|Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike Interview|
|Written by Dimitri Kechagias|
Interview with the headliners of Tomorrowland 2010: Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. Tomorrowland 2010, one of the most exciting festivals in Europe, that takes place on Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 July 2010 at the De Schorre leisure complex in Boom near Antwerp in Belgium will open its doors in less than 14 days. The best way to bring you some taste of what will happen there is to talk with the artists performing there. We manage to catch up with one of the headliners that playing in the amazing Main Floor, the up and coming house duo that is currently on everybody’s lips: Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. The reason that we choose them is because they produce along with Dada Life and Tara Mc Donald the anthem of this year’s edition cleverly entitled 'Tomorrow'. The hard working duo from Greek origins managed to put their mark on the scene. They share labels with Eric Prydz, John Dahlback, Deadmau5, Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso, Laidback Luke, Tocadisco... the list goes on and on. Their tracks can be found on the best compilations and mix-cd's and in the playlists of David Guetta, Erick Morillo, Paul Van Dyk, Bob Sinclar, TV Rock, Chuckie, DubFire and Dirty South. Tiësto has been pushing their sound on his Clublife radio show and they were featured on Pete Tong’s Essential Mix (BBC Radio One). Roger Sanchez named their ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ one of his Ibiza favourites of 2008.
Tickled by their interpretation of ‘Work That Body’, Axwell asked the guys to remix his new Axtone-release by Abel Ramos. ‘Rotterdam City Of Love’ was an instant seller that dominated the charts of every download platform. Just before the summer Dimitri & Mike got the opportunity to remix the biggest track of the year, 'Leave The World Behind' by Axwell, Angello & Ingrosso ft Laidback Luke & Deborah Cox. Their version was the hype of Ibiza 2009, as the guys from Swedish House Mafia hammered it on their Dark Forest residency at Pacha. D.O.N.S. asked them to remix his ‘Earth Song’, made especially for Dance 4 Life, following in the footsteps of Tiësto, Faithless and Paul Van Dyk. Sebastian Ingrosso named them his 'Breakthrough Producers of 2009' in DJ Mag... so the brothers keep on dropping remixes for artists like Tiesto, Nelly Furtdado, Dada Life, and John Dahlback... Even Snoop Dogg requested their services for ‘Get Your Groove On’.
But it's not all about remixes. The brothers have raised the bar with their own productions. They scored a N°1 in Belgium with ‘Liquid Skies’ while ‘Under The Water’ has been licensed from South-Africa to the US. New tracks 'Salinas' and 'Underdog', with Duran Duran's Andy Taylor, are destroying the floors and the brothers have an arsenal of new tracks lined up for the summer, collaborating with artists such as the legendary Technotronic, Albin Myers and Sarah Main. With Dada Life they wrote 'Tomorrow', the anthem for ID&T Tomorrowland 2010. A brilliant vocal version is on the way, with the amazing voice of Tara McDonald, marking the launch of their own imprint, 'Smash Music'.
What follows is an interview that you should keep in your archives for future reference as Dimitri and Like Mike tracks and remixes within the next months will dominate the house scene with worldwide recognition.
Dimitri(Flux BPM): When and where you were born ?
Dimitri: We were both born in Belgium... I was born in '82 and Mike in '85. Our mother is Belgian and our dad is Greek, from Loutraki, next to Corynth, where we also spent quite some time over the years. Our grandparents originally came from Pera Hora a very small but beautiful town in the mountains nearby...
Dimitri(Flux BPM): In what ways do you feel influenced by your Greek origins? Do you still retain in your character, traces that others recognise as stereotypically Greek??
Mike: We both have quite a bad temper We love good food... especially Greek food... and mostly cook Greek...
Dimitri: I definitely have a Greek nose... hahaha... but ok seriously, we have a strong love for our family - family is the most important thing in the world... Our parents and grandparents did their best to bring us up with the right values... So, I think we had a good mix of the Belgian way of life and the Greek traditions. Unfortunately our Greek grandparents both passed away in the last years, but I still proudly carry his name... and luckily we still have a lot of family in Loutraki that we love and try to visit as many times as we can.
Dimitri: I always had the DJ-Dream... never was interested in anything else but music really...when I was really young I used to do mix tapes hooking a Discman into the microphone input a hi-fi system ( I didn’t have a computer ) and trying to mix... I’m sure it must have sounded like crap... but I would be really funny to find those tapes again! :-) I think the first time I actually DJ-ed at a party I was only 13-14...
Mike: I've always felt very artistic from a very young age... going from visual arts like painting and drawing, even cooking to a very intense interest in all kinds of music... so it was quite obvious that I was going to do something like this.
Dimitri(Flux BPM): When was the first time that you came across dance electronic music culture, and when did you take the decision to get involved with it?
Dimitri: I can't really say... When I was a kid it was the whole electronic music revolution in Belgium so I kinda grew into it....
Mike: For me, I've always been into Hip-Hop, but after following my brother to Ibiza, living there as a 16-year old with my big brother... I totally fell in love with House music.
