Get to know rising star Mikey Shanley in this week’s Artist Spotlight!
When I first encountered Mikey Shanley, it was actually through our ID Spotlight segment a few months back. Much like many other ravers and electronic music lovers we have spotlighted, Mikey wanted to tell his story as to why he fell in love with the scene. Hailing from Pittsburgh but since relocating to the sunny state of Florida, he plays a variety of different genres ranging from trance to techno, with a splash of tribal mixed in.
His roots may be in the rock scene, but he has a deep passion for all electronic music that pushed him to take the stage behind the decks. That same passion shows in his unique mixes that are sure to get you moving and grooving on the dancefloor, so make sure to check them out on his SoundCloud. Not shy about his love for the scene, we wanted to reach out to explore the man behind the decks further, so read on for our chat with Mikey below!
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 071 || Mikey Shanley on Mixcloud:
You’re originally from Pittsburgh but now live in Florida. What prompted the change if scenery?
Pittsburgh is an awesome city and a lot has been changing over the past 10 years there. Beautiful bike trails, funky art, bands, strong EDM scene and a real hometown feel. Pittsburgh is never far from my heart. However, I left in my early twenties to branch out more as a DJ. I was getting a lot of shows and opportunity in South Florida, so my girlfriend and I packed up and moved to Key West. Plus the snow and cold had just worn me out. One way or another I was leaving to explore the country. To me, Pittsburgh, with all the warehouses and potential just screams TECHNO and TRANCE!
When did you decide to get into electronic music? Was there a specific moment or push?
Although I’m a third generation DJ in my family and had friends in the rave scene since I was 14, I was a rocker in bands. What really started to change was when I heard current bands messing with synth-like sounds on the guitar. Kill Hannah, Orgy, Manson’s Album The Golden Age of Grotesque and Mechanical Animals made me rethink how things are produced, recorded and start to open the window towards electronic music.
I always had the second rate labeled and marketed compilations of what was essentially techno or liquid drum and bass (whether they or I knew it, that is what it was) on in the background as I studied, but things really changed when I discovered Happy 2b Hardcore, the fashion, and interest in mind expansion drugs. I only experimented with drugs for about 1-1/2 years but the energy of that music made me want to jump out of my seat. It uplifted me!
It also helped that there was a huge community based around that sound in Pittsburgh. As soon as I found my people, it was endless road trips to Toronto, NYC, Cleveland, farm weekender raves in West Virginia and more.
You recently posted about your history with martial arts. How has that affected your life and work ethic as an artist?
More so lately than ever. Discovering the music was sort of an ending to my martial arts and the opening of a new chapter: music. It was sort of the send off from my pre-mid teens and into my late teens//early adulthood. I was done with physical health and self-defense for awhile. I wanted to explore music, and people and the freedom of being able to drive and so on. However, now I am coming full circle and combining it all to be a more disciplined producer and DJ. I needed that time to put it down, drink my ass off, be in bands and go to raves and go nuts.
Looking back, I sort of regret it because I’d be further along than I am now, however, the universe has a weird way of protecting and getting you out of the way of things, even if it means doing something utterly dangerous like drinking for a few years and sneaking drugs across borders.
Back in 2016, you hit up UMF in Miami. What are your thoughts on that festival compared to others you’ve played or attended?
UMF will always have a special place in my heart because that is where I first saw Carl Cox. Between Carl, Armin, Markus, Fat Boy Slim and Paul Van Dyk…I was just never the same. I definitely prefer festivals/outdoor venues over clubs. Being outside and combining that with music is just too much fun and too natural!
Let’s do big room sounds, whatever that is to you, proper! Not in 4 walls, but in a field, under the stars and with the wind blessing us as we lift off, or at the very least in a warehouse! Skip the dress code, bottle service, and shady bouncers.
Your mixes are dynamic and fun, what is your song selection process like?
I’m not too much of a snob. Basically: it has to move me instantly. If it doesn’t move me instantly, it’s hard for me to support it. We are in a time now more than ever where people are branching out. Sure the “EDM bubble” has been going strong, but that is also “pop” and we all know what happens with pop: it changes, it gets bored, it goes to rock for a few years, then to hip hop, now to EDM and sooner or later people just go deeper.
The true fans don’t stop at what the radio feeds them. They spend their valuable time with people like me who are an overall brand and an expert in their area, not just blindly enjoying yet another remix pop vocal, or a carbon copy of the last bass head from a certain “camp” or boring abstract ketamine inspired 115 bpm techno track that only people in Miami who are in denial about their mid-life crisis at 4am and pretending to be in Berlin listen too while paying $18 for a beer in their black V-necks and shaved heads. For me, it has to move me instantly, change my state and pump energy of an uplifting nature to the crowd.
If you could only listen to three artists for the rest of your life, who would they be and why?
That’s a totally unfair question! So hard to pick.
Electronic World: Carl Cox, Armin, and Eric Prydz. Many others, but I’m trying to play by the rules. If I could have a wildcard, it would be Markus!
Punk: Rancid, DropKick Murphys and probably Cock Sparer. Wild card…The Interrupters.
What has been your favorite show to play or attend to date?
San Francisco by far! I played this awesome festival with the Entropy Group out of Seattle. I camped among the attendees on this huge bluff. The view of wine country was amazing. We all went swimming in this lake and Dj’ed/danced under the stars.
Club Space was an awesome milestone and I also got to play the legendary Last Supper Club in Seattle before it closed.
Where is a dream venue you want to play in the future?
Honestly, I love outdoor shows and I would love to not just be an act on a festival but do something big like my own area/tent. Music is perceived best outdoors!
What is in store for fans of yours in 2017?
Well, I’m starting to get interest from labels and managers which is exciting. Hopefully, the right one comes along soon. I need someone or a team of people who see my vision of electronic music and transformational thinking/speaking to uplift the crowd in a way that really takes the festival area and this moment to the next level in a physical and psychological way. Music is forever, and let’s stop beating around the bush: MDMA was life changing when I did it…however it was hard on my body. Hard on my mind. It’s also not practical.
I want to provide a lasting solution to what we only enjoy in the short term over a weekend and end the “come down” depression from a great time back into reality. I always hated that feeling. Like I was living two lives. I have found a way to fix that in a lasting way and I’m excited to share it! Through, music, speech and physical movement of yoga and dance and diet, I’m about to provide something truly special and different to this arena. It’s truly an exciting time and I want everyone to join me in it! Let’s create a moment!
Finally, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip, no question. However, I really try to be vegan, so vegan versions of that are nice