Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike are among the best DJs in the world. Their path from celebrated DJs to dominating the global electronic music scene has been on a constant, upward trajectory leading them to be one of the most loved DJ’s in the world. The exhilarating and addictive tempo of their music instantly captivates the listeners to get on their feet. Financialexpress.com’s Eshita Bhargava exclusively caught up with the globally sensational duo Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, who were performing at Sunburn, Asia’s Premiere Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Festival, regarding the process behind their music, insights into their music journey overall, Bollywood music, plans to work in Hindi films, street food in India, and more. Excerpts from the interview:
You guys are obviously one of the most prominent names in the music circuit. How did you originally get into the music industry?
I started DJing early and then left home to pursue working in European holiday resorts, DJing, before landing in Ibiza. Mike later joined me out there. After I got home a few years later, we built up our studio and it all kind of snowballed from there.
How has the industry evolved in all these years?
The scene has become a lot fairer. There’s much more equality across the scene within the community, which is only ever a good thing, because it’s a scene built on love and unity.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when you are in India? Are you looking forward to performing here?
It just feels good to be back at Sunburn. Seeing the fans, playing all this new music we’ve been working on and getting back to how life was before the lockdown began. We have a lot of music made specifically for our shows, so it’s exciting to see what the fans’ reaction will be to the new material. The experience of performing in India is unlike anywhere else in the world. The fans are so dedicated and passionate. It’s incredible to be a part of whilst on stage. As a country, India has some stunning destinations, and the culture and people are so welcoming. We always look forward to returning.
Are you aware of the love that the Indian audience has for you? How does that make you feel?
The fans at Sunburn are some of the most insane. So, this is going to be a wild show. We’re super excited for how this party is going to go down!
Have you heard any Hindi songs or do you have any favourite DJ/EDM artiste from India?
We know of AR Rahman, Zakir Hussain and Anoushka Shankar, but yeah, being in a movie could be fun. As some fans will know, acting is already a career I’m pursuing. I’ve just had my first lead role in the movie H4Z4RD, which followed an appearance in the final installment of Jurassic World Dominion. So, it could be a cool project. I’m also pretty close with Salman Khan, who is an amazing guy, so I hope one day I can feature in one of his films.
Would you be interested in collaborating with an Indian singer/EDM artist/DJ?
We’re always open to new collaborations with artists from all cultures because we love the fusion of new ideas and bringing in local music flavors to mix everything up. We have nothing lined up for the future, but it could be a lot of fun to do something with Indian musicians and that distinctive sound. Would be cool!
Which collaborations with other artists have been the most significant for you and why?
Both ‘Tremor’ or ‘Mammoth’ are still huge records for us which, although they are old songs now, still blow me away at the response each time either of them are dropped in our sets.
Do you both have any pre-show rituals that you like to perform before a concert?
We like to group with our team, catch up with other artists and just chill out as much as possible to put us in the best frame of mind for performing. Afterwards, we just unwind and hang out with friends before heading back to the hotel and getting some rest.
Now that you have successfully garnered an extremely huge and well-established fan-base, does that add pressure to the future tracks or is it something you perceive as a motivation?
I think for us that’s one of our biggest motivations. As mentioned, seeing fans reacting so well to our music really gives us confidence to experiment and inspires us to continue pushing the boundaries with our sound. We’ve released so much music over the years and our fans have always been very supportive, so that just makes us excited when we work on music to give them something new.
We have seen a lot of artists who use music as a medium of self-healing. So, when it comes to your personal creations, do you think your own music helps you in a way no other music can?
Music is such a great way to express your feelings and we always try to convey our emotions through our music. Time in the studio helps us to unwind. You can switch off from the outside world and just focus on music, which has always been a great escape for both of us.
What is the best piece of advice that you both received in your career?
The most important piece of advice we’ve been given, and the thing we always tell new artists just getting started, is to never give up. To get to our position has taken years of work, honing our craft, and taking the time to really immerse ourselves in every aspect of our careers. We have faced countless “no’s” and rejections along the way, but it’s important to take that constructively and not let it deter you, use it as motivation to improve. Never quit.
You both have so far achieved billion of streams on your music and have grabbed the position of world’s number one DJ’s a couple of times. How does it feel to know your music has such a vast and global influence?
It’s an amazing feeling. We’ve always been driven by the love we feel from our fans. Their continued support has given us the opportunity to make a career from something that we love, and for that we’ll always be grateful. We always try and give the fans new and exciting projects, and innovate in our shows and with new music, so hopefully we can repay the faith they continue to show us.
What’s the future of EDM and DJing?
EDM continues to prove itself as one of the major musical movements in the world, now saddled against rock, pop and hip hop. This trend will only continue to grow.
Are you looking forward to trying Indian food? Have you researched/Googled the options?
The food in India is incredible, but unfortunately, we’re only staying for a short time during this trip but hoping to make a longer journey on our next trip. We both love Indian food. We have done very little touristy things this time and have not had the time to explore much.
If not into music, what profession would you have chosen?
Acting is a big career direction for me alongside music, as well as working on my new comic franchise Alien Samurai Dino Warriors. I’ve always been a huge fan of comic books and superheroes, so this has been really rewarding for me putting together such a project with a team of talent. Going from Erik Burnham who wrote for IDW’s Ghostbusters and Back to The Future to David & his father Michael Uslan, who is the originator and executive producer of the Batman Movie Franchise, from ’89 Tim Burton Batman to Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy to the upcoming The Batman. I’m also passionate about acting and have been working on that side of my career and developing my craft. I’ve always been fascinated by film, conveying stories and emotions on screen the same as you would when working on music. Being involved on different sets and working with hugely skilled actor/actresses in the film industry has taught me a lot about showcasing different themes, and I think that has had a knock-on effect on our music as a result. Getting to work alongside big screen heroes like Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Bouncer and Sylvester Stallone in Rambo are highlights of my side career in the film industry and push me on to achieve more. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike will always be at the centre of what we do, and through exploring these avenues we’re able to bring new things to the table which means we can keep innovating and giving the fans something fresh. We’re in such a privileged position that allows us to explore our different creative passions. As artists it’s important to keep pushing forward, and we both have an innate desire to follow our passions.
Our label Smash the House recently released a special end of year album, titled ‘The Crystal Winter’. Featuring a host of names such as us, Brennan Heart, Dr Phunk, MATTN, Blasterjaxx, VIZE, Vini Vici, 3 Are Legend and Timmy Trumpet. We also have a new collaboration out right now called ‘Raket’ with Bassjackers.
Any message for your fans in India?
We typically visit India every year, so this feels like an eternity since we last visited our Indian fans in the country. But we’re coming back now and we’re super pumped for it!