Belgium brothers In rhythm…
What an amazing two years you’ve had reaching the top of the charts everywhere. But before we talk about that, let’s go way back to your childhood. You are of Greek origin and raised in Belgium. So what’s the story there?
Dimitri: “Well, our mum went to Greece for a couple of months…met my dad…the rest I don’t really want to visualize… J They moved back to Belgium rather quick as my grandfather had just started a big motorbike shop and offered my parents the chance to run the business with him. We actually come from a long generation of mechanics, our great-grandfather even had a bike shop during both World Wars. I think we were kinda supposed to follow up – but I guess that turned out quite different than expected.”
Mike: “We still have a lot of family in Greece and it’s always great to see them. But unfortunately we don’t get to go there very often…”
Was Belgium an exciting place to grow up in? To the outside world, well, it’s rather dull.
Dimitri: “Yeah, well for sure it isn’t Miami! Growing up in our town (Willebroek) was maybe not the most nourishing environment you could picture. I’m not saying it wasn’t fun, I’m just happy that at the end we stepped out of that circle. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re a teenager.”
Mike: “Our parents sent Dimitri off to another country before things got out of hand here. When they saw he found a good job and had kinda turned things around, they sent me after him. I think I was only 15 when I was running around in Ibiza.”
Dimitri : “It didn’t seem like a good idea to me at all, but I decided to just give it a try. I got a job as an entertainer in a hotel and got loads of DJ work at night. Didn’t sleep a lot – but damn…was I having fun!”
Dimitri, you were DJing before clubs allowed you through the doors whilst Mike, you fell in love with Hip Hop – what sort of artists / albums etc. were you two listening to back then that got you into electronic/dance music?
Mike: “I was really growing up with the Dr Dre 2001 stuff. Eminem, D12 really mindf***ed me too J Add some 2pac…all very inspirational in many ways, not all good ones…hahaha.”
Dimitri: “It’s complicated J Because I lived in so many places and most of my gigs were residencies in local bars and clubs, I had to adapt my record choice. I even played HipHop, sometimes 70s, 80s, 90s just to be able to pay the bills. Wasn’t very glamorous at that time, but it’s a musical background I carry along and I consider an advantage.”
Whilst travelling around Europe you stumbled on Ibiza. What are your memories from that first trip there? What clubs, DJs and tunes made you like millions of others fall in love with white isle?
Dimitri: “Ibiza opened my eyes! From that point on I was like, ‘ok…House music! Period!!’ I fell in love instantly, I can easily pinpoint the who and where – Erick Morillo at ‘Subliminal Sessions’ inside Pacha. We were there every week,front row seeing him doing all that looping and FX stuff with the CDJ’s… I threw my records out and started playing with CDS. His sets really guided me into the DJ I am today.”
Mike: “It was also the year that Audiobullies were joining him at Pacha which was very inspirational to me. One night I ended up in a club where Dimitri was playing, picked up the mic started dropping a few vocals over his set. The crowd went absolutely bonkers so we decided there and then that was going to be our thing!”
So let’s talk about your remix work. 2009 was an important year, did your re-works of ‘Work That Body’ and Abel Ramos’s ‘Rotterdam City of Love’ change everything for you? Describe those crazy few months…
Dimitri: “We did ‘Work That Body’ as a favor for Dave Lambert. When we saw the Swedes were playing it we just couldn’t believe it! It was such a big thing for us at that point…A few weeks later I received an e-mail from James from Axtone saying Ax’ wanted us to remix the new one on his label. I thought it was a joke at first.”
Mike: “Haha!..I remember him waking me up in the middle of the night… ‘Mike…you’re not gonna believe this…come see if this is real.’”
Dimitri: Probably one of the happiest moments of our lives. The remix did really well too, Ax made an amazing bootleg with it and people were taking us more and more serious from that point on.”
The Swedish House Maffia hammered ‘Leave The World Behind Behind’ at their Pacha residency week in week out – what do you think though has been your best remix to date?
Dimitri: “Definitely that one. We actually finished it in Ibiza only a few hours before the opening night of the Swedish House Mafia’s Dark Forest in Pacha.
We also were in the club when they opened with it…something we absolutely did not expect… I had tears in my eyes.”
Mike: “We learned a lot from that remix…”
Dimitri: “Definitely, well from every remix we did for and with Ax – the man is an absolute genius. So much eye for detail…even when you think you’re done, he’ll still find 10 things that will elevate the track to another level.”
How do you approach each different single you are given/choose to work on?
Mike: “There is no rule. Mostly we don’t even listen to the original. We just load in the parts and see where we get. Sometimes we do 2-3 versions and then decide which version to finish. Our hard drive is an endless vault of unfinished ideas…”
What are your big 10 tunes you are spinning right now?
Dimitri: It’s not the most amazing time now in my opinion…I really have this feeling there are a lot less big summer tracks out there than the years before.
A lot of decent tunes but not those real dancefloor killers that everyone plays…just one I think! Here we go…
Swedish House Mafia – Save The World ( Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs Angger Dimas Tomorrowland Edit )
“We open almost very set with it.”
Quintino & Apster – Epic
“Big Tune, we did an edit with ‘Sex On Fire’ – an essential tool for us.”
Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso – Calling
“A track that for sure will be one of this Autumn’s anthems…”
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike – Generation X
“Our latest on Steve Angello’s label, does the trick every time.”
LMFAO – Champagne Showers ( Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike Tomorrowland Mix)
“Unfortunately this one leaked, but we got about 50K more followers on facebook since then, so who’s complaing? J”
Nicky Romero – Camorra
“A nice, really chilled track, great work from Nicky.”
The Loops Of Fury – I Need
“Such a phat bassline.”
Afrojack, Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike & NERVO – The Way To See The World
“The Tomorrowland Anthem… it’s great to see everyone to sing along.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside
“In whatever bootleg or form… this is the ultimate anthem.”
Dada Life – Happy Violence
“The new dada life…melodic and rough! Perfect!”
What has been the best club you have played at around the world and also, where is the best club in Belgium?
Dimitri: “Definitely Mansion in Miami…we love that place!”
Mike: “As for Belgium…I would say ‘Versuz’ and ‘La Rocca’.”
Whose decision was it to take on a remake Technotronic’s Pump Up The Jam?
Dimitri: “Ehh…they asked us…how can you say ‘no’ to the legend?”
What does each brother bring to the studio? What is each of you’re best qualities?
Dimitri: “We actually don’t really sit in the studio together that often anymore, since we have so much work.”
Mike: “We mostly finish off each others projects…I’ll send an idea and Dimitri will finish it, send it back, I change some more, he does the mix and vice versa.”
What is your favourite festival you’ve enjoyed and what were the highlights?
Mike: “Hands down, the highlight of the year for us. It’s just the most amazing event on the planet.”
Dimitri: “Everything is 100% – the sound, deco, production…an unforgettable experience every time.”
Tell us about your debut album?
Dimitri: “We kinda shelved that idea. We have a lot of tracks ready but we decided to release them on different labels rather that doing a big ep.”
Mike: “We didn’t see the point in doing a club album, and didn’t want to start doing radiotracks. The plan is now to do a release every 4-6 weeks.”
Who are your favourite DJs you like to play alongside?
Dimitri : “Afrojack is great, also the Swedes, Tiesto, all people you know you have to step up you game if you play before or after them. It is so motivating!”
If you could change anything about your brother, what would it be?
Mike: “Haha…tricky one… but I think there is not enough room on this page.”
Dimitri: “Nothing – he’s just perfect! Lol. Let’s not get into that J”
What is the best record ever made?
Dimitri: ”Queen – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. It’s not a song, it’s a story. I can only hope one day to be able to make something even half as genius.”
Mike: “To be honest I like so many different styles and vibes and on the other hand I don’t ever remember titles. So I can’t really answer to that one!”
What has been the proudest moment you have both had in your careers?
Dimitri: “Hmm there is many. A couple of collabs/releases we’re really proud of. But something branded in my mind is probably the first time we were on the Tomorrowland main stage. 45.000 people with our whole family in the crowd.”
Mike: “I have always said to myself and others, if producing music can take me all around the globe I am the luckiest person in the world. So the first time we crossed the Atlantic was a big milestone for me. And as Dimi said, the first time my grandfather and father saw us spin at Tomorrowland and afterwards they told me they were so proud was another one of those moments. Now, what’s next ? J”
What piece of equipment in the studio can’t you do without?
Dimitri: ”My volume button – don’t ask my why.”
Mike: “I would say my Minimoog Voyager XL, I can go for hours on that one – hahaha !!”
Other than Tomorrowland, what have been the other big show you’ve played at this year?
Dimitri: “Sensation and Mysteryland are also right up there…”
If we came back to yours, what are the big Back To Mine tunes you’d play us to either chill out of carry on until the morning?
1 ) Energy 52 – Café Del Mar
2) Jones & Stephenson – The First rebirth
3) AudioBullies – Way Too Long
4) Filterheadz – Sunshine
5) Marco Bailey – Sniff
6 ) Part-T-One – So Crazy
7) Julien Jabre – War
8) Vitamino – What I Got
9) Cassius – The Sound Of Violence
10) Plastikman – Spastik
Have you seen/heard any young, exciting DJs/producers this year we should be looking out for?
Mike: “Yves V, we’ve been working on a lot of tracks with him. Definitely one to watch.”
Dimitri: “We have a few artists lined up to introduce through our label, like Wolfpack…all guys from our neighborhood. All very talented. We’re guiding them in the right way and they’ll have a single ready very soon.”
Dimitri: “We have so much stuff ready, we could actually fill 2 albums J”
Mike: “But we really want to find the right vocals for each one, we have some stuff on the desks of Pitbull, Will-I-Am, The Wombats and many more. You never know what the results will be and than it still has to pass management etc… but it’s looking good.”
Dimitri: “Also a bunch of big remixes are ready, we’ll be happy if we can finally drop the news. Secrecy is a bitch.”
Mike: “And of course starting in October, non stop touring in USA, Mexico, Brasil, Asia, Australia…”
Dimitri: “That’s why we’re working so hard now to get everything finished.”