Those who are familiar with the musical vision of Mike Hawkins know he's always been one who tries to stay ahead of whatever sound has the world of dance music buzzing. Instead, he challenges himself 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. In collaboration with Armada Music, Mike Hawkins has found the right way to do so: VAYPOR.
Maykel Piron, CEO of Armada Music: "Electronic music isn't just evolving in one single direction. There are lots of artists out there who steer clear from the beaten paths and try to find their own way through the dance music jungle. VAYPOR doesn't carve out the trail for them, but instead hands them a machete and lets them go whichever direction they please. I strongly believe that this is the way to go if you want your artists to fulfill their full potential. It's why I believe in VAYPOR."
The first release on VAYPOR is 'Bad Blood', a – what else – genre-defying production of Mike Hawkins.
Your new label VAYPOR has just made its debut on Armada Music. Why you decided to start this new journey? And what about the “WAVE Genre”?
I felt like the scene needed a label to represent upcoming and emerging genres, and luckily Armada felt the same. I’m very happy to be able to work with them on this. Wave is 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. I’m a big fan of the sound myself. It’s a new genre and it has a lot of room to grow, but I’m excited to see where it’s going in the future!
You’ve collaborated with many artists within your DJ career, what other artists do you wish to collaborate with?
A ton! I think I’d have to look around outside of electronic music per se. Maybe electronic acts like Chemical Brothers or Prodigy. Those would be a dream. But other than that I’d be looking towards rock and alternative acts. It’s hard to say. I’d love to do something with Serj Tankian one day, purely because I’m a fan of him and what he does. Moby as well, if we could work on an ambient project. He’s vegan too. I really like his worldview.
Until now your music had an huge success. What would you like to happen in your career that hasn’t happened yet?
I’d love to one day sell out a large stadium gig purely on my own credentials. I think it’s a dream for many and I really admire the ones who did manage.
Skit and Kareful will be the first act to release on your new label with their song “Palace”. What do you think about them?
I really like the guys. I think they have a healthy attitude towards the scene. They’re hustlers, and I respect that a lot. They go for what they believe in and don’t let anything stop them.
Your track “Hollywood” is just amazing. How you produced it? how you created the main synth and what’s your favorite VST? Do you have any particular technique to make your songs sound so fat?
Hollywood started out as a bit of a gimmick, I thought the “upscale” sound was quite cool and worked it from there. I work a lot with tube saturation and similar plugins. I believe a lot in making one sound very big / wide instead of a million layers. It takes a lot of work and doesn’t “sound good fast”, but at the end of the day it means a much cleaner, fatter mix. Spend time working the music and ‘retain your vision’ with the sound while you’re working it, it won’t sound like you want it to to begin with, and that’s okay. Keep working it. Also, read up on mixing techniques; 80% of a fat record is in knowing how to get there technically. There’s not really a one-size-fits-all, it’s a mixture of practice and smart technical choices. If anything, keep it simple!
Your song “Bad Blood” featuring “RAPHAELLA” is something we didn’t expected.
As always you tried to reinvent yourself and your sound, should we
expect more releases like that?
Definitely, I’m really interested in diving further into the left-of-centre records. I want to explore music that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m still going to be releasing the odd club banger though. I need to do artful and emotive music to feel good, but without the floor-shakers it doesn’t make sense either.
Stream / Download "Bad Blood" here : https://vay001.lnk.to/BBPR
Follow VAYPOR: Facebook - Instagram - Twitter
Follow Mike Hawkins: Facebook - Soundcloud - Twitter
@DJ Mag Malaysia 2017