Mike Mago is a Dutch DJ and producer who is in huge demand across Europe and beyond, from the festivals of Creamfields and Tomorrowland, to the clubs of Ibiza, from remixes for leading dance artists, to his own hit single releases.
Forming his own record label, BMKLTSCH Records in 2010, Mike built a steady reputation with numerous singles and remixes, before breaking the big time with the single Outlines, in collaboration with Canadian electropopsters, Dragonette. The single went double platinum in The Netherlands, gold in Italy and Canada and made number 7 in the official UK singles chart, racking up 10 million YouTube views and 20 million Spotify plays along the way.
The success was followed by several other hits, including Deeper Love, Secret Stash and Higher, all of which have blow up massively both online and on the dance floor. Alongside his own creations, Mike has also remixed for the very best, including Avicii, Ellie Goulding, Clean Bandit, Bastille and Tiesto.
His latest smash “The Remedy” is a typical Mike Mago house smash, combining infectious vocals with a steady bass kick and house groove. We got the chance to talk to Mike about food, the future, his inspirations and more. We also got this fuego guest mix from him filled with 20 club smashers to listen to while reading the interview. Check them both below!
What got you into making music, specifically Electronic Dance Music?
When I was 17, I was a huge fan of hip hop. My friends were hip hop DJs and I was very excited to collect jazz / funk / soul albums sampled in hip hop beats. When I had around 30 records, I went from pub to pub to ask if I could play those records. I then got 50 guilders (20 euro's) for a whole evening, which allowed me to buy one or two new records. Then me and those other DJ's friends started to organize parties where we played hiphop, funk and soul. It started from our student house and later moved to a small club in Utrecht. The parties soon became known as Boemklatsch parties (referring to the kick and the snare), became bigger and the music evolved into something more electronic. At one point promoters asked if we wanted to play at their festivals as Boemklatsch DJs, and the Boemklatsch act came about. That was a modest success in the Netherlands. We performed at a lot of festival. From the DJ collective I started the BMKLTSCH label and would start producing myself later. After a while, the guys in the DJ act wanted to widening their horizons and I started working on solo career as Mike Mago. This soon resulted in a track called ‘The Show’, which was signed by Ministry of Sound in the UK, which started my career. Shortly thereafter I made ‘Outlines’, which put me on the map internationally. I always kept putting effort in the label BMKLTSCH.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
I grew up with my parents listening to Blues and Jazz. Nina Simone was the most popular artist in our house so it probably influenced me in some way. Like I said hiphop/funk/soul really influenced me. Nowadays I feel it's like a big mash of all kinds of artists from Martin Solveig and Armand van Helden to Solomun and Kolsch to Kink and Andhim to JaiPaul and Jamie XX to GorgonCity and ShadowChild.
Who are some artists you are listening to now?
Floating Points, Jungle, Future Islands, Anderson Paak, LCD Soundsystem, Mount Kimbie, Bibio, Fourtet, Fleet Foxes, The XX, Teebs, ..
Your newest track “Remedy” is another house smash. With everything having bass in it nowadays its always good to hear a pure house tune. How do you feel about the current state of music with seemingly everyone doing some type of future bass, rap collab or pop tune?
I think that as the music landscape changes, the music changes. Artists will always adapt. The streaming portals have a big effect on the way people consume music, which has an effect on which type of music gets popular. The streaming services like Spotify, get used the most by people that just want to listen to some music. That sounds really obvious, but imagine that DJ's don't use Beatport for that and that back in the day people used to buy or download records also to support the artist. They, in any case, would truly make a choice to purchase a record. Now most Spotify users just find a playlist and are not that aware of the artists they're listening to or are really making a choice to support an artist. I'm not labelling that in anyway, but as the popular platform changes, the music changes. When vinyl appeared in 7 inch form musicians started to make their songs shorter, when disco was popular even the Rolling Stones started to make it (for example the track ‘Miss You’). Now there are loads of popular EDM DJ's that have proportionally less platform for their big room tracks. Their main stage music will almost only be consumed by people at festivals. So they change their music to what works on the popular portals. That’s why there's less big room and more future bass, rnb, rap etc etc at the moment. This music performs way better on streaming. On the other platforms like Beatport tech house and techno are way more popular as there are more smaller parties (where this music fits better) then mainstages. Luckily, at this moment artist can all make a bit more money on music sales nowadays, so there's still such a big offer of great music (for me like the artists I mentioned above)
What are some things you like to do in spare time when not making music?
Listening to music, reading and fitness
What does the fall have in store for Mike Mago?
I've got a new release coming up with the singer Tiggi Hawk called ‘Dangerous Behavior’ and I'm currently working on an EP/mini album, which will be a bit different than what people expect. I'm exploring more musical genres in that. I have 10 tracks almost done and have to make a selection. The tracks are a bit more influenced by the artist I listen to in my ‘spare' time. It feels like it will be new step for me.
Favorite home-cooked meal?
Favorite junk food?
Fresh spring rolls (I truly don't eat junk food!)