As dance music keeps evolving, Mike Mago is one of the best examples of how diverse artists can be. His feet tucked in both underground house music as well as mainstream sounds, he’s endlessly expanding his musical path, making sure things just keep on getting more interesting for the Dutch DJ/producer/label boss. Having remixed for the likes of Avicii, Ellie Goulding, Clean Bandit, Years & Years and Bastille, Mike Mago is one of the finest artists the Netherlands has to offer.
Mike Mago first achieved mainstream success in 2014, when he released the Dragonette collaboration; ‘Outlines’. The track skyrocketed into the realms of success as it gained worldwide DJ and radio support. The track also achieved gold status in three countries and double platinum in Holland, while the video garnered over 12M YouTube views and more than 25M Spotify plays.
In between in-depth masterclasses and hectic label parties, Mike Mago kindly sat down with We Rave You to discuss his upcoming single ‘Always On My Mind’ with Dog Collective and the struggles young artists face.
You’ve got quite the hectic ADE schedule this year, you’re set to appear at 4 different events, including the Spinnin’ Deep party. How difficult is it to keep up with your schedule without tiring out?
“It’s almost impossible! Traditionally, I get sick after ADE, but it’s worth it. Luckily it’s only 3 or 4 days. You don’t want to push yourself too hard. Yesterday I didn’t stay out too late because I needed to save my energy and tonight and tomorrow night are going to be bigger. I’m still fit and okay though!”
You’re also set to host a studio session where you discuss how you created your most recent release; ‘The Green’. What drove your desire to host this event?
“Firstly, ADE asked me to do something. I really love explaining what I do because when I explain it, I become aware of some of my habits I’m not even aware of. It becomes a bit clear for me as well. Normally there are lots of questions asked and I don’t always have an immediate answer, so it’s kind of challenging for myself as well, next to the fact that it’s nice to help young producers, to support them and give them tips.”
You’ve got your own label; BMKLTSCH RCRDS. Can you tell us a bit about it and how it all started?
“Firstly, it’s pronounced “Boom clutch”. I started the label before I started producing. I was DJing at the time and I set up the label to release music for my DJ friends or other talents. While my profile grew, BMKLTSCH RCRDS grew with me. Now I am really happy and confident to release singles on my own label. There was a time when Spinnin’ [Records] used to manage the label, but I wanted to continue it on my own. In saying that, I love working with Spinnin’ so I’ll switch between those labels sometimes.”
Your upcoming release, ‘Always On My Mind’ with Dog Collective is a funky, upbeat Disco-inspired tune! Can you tell us a little bit about the track and how it came together?
“For me, that track is really special. I really want to nail the track’s intention through the mix. Normally, I mix songs really clean, but because it’s kind of funky and it’s got a bit of an old-school vibe, I want to translate that through the mix.”
Your 2014 hit-single ‘Outlines’ put your name on the map. How did you deal with the pressure & expectations of releasing an equally successful follow-up single?
“After ‘Outlines’, I had a real struggle with that because everybody around you is hoping for that next big single. Everybody gives you these tools and advice, but if you’re not experienced, you take all this advice and you forget your own ideas and direction and can even lose your motivation. It’s easy to lose track of your authenticity. Looking back now, I have many releases I’m not really proud of, but I tried too hard to make the next ‘Outlines’. Now I just make music that is me and music that I like. If it’s not a hit, then it’s not a failure because it’s something that I like.”
Given your experiences, do you believe young artists today are somewhat unaware of potentially losing their way?
“Yeah a little bit. Most DJ’s have the goal of sharing energy with the crowd, hopefully a big crowd through music. If you want to do that, you need to have music that connects to a big crowd. If you’re a young artist, you’re looking at how proven, successful tracks are set up, what the formula is and you try to copy that formula and hope that if you make it, loads of people will connect to it. On the other hand, you have to develop as an artist and see where your sound is and what your unique thing is.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2018? How do you plan to close out the year?
“I’m keen to see how ‘The Green’ works out and of course my upcoming single ‘Always On My Mind’. I have one more release ready but I’m waiting to see how the next single goes. Of course, I’ll also be playing gigs and working on the label!
Be sure to pre-save the upcoming Mike Mago single; ‘Always on My Mind’ here and listen to ‘The Green’ below!