When indulging in conversations with artists, fans, and other writers regarding artists to watch this year, one name consistently comes up: Mikkas. Many fans picked up on Kasper Smed Nielson, or Mikkas, a year and a half ago when he remixed Porter Robinson's massive single "Unison" and released his groundbreaking single "Syndrome" on Big Fish Recordings. However, what most do not know is that Mikkas has years of producing club hits under his belt and, assuredly, he has many more to come.
For five weeks, Mikkas held the Beatport trance chart's top spot with his remix of "Rewind" by Emma Hewitt. Despite being released on December 3rd, 2012, the track was also the best selling single of the entire year for Armada Music. One week before Mikkas' remix hit the market, Amba Shepherd and Hardwell launched their astronomical #1 hit, "Apollo." And as a result, there was a major buzz when Mikkas announced he was collaborating with Shepherd on a track for early 2013 release.
This week, thier long-anticipated single, "Finally," was released on Strictly Rhythm with a remix from Canadian producer Botnek. The original mix is already being supported by artists like Porter Robinson, Zedd, Nicky Romero, Dash Berlin, Ferry Corsten, Dirtyloud and W&W - with good reason. The pounding bass line and relentless energy of Mikkas' complextrance production is incredible, and it delicately compliments Shepherd's passionate vocal without overpowering it.
DJs and music fans have flocked to Mikkas' infectious sound, thrusting "Finally" to the number 15 spot on Beatport's electro house chart after only two days. In the midst of his success, the talented Danish-born producer took the time to chat with Into The AM about his favorite music, how he got to where he is today, and his aspirations for the future.
ITAM: First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We are looking forwards to big things in your future, but we're not the only ones who see it that way. How does it make you feel when you hear critics or other artists praise your work and your potential?
M: Hey, no problem at all, thanks for the recognition! It’s still a bit surreal to hear so many good things about my music. I’ve been making music for so many years now that it has become a thing I do to relax and to unwind. When I get these overwhelming comments, I sometimes think: “Wow, are you talking to me?” I will never take people’s comments for granted though, their praise just makes me want to make more, and better, music.
ITAM: I read that Cosmic Gate is one of your musical inspirations. Who else inspires you musically?
M: Cosmic Gate are the reason I got into trance at the beginning of 2000. Trance was a lot harder than it is now in my opinion, and I loved how producers could put beauty and emotion into tracks that were so aggressive and heavy. It was beauty and the beast of music and I instantly fell in love with the Trance sound. The combination of opposites, beauty and ugliness, has stuck with me through the years and it is a principle I still rely on in my productions.
Another act who made an impact on me was the german duo called Megara vs. Dj Lee, who also perfected the combo of hard and soft. Those guys still heavily influence most of the melodies I make today.
Through the years I’ve been listening to dance music, I’ve been influenced by a lot of different artists, but lately it’s not so much the artists and their music that inspire me. Today, it’s more about breaking genre conventions and doing things nobody has heard before that inspires me. Especially these young, aspiring producers who dare to make something fresh and bold. It’s awe-inspiring to see when people make music – not to get signed to a specific label – but to push boundaries!
ITAM: Do you prefer producing or DJing and why?
M: It’s hard to compare the two when I’ve been doing one for over 12 years and the other for just a few months. If I had to choose, I would definitely pick producing.
ITAM: What are three of your favorite songs, remixes or bootlegs that you have produced?
M: Ah, that is a hard one. I think a lot of my older music has a special place in my heart – it’s music made entirely for myself. Back then, I didn’t have a huge amount of people expecting me to deliver the next “banger” or make something that would climb the Beatport charts.
1. Mikkas – The Touch (Original Mix)
‘The Touch’ from 2005 is probably my favourite track I have ever made.
2. Megara vs. Dj Lee – For a Moment (Backslash vs. Mikkas)
Imagine what it would feel like to remix your all-time idol. It was a huge deal when I made this track and one of my most memorable moments of my career to date. This remix, which came out in 2006, marks my commercial entry into the EDM scene, together with fellow producer Backslash. After this remix, Backslash and I saw huge success in the hard dance scene with over 13 releases together before we ended our collaboration in 2010.
3. Mikkas – In Absentia (Original Mix)
‘In Absentia’ was made right after my grandfather passed away and I felt like doing something to remember him by. This is the one of the most heartfelt and honest track I have made. It’s from 2007.
ITAM: Inside or outside of music, what are your aspirations in life?
M: To be honest, I’ve never had any real dreams of living off making music. Like all people who play videogames or paint pictures in their living room, we never really expect it to suddenly become a thing we could be famous for. it is weird that it has become ‘cool’ to be a producer; I’ve always considered the job to be quite nerdy and there was a time when I would actually lie and tell people I was into soccer instead of music production because I was ashamed.
At the moment, I am also studying Performance Design and I am hoping, some day, when I’m not making music anymore, to work with events and festivals all around the world.
ITAM: Outside of music, what do you enjoy doing with your time?
M: I’m a nerd in nature, so - like every other producer out there - I am into videogames and cats. Also, I work out a lot.
ITAM: Do you have any upcoming releases you'd like your fans to know about?
M: If anyone missed it, my new track with the talented Amba Shepherd, ‘Finally,’ will be out on Beatport on the 22nd of January. Beside that single, I am currently working on a rework of one of my favourite trance tracks from back in the day. I can’t say which one it is yet though. Also, I have a new remix in the works!
ITAM: Are you planning on touring in the upcoming year? If yes, in the USA?
M: Yes. Yes I am.
One accomplishment most musicians cannot claim is assisting a country in winning an Olympic Gold medal - but Mikkas can. The Russian women's synchronized swimming team won the Gold medal in duets at the 2012 Olympics using his bootleg of Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us" during their routine.