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INTERVIEW: MIKE HAWKINS ‘REVOLTS’

An exclusive chat with the rising Scandinavian star

Mike Hawkins is not just another DJ. Genuine and gimmick-free, Mike hopes to “Revolt” (out now) against the machine.  Early 2014 saw the release of “Soldiers,” which laid the groundwork for the popular arabesque sounding riffs. The ascending producer picks right back where he left off for his latest offering, “Revolt,” and it’s just in time for Hawkins’ debut North American tour. 

In an commendable effort to ‘give back’ to the world, Hawkins will donate 100% of his profit for the single to Unicef. How else does he stay grounded? Hawkins says, “You’re never really bigger or better than the people who have put you where you are... I understand that the success is the result of hard work, and more importantly having some intelligent and up-front fans that have built a vacuum of sorts for the music I make. I still go to my moms place for dinner time to time, and I still play computer-games with my dad as I always have. All those factors put together have me in a sense of gratitude rather than entitlement.”

The producer upholds some core values, of which we could all learn from:
“Nothing is going to help you more in your career than showering people unselfishly with love and respect, so that one is pretty easy to uphold. Self-criticism because, especially in creative work, nothing is more important than being your own worst critic. It does not mean you should stop your creative process halfway and give up because it doesn’t live up to your expectations, but it does mean that sometimes you need to be able to take other people’s criticism without pride or reiteration, so you are able to filter what you do, and only release the best of your work. Self-awareness because I believe it’s important to know what’s going on in and around you on a bigger, more existential level.”

As a drummer from a young age, Mike Hawkins is a “rock kid” deep at heart. Artists like Linkin Park and Infected Mushroom drew him into the electronic scene, and today he “care[s] less and less about genres, and more about the melodies and sound-scapes I’ve had in my head for eternities but just never really dared to try out.” 

Hawkins further pushed the genre confines by investing his savings in his Megaton Records imprint which is home to creative minds like himself. Of his experience thus far, the producer gets real; “Back when I started, I dropped out of my education, moved into a small apartment, got in a ton of debt and struggled to pay the bills. But the journey for me has been crazy… I’ve had my ups and downs, I’ve had times where I’ve been in despair because I couldn’t pay rent the next day - but the bad times are completely outweighed by that genuine and euphoric feeling of having accomplished something.”

In discussing the current music scene, Hawkins encourages young producers to worry less and make music that feels good to them. “I just do whatever feels good in the moment. Sometimes it’s a 3 minute long, almost classical melodic break like Ulysses. Sometimes it’s a big drop because, gosh, I like how it sounds in a club. Is it wrong of me not to be ashamed of that?”

Lastly, he lists some unknown facts:
“I had a pretty rough time coming up with family issues and your typical school bullying but not for one second would I have been without it. I want everyone who might be facing any struggles in their life to realize how important the hard times they are going through right now are going to be in their future. I would not be here today if I didn’t have some turbulence growing up.

I’m a great cook, and (making) food has been my second love ever since my grandpa taught me my first recipe when I was 4.

I’m vegan and a spiritual person. I’m strongly for all human and animal rights and actively against exploitation of the most precious thing we have all around us; life.

I am also somewhat of a geek. I grew up on a mixture of Counter-Strike, World of Warcraft and online image boards.

And finally, I dropped out of three different studies before finally coming to terms with the fact that music was my future. I was planning on making a career in quantum physics and biology, believe it or not. The very “fabric of life” is still one of my favorite topics. But music has always been my first and one true love, even though it sometimes frustrates the hell out of me. Music is always there.”

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