mike-hawkins

Interview: Hot Steppa Mike Hawkins Talks His Own Imprint, DJ Mag's Top 100

Mike Hawkins leads an ablazen trail through the increasingly populated electronic forest. Releases such as “Jump!,” “SRSLY Cool,” and “This Is How We Roll” light the path to success for the DJ/producer/label-head from Denmark. His latest single, “Hot Steppa,” is a massive collaboration with Henry Fong and Toby Green that blends ska style, brass sections, and dancehall hues with a raging electro beat, and is sure to set dance floors aflame.

Find out what sparks Mike Hawkins’ musical creativity and the next step for Mike in our exclusive interview:

VIBE: We're loving the new track "Hot Steppa." How'd you link up with Henry and Toby, and who contributed what to the track?
Mike Hawkins: Thanks! It's a really special track for us that came about spontaneously and it's been amazing to see the support from all the top artists like Hardwell, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Nicky Romero, W&W, Knife Party and so on before the track [had] even been released! I've been working a lot with both Henry and Toby individually, but never all three of us together so it felt natural to combine forces.

With Henry being from the States, and Toby and I from different cities in Denmark, “Hot Steppa” would have never happened if it wasn't for the internet - Henry, Toby and I [via Skype convo] were messing around playing ideas for each other and it just clicked. Henry sent over this dope reggae chord idea he had, which instantly had me humming away. That humming ended up being the top-line and trumpet parts and while I was working on the break and incorporating the rock influences. It inspired Henry & Toby to come back with some sick ideas and amazing work on the drop. It's one of those productions that just kind of happened, it wasn't forced in any way.

Who are your biggest musical influences and how have they shaped your sound today?
It's really hard to say because I am so passionate about all types of music, music is my life. In the early days I was really into rock; I listened to everything from SOAD, Linkin Park and Rammstein to the really grungy and punky stuff. I was also into the emo scene growing up which has had a profound influence on the direction of my sound and music productions. I didn't get into electronic music at first, until I found acts kind of bridging the gap for me a bit - it started with Infected Mushroom and The Prodigy, then Chemical Brothers and Moby.

I then got into trance because of the chords and the vibe, but quickly took those influences and started putting my own take on all of it. I think my biggest struggle as a musician at times is that I sometimes feel I'm coming up with some pretty amazing chord progressions and cinematic pieces that span a million chord changes and thinking to myself, these chords, this vibe is way to dark, outside the traditional boundaries of dance music, how the hell am I gonna cook this down to a track that will work in the club. But in the end I've found that some of my biggest tracks are exactly those, something different, outside the box, not being confined to the traditional "EDM" sounds if you will.

How did you get involved in dance music?
I always wanted to make music. I was certain I was gonna be in a rock band when I was younger, but I could never see myself playing only one instrument. I was all over the place. I wanted to play drums, I wanted to play guitar, piano, I even picked up singing at one point - I got myself a copy of ACID sound forge one day when I was 13 and started doing mashups of Eminem and System of a Down and thought it sounded pretty cool. A friend then gave me a copy of Fruity Loops one day and I was instantly hooked. I love the creative freedom of being able to use all different kinds of instruments to create a composition exactly as it's laid out in my head.

Most memorable moment(s) in your DJ career thus far?
First meeting the Bingo Players back in 2009 was definitely something I will never forget. Fellow producer and friend, Pablo Oliveros, and I [snuck backstage] at their gig. I think Maarten and Paul were kind of annoyed with us at first, and for good reason - we were essentially just two kids bursting into their van trying to seem interesting. The thing was though, after a few minutes of talking we just clicked and it ended up being a very long, fun and memorable night. Fast forward a couple years Pablo, Henry and I released our biggest track to date, "Jump!," on their Hysteria label and it went on to hit the #5 spot on the Beatport top 100 chart! The Bingo Players have been great friends and mentors in many ways. You don't often come across such wonderful, warm hearted people in this industry. Other than that, being at ADE every year is something that is really special for me. But I have to say the memories I remember best are always those unexpected moments like the first time I got an e-mail from Tiësto letting me know he was supporting my work and loved what I was putting out.

