DJ Spotlight: Interview with Cowboy Mike

We caught up with Cowboy Mike before his San Diego show with Above&Beyond. The self-taught DJ discussed his musical goals, current projects and upcoming tour. If you're unfamiliar with Cowboy Mike, check out the video below to see how he gets a party going:

Get to know Cowboy Mike and his style:




1. How long have you been DJing? Do you play any instruments?
I have been DJing publically for about 6 years now. But, I started learning about 7 years ago. I can't really say that I play any instruments, unless you call a mixer with some turntables/production software an instrument…

2. Are there any artists you look up to?
The artists that I've always looked up to are U2, Paul van Dyk, Depeche Mode, Ferry Corsten, Above & Beyond, Sander van Doorn, and BT (among many others). I'm always drawn to artists that stick with a unique sound that they do very well. They may try different projects at times, but their roots are always visible. I grew up listing to bands and got introduced to electronic music later… so, I still have quite a few bands that really influence me.

Recently Paul van Dyk played Victor Dinaire's remix to my track "Break It Off" featuring Donald Glaude on his Vonyc Sessions. He actually played it two weeks in a row, so he must really like the track! It's a pretty great feeling because he's literally my all time favorite DJ/Producer.

An audio clip can be found here:
http://soundcloud.com/cowboy-mike/paul-van-dyk-vonyc-sessions

3. What's your ultimate musical goal and what have you learned while trying to accomplish your goal?
I'd really like to up my music production to hit more of an international level. I've learned so much over the last seven years. I've met some of the biggest names in the industry, and I've been fortunate enough to have them support my tracks. It's been quite a ride!

4. Is there anyone you wish to work with?
I've developed a great working relationship with with Tim Ortiz/Eventvibe in San Diego. With that relationship, I've been fortunate enough to share the stage with the best DJ/Producers in the world, including - Tiesto, Paul van Dyk, Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, BT, Sander van Doorn, ATB, and many others.

It was great having my friend Donald Glaude do the vocals on my "Break It Off" track. Victor Dinaire has really hit my original tracks with some fantastic remixes as well.

It's always an honor to work with anyone who has inspired me over the years. I guess we'll see where it goes!




5. Can you describe your first time onstage?
It was actually at a small club called the "Honey Bee Hive" in downtown San Diego in 2005. At the time, I played half vinyl and half CDs… I also played nothing but hi-energy trance. My friend, Victor Dinaire (who I hardly knew then) gave me a closing timeslot. It was an amazing experience that I'll never forget… It's really fun to look back on now, after everything that has happened.

6. What are some of your favorite songs to play onstage?
The most rewarding moments are when my original tracks get a great crowd reaction. I don't try to force them into my sets, but if there's a fit, or a new market to play them in, I'll generally drop one or two of them.


Cowboy Mike


7. What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?
Honestly, I think the hardest thing that I've had to overcome was to teach myself how to DJ. I didn't have anyone showing me what to do, or how to do it. I had to figure out the timing, beatmatching, and EQing all on my own. I used to record my mixing through a small tape deck to go back and try to figure out what I just did. I wish I kept some of the tapes… I'm sure they were awful!

There were quite a few moments where I wanted to hang it up because I thought I'd never get it. But, I just kept telling myself that if the DJ's that inspired me could do it, then I could do it too...

8. Are you working on any projects at the moment?
I just finished a new mixed CD entitled "Digital Influence." I'll have quite a few copies with me at my upcoming shows, so be sure to come up and grab a copy!

I'm also working on getting my latest original track signed, and I have some remix projects in the works as well. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on Facebook/social networking pages!

Here are some links to some current remix projects that were just completed:

Miike Snow - In Search Of (Cowboy Mike Remix)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JhTH3b0910

U2 - The Fly (Cowboy Mike & J-Break Remix)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAKE7eAgV2w

9. Where can we catch you next? Any upcoming shows?
Here's my current schedule:

2/17 @ FLUXX w/ Above & Beyond (San Diego, CA)
3/4 @ Boudoir (San Diego, CA)
4/9 @ AVEC w/ Josh Silver (Orange County, CA)


10. What's the best piece of advice someone ever gave you?
"Focus on what you are passionate about."

11. Do you have any advice for DJs just starting out?
Try to get decent equipment that will last you a while. The top of the line is not necessary, but get something that will keep you interested, and is still considered a professional grade. If you are truly passionate about it, never give up. Don't be afraid of new technology after you start to learn.. We are in such a fast paced technological world, that if you don't stay up with the new hardware/software, you'll get left behind. Always strive to get better.


12. Where can people listen to your music online?
The best place to see a "snapshot" of my music is http://www.facebook.com/cowboymikemusic. Or, you can link to any of my social networking sites by going to http://www.djcowboymike.com.

To purchase any of my original tracks / remixes, they can be found by doing an artist search for "Cowboy Mike" at http://www.beatport.com.

13. Anything else you'd like to add?
I want to give a shout out to Eventvibe / Tim Ortiz for always bringing the best acts and throwing the best shows in San Diego! Also, please check out http://www.vinylizemanagement.com for booking information. Thank you for having me!


About the Author

Formerly an editor and writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine.
Questions, comments or suggestions? Contact Christy@disarraymagazine.com
Twitter.com/ChristyBuena




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