For our fifth Big Blue Session, we had the pleasure of welcoming Mike Haddad from Husa Sounds. The day of the set, it had been snowing all night, and all day and feeling the mood and taking in the scenery, Mike played a very cozy and chill winter set along with Sam on the piano. So grab some tea, sit back, relax, and enjoy the set.
listen on SoundCloud here.
view on YouTube here.
Studio Big Blue: Mike! Thank you so much for sharing your set. It was very chill, very cozy, I found. It was perfect for a winter day like this.
Mike: Yes, it was a very cozy set. Thank you for having me.
So let's begin! What are the origins of your passion for music?
For me, it's kind of a multi-disciplinary experience of love with music. It all began with hip-hop. My brother became a rapper since I was very young and there has always been music in my house. My dad was always playing records that were Tunisian or North African. There has always been sound and background. I've always enjoyed having soundtracks to moments and involving music in every way. Then it evolved into listening to more groove-based music and stuff you can dance to. Eventually, I wanted to share that passion with a lot of people and create a cool experience. It became my desire to create a vibe and curate a moment, so then I began to throw parties and then bigger parties and then getting invited to stuff rather than creating stuff. Then it just grows from there. I've been blessed to have had cool moments as a DJ even though I've always been passionate about music, its always been my creative outlet, kind of like alter ego. So being able to balance regular life and then that creative side has been very satisfying and such a pleasure.
That is truly a blessing Mike, and I do think that you are curating a moment. The set we heard today was just that! You were creating an atmosphere and taking inspiration from where you are.
Yes, and I think that one thing that it touched on is that I don't like playing non-pertinent music in certain settings. Translate that to "I want to play the right music for the right moment." If I'm in a dark room and people are already warmed up, it's your job to asses what's going on, and if you want to get to a certain point, then build up to it or earn it. If the moment is right then, you can play any kind of music, but something I dislike is people that will go into a moment and just impose their vibe or their style. Whether you believe it or not, there is a lot of energy going back and forth with people dancing. I find its disrespectful to throw that off for the sake of what you want to hear, its more about what people want to hear while of course staying true to your style. So in a setting like this, there aren't people dancing, but there are bears haha. You want to preserve a moment in time like we're surrounded by nature, we're cozy, we're with good friends and its cold, so we want to warm up. So finding the perfect groove for that is very representative of how I play music in general.
How did you feel playing with a live musician?
I've done it a few times for live events, but mostly percussions and more like African drums and stuff. I find that it could work so well and has worked beautifully for me in the past. Its really hit or miss sometimes to be honest. Sometimes having a live element can be noise because some songs have so much going on, and there are many elements thrown at you. So sometimes, a piano solo is welcome, or sometimes the track needs to play out. In this case, today, it was perfect for the setting, and we found good moments of low ends dominating so the synths can come in and the melodies can build. It was perfect.
It was, thank you for that. So 2019 was a big year for you. Could you share some of your highlights?
I've had a lot lately. I'll say a few, and there is no particular order, but for me, an event that has 30 people but all dancing and locked in can be much more fulfilling than a 300 person event, where there is still some energy but its lost unless everyone is in the moment. It's kind of a flaw in the electronic music scene that it goes up and down in popularity. Sometimes you have people that are not invested in the moment. So it's tough to know what is resonating with everyone. For me, moments that are beyond amazing can be literally super small intimate events where there is reciprocity, and you're vibing. One of those moments this past year was Piknic. It was the first time I played for a really really big locked crowd, and that was great. It was a very dreamy set, and that was a highlight. I opened up StereoBar for Âme and Frank Wiedeman. It was a full club that night, and I was able to play with really crazy equipment and practice with a crazy mixer. Also, to have a person like Âme, someone I respect, tell me that I should keep playing, I know something is going right. I also had a really great Halloween party in a studio that was very intimate and got to play a very minimal, dark vibe. These are some real highlights although I've played a lot of events and maybe another one was Jimmy Be at Stereo, we always have high energy nights and yeah! Anytime where I can feel comfortable to let go in a specific direction or many, it's always a good night.
How do you like the crowd in Montreal?
Montreal is fucking great. In reality, what's cool in Montreal is that there is fluctuation. As I was saying before, the wave goes up and down. When new students arrive, Montreal is a very student heavy city and you can feel trends when they are there. So you know what people want to hear and what they want to dance too.
What's cool about Montreal is that the crowd is committed, has a desire to have fun, is relaxed, and not sucked into the vanity of club life. That whole vibe that Montrealers bring in as a dancer is all I can really ask for. People are going out to dance and have fun, and that's it. In Montreal, the volume is just higher than in other places, although it has peaks and troughs. Low points are when students are not in the city or winter. Montreal has a lot of different dynamics throughout the year, and you see a pulse.
Our city is really blessed in that were like the Europe of northamerica and if people are really into underground music that we are into.
With your music, with your sound, what you are trying to communicate to your crowd or what emotions do you want to evoke in your sets?
I'm just trying to be a chameleon, so I'm trying to adapt to every situation to deliver maximum enjoyment to whoever is there. I believe in that exchange. People are there for a reason, and they are giving us their time, ears, and, hopefully, feet. My goal is to keep all those parts moving. For me, I'm just trying to communicate sonic pleasure.
The idea is that just as when someone cooks food and they deliver a plate of food to someone. There is this moment where they look at the food, the stimuli hit, they appreciate what's there, and then they eat it, and they appreciate that, and then they deliver a reaction to you that validates your selfless act to them. They are giving you this natural feedback. I'm always trying to create this loop of feedback and delivery and feedback, and delivery. I am just trying to do this constantly over 16 bars. That's why my mixing style has long transitions and not too much dead time or not too many long breakdowns. This is why I've geared to groovy, minimal, dubby, spiritual, music. Of course, I always adapt like a chameleon, but I just want to deliver that pleasure, and I find that I can provide that while I stay true to my style. It is really the goal for me. Anyone saying there is another goal is fluff.
As a DJ, and this is why I'm not a producer, my goal is to make you have sonic pleasure. Sometimes I want to take people on a journey, but sometimes I want to keep the crowd moving and bouncing. That's why I find that being contextual is highly essential. For me, a good DJ is someone who can open up really well.
Wow. Mike that is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Your salsa was fantastic.
Jaja! Creating that loop again... Thank you Mike!
Listen to Mike: https://soundcloud.com/mikehaddad