DIMITRI VEGAS & LIKE MIKE
"WHAT USHUAÏA DID WAS PUT SOMETHING FRESH DOWN ON THE ISLAND, IT OPENED UP A NEW AVENUE FOR NEW AUDIENCES"

by Dan Prince July 2017 MUSIC Read in PDF format N14/2017
DIMITRI VEGAS & LIKE MIKE Garden of madness

They are the Belgian brothers who have made the main stage their own, the first first ever duo to be named World #1 DJs and the superforce who sold out their 85,000 capacity Bringing The Madness arena show out in minutes. This summer Ushuaïa gets ready for their monumental Garden Of Madness weekly…the boys are back in town!

Huge congratulations on your new residency at Ushuaïa, you must be overjoyed at taking center stage at the biggest club in the world every Tuesday?

Dimitri: Absolutely! One of the reasons we’re so excited for this summer’s residency is because Ushuaïa has a certain flair to it that enables us and the Tomorrowland team to create a very unique experience. We’ve got this magnificent open-air beach club right underneath the flight path where we’re able to totally flip the whole arena concept on its head and bring it more in line with a festival vibe. Our production team have created this spectacular theme with their trademark touch and the Ushuaïa team have worked alongside us to ensure that the Garden of Madness is packed with real Ibiza flair.

What makes Ushuaïa such a dream to play?

Dimitri: You have to give praise to the Ushuaïa family as they’ve created such an incredible venue and the whole set-up is something special. The styling behind the entire complex is so impressive and night after night they transform the location into a totally different experience. From EDM to techno and beyond, the venue absorbs the spirit of each night and give the crowd something very powerful.

Mike: It’s helped lead the charge in terms of keeping the island relevant. I don’t mean Ibiza was losing its appeal, far from it, but what Ushuaia did was put something fresh down on the island, it opened up a new avenue for new audiences. That’s not an easy thing to do anywhere in the world, especially in Ibiza!

Your history with Ibiza goes way back before Ushuaïa and your residency at Amnesia…

Dimitri: Yeah we both lived and worked on the island before our music career took off. What’s strange about starting the residency with Ushuaïa today is I actually worked in Ushuaïa as a DJ almost 15 years ago long before its transformation when it was still called Fiësta Club in Playa d’en Bossa. I was doing sound and lights every night and DJing after the entertainment shows and in the shared nightclub they had with Hotel Don Toni (the former Hard Rock Ibiza Hotel). It was an amazing season with lots of great memories and being back here with our own residency so many years later feels very special.

Back in those days there was maybe some rivalry between you guys. Do those feelings still exist?

Mike: We’re brothers so it’s normal to have that going in a small way, but that competition is nothing but positive. We’re just two young super fucking driven human beings who are brothers in blood and also brothers in our music and goals.

Dimitri: The reality is we are more competitive as a team towards others. I don’t think either of us has ever really tried to outdo the other one, it’s more about motivating each other to do better and improve. It’s part of why we work so well together as a duo and manage to survive touring together all this time. Dimitri, a big quote from you “…the internet is probably the biggest reason for the success of all the DJs today.” Discuss.

Dimitri: I think that’s true for about 90% of the DJ’s of today. Of course old skool guys like Carl Cox and Erick Morillo were rocking it before the internet boomed so I’m not necessarily referring to them - although many of them have had increased success because of the web. But what I mean is the explosion of social media and the internet helped our industry reach new levels of popularity and a lot of this is related to the fact that our scene was already ‘plugged in’ to the internet years before it boomed like it has. We were buying digital music early, we were using social media much more intelligently than a lot of music scenes were in the beginning and overall we pioneered a lot of new ways to generate awareness for our profiles and music through the internet. Out of that growth came a lot of new artists and new fans.

The first time you went to the Miami Music Conference you paid for your own flights and played to an empty pool party…now look at you! What’s your advice to the thousands of aspiring musicians out there wanting to follow in your footsteps…

Mike: Determination is a big factor in what we do and it should be for any aspiring artist. It always has been. Look, so many people think we just appeared overnight and made it big like someone just clicked their fingers and ‘bang we’re headline DJs’. If only! We really put in the hours in our journey to getting to where we are today. I’m not saying it was all bad, we had some fucking amazing times along the way, in fact more good than bad, but we did also have it rough too. It’s all experience, it’s all a learning curve.

Dimitri: Those early shows and the crazy travels weren’t always fun but it never stopped us believing we could make it work because we knew it was one more step towards our goal. It’s been a journey from one little achievement to the next, working on bigger things each time and trying to reach the next goal. But we’ve enjoyed every minute of the ride!

Dimitri – you are more of the DJ in the act, Mike is more of the entertainer. How does this work with track selection for the shows – does Mike always agree with your songs you choose….?

Dimitri: It’s pretty straightforward. I try stuff out…if it works – it works…if it doesn’t – Mike punches me…(laughs).

Mike: Haha…so true…

Dimitri: We’re pretty much in flow with what we’re doing. We know what works and what doesn’t. We both have a big part to play in what our sets are about. We talk a lot to each other, deciding what records will work best to ensure we’re keeping the energy where we want it. We both have our own taste in music so that reflects in our sets and also in our music productions. The perfect balance lies somewhere in the middle.

Over the years you’ve ridden the ‘hater’ storms and come out thankfully unscathed. I think it was David Guetta who told you not to give a fuck about the minority out there hurling abuse…how do you cope when criticism is thrown your way?

Mike: When it is authentic criticism then we’ll always listen but if it’s just some clown online spouting shit then we switch off. We know you can never be everyone’s taste. We’re not trying to be. We’re doing our thing and if you like then come and watch the show, listen to the music, follow us online, but if it’s not your thing then why bother wasting your life moaning about it, cause we’re not listening.

Dimitri: We’ve learned to try and not pay attention too much, instead focus on the 100,000’s of people joining us at our shows around the world. But when the keyboard haters come out slagging off something you’ve done, there is the occasional moment when it goes on to be an enormous success and a little part of you goes “fuck you” with some pride in that. But we’re not focused on chart positions or ticket sales, we do it because we love it, so haters can hate but we’re not doing this to please them. Our focus is on our fans.

Your recent track ‘Hey Baby’ with Diplo was your 26th Top 50 hit in the Beligian charts, The Beatles managed 33 in total. Which leads me to the obvious question, what’s the latest with the eagerly awaited new album guys?

Mike: We’d love to smash that Beatles record...

Dimitri: We’re still working on singles etc. but for the moment the album is on hold. We still have plans to release an artist album but we were ended up with so much new music in the creative period of the album, we felt we were holding back too much material so we decided to put out some singles again, like ‘Ready For Action’ and our newest single together with David Guetta.

You have just remixed Hans Zimmer’s iconic ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ theme in connection with the new release of the film and attended the Paris premiere with two Ibiza regulars Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. Can we expect them down the front at Ushuaia this summer?

Dimitri: Haha who knows, Johnny was at one of our Hollywood shows a while back so let’s hope he makes it to the island. Working on this project was a dream for us because they are some of our favourite actors and “Pirates” is one of our favourite franchises. To be a little element of a project of such magnificent scope is truly amazing.

Mike: Also, I just like to say working with Hans on this was such an incredible moment for us. We’re both massive film fans and he’s such an incredible composer and producer who has scored countless movies we love, so it was a real honor to do a record together.

And finally, I hear your grandparents party hard at Tomorrowland?

Dimitri: They love it! They’re big fans of Tomorrowland and the whole occasion. It’s amazing to see the relationship they’ve got with the fans at the festival.

Mike: It’s seriously crazy to see the love the fans show our grandparents. They’ve got their own army of fans online and during the festival they get mobbed by fans wanting pictures etc. You’ll probably see them popping up in Ushuaïa this summer!


Tomorrowland presents Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and their Garden of Madness every Tuesday from July 4th…

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