Get to know your Desert Hearts: Mikey Lion & Andreas Henneberg
It’s hard to believe that Desert Hearts is already crossing into its fifth birthday. The Southern Californian transformational brand has grown from a humble, grassroots gathering into a veritable institution over its half-decade of existence, and only continues to thrive with its City Hearts offshoots. Now, Mikey, Lee, Marbs, and Pork Chop are celebrating their brainchild’s birthday in the most extravagant of fashions, holding the biggest festival to date and booking an equally immense lineup.
Damian Lazarus will be spinning a stirring four hour set, Doc Martin and Sublevel and SHADED will be bringing their live performances into the fray, and many other talented acts like Kenny Glasgow and Dance Spirit also making an appearance. Dancing Astronaut had the privilege of sitting down with a series of the talent on the bill, and hosting interviews that they conduct between themselves.
The first set of artists hopping on the interview train are ones that hardly need an introduction: Desert Hearts’ Mikey Lion, and German house veteran Andreas Henneberg. Both have been joined in their careers through Lion’s brand, and share a mutual interest in all things grooving and chunky. Henneberg, for example, just released his sought-after Password Invalid EP (buy here) on Desert Hearts’ label, which serves as a perfect primer for what’s to come when April 27 arrives.
Put these two together, and the ensuing conversation is quite entertaining. They discuss psy-trance vs. polka and the shape of the Earth, in addition to some more serious topics about their deepest inspirations and what drives them today. Enjoy Andreas’ new body of work whilst viewing what the two have to say about Desert Hearts.
Mikey to Andreas:
How did a nice German guy like yourself obtain so much swagger? Are your parents cool with what you do for a living?
When you tell your parents that you’re going to quit your normal job to become a DJ, they probably won’t like it that much. That’s a long time ago and they got pretty much used to it. SWAG!
If you were stuck on an island and you had to choose between Psytrance and Polka for the rest of your life, what do you choose and why?
Thanks for the great question, I may have nightmares about it now. I don’t know that much about Polka. Maybe I’ll like it?! Let’s give it a try… Polka!
Who’s inspiring you in the world of dance music these days? Any favorite crews or producers that are blowing your mind? Also, who are you most excited to see on the Desert Hearts Festival lineup?
Actually I try to avoid dance music when it comes to inspiration. I grab many more ideas when listening to some Indie music, Hip Hop or Jazz. All the older stuff from Goldfrap, Air, Londinium or Groove Armada still blow my mind. You know what I’m really excited about to see at Desert Hearts? All the people in their incredible outfits that put so much effort on looking unique. I’m also really looking forward to all the art and decoration on the festival site. Besides that, I’m really happy to see SHADED, Kevin Knapp, Ms. Englund and these crazy Desert Hearts crew lunatics.
2pac or Biggie?
Or Psytrance or Polka.. We are talking about 2 big packs of cigarettes, right? Yes.. I’m in!
Andreas to Mikey:
Did you ever expect that you could do what you are doing now? How did you imagine your future looked when you were a 16 year old teenager?
Well, I started DJing when I was 13, mostly scratching records in my room after school. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to work in music in one way or another, but it wasn’t until I saw Daft Punk Live when I was 17 that the dream of DJing professionally was all I could think about. I used to think about how much farther ahead I’d be if I went to college in San Francisco because the scene was so much better than the Central Coast of California. But now I look back and think every moment in my life led me to where I am today and it was exactly where I was supposed to be.
It’s not quite natural to be a DJ, a producer, an event promoter and balanced at the same time. How do you handle all of this in just 24 hours a day?
The way we built Desert Hearts is so much different than the norm and that helped us drastically in building this super beast. Instead of blowing up from a hit record like most DJ & Producers do, which is an often fleeting spotlight, we built the community and infrastructure behind Desert Hearts before we ever started a record label and started putting out music. I have the best team working around me who take off a lot of the pressure and allow me to work primarily on Desert Hearts Records while producing music during the week. Believe me the first couple of years were a nightmare trying to balance everything at once. But I think we’ve really found our groove now and the sky’s the limit for us.
How is your daily life when you’re not promoting events or traveling around as a musician?
I love my daily life because I get to make my own schedule. I usually have a couple of meetings during the day and I try to hit the rock climbing gym a few times a week as that’s become my favorite way to exercise. In the evenings I’m normally working on music before I call it a day and hang out with my fiance or friends. Every day is different and some days are more productive than others. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything I have so I always try to make the most of it.
Can you tell me a bit about the actual shape of the earth? (the optional insider question.. haha)
It’s exactly the opposite of what Lee Reynolds thinks.
Feature image courtesy of Andreas Henneberg