Mike Hawkins has always tried to stay ahead of the sounds, that are currently popular in the dance music world.
He aims to change the face of electronic music, to level the playing field in favor of all whose talent exceeds the so-far established sounds of the industry. And now in collaboration with Armada Music, Mike Hawkins has found the right way to do so: VAYPOR.
Check out our chat below where Mike talks about the label, starting a new genre and touring.
Varun – Greetings Mike! Thanks for taking time out for this interview. How has this past year been for you?
Mike Hawkins – Turbulent, but in a good way! I’ve been working on a ton of new music, and it’s been quite a process. I’m really happy with the result though! It’s also been a lot of work to set up all the preparations for VAYPOR, but we’re finally there!
Varun – Mike Hawkins, the brand, has been synonymous with hard hitting electro house and progressive house over the last couple of years! How have you evolved as a producer from when you started out?
Mike Hawkins – I think the past few years have been very technical for me. I’ve gotten much better as a technical musician, things like my mix downs and technical skill really improving. I also feel like I’ve gotten more of a platform to express the creative ideas I’ve held for years.
Varun – With the fast rising wave-genre hitting the charts, what is the inspiration behind this sound?
Mike Hawkins – I think it’s really an anti-thesis to a lot of the dance music out there. It’s really clean cut and atmospheric but with strong rhythmic influences. It’s a very new genre and I don’t believe it’s fully evolved yet, or has gotten to where it “should be”. Who knows where it will go? I’m excited to work with it the coming time though!
Varun – Congratulations on your new label ‘VAYPOR’! How did this label conceptualize and what plans do you have for it in the future?
Mike Hawkins – It came from the Vaporware term, which also spawned the “vaporwave” sub-genre. Vaporware is a term for promised products and software that seemed fantastic but never hit the market. It has sort of a grandeur of past times to it, and also sort of a “lost / forgotten century” feel. It means things that “could have been”. Overall the vibe appeals to me in a lot of ways, plus, I just like the name.
Varun – With regards to your label who are your prime artists to watch and your first signings whose stuff you’ve been digging?
Mike Hawkins – Our first release was my own, ‘Bad Blood.’ I’m very happy with it, and while it doesn’t necessarily set the tone for the coming releases, I feel that it was really a great way for me to do something different. We also signed an incredible artist named Palence. His EP got more than 30k plays the first week, and considering how artful and different it is, that’s a real achievement to me. I’m also very excited for the new music of guys like Skit and Kareful. We have so much great stuff coming up and so many signed artists yet to be announced.
Varun – ‘Bad Blood’ marks the first release of the label! What more can we expect from this new Mike Hawkins sound in the future?
Mike Hawkins – My live sets have always been incredibly diverse, and that’s what I try to reflect in my music now. I’m going to be releasing a lot of music I feel like represents the “art” I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I’m also having a hard time letting go of the club-bangers. So the coming music is going to be very diverse.
Varun – There’s been a rapid transition in styles of production in the past few years. What advice would you give to upcoming producers to help break in or stay relevant in such a market?
Mike Hawkins – To just do them. There was a big boom and bubble in EDM that felt like a money-fest. Everyone could go from bedroom DJ to playing main-stages and getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of seconds. This is very unlike the music industry. I think a lot of the guys out there have to research and understand the “boom” to not feel let down. You’re not doing anything wrong just because you’re not touring the world 3 years after setting out to do music. This is the music industry. It’s the way it’s been for ages before the “EDM boom”. Sure, there are some people who strike just the right balance of hard work, dedication, opportunity and just pure luck – but you can’t sit around and wait for that.
There’s a vacuum for good, authentic music. Do the kind of stuff you want to hear, don’t expect it to blow up In 12 months, but do it for the long haul. Don’t forget that some of music’s biggest legends fought hard for decades to get where they are. No one knows if there will be another bubble any time soon, but you can’t sit around and wait for it. You’re not doing anything wrong just because you’re not flying private jets and raking in millions tomorrow – careers have to be sustainable, and so does the industry. There’s simply not enough money and shows to go around. Hone your craft and work hard, it’ll come! Remember that living off your music is a very admirable and honourable achievement in itself that many people envy.
Varun – What’s next for you on the touring front? More label based shows perhaps?
Mike Hawkins – Actually yes! I’m planning on that for some time next year. I’d love to do some diverse nights with more than one style of music. For myself, I’m really looking forward to Tomorrowland this year.
Varun – Your 5 essential tracks at the moment?
Mike Hawkins –
Purchase ‘Bad Blood’ here.