If you live in Thailand there ain’t no party like a Dj Mikey Mike party. One of the key forces behind Bangkoks growing love affair with house music – and Thailand for that matter – is none other than LA born House music Dj Mikey Mike. A popular and well loved resident at all the city’s most elite clubs from infamous Sing Sing Theatre, the world renowned Maggi Choo’s, C’est Le Vi and more. We sat down with Mikey to see what makes him tick and where his hypnotic art form is developing within a country who’s cultural DNA is so very different to the places that kickstarted it back in the 80’s
Q: So, from where did you originate from and how long have you been calling Bangkok home?
I’m originally from Southern California…Orange County, about 45 minutes south of Los Angeles. But, my father was in the US Air Force, so we moved around a lot. I spent my life all over the world, mostly split between South East Asia and California.
I first came to Bangkok in 1994 and have lived here off and on since then. I’ve pretty much considered it my second home for the past 18 years or so.
Q: What is different from playing in a nightclub in Thailand versus back home in LA?
I was talking about this yesterday with someone and I would have to say that the biggest difference that comes to mind right away is – dancers. Back in LA most people who come out to a House club or rave are really into the music. Like, they pull out proper House Jackin’ style dancing! There’s a certain groove and movement. It’s pretty rare for me to see many people that really know how to dance to House Music in Thailand or in Asia for that matter. So, If I am playing out at a club in Bangkok or Singapore or wherever and I see someone who’s got the proper House dance movement I freak out and start to vibe with that person immediately from the DJ booth!
I don’t know…but it’s just something I connect with from the days I spent learning how to play music at the after hour spots, warehouse parties and gay clubs in Los Angeles.
Q: Any sort of major challenges you’ve had to overcome in the last decade of spinning here in Thailand? Has it made you a better performer?
An open mindset has really helped me be able to read a crowd and find a groove that can make most of the people happy.
There’s always some kind of challenge to overcome… between getting less gigs because of earlier closing times, tough nightlife laws and the commercialization of dance culture it’s a lot to deal with especially for the DJ’s who consider themselves purists. But, what I have had to do is adapt, like many other experienced DJs in BKK who want to survive. I adapted musically. I come from a real diverse music loving background, and started off as a hip hop DJ…I’ve pretty much played every style of music under sun at one time or another and I think that experience and open mindset has really helped me be able to read a crowd and find a groove that can make most of the people happy at my gigs no matter where I am playing. Like Miles Davis said, “Music that doesn’t change or evolve is dead music.” I feel that goes for DJs as well.
Q: Where do you see house music going in Thailand?
That’s a good question…At the moment, I think it’s hit a real interesting junction. Real house music is tough to come by in most clubs Bangkok these days, but at the same time you know someone who is connected in the industry there are places hidden from the mainstream bringing some stellar nights. You have just a few places though that cater to that crowd. The predominant club music is of course EDM and the commercial remix stuff at the moment, but I feel that there is a bit of a hunger again for House Music. People are getting a little tired of hearing the same thing over and over. Cookie cutter clubs and DJs are over saturating the market and I feel that there is a slight push now in the nightlife scene to get back to some more quality music…Clubs like Sing Sing and C’est La Vie, and Beam are a few places that are doing fresh and unique stuff musically at the moment. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Q: Any advice to Dj’s wanting to tour in Thailand?
My advice would be to do a little research and be open to playing a wide array of styles in your set.
Q: Where can we expect you playing next?
At the moment, I’m holding monthly residencies at a few of my favourite clubs – Sing Sing Theatre, Maggie Choo’s, C’est La Vie and Oskar Bistro. You can probably catch me at any of these places on any given Saturday.
Here’s a clip featuring Mikey at the Sing Sing theatre:
Q: Any plans to play any festivals coming up in Thailand?
No plans to play any festivals in the near future. My focus is to get some serious studio time in with my production partners in FREQS, our production alias. We just released our first track with My Digital Enemy’s label Zulu Records in the UK and are working on follow tracks now…Hope to have some fresh productions out soon…so yeah, this is where I want to concentrate my energy at for now. Who knows, maybe FREQS will get a few festival gigs sometime soon!
With all of that in mind, we’re looking forward to catching Dj Mikey Mike this coming Saturday up at C’est La Vie, he is playing under the Freq’s label with his partner in crime and this is absolutely certain to be a night of deep, dark and devilish house music from one of the pistons in Thailand’s emerging house scene.