Article | Onlythebeat

Behind the Beat: Mike Cervello

Friday, December 02, 2016
Josh Habursky
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You might know Dutch producer and DJ Mike Cervello as one of the hitmakers behind the massive banger “Smack”. The track was created alongside his Barong Family brother Cesqeaux.

He is a rising star on the label and an artist to watch in 2017 for hits that make it to the mainstage. And according to that deep voice that narrates the Yellow Claw mixtapes Cervello is the "savior of real house music”.

Mike Cervello & Cesqeaux - "Smack"

Only The Beat: How did you start your career as a DJ and producer? What was your first official gig?

Mike Cervello: I'm part of a musical family. My mom used to have a bar, my brother was a DJ and my sister used to dance a lot. So, I actually grew up with all kinds of music. Music was always a part of my life.

OTB: Do you have any mentors in the industry? If so, how have they helped your career?

MC: I wouldn't say mentors, but more people that guide me through this journey. During the last two years I've been selecting my people to a point where I'm really happy with the team around me. In the end it’s all about you making good music and the rest will follow. If you have a good team of course. But if I have to point someone out, it's my friend Cesqeaux. He's the one that introduced me to Yellow Claw and especially Barong Family. Since that day a lot has changed.

OTB: If you had to pick another career…?

MC: I would always do something that has to do with music or film. That's my passion and I wouldn't like to spend the rest of my life doing something I don't like.

OTB: How has it been being a member of the Barong Family and working on the new album?

MC: Since my first EP at Barong Family, my life actually changed. At that time I was still working two jobs and studying 'communication' in Amsterdam. Making music in between and trying to release it somewhere. At this point I'm financially independent and that feels good. The only two things I need to worry about now is making music and playing shows.

OTB: This year you also worked with Laidback Luke on the track "Front 2 The Back". Can you tell us a little bit about this track?

MC: That's actually a funny story. I was on a Europe trip with my girlfriend and I remember working on it in Budapest. It was really hot outside and our air conditioning wasn't working, so I sat there sweating my ass off. After a while I had this idea worked out and we sent it to Luke. And he told me he wanted to finish it together. So we did! And now I have a collab with the man himself. 

OTB: What is the music scene and specifically the dance music scene like in Amsterdam? If I visited the city where do you recommend going clubs, restaurants, etc.?

MC: I think the music scene is really good in Amsterdam. A lot of variety in music and clubs. We have a lot of deeper stuff in town like techno and deep house, but also the harder stuff. For the deeper stuff, you should check out "De School". That’s a 24 hour club with a good production. It's literally in an old school.

OTB: What is your favorite track the you produced and one that you did not produce?

MC: I don't really know which is my favorite. I think that one isn't out yet. It's also a bit different than the rest I made previously. Maybe I'll release it one day...

I also don't have a favorite track in particular actually. If I would name some guys, I really enjoy listening to Maceo Plex, Stephan Bodzin and David August. Their production level is something I really aspire to achieve.

OTB: What advice do you have for an aspiring DJ that is trying to get a shot in the industry?

MC: Fuck the rules. Don't make music for a certain label, but make it for yourself. Don't get comfortable and keep working on the quality of your music. Keep comparing it to the 'big guys'. When it's good enough, people will come to you instead of the other way around.

OTB: Outside of Djing, what are your other interests or hobbies?

MC: I really love to make music. There's nothing like finishing a new track actually. I also like to play games and beat Cesqeaux in FIFA. ;)

OTB: What can we expect from you the rest of this year? Any new tracks or collaborations coming up?

MC: Just came back from the Barong Family world tour and right now I'm working on my third EP for Barong Family. Plus a bunch of other stuff as well. There's also a remix coming out for DJ Snake and Yellow Claw. And we just released the 'Empire' Remix EP. Go check that out. I just can't wait to show all the new music!

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