Tell us more about your Megaton Records imprint.
I've really been dedicating a lot of time to growing my label, Megaton Records. [Originally, it] just served as a place to put out my music. I also wanted to give [lesser known and] talented artists an opportunity to spread their music. It's been a long, tough road and a lot of hard work but it's so gratifying to see the label grow as fast as it has with all the tracks consistently charting in the top 100 and the huge support across the scene. We just released a remix from one of the biggest names in electronic music, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. To celebrate the amazing success we've had during our first year, we threw our first label showcase during Amsterdam Dance Event with Blasterjaxx, Mightyfools, myself, the rest of the Megaton crew on the bill. We have a busy release schedule coming up with tracks from myself, Tony Romera, and some other really big names that I can't announce just yet! I am really excited about the direction in which the label is going and very optimistic right now as I'm beginning to have a very talented team of respected A&R, managers, publicists and publishers around me, and it means I have more time to focus on music.

What can we expect from you in the next six months?
After “Hot Steppa,” I have a track coming out on Size - another big moment in my career as I really look up to the the Size Records crew. I also have two vocal tracks I'm working on that will be released on Warner Music, in addition to more tracks on Megaton. I am going to be part of the bill for a big tour in Europe that hasn't been announced yet to commence next year, and I recently signed with Circle Talent Agency for my North American bookings. At the moment I am finalizing my visa and will definitely being touring the U.S. in 2014!

Thoughts on the DJ Mag Top 100 Contest?
Everyone seems to have an opinion… it's hard to say though. I guess the best way I can sum it up would be this: I think the [contest] is largely misleading in many ways, but it does give a realistic pointer of who is doing well and who are the most popular acts at the moment. I honestly don't really care about the DJ Mag Top 100 Contest, but at the same time, I'd obviously love to be in the top 10 as I'm sure many others would. I don't think the whole idea of a "list" makes any sense though, it's about music in the end.

[DJ Mag’s idea of the “best” in the world, doesn’t necessarily reflect my own opinion]. You can't compare apples and oranges; [Armin, Tiesto, Skrillex, and Avicii] are largely different and they are all #1's in their own rights.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Prince Williams/Wireimage

Killer Mike Gives Emotional Speech Urging Peaceful Protests Amid Unrest In Atlanta

Killer Mike joined T.I., and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in delivering emotional pleas to discourage ATLiens from burning the city as protests broke out on Friday (May 29) in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless victims of police brutality.

“I don’t want to be here,” began Killer Mike. “I’m the son of an Atlanta city police officer, my cousin is a police officer…I got a lot of love and respect for police officers down to the original eight [Black] police officers in Atlanta that, even after becoming police, had to dress in a YMCA because white officers didn’t want to get dressed with ni**ers. And here we are, 80 years later and I watched a white officer assassinate a Black man and I know that tore your heart out. I know it’s crippling and I have nothing positive to say in this moment because I don’t want to be here.”

The Atlanta native went on to share background on his family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and other social justice issues. “I’m duty-bound to be here to simply say, 'It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with the enemy.’”

In what turned out to be another viral moment, Tip called Atlanta “Wakanda” while imploring demonstrators not to destroy the city. “Atlanta has been here for us, this city don’t deserve that. I understand that a lot of others do, but we can’t do this here, this is Wakanda. It’s sacred. It must be protected,” said the 39-year-old rapper.

Mayor Bottoms simply told protestors to simply “go home.”

“Above everything else, I am a mother to four Black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old,” she said. “When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt. Yesterday, when I heard there was a rumor about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do: I called my son and I said ‘where are you?’ I said ‘I cannot protect you and Black boys shouldn’t be out today.’ So you’re not going to out-concern me, and out care about where we are in America.

“I wear this each and every day and I pray over my children each and every day. What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos.”

WATCH: "If you love this city, go home!" https://t.co/c8cPBZLATJ pic.twitter.com/v9IEBVoXpB

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 30, 2020

At the request of Mayor Bottoms, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency in Fulton County, and deployed 500 troops from the state's national guard.

They will deploy immediately to assist @ga_dps, @GaDNRLE, @GA_Corrections & local law enforcement who are working tirelessly to subdue unlawful activity & restore peace. We will continue to make all state resources available to local leaders during this emergency situation. (2/2)

— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 30, 2020

See Killer Mike's full statement below as well as photos and video of the protests.

