Some people are able to create sets that breathe and take on a new life even beyond the productions that they are made up of. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve downloaded a track from one of Mike Haddad’s sets, and it doesn’t feel the same as when I heard it in his mix. The composition that Mike has recorded for WITNESS THIS is no exception, it’s a brilliant weaving of sounds mixed patiently and confidently for an hour and a half, crossing through a wide range of sentiment and spirit.
We are immensely honored to feature Mike on WITNESS THIS, and we can’t wait to hear him play again live, but in the meantime, we’ll gladly get lost in his sets, always knowing that he’ll find a way to guide us to our hearts.
Listen to the set here:
And enjoy an interview with Mike Haddad below:
What do you feel makes you and your sets unique?
This is something I ask myself constantly. Unicity of sound and groove is very important to me; as it’s the differentiating factor for every DJ. If I can’t stand out, then all I’m doing is fitting in, something I can’t do.
My single goal for any online set or live gig is to build and maintain a groove. Whether it’s something dreamy and progressive, or hypnotic and dark – If I can make you groove, I can make you move. The unique aspect of this for me is twofold – I want to find and deliver groove across the electronic music spectrum. Whether it’s deep oriental or dark techno; I’ve embraced all sub-genres with equal zeal, and I enjoy weaving all those styles throughout a set if I can. Second, I love drawing on my personal favorite influences in my sets. I tend to incorporate speeches, voice samples, and cuts from alternative genres into my mixes – as I can’t help but share parts of myself with listeners.
We are all our own person and being true to yourself is enough to stand out and be unique.
“Montreal provides a constant flow of inspiration to me as a DJ and serves almost as a litmus test for track popularity and current sentiment across the scene.”
How does Montreal play a role in your sets/music?
I was born and raised in Montreal so my home is and has always been an influence on me. When playing in another city, you get to feel like an ambassador for your city’s scene – which is a cool feeling. Considering how developed the electronic music scene is in Montreal, you always have a chance to be inspired by the plethora of art shows, gigs, and exhibits.
Montreal provides a constant flow of inspiration to me as a DJ and serves almost as a litmus test for track popularity and current sentiment across the scene.
As a result, my style is always subtly changing, and my sets reflect that.
Can you describe the electronic music community in Montreal? Would you call it unique?
Montreal has one of the most mature, patient, and lively scenes in the world. It’s small, persistent, and can literally go all night long. The city has one of the best nightclubs in the world for House and Techno; STEREO. Legends like Hernan Cattaneo and John Digweed praise this nightclub for the sound system and the crowd that can go for 20 hours straight, no problem.
Montreal is beyond unique, I think stands alone in the top 3-5 cities for Electronic Music and the Art around the scene as well.
What is the process you take in recording your sets?
I don’t overthink it. I like to have an idea of the general mood and direction the set will take. My mixes always evolve upwards or downwards in mood and groove – as I try to make sure the listeners’ attention is always there. Many times I will try and include a voice clip, or interview extract of an inspiring figure in order to set that initial vibe.
“All I can hope for is that the journey resonated with someone and made them feel happy for those moments. During a live show, my only goal is to make you dance, sweat, and embrace the moment.”
Is there anything you do to make sure you are prepared for a live set?
For certain live sets, I have prepared a full track list, where I’ve thought of each segment and transition. Otherwise, my folders are ready for each part of the night, with enough extra tracks to be able to switch it up in the moment; as per the feedback I get from the crowd. I always have 2 backup USBs for every night.
What do you hope people feel when they listen to your music?
This is a difficult one – as different music makes people feel different emotions. All I can hope for is that the journey resonated with someone and made them feel happy for those moments. During a live show, my only goal is to make you dance, sweat, and embrace the moment.
Is there someone you are dying to play back to back with?
There are still a few Montreal locals I would love to play with, however, a few special artists come to mind when thinking of my dream b2b. To name a few: Tara Brooks, Marques Wyatt (LA), and YokOo.
Do you have a favorite show you played this last year?
2018 was an incredibly fulfilling year for me. Undoubtedly, my favorite gig was opening for John Digweed at Stereo in late June. Not many gigs can come close to that one yet ?.
What are some of the goals you wish to accomplish through your music?
My goal is to curate and create an experience for you wherever you are. Eventually, I will try and do this through my own productions, but for now, I strive to build a journey through my mixes and create a lasting impression and experience for the listener.
Thank you all for reading and the continued support of these artists and WITNESS THIS.
— With light and love, Dersu and the WITNESS THIS family.