Dimitri(Flux BPM): Can you tell us the 3 records that you consider as your all time favourite classics, and you believe that they had the biggest impact upon you as musicians??
Dimitri: Mmmm... there is so many :) Its hard to say... but here are 3 important ones... but the actual list is surely longer!
1) Three Drives On A Vinyl - Greece 2000 ( first got attracted by the title and fell in love with the track itself... it's been in my set for many years and it never grows old for me )
Dimitri(Flux BPM): Did you start first as Dj’s, or as dance music producers?? Where was your first DJ gig and do you feel comfortable playing in front big crowds?
Dimitri: Definitely Dj's... we were always producing but it took some time to get to a certain level.. started with bootlegs etc and evolved from there...
Mike: I'm not a DJ, although I had a short period, when me and my brother weren't working together yet, when I was playing in some clubs... but soon enough I had to realise my real passion was still song writing, performing and producing...
Dimitri: Hmmm... can't really remember my first gig... but for sure I was very nervous...
Dimitri: The idea came later... Mike was a hip-hop artists at first, so I DJ-ed alone. At some of my earlier gigs in Ibiza, Mike would pick up the microphone and drop some flows just for fun when we were drunk... but we saw the crowd reacted really well to it.... so after a while we decided to just go full-on with the two of us. Me as a DJ, Mike as a vocalist...
Mike: In the beginning, it was quite hard as many promoters were quite sceptical about the whole mc/vocalist thing in a House set... but that has changed for sure! :) In the time we started this, there were almost no MC's on electronic music... but now there is no big event without an MC of some sort! :) Even Dj’s tend to pick up the mic again these days..
Dimitri: I like Mike's ability to remix tracks with his voice... taking the time to write lyrics to certain tracks... so it's not really mc-ing in the traditional way. It's also hard for me to keep him away from the FX...
Dimitri(Flux BPM): As brothers do you always agree with each other about productions, remixes, and performances, or there are certain things that you quarrel about??
Mike: We each have our own studio... and since we have so much work, we more than often work alone... or just send stuff over to each other and take turns completing the tracks... but for sure we correct each other a lot... if we don't like it...we say it!!
Dimitri: We wouldn't be brothers if we never fight :) Mike is the more creative one and look at tracks more dancefloor-orientated.. also the mixing and final 'touch' I do in my studio... performance wise.. I pick the tracks mostly and we decide together if we play it or not..
Dimitri(Flux BPM): Please list for us the Top 5 Dj’s or producers that you respect the most and why??
Dimitri: Axwell for sure in N° one... we learned a lot from him when we did remixes for Axtone... I don't think there are a lot of people who are more perfectionist than him... he has the perfect balance of making 'functional' and quality tracks and that is what we also try to accomplish. He was one of the first to notice us and give us a chance and we'll never forget that!
Mike: Also Sebastian Ingrosso is one of the most talented guys we can think of... he's doing so many things apart from what most people hear and some of the stuff he will come up with in the near future is some next level sh**... We're really happy he signed our 'Pump Up The Jam' track for Refune and really appreciate him supporting our stuff for the last years. In general we can say that we are in serious debt to the Swedish House Mafia... these guys are amazing !
Dimitri: Tiesto has been in the game for so long and never lost his touch... although he comes from a different scene, he's really starting to put his mark on the house-scene big-time. Also a really great down-to-earth guy... we're cooking up a surprise together, so stay tuned for that ;-)
In 2003, we were in Subliminal Sessions in Pacha every week... Erick Morillo was the guy who made me throw out my vinyl’s and work with CDJ-1000's... what he did with acapella's & looping etc inspired my to the way I’m DJ-in today...
What David Guetta did for house music is incredible... he opened the doors for a whole new generation of producers to break trough to the mainstream.
Dimitri(Flux BPM): What was the point in your career when you realised that you were becoming successful?
Dimitri and Like Mike: When our tracks started popping up in sets of Axwell, Tiesto, Sebastian Ingrosso, David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, Steve Angello, Paul Van Dyk, Eric Prydz... and so many more. It still is a nice feeling every time!
Mike: Can't describe it... when I'm 'in the zone' the tracks just magically appear :-D In my head I'm creating 24/7... I pick the best moment to get in the studio and once I’ve started it's hard to stop! It's kind of a lifestyle..
Dimitri: I take a lot of inspiration from the sets... I make short versions of ideas to see what works etc.. then I take the track back in the studio and work on it till I’m satisfied..
Dimitri: Everything we know is self education and experience from over the years... Musical education is a plus but not a must... although if you have the chance.. do it!!!
Dimitri and Like Mike: 1) Axwell, Ingrosso, Angello & Laidback Luke ft Deborah Cox - Leave The World Behind ( Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs SHM Dark Forest Edit )
Dimitri(Flux BPM): You are honoured to produce the anthem for this years Tomorrowland festival in Belgium. Can you tell us how this happened, to collaborate with Dada Life and Tara Mc Donald?
Dimitri: We were on tour in Sweden and met up with the Dada Life guys to make a summer anthem when it was -12° outside... we had a great time with them, they are the best guys and very talented! We took the instrumental version to Miami where there was quite some hype about it and later on Tara did some brilliant vocals for it. Now we have some great remixes too and the package is ready to be out as the first release on our own 'Smash The House' label... exciting times!
Dimitri(Flux BPM): How long did it take you to produce, and do you remember any funny or serious incidents while you recording??
Mike: We did some 'homework' before but we actually did the track in one day... afterwards the guys still did some work on the vocals.. but mostly we finished it that day. We were drinking 'glog', a Swedish traditional winter drink and imagining it to be summer in Ibiza while it was freezing outside.. great fun. and we're really happy with the result...
Dimitri(Flux BPM): Do you believe that this anthem captures the essence of Tomorrowland? Have you ever played at Tommowland previous editions?? Can you describe us your experience at that party?
Mike: Definitely... it's a Bigroom summer anthem tailored for the main stage of the festival... we couldn't have hoped for a better result. We played Tomorrowland last year on a smaller stage, but to be one of the headliners this year is a dream come true!! Everyone there is there to party and the atmosphere is amazing... like nowhere else!
Dimitri(Flux BPM): Who are the Dj’s and producers that you look forward to enjoying their sets at this year’s Tomorrowland and can you recommend our web site visitors not tomiss them??
Dimitri and Like Mike: SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA!! Hahaha (D) Also Dada Life will rock the place, Chuckie, Dirty South, Afrojack, Guetta,...
Dimitri: ID&T is one of the most respected promoters in the world and they really deserve it... it's an important step for us as before we did everything by ourselves and were very careful to sign somewhere, but the feeling with ID&T is 100% right. We have a very close relationship now and they follow up on us very close... I cleaned out my mailbox on the plane yesterday and I think I counted about 1700 mails between me & our manager in the last few months... so even though they are really busy at the moment with the festival, he still takes the time to discuss every detail of our career with us...
Dimitri: We lived there a few years ago and did many smaller clubs... normally we will do a few big ones this season, but that's still a surprise ;)
Mike: USA, Canada, Spain, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Italy, Holland... our list of 'places to visit' is still very big but in fall we're off to Australia, Asia, India, Indonesia,... so it will get smaller very soon!
Dimitri(Flux BPM): A few years ago, many DJ's said they would always use Vinyl. Those same DJ's have now progressed through CD's to digital media.. Are you a person who prefers tried & tested technology or do you prefer to be at the cutting edge?
Dimitri: Tried & tested is a big word... reliable... that’s the most important... I’m all about progression... but I wouldn't want to take the risk of the music cutting off in the middle of my set... horrible.
Dimitri(Flux BPM): Do you actively use online social networks, like Myspace or Facebook?? Do you think that they are really important, and did they have a serious impact in the development of your careers?
Dimitri: They are all very important, without the internet we (and a lot of others) would not be where we are today... promotion wise it's amazing.. and also you can send your music to the world in seconds... trade stuff with fellow Dj's.. it's great... I used to Facebook a lot more when I had more time though... a lot of people start talking but I don't have the time to reply mostly... which I feel sorry for as I don't want to appear arrogant...so... sorry guys!
Mike: We waited very long to do it, since it takes up a lot of time... but we started our 'Smash The House' show on Radio FG and are now looking to expand to other countries as well... it's important to reach out to your fans. People like to hear you play and can't always come to your gigs...so it's a nice alternative... plus we invite a guest on every show as an extra treat!
Dimitri: Hell yea... over a longer period I might concentrate more on the A&R part again... and expand the label... but we are both entertainers so I'm sure we'll be doing this for quite a while still... (M) Especially production wise I want to evolve a lot more and even work behind the scenes, hell, I might even do a hip-hop album again in the next years. you never know... we have some special things coming up with a few big names but we are sworn to secrecy...
Dimitri: Tomorrowland is what house music is all about... unity , freedom, ... 2 days of doing whatever you like... any style of music you like... the are is so big you can get lost and the choice of Dj’s is so wide that you wish you could cut yourself in multiple pieces as you don't want to miss out! 28 stages and over 200 Dj's... what more can you want??
Mike: The ID&T guys work on it the whole year... no promoter is so passionate about an event than these guys... the main stage will look... ridiculously amazing... but hey, don't believe us. come see for yourself!!!
Dimitri: We love the festival so much we even invited our parents, grandparents to come and see the show... even our little cousin Marianna is coming over from Greece for the first time... I think she will not quickly forget that weekend
Many thanks both to Dimitri and Mike despite their busy schedule of club performances and a big production schedule, for finding the time to reply with so much detail and devotion in that interview..
Many thanks to Debbie for supporting and organising this interview.
Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike will perform on the main stage of Tomorrowland, which takes place on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th July 2010, at the De Schorre leisure complex in Boom near Antwerp, in Belgium.
Interview is written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias (Flux BPM On The Move)