A powerful scene in Atlanta right now, this gives me chills. pic.twitter.com/SK7oOvzs8g

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) May 29, 2020

More shots from Atlanta tonight pic.twitter.com/TmUmW5nXxZ

— kieron (@kieroncg) May 30, 2020

The chief of police in Atlanta talking and listening to everyone that has something to say#ATLFORUS #AtlantaProtest pic.twitter.com/qirbQRgViU

— Lilly - BLACK LIVES MATTER (@joonhopekook) May 29, 2020

It’s not just Minneapolis, we are now seeing protests in cities across the country over the death of George Floyd. This is in Atlanta as some smash the glass at our downtown CNN headquarters. #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/iwJxFaUfxW

— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 30, 2020

Police cars getting literally destroyed in Atlanta outside the CNN Center pic.twitter.com/x5zRxZVQpb

— Fernando Alfonso III (@fernalfonso) May 29, 2020

Downtown Atlanta right now.... PEACEFUL PROTEST ! #BlackLivesMatter ! pic.twitter.com/6nejzqccVE

— KP 🦋. (@kailynnlee) May 29, 2020

Continue Reading
Screenshot

Breonna Taylor’s Family Vows To Continue Fight For Justice: “Please Keep Saying Her Name”

Breonna Taylor must not be forgotten. The family of the 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March, released a statement encouraging peaceful protests and the continued fight for justice.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on CNN on Friday (May 29).

“Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile, and to bringing people together,” the statement reads. “The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence. Changes are being made, but it’s not enough. We will not stop until there is truth, justice and accountability. Breonna’s legacy will not be forgotten. And it’s because of all of us saying her name and demanding justice. We are saying her name more each day. Thank you.

“Please keep saying her name. Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can, and we will make some real change here. Now’s the time. Let’s make it happen.”

Seven people were shot during a protest for Taylor in Louisville on Thursday (May 28). The shooting victims were treated and are in stable condition, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher. Fisher also reposted a video message from Taylor’s family urging peace amid the protests.

A message from Breonna Taylor’s family urging protestors to be peaceful, go home and keep fighting for truth. pic.twitter.com/if5MH5UcCW

— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) May 29, 2020

On March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers kicked in Taylor’s door without warning and opened fire. Authorities claim that they were executing a “no-knock” search warrant stemming from an alleged drug investigation involving another man who did not live in Taylor’s home, and had already been arrested.

“Police just unloaded 25 to 30 rounds, I mean they’re shooting from the front door, they’re shooting from the window, they’re shooting from the patio,” attorney Benjamin Crump told Essence on Friday. “They’re so reckless, they shoot a bullet into the next door neighbor’s apartment where their five-year-old daughter is asleep in her room. “They didn’t even have to come in her [Taylor's] apartment. They already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LMPD accusing the department of excessive force and gross negligence. In wake of Taylor’s murder going public, LMPD has changed its policy and will now require no-knock warrants to have a police chief’s signature. The department also made it mandatory for LMPD officers to wear body cameras.

A 911 call made by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after the shooting was made public on Thursday. “I don’t know what’s happening somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker can be heard saying through tears. Police arrested Walker for shooting at cops whom he assumed were robbers. The charges were later dropped.

Listen to the emotional 911 call below.

Continue Reading
KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

Fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Arrested For Murder Of George Floyd

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested for the murder of George Floyd on Friday (May 29), Hennepin County D.A. Mike Freeman confirmed at a press conference.

“Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and with manslaughter. He has been charged with third-degree murder,” said Freeman.

“There could be more charges later. The investigation is ongoing. We felt it important to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” Freeman said when asked if the three additional fired MPD officers will be charged in Floyd’s murder. The third-degree murder charge suggests that Chauvin had no intent to kill Floyd. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Chauvin's arrest follows three days of protests in an around Minneapolis. On Thursday (May 28), the MPD’s third precinct went up in flames.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct has been set on fire pic.twitter.com/h85rjffLgc

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 29, 2020

“We have never charged a case in that time frame. We can only prove a case when we have substantial evidence,” added Freeman who maintained that the timing of the arrest was a result of a final piece of evidence, although he refused to go into detail. “We have now been able to put together the evidence that we needed. Folks, I’m not gonna’ talk specifically about this piece of evidence, or that piece of evidence. You will see.”

Freeman did however state the that evidence collected in the case includes citizen video, officer body cam footage, witness statements, and a “preliminary report” from the medical examiner.

Chauvin was the officer filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air and pleaded, “Please! Please! I can’t breathe!”

The fatal incident unfolded on Monday (May 25) afternoon. Police were called to Cup Food grocery store after Floyd allegedly tried to use a fraudulent $20 bill. MPD claimed that Floyd resisted arrest but a security camera recording shows him walking calmly in handcuffs while being escorted to a patrol car by an MPD officer.

Video footage release by store owner who stated George did not resist arrest as stated on the police report #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatters pic.twitter.com/aqFzkPmnEp

— Que ™ (@RealQDaKidd) May 27, 2020

Additional footage, recorded by a teenage bystander, captured Floyd's last few minutes alive. Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Chauvin may have already known Floyd as they both worked security for the Minneapolis club, El Nueva Rodeo.

Continue Reading

Top Stories