Ushuaïa Ibiza Exclusive: Interview with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s path to the top of the global electronic music scene has been on a constant, upward trajectory but has certainly taken longer than most music fans would ever have anticipated. After the collaboration with the biggest festival in the world and being crowned the #1 DJ’s in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJ’s Poll, it’s hard to believe that the pioneering brothers had their start in small clubs and hotel basements. Their live combination of DJ sets and crowd-busting MC-ing has propelled them into global stars and ‘Kings of Tomorrowland’ which has seen them grow to an unprecedented level of stature, playing their part in the incredible rise of the Belgian event that saw 360,000 revelers descend across 2 weekends last month.
If that wasn’t enough, the power duo also hold a massive Ibiza summer residency in 2017 and as always, the boys have gone above and beyond to deliver an unforgettable experience to their fans. The magic of Tomorrowland is casting its spell upon Ibiza, and what better venue to combine the sun-kissed vibe of the Baleraic island with the magic of Tomorrowland than Ushuaïa Ibiza. In previous weeks fans have had their minds blown as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike gave them a taste of Tomorrowland in their favorite open-air venue in the party capital of the world. The residency is ‘Garden of Madness‘ and the magical show has seen the brothers joined by a number of music superstars such as Steve Angello, EDX, Lost Frequencies, NERVO, Steve Aoki and many others.
We Rave You had the exclusive chance to sit down with the music powerhouses that are Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike and chat in depth about this year’s Ushuaïa residency, their impressions of this year’s Tomorrowland and their future plans.
Tell us about the concept of the ‘Garden of Madness’ residency at Ushuaïa?
“We have been playing in Ibiza for the past..almost 15 years. We started out in the smallest clubs, lived in the basements of hotels and we actually worked here in Ushuaïa before it was Ushuaïa. Then it was Club Playa den Bossa, an 18 – 30 hotel and we used to do the sound and light for the show and used to DJ after the show. They had a little shared club together with Don Toni, which is now the Hard Rock Hotel and I was a resident DJ there. So it’s very special after all these years to return here to Ushuaïa – a worldwide phenomenon where we also made a lot of progress in our career. We did the residency in Amnesia I think for the past 4 years, which was doing really great. Then this year the guys from Ushuaïa were like ‘you know what, let’s try to do something together’, so we sat and we talked for a long time and we decided to share our residency with our family at Tomorrowland. We sort of thought like how can we push this to the next level, show wise, production wise and experience wise and this is the result.”
What makes the Tomorrowland experience at Ushuaïa special?
“I think firstly because it’s different. The show is not just us performing for 2 hours non-stop, it’s a bit similar like the shows in Sportpaleis Antwerp where we have 85 thousand people joining us every year, we have B stages, we have special guests, we have surprise guests, we make sure it’s an experience and not just a show. Also the decoration – we literally put a Tomorrowland main stage in Ibiza. That’s something that I guess is unseen. I’m not saying this cause it’s our party – I’ve been on the island for more time that I can remember and we aspire to do something that is unseen before and I think we succeeded.”
What can you tell us about how you picked the artists who are joining you at ‘Garden of Madness’?
“It’s mainly people we love and respect and people who are also available and who don’t have their own parties. But then again as you will probably see tonight there are also people who have their own parties and who will make special appearances during our show. The line up is very diverse – we have Lost Frequencies, who is also part of our Smash the House Tomorrowland family, we have many nights that other of our label artists play, like Mattn or Wolfpack. Then we have a lot of our friends, like Steve Aoki, Armin van Buuren, Steve Angello, Marshmello, NERVO. They do a set but they also reappear during our show as a surprise, so we do a B2B. We try to keep the people on their toes and keep them surprised.”
Are your happy with the massive fan reaction to this year’s Tomorrowland?
“Super happy! I mean it’s so crazy how fast those weekends go! They are so exhausting and intense, but it’s amazing! The guys have really outdone themselves this year again!”
How involved are you in the creative process of Tomorrowland from the theme to the stages and other intricate details?
“Apart from let’s say… we get to see everything really on time, I wouldn’t dare take 0,0% credit, but the good thing is that on the production side of our shows in Antwerp or the shows here in Ibiza it’s really a creative process of the Tomorrowland and Dimitri & Mike family together.”
You recently released a massive collaboration with with David Guetta. What can you tell us about the new track ‘Complicated’?
“It’s been a track that’s been long time in the making. We’ve known David for many years and we’ve been working non-stop for many years but we never found the right track and this year we made 2, of which the first one is ‘Complicated’ and the reactions have been amazing so far. We are super excited! It’s also a first single on our new artist deal together with Sony, so it’s a whole new world for us. Kiiara has done an amazing job on the vocals. It’s a track that I think will speak a lot. It all happened very organically and not complicated how everything felt together and we’re very curious and super excited about the result.”
In terms of your musical evolution, how do you think you evolved during the course of your long career?
“I think if you go back to our roots, we were very clubby, even sometimes more underground. I mean we even used to play in Circoloco 10 years ago, at the afterparties of Manumission and at a certain way as music evolved we went more to the big room sound. From the big room sound and the big club tracks I think we’ve started to evolve to also making nice songs. But apart from making the songs we’re still making the big club tracks. I think we’ve premiered about 6 or 7 new tracks at Tomorrowland, so it’s a very special time we live in now where it’s kind of looking how to get your music out there. The possibilities of getting your music out there are indefinite, but the right way to reach your fans is tricky.”
You have been on top of the charts, the number 1 DJ’s in the world, you are an integral part of the biggest festival in the world, so what is the secret to your success?
“It’s a hard question to answer, because we feel like we are super grateful for all and humbled by all the success that we’ve had and there’s a lot of work and dedication that goes along with it. We know a lot of other people, who also work hard and have a lot of dedication, so it’s not that working hard and dedication is a guarantee for success. I think it’s somewhere the combination of me and my brother and the path that we’ve chosen. Everybody has their own career path and there’s been a lot of amazing DJ’s in the last year, who had a very quick rise and some of them have had a longer rise. Some people come up to us and say “Wow you guys grew up really quick!”, well no, sorry I’ve been doing this for 20 years. People have only started hearing of us a couple of years ago and then indeed it went pretty fast, but it’s been a long process and we are just very grateful.”
What do you have coming up in the future that your fans can look forward to now that Tomorrowland is over for another year?
“A lot of new music, a lot of touring, we’re also working on quite some things in Hollywood. Mike is more based there, I’m more in and out, I’m more of a tourist, I’m more based in Ibiza. I mean acting wise, scoring wise, we just did a part of the score for ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie, the Hans Zimmer collaboration. It’s amazing to be at this level and other doors also opening and to see like hey we’re doing great here, we’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing, we’re gonna do our best to keep our fans and everybody proud and keep everybody happy, but hey let’s also see what else we can show the world.”
The power duo has propelled to even greater heights with a relentless drive to continually provide their loyal fanbase with even greater and more exciting shows and music. With even a detour into Hollywood, The Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike phenomenon is a story that continues to unfold. If what they have showed the world is anything to go by, we can’t wait to see and hear what’s next in store for the superstar brothers.