That feeling of being whisked from 0 to 60 is as emotional as it gets. In our songs – and in the BMW M8.
Emotional trigger mechanism
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike have traded the rear seats of the BMW M8 for the driver’s and front passenger seats. They’re headed to the Winterland Festival in Norway – and are seizing the opportunity. The key to their songs is the drop, as Dimitri explains. “In electronic music it’s the high point of the song, similar to the chorus in pop music. That moment of brief silence before the beat and melody explode, kick off and let loose again. It’s the anticipation of what’s about to happen. That feeling of being whisked from 0 to 60, when the beat pushes you back into your seat and accelerates forward. Precision, dynamics – it’s pure euphoria.” “It's actually like the feeling of being behind the wheel of a BMW M8; