M.I.K.E. Push: “We’re here to inspire each other!”
His productions can be found in the hearts of multiple generations of Trance and dance music lovers. With a career spanning over 20 years and with hits including ‘Universal Nation’, ‘Strange World’, collabs with Armin van Buuren, John 00 Fleming and Rank 1 and releases under more than 50 monikers, Mike Dierickx is a living legend – still standing strong today. We had the opportunity to work with Mike, when he released our ‘M.I.K.E. Push Origins of Trance’
pack. For anyone that wants to know more about this studio wizard, sit tight and read on – This is one inspiring interview.
Hey Mike, thanks for taking the opportunity to chat with us! How are you doing?
I’m all good, thank you!
These are exciting days - you’ve just released your very own sample pack with us. What can you tell us about it – what made you decide to create one?
The idea to make a sample pack was already something I wanted to do for some time. I’ve been a sample user myself since I started to produce. I remember recording synth loops and beats from old records into a tape recorder that I ran into an 8-bit Casio sampler! Happy times!
With a lifetime of experience, both in and outside of the studio, what were some of the challenges you faced while creating it?
Just opening up my personal vault and showing my signature sound was something I was always protective about, but in the end, we’re here to inspire each other!
What would you like to advise anyone that gets the pack?
Use it to the fullest, I use samples on a daily basis and it’s part of the creation of any style of music.
What do you have to say to those people who believe producers should create their own samples in order to produce something original?
Samples can bring instant inspiration and it’s not a bad thing to see how others work. I even sometimes hook up on YouTube if I have a question- mark on something “hey, that’s a cool idea or thing to try out”, the same goes for samples.
You’re known under various monikers in different genres, but most people will know you for being a legend in the trance scene. How do you think the trance scene doing in 2017? Is it still as thriving and healthy as it was in its prime?
There’s a lot of positive vibes going on, we all need unity and support.There’s no time for negativity.
Being part of the scene for the past 2 decades, you’ve witnessed many revolutions in the trance sound. Which periods/sounds did you particularly enjoy and which sound will be doing well in the future?
Back in the days and the pre 2000 era you could do what you want, there was no style of music that would drive you to a direction. Dance, Trance, Techno … was all one, and later on it thrived into many directions and musical journeys. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and loop that era, I would do it all over again.
What defines a M.I.K.E. production? What are the main features that you have in mind when opening a new project?
All my tracks start out of an event, situation or just being inspired out of the blue. Music is born from the heart, the end result should touch the soul.
A lot of people will be curious to know how a legend like you first got into music. What drove you to trance music and how did you learn to produce your own tracks?
Passion & curiosity. And my all time heroes, Depeche Mode! They’re one of the founders of synth pop, very trance influenced like many other good new wave and synth-based bands from that time.
Which DAW do you use and what are some of your favorite plugins?
I’m a Logic Pro X sucker! There’s so many good plugins out there. I like what you can do with Serum, but I like/use the UVI libraries a lot, do check them out.
There are so many good tracks of yours – we found it hard to pick our favourites. Do you have one particular track of yours that you’re most proud of? And why?
You know what, I’ve been asked this question many times. It’s hard to choose, I had good ones, epic ones, bad ones.. But I guess Universal Nation & Strange World would top the list.
In January, you made the big announcement of a new album in the making! Now that’s a challenge! How far along is it, and what’s your strategy, tackling a massive project like that?
Still a lot of work ahead. Working on an album takes time, and I don’t want to pressure myself, I take it day by day, track by track.I’m actually working on 2 albums at once at the moment - talking about a challenge!
For those studio junkies amongst us, what gear can we find in your studio?
I run a High-end iMac stacked with hard drives and a full on UAD2 Octo platform.I come out of an era that you had to tweak the hardware right in order to get the right sound design. I do a lot digital of course but I've started to buy a lot of hardware again; Moog’s, Korg’s, Roland TR boutique series, etc.
How much time do you get to spend time in the studio? And when you do, is it a 2-day session, all-nighter or 9 to 5?
I almost run on a 9 to 5 mode in order to fit in family duties & work. I like to have the engine running smoothly. Luckily, I have a very flexible time schedule and can enjoy quality family time.
Since you’re travelling from one gig to the next on a weekly basis, do you also produce on the go? How do you deal with the creative limitations of that?
Not much, I really like to focus on my gigs and bringing the positive vibes with me back to the studio. Travelling is “gig” mode and playing out my new tunes music, studio is “creative” mode.
In the meantime, you’re also planning to revive the grand Push Live show! We guess nothing beats creating the music live, with a big mass of people in front of you?! What live gear do you use for the show?
I like to embrace new technology with the old. I use an iPad, Macbook Air and and a Korg Controller to get things going on the digital end. And I use the good old Roland JP-8000 to get real time melodies and tweaking on the fly.
Thanks again for the great interview, Mike, and thanks for the great collab!
You’re welcome, thanks for having me!