Get ready to enjoy our Sizzlin Guest Mix with Mikey V (Hawt Music)
Mikey Velazquez is a DJ, Producer & Vocalist from Los Angeles, California, who has been a staple on the West Coast underground house scene since 2006. Best known for throwing the infamous HAWT underground parties, 2014 finds him focused on original productions & vocal projects, with releases on Classic Music Company, Dirtybird, Snatch!, Great Lakes Audio, Cajual Records & Salted Music so far.
Mikey’s latest release, “Freaks On The Floor EP” on Derrick Carter & Luke Solomon’s legendary label, Classic Music Company, has been getting support from heavyweights such as Loco Dice, Catz & Dogz, Huxley, DJ Sneak, Pezzner, Groove Armada and more.
1)Can you tell us more about your history with music and where you are from?
I was born in Puerto Rico after my family defected from Cuba, when Castro took over. That shaped me musically, having a huge influence from classic Cuban music, Salsa, Merengue, and over to Classic Rock, Soul, Funk and Jazz. After PR, I grew up in Los Angeles and lived there for approximately 30 years, before moving to Portland in 2014.
2)Who were some artists that inspired your music when you were first starting out?
The first DJ’s that really turned me out were DJ Dan and Donald Glaude in the mid 90’s. Growing up in Southern California I was fortunate to go to a lot of Funky Tekno Tribe & B3 parties. Their energy was infectious and I loved Dan’s funky, breaky house sounds. They led me to the likes of Derrick Carter, Mark Farina, Sneak, and Doc. That’s when i knew I needed to have a lot more of this music in my life.
3)How did your journey into music production begin?
As a kid, I always asked for a drum set every Christmas, but I never got one (I can’t blame my folks, though). But when I was about 12 or 13 they got me this electronic drum kit with 4 pads. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, that got me started playing with beats. Then at parties, I was always that kid dancing towards the front, scatting along to the music and basically remixing out loud.
4)Can you tell us about your production process in general?
It really depends, but my favorite projects usually stem from a specific idea or vision. It might be a vocal I wrote, or a bassline, or just an inspiration. I always write in Ableton session view before ever going to arrangement. It’s the best way I can “jam out” and really figure out where I want to go. Otherwise, it’s easy for me to get lost in arrangement, but I know a lot of old schoolers prefer that way.
5)How did the track “Genghis Clan feat. Mikey V – Crave Me ” on Dirtybird Records come about?
I have been collaborating a lot with Dirtybird’s Will Clarke, and he linked me up with Genghis Clan, suggesting it would be a good project.
6)Can you tell us about your experience in the Northwest House Music Conference?
It’ a fun-filled week of music, basically a house music reunion of sorts, where friends, DJ’s producers and promoters come to town from all over for a few days to get down together in the beautiful city of Portland, mid-summer at that. I’d played in Portland several times over the years, and after my first NWHMC I made the decision to move up here.
7)What are your thoughts on the way the House scene is going?
I think there are a lot of great things happening right now. There seems to be a whole new generation getting into electronic music, and that’s fantastic in my opinion. Whether it’s “EDM”, Tropical House or whatever, everyone has to start somewhere. I think thats awesome, because it sparks their musical curiosity and everyone evolves from that point.
8)Do you master your own tracks or you send them to master?
I prefer sending to the label for mastering, once it’s picked up, but sometimes I
do quick masters to my own unreleased stuff in order to test it out.
9)What is the most important thing for you when mastering a track?
When i do master mine to test out, I try to make it sound as club ready as possible i guess, without over-compressing it. Sometimes less is more. Using a reference track is key.
10)Can you share one tip/trick for making better-sounding music?
Trust your ears.
11)What releases have you got coming up?
I have my next release dropping on Sampled Detroit, a collaboration with Eddie B, my longtime crew mate with HAWT Music. The following one is dropping on Classic in April, along with a remix from Proper (Eric Kupper & Kenny Summit). I also got a bunch of cool collaborations coming out this year, new ones with Brett Johnson, Will Clarke, and many more.
12)If you were an animal, what would you be?
I would be a lion, that’s my spirit animal. It might be because I’m a Leo or something, but I have always had an infatuation with the kings of the jungle.
13)Thanks for the interview. Do you have a special message for the readers?
Always follow your heart, do the right thing, and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do something, especially if it’s your passion or something you believe in.