Interview: Michel de Hey, elevates and inspires already over 3 decades
Electronic music has always been about discovery for Michel de Hey
Taking dance floors to the next level with exciting new sounds, capturing audiences with a continuous element of surprise – innovation has invariably been the driving force here. One of the guiding lights in this ever-changing scenery is surely Michel de Hey, renowned for his 30 years of experience in the field, a worldwide respected DJ, producer, label boss and promoter. With his story still developing, things are getting more interesting by the day.
Michel de Hey is a true pioneer – someone who remains able to elevate and inspire audiences with every release or gig. His services to the cause of House and Techno over the last decades is hard to overstate – and one look at his impressive discography confirms the fact.
We are here to talk about his recent release on Poker Flat. A stunning four-track EP called “Look at Luf“.Or check it out here »
Hope all is well these days?
More than well, the sun is shining in Holland, just got back from a short Berlin trip and I have this recent release on Poker Flat, life is sweet. 🙂
Your release, a stunning EP called “Look at Luf” is out since May 18. Four stunning tracks all ready to take on the dance floor. Let’s talk about the process. How did it start, evolve and in the end made you happy to release the EP?
I am working on an artist album but with one track “Of Luf” I had the idea that it would be perfect for Poker Flat. So on an early Monday morning after I played the track on the weekend I mailed Steve Bug and he was very happy with it and wanted to hear a few other ones as well. When he heard “Need u so bad”, he said that it was total Poker Flat tune! So within the day, we compiled the 12″. When I make music it is hard for me to make similar tracks, but with this EP I do think, although the tracks are very different, they complement each other very well. And they fit together perfectly for the EP so I am super happy it is going to be released!
The title of the release feels love related? Anything you want to share?
Well, it has to do with 4 stages of Luf. First liking somebody but not being sure if the other person is into you, second falling in love, birds flying high, you know how I feel, third having a relation and fourth, sorry, no happy end … the break up which follows. And as far as I can tell this goes for a lot of people.
You are around for over 2 decades, not dare to say 3. What keeps you motivated to continue in a hectic world like the music industry?
I am happy, I do not think in decades. 🙂 The music world can make you hectic especially these days with all the social media hanging around. For me I always followed my instinct, I always did what I like. My only motivation is the same motivation which I had as little Michel: I love music, and I like to let people hear what I think is great music to dance to. And for some reason people still come to me hear me play and have a great time with me and even dance 🙂 However since I returned to making music again in the same way that I started making rave music many years ago, I discovered that a lot of labels which I respect and like are into my music as well. So that is also a huge motivation for me to develop my productions as well. But the main thing is, I never get tired of the music, there is so much music which makes me happy or which amazes me, and that gives me extra fuel!
the main thing is, I never get tired of the music, there is so much music which makes me happy or which amazes me, and that gives me extra fuel!
Do you have creative processes in order to keep you challenged?
A lot. I listen to all types of music, so I can be inspired just as much from Radiohead or Glenn Miller. I go to museums or listen to other DJs to see if they can make me dance. 🙂 Or I can get inspired when I just had a great gig in a weekend so that on Sunday or Monday I go straight into the studio. I really need to make something with the night before in mind, while in the past Sundays and many Mondays were more for … euuuuuh, doing nothing but watching football. 🙂
I can be inspired just as much from Radiohead or Glenn Miller
Talking about a challenge. What do you call a challenge nowadays?
Playing 10 hours Saturday at Thuishaven Zomercircus on the 17th of June! But really every weekend is a challenge, can I make it just as much fun as the week before? And finishing my first artist solo album, that is a real hallenge … almost there, still working on my vocals!
Have you ever hit roadblocks when making music? If so, what have you found to be the best ways to overcome this?
Totally, every week I try to move the roadblocks! Usually, I go out of my studio cook some food and then go back with fresh ears or go to the market buy some more food and come back again. For some reason being for hours and hours in the studio does not really work for me. I have to chop up my time up. Coming in and out of the studio works best for me, and it is very handy that it is in my basement, saves me a lot of walks.
As you have seen many changes in the music industry over those decades, do you think that the kind of music you grew up listening to, and that have been released over that period of time, affects the taste of music you are currently developing?
I think you always look back with a smile on your face from music you have been listening to as a young kid. But the older you get, you develop a certain taste in music which might be totally different. Still, when you listen back to these old tracks they still make you happy. It is the Ratatouille moment but then with music, certain moments are memories are connected to certain tracks.
I must admit that the music I bought and played form the first days of house music, those are the songs that still influence me in my DJ sets and my productions.
I must admit that the music I bought and played form the first days of house music, those are the songs that still influence me in my DJ sets and my productions. I still want to try to put that vibe into my music but in a modern day environment. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I do think this EP is very close to what I want, so I am super proud of it.
What were your past influences and how can we see that translate into your style now?
A big influence has always been the artists who surrounded me and gave me their music to release, but all musical outcome which appeals to me is an inspiration it challenges me to develop my sound as well. But seeing a great concert can also inspire me to make something else or try to look at my music in a different way. Even a DJ set from a DJ who plays music I do not like, but bringing it in a special way can inspire me as well. And of course even more, if it is a DJ who pulls me to the dance floor, that is always a treat. On a different side, Tom York is coming to Amsterdam next month and I really look forward to that as well!
What do you call your biggest accomplishment & best moment to date?
I always say my biggest accomplishment will come soon.:) Saying that keeps me fresh! Best moments: there are so many, but one of the highlights has been the first time ever my (now deceased) parents came to one of my gigs. In a full concert stadium, they were announced by one of my friends, and the place erupted! My father raised his arms up like he just won a fight, and my mother waved like the Dutch queen during Queensday. After that I started my set: I never had such an emotional start to my set. Best night ever, nothing can top that.
I always say my biggest accomplishment will come soon. Saying that keeps me fresh!
Any big plans for the summer or you just going with it?
I can say work in the studio or work on the colour of my pale skin:) However, I have quite a schedule with more than 30 gigs lined up so best thing indeed is just to go with the flow and see how it goes!
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