes when you’re sitting playing FIFA or out at dinner with someone you grew up listening to, you take a step back and kinda think about how fucking weird that is, haha.
On a personal level its an entirely different story. I haven’t seen my parents more than once or twice in the last 6 months. I feel bad that I don’t have as much time to spend with old friends and family anymore, and it’s not really because I don’t want to, it’s something I really really miss, but I’m at a point where I really need to stay focused and work 25 hours a day to keep the momentum going. I don’t get to spend as much time with my younger brothers as I want to either, and my friends have pretty much become people in the industry. It’s true that most of the industry is just a small circle of friends really, but I think that happens as a result of your career (and not the other way around); I mean you’re not really spending time with anyone anymore except for the other artists out there. There’s a sort of colleague-vibe going on, and I never ever feel the “competition” vibe. I think that the electronic music group of artists is probably the nicest, friendliest and least condescending part of the music industry. It probably has something to do with all of the artists being a bunch of nerds who all kinda grew up playing computer-games and hanging around the dorks.
The hardest part has been the weirdness of it all. I grew up on my ass, never had a cent to pay for anything, and when that changes and you begin making money there’s a certain weirdness to it all. You don’t really care, actually. It’s all about the music. But I often get a pretty hardcore post-tour depression when I come back home because I’ll have been on the road smiling and being “on” non-stop for a month, eating way too expensive food in way too over-the-top restaurants (I kinda like it simple to be honest). And all of a sudden you’re sitting on your couch in your boxers again and that whole “glamour” is gone. But it’s healthy, I think. It’s one of the main reasons I chose to live in a small city in Europe. There’s something grounding and very encouraging about being able to go somewhere “normal” again after a month of surreality.
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What have your past few months been like? And what’s soon to come from Mike Hawkins?
The past 3 months I’ve been working on something really really big for 2015. I had to cut down on touring and start turning down some shows because it’s more important to be in the studio at this point – there’s no shows without records. I delegated out some of my previous job-tasks and just dedicated my time to the studio 24/7. I can’t reveal what it is yet, but I have 3 records coming up in the first quarter of 2015 that I’m all really really excited about – and then I decided to do some remixes inspired by my roots in December to give away for free as a thanks to all the fans for this amazing year. In the end, they’re the most important, and I really value and try my hardest to stay connected with them. But for 2015, I think a few jaws are gonna drop.
On the topic of the roots remix series you have coming up this month, could you elaborate on the inspiration behind these and where can we find them?
Well it’s an idea me and my manager had. As I said earlier, I do a million records that never see the light of day, and we kinda said to each-other that it’d be fun to try do a few records that are just “their own”. I’m not trying to hit anything specific, if people feel its too weird, great. If people feel it’s commercial or mainstream’y, also cool. I just decided I wanna do whatever I feel like in the moment on these remixes – the idea is to kinda go back to the “fun of producing” at its core, whatever the music is, that I started out with 5-6 years ago. I’m took 3 of my favorite records and put a fresh take on them, so it’s all about what inspired me to become a musician myself.
What went into the mix that you have for us today?
I actually just wanted to do a mix of my year, more or less. It’s me packing the best of Mike and some of my favorite Megaton records into an hour long mix. It wasn’t the easiest task (both because theres so much music I wanted to play and because the tracks sometimes vary a lot genre wise) – but I like a challenge. It’s pretty much a sum-up of who I am and was this year, kind of closing a chapter before we start a new one in 2015!
What are your biggest plans for 2015?
I wanna keep evolving my sound, but I also want to stay true to what my fans love about me – so I’ll probably put out a few really different or out-there records that some will love and some will hate – but I’ll also be putting out some true “Mike Hawkins” style records because I know how much the fans love those records (and I love making them). On the live side, we’re working with some really big partners on the live-front, and I’m finally signing a record deal with one of my favorite labels, which has been in the works for quite a while. Most people don’t realise this, but I’ve actually been 100% indie for the past 2 years, ever since ending my deal with Warner under EMI. The major-label landscape wasn’t for me. They are really competent and great people, some of the nicest I have ever worked with, but the major-labels are not structured in a way that makes it possible for them to stay current and constantly follow the trends and release-schedules for an electronic artist like me. Unless you’re Swedish House Mafia or Calvin Harris, it doesn’t make sense to plan an electronic release for months. Dance music is about now, it’s about the moment, and the producers work very hard to develop and create exciting new sounds for the dance-floors. Months of release-planning kills the “currentness” of it.
That said, I’m also working on some very artist-oriented records as well. Timeless music. But my main priority for this coming year is really to keep this insane momentum going and get out there to meet all of the amazing Mike Hawkins fans around the world with fresh music. One thing’s for sure though, I’m not going to be following the “harder, harder!” trend that I feel is in the scene right now. Don’t get me wrong; I really like a good rave-record. But the “drop-music” trend right now doesn’t really flow well with me. I want to go back to a point where it’s about a feeling, a vibe, rather than just “oh my god that drop is so fucking hard”. It was fun for a while, but the fans are maturing and their standards are higher than ever. And I really, really love that fact.