You may recognize Micke for his sterling production of late, both solo and with the legendary Sandra Collins. His history, though, is deeply rooted – running all the way back to turn-of-the-millenium Washington D.C., in iconic venues such as Nation and Club 5, and a tenure as a resident DJ and organizer for one of the most influential club brands in the history of the American dance scene: Buzz. As if these roots weren’t deep enough, his work with Deep Dish’s label and record store, Yoshitoshi kept him immersed in the forefront of new sounds in the aughts, while he began the work of honing his production skills. And did he ever.
Fast forward to today. Micke re-joins Dissident Music for his second label release, ‘Stung’. This honey-sweet progressive breaks outing was originally pollinated in Micke’s D.C. studio, with its nod to the apiary theme, as an unofficial tribute to the clubbing brand that helped launch his career, Buzzlife, and its founder, another US rave pioneer, Scott Henry.
WWD: Thanks for talking to us at When We Dip. Where are you at the moment, how are you spending the day?
I am in my studio, trying to make the sounds I hear in my head come to life in my
current project. 🙂
WWD: What are your earliest memories of music?
My father was always involved in the arts, whether it be acting, directing, or making & playing music. Both of my parents were adamant that I receive the proper exposure to music and the arts. My earliest memories include piano lessons at 4 years old with a mean lady with a ruler… and my father playing guitar and singing songs from the 60ʼs. I imagine that those times left a huge impression on me.
WWD: What were the first records you can remember being into, the ones that really made an impression on you?
This one is pretty easy: RiTM – Phases of an Out of Body Experience, Orbital – Halcyon, Underworld – Cowgirl, Born Slippy, Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust (the entire album), and Sasha – Xpander EP (this was also my first white label).
WWD: For anyone unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
This one is a little bit more difficult. I would say that I go out of my way to make sure my work is actual music. With people like Sasha, Digweed, Voyager, Charlie May, Sander Kleinenberg, Cass & Slide, & Deep Dish as some of my biggest influences as I learned to produce, there is a lot of that early 2000s progressive sound in my work. I have worked to make sure that my ethereal sound has evolved with the times. My gear, new ideas, new samples… Bottom line: driving beats around 122-125 bpm, groovy bass lines, playful arpeggiators, and well thought out lead lines.
WWD: In 2006 you took a hiatus from performing to focus on completing your education and honing your studio production… what was the most important thing you learnt during this period?
Many of my friends are familiar with me saying that my career post college is “Micke v2.0”. I would say that I learned humility, the discipline to focus on finishing my projects, and learning the software that I would eventually use. So much changed during my time away that I am extremely thankful that I am able to still produce music that people enjoy and care about.
WWD: What helps you get into a creative mindset?
Night time. I really do my best work in the middle of the night. People leave you alone. You can work on projects for blocks of time without interruption. Most of the times I feel inspired will be as the sun is going down.
WWD: Sasha, Digweed, Deep Dish – you’ve had support from pretty much every big name in progressive house. What do you think it is about your music that appeals to DJs?
Oh man, this one is hard to answer. I feel extremely fortunate and honored when anyone plays my music, let alone the top artists in the world. It blows my mind. When Last Night On Earth backed my EP, Pulse, I wanted to throw up. I mean donʼt get me wrong, I was beyond excited, but in my head, all I could say was “there is no way”. Reflecting on it now, I wonder if it is the evolution of that early 2000s sound that gets them into it. Sandra Collins always loved what I did because I
stayed true to an ethereal sound that echo over decades. Honestly, I am just grateful to have these guys play my stuff. It reminds me that I must be doing something right.
WWD: Your latest EP lands on Dissident Music – how did you hook up with the label?
Noel Sanger and I go way back to my years at Buzz, Washington, DC. In 2018 we reconnected when we played a NYE party in Durham, NC. We got to talking and he reminded me that Dissident was his label. I donʼt think that ever really clicked until that point. I offered to do some remix work for him. Fast forward to now, Ive done several different projects for Dissident, including original and remix work. In fact, Dissident Music is one of the partner labels involved with our new management company, Pro B Tech Management | North America. (www.probtechmgmt.com)
WWD: This year you became Head of A&R for Pro B Tech Music. What key things do you look for when selecting music for the label?
Originality. How does the track expand throughout. The producerʼs master of music theory. Does the track make sense. Production quality. Brent and I struggle over selecting for the label sometimes. Sometimes you just know. Other times, one of us will need convincing. If the producer really loves what they are doing, then it will come out in the music. Stay true to your work and you could land a track on our label. 🙂
WWD: When youʼre not working on your music, how do you like to spend your time?
Well, during the pandemic that was a tough question to answer. Now that we have come out of our bunkers, I love to swim, kick it with friends, BBQs, all of that. The beach is another thing. I have to live reasonably close to the ocean. Besides that, I am a movie buff and if you have PS5, you might find me playing a game or two.
WWD: What else should we be looking out from you this year?
Look for me to return to playing out again across the country and beyond. Also, look for new releases on Pro B Tech Music, remix work on Dissident, and a new release coming on Perfecto Black. I also do a radio show that airs via the 21C Progressive House platform (www.21cprogressivehouse.com). The show is called “Latitude”. My biggest interest though is to get back to playing live again. That is by far my greatest love. I am, at heart, a club DJ and performer. My job has always been to get the people on my dance floor to forget their worlds, if only for a little while. Everything I do or have done, has been for the love of the music and to give those that listen, an escape. Itʼs through my music and my performance, that I hope to leave my mark on the world.