BT has good hair… Don’t get me wrong. But Justin Michael has an awesome head of hair, too! I wasn’t familiar with his work until I heard “Young Forever.” I was hooked. I reached out to him for an interview because I just had to learn more. Justin is originally from California, and first signed to Armada Music with his hit single “Eyes Close.” This track became a huge hit and Justin was ready to see what EDM was all about. Justin has a lot of rock and roll influences, and that is obvious when you listen to his work. “I’ve grown up with diverse music influences including The Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters and Coldplay, and now I’m fusing those early rock influences with electronic beats,” he explains. He has since worked with Ultra Records and has remixed guys like Kaskade, EDX, Ned Shepard, Dave Dresden and Nadia Ali.. I got the chance to meet Justin to talk about his new single and more. It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Justin Michael.
BT is known for his hair… But man, you have some pretty wild hair. I love it! How long does that take to create each morning? No time at all!!! It’s amazing. It’s actually naturally like this. Every time I wake up.. BAM!!! Ready to go!!! (Laughs.) Just kidding! Seriously though, if I said I made it every day like that, I would be just lying through my teeth!
Why red? Everyone knows that red is the best color in the world!
You have remixed a lot of work. Do you have a favorite remix that you have produced? I really like the new remix you did with Bruno Mars.
Oh cool, thank you! Actually, that is my original song “Her World Goes On.” I worked with Bruno for over 7 years. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing talent.
Justin Michael & Kemal feat. Bruno Mars – Her World Goes On (Radio Edit)
You recently left Ultra Records for a new opportunity. Tell me about your relationship with Armada Music. I didn’t really “leave” Ultra. I still work with them on occasion, but I mainly just wanted to work with more labels and not be tied down to just one… I am a free spirit! I’m also releasing some projects on my own “soon to be launched” label – Rocktronica Records! So stay tuned!
Hardwell is on top. Do you pay much attention to the DJ Mag Top 100? Do you agree with the list this year? Hardwell who? (Laughs.) I know what’s going on, but honestly it’s like high school. I’m not going to follow a popularity contest! Then again, I’m not going to lie… If I had the opportunity to reach #1 one day, well, I am sure this answer might change.
You worked with Phillip LaRue on your new single “Young Forever.” Tell me more about that song and what it was like working with Phillip.
“Young Forever” is my baby! I spent a lot of time in the studio working on this track; About a year to be exact. I tried many different vocalists, but it never really clicked until I worked with Phillip. He has an amazing voice and it was perfect for the track. So after a couple weeks of writing the vocals with him, “Young Forever” was born and ready for the world to hear.
Justin Michael feat. Phillip LaRue – Young Forever
You are originally from LA. Do you get the chance to travel much? EDM isn’t the same here as it is in Europe.
Yes, I am born and raised in Los Angeles, but one thing you might not have known about me is that I am half Dutch. My mother is Dutch and I have about 16 cousins who live throughout Holland, so I actually lived there for a while as well. To answer your question though, EDM is definitely the same. EDM is EDM. It’s become a subgenre of dance music in my opinion. When I heard the word “EDM” I think one specific sound. They actually need to make that a genre on Beatport so the real “progressive house” can come through again. That would be NICE!!!
Define “rocktronica.” Rocktronica = Justin Michael = My undeniable love for rock music and electronic dance music fused together.
What is the best concert you have ever been to?
That’s a tough one! Has to be either Nine Inch Nails at a small venue called Soma in San Diego or Coldplay at the Irvine Amphitheatre. Those were both amazing and quite inspiring concerts for me that I will never forget.
Have you ever made a mistake while on stage?
Who hasn’t? Mistakes are part of being human. Although, I must admit (not bragging), but with 15 years of DJing now my mistakes are few and far between. Come see me live and I will PROVE it! I hope that doesn’t that sound cocky. (Laughs.)
You are giving away “Young Forever” for free right now. Why did you decide to do that with this release?
Because the world needs to hear this song! Instead of just signing the rights away to just any label, I think it’s important to give back to my fans, friends and family for all the support received over the past decade. So go grab your free copy now on my SoundCloud page before I change my mind!
You are active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Who manages all of those accounts?
I have raised little 2-foot gremlins in my studio. I feed them raw chicken and they reward me with their social media skills. Recommended for every inspiring artist out there!
When you remix a track for someone like Kaskade, do you need his permission? Do you, when you are finished, send the track to him? I am always curious about that process for a DJ.
I never just “remix” a song without permission. Every time I have made an official remix, it was because the artist and/or label hired me to do so. Kaskade requested that I remix his songs.
What would you be doing if you were not producing music?
I don’t think I could answer this question. I have actually thought this many times myself, but I honestly have no idea… hmmm. Again, If I had to answer… I guess a job like Anthony Bourdain would be awesome, only with a craft beer addition to the tasting.
I’d like to buy you a drink. What are you having? Depends on my mood, but at the moment, give me a nice cold goblet of Chimay Triple (White)… Fancy huh?
What’s next for Justin Michael?
I just released a new collaboration single with Jerome Isma-Ae and it has been gaining some amazing recognition. I am extremely grateful for all the
support thus far by the likes of Kaskade, W&W, Gareth, Emery, Mat Zo, Myon & Shane 54 and many more. Jerome is such a talented DJ/producer and I have been a huge fan of his work for a while, so I feel blessed to be able to collaborate with some of my idols and peers.
Jerome Isma-Ae & Justin Michael feat. Novi – Awaken (Original Mix)
In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Thanks so much for your time and interviewing me, Ricky! It’s been fun and a pleasure. If anyone wants to get to know me more, don’t be shy, please come and be a part of my “Rocktronica Army” on Facebook. Rock on!
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