[Behind the Beat] Mike Hawkins On His New Label, Current Projects, and Cooking
Mike Hawkins is one of the most diverse electronic music producers in the game today. A native of Denmark, Hawkins creates a sound that spans multiple genres and that keeps both fans and himself on his toes. In the midst of launching his own label, Vaypor, and releasing a number of new tracks, Mike Hawkins was kind enough to answer a few questions for Mix 247 EDM. Check out the interview below to learn more about Vaypor, the wave music genre, and some of Hawkins’s other interests!
Tell us a bit about your musical upbringing and how you began producing electronic music!
I was your typical kid of the 90’s, super into rock music and what have you. Act’s like Bomfunk MC’s, The Prodigy, Moby and Chemical Brothers made me fall in love with electronic music (in that order) when I was very young – and I pretty much began writing my own music shortly after. It took a while for it to sound any good, though.
You recently started your own label, called Vaypor – what was that project like and what are your plans for the label?
It’s an ongoing project and we’re still working on it! It’s a tough process but also exciting and very satisfying. We’re trying to bring completely new talent to a completely different audience than they’re used to. I feel like there’s a bit of learning and education going both ways. Then there’s all the administrative stuff when working with the team, but it’s all exciting. I want Vaypor to continue developing the coming months and to become a powerhouse for emerging and upcoming genres and artists the next years time.
Vaypor is going to focus on the wave genre – for anyone who may not have heard that term before, can you explain a bit about it?
Wave is one of our key focuses right now. It’s an emerging sound on the worldwide electronic music scene. It sounds a bit like mellow, synth’y, nostalgic electro-trap. It’s hard to explain. It has to be heard. I’m really into it, though – and I find that most I show it to are as well. I believe a lot in the genre.
The first ever Vaypor release was your song “Bad Blood” – what would you like to tell fans about this track?
That the record means a lot to me. It’s a first in terms of complete creative freedom and no considerations to club, floors, etc.. I’ve done a lot of those records before, just never released any of them. I feel really good about it.
So much of EDM is about collaboration – if you could work with any other musician, who would it be?
I don’t know, actually – and I’ve thought about it a lot of times. There are no one in specific that I would really die to collaborate with. In general, artists that share my views on music and who are visionaries or very tasteful and eloquent in their expressions. Generally I can be a bit difficult to work with, I think, but it’s all because I love giving in to the process.
Do you often get a chance to play for your home crowd in Denmark? If so, what is that like?
Much more in the beginning than now. When I started out I was extremely hungry for the club shows and I’d play them everywhere. I’ve played most clubs worth playing (if not all) in Denmark, and it’s been great fun. I love my home country but it’s also a bit of a weird scene. There isn’t much electronic music going on here, and then a few times a year, everyone goes to mega rave-fests like Distortion. And then it instantly evaporates again. “Gone, no more electronic music scene until in 2 months.”
Who are some of your favorite artists outside of EDM?
Right now I really love guys like Jack Garratt, SOHN, Twenty One Pilots (whom I remixed a while back), Royal Blood and Kaleo. But there are many, many more. These are the ones I’m listening a lot to atm.
You’re playing the epic music festival, Tomorrowland, later this summer. What can fans expect from this set?
Something completely different. I hope people are coming with the intent to have a good time and hear something new. I’m not playing any “1-2-3 Jump” records.
What projects will you be working on once the 2017 festival season is over?
I’m writing a lot of pop music right now for different acts and artists, it’s super fun. It’s always been my dream to one day transition into just writing great songs and becoming a legendary producer. I still have some way to go, but it’s super cool to get involved more in that scene. Then besides that, I want to keep trying to push the limits on my music.
How do you want to be viewed as an artist? If one of your fans was trying to tell someone else about your music or your performances, what would you want them to say?
That’s a really great question. I guess I’d be proud if people describe me as daring, wide in my sound, creative, and open-minded. I hope people describe my performances, whether DJ’ing or live, as exciting, ones to remember, different, and daring.
Tell us a Mike Hawkins fun fact! Something fans would be surprised to learn about you.
I’m an avid gamer and a great cook. I love spending hours in the kitchen preparing food, it’s my best way to detach from reality for a second and completely focus on something – even music production and writing can sometimes lead my mind onto a million other unrelated business things. But cooking is cooking. Apparently most people are also surprised when I’m asking for vegan food in my rider.
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