Artist of the Week: M.I.K.E.September 11th, 2008
What divides M.I.K.E. from the rest of the Armada artists, is his amount of productions. Producing under more than 60 aliases in several styles and forms, yet not even near the end of his talent or creativity. Every production stands for quality, whether it’s brought out under the Plastic Boy, Absolute or legendary Push guise.
The story so far
M.I.K.E.’s a Belgian producer and dj that entered the club scene at the age of 16. He used the name DJ Mike and got so used to it, that he decided to change his real name, Dirk Dierickx to Mike Dierickx, in 2001. Mike: ‘I was not Dirk anymore, it was a change of identity. Dance music is my life, trance is my religion and it’s a way of life really, while ‘Dirk’ was just my born name. But Mike was the name written in my stars I guess.’ At 18, Mike send his first demo tape to the Antwerp based record company, ‘USA Import’. Soon after, his first record, ‘Vision Act’ was released and opened up a totally new and exciting world to him. Mike released a series of successful records and got signed to Lightning in 1996. This gave him a chance to put the Belgian dance scene firmly onto the map by teaming up with Yves DeRuyter and producing several hits, like ‘To the Rhythm’, ‘The Rebel’ and ‘Back to Earth’. Being the man behind these productions, which had pole positions in the worldwide dance charts, made Mike’s reputation shoot through the roof. But it wasn’t until 1998 that Mike gained a legendary status, with ‘Universal Nation’, brought out under his Push guise, as one of the classic records of the trance era. Up until this day, ‘Universal Nation’ and the follow up ‘Strange World’ still manage to destroy clubs all over the world. Just when he thought he couldn’t top this success, Mike released ‘The Legacy’, again topping all dance charts across Europe and entering the British National charts at # 21. Mike received several music awards, including ‘Best Club Singles’ and ‘Best Dance Producer’.
Next to producing, Mike does a fairly good job at remixing. So far on his list: Sinead O’Connor, Moby, Mauro Picotto, Bom Funk Mc’s, Oliver Lieb and many more.
Armada and Mike joined forces in 2003, when the Club Elite imprint was founded. This label stands for strong and long-lasting productions and is mostly a platform for Mike’s discoveries or own productions. From hard edged tech to soft and gentle progressive trance, Club Elite provides it all. ‘Albert Vorne – Formentera What’ and ‘M.I.K.E. vs Andrew Bennett – A Better world’ are just two examples of what Club Elite has to offer. Armada is glad to have this talented, legendary producer and dj with us.
One might wonder, whether all the success isn’t rising above his head, but Mike is a down to earth guy and has enough passion and inspiration for music to stay strong for years and years to come. The only thing worrying us, is whether Mike still knows who he is today. How else would you explain his over 60 aliases? Suffering a major identity crisis or just as a preference of diversity? Mike: ‘ Both, haha! No seriously, I did cut down a lot of aliases to concentrate more on a sound and direction I want to go to. Mainly trance and the deeper side of progressive.’
Sounds like a good start! But as with everything in life, people have favorites. Favorite colors, favorite food and, in Mike’s case: favorite aliases. Mike: ‘Both M.I.K.E. and the Push guise are my favorites. It brings the best in trance and progressive out of me. But I also like the more melodic side of me, like Absolute and Active Sight.’ How this guy manages to create sparks over and over again and still be innovative after all these years of hard work, is not only a matter of skills, but also a matter of trying. Mike: ‘I try to be innovative. Some people like it, some don’t. Some like to stick to the good old days, I try to combine the best of both worlds.’
The best of both worlds is another perfect description of Mike himself. Being a successful producer and DJ at the same time has lifted his career even more. He’s travelled all over the world and played in clubs from sizzling hot Ibiza to hometown Antwerp and across Europe, the U.S. and all different continents of this globe. It’s no coincidence you might have caught him doing his thing behind the decks, with a big frown onto his forehead and both eyes focused on the machines that’ll make the boxes tremble and the crowd move. It’s a rare gift to see this guy clapping his hands and doing crazy moves, for Mike seems to be fully taken by his laptop or mixing gear. Mike: ‘True, I’m very concentrated when I play as a DJ. I just don’t like to make mistakes, especially now I’m an official laptop/digital DJ. But I still enjoy my time once I see the dance floor is on fire!’
And that’s exactly what we like about this guy. He doesn’t let himself be deduced, and stays with what it’s all about: the music. But next to producing, dj’ing and conquering the world, Mike enjoys loads of other stuff life has to offer. A good game of football, snowboarding and above all: spending lots of time with his son. Mike: ‘He’s my everything!’
M.I.K.E.’s top 5 for September 2008
1. Phuture Dust – Data on the Moon (Martin Roth remix)
2. Armin van Buuren feat. Sharon den Adel – In & Out of Love (Push Trancedental remix)
3. Filterheadz – Day at the Beach
4. Arnej – They Always Come Back
5. Tydi – Russia!
M.I.K.E. In The Mix
Exclusively for Armada, M.I.K.E. made 2 smashing 30 minute mixes, a deep progressive mix and a mind blowing trance mix with a range of some of his favorite tracks this day. You don’t want to miss out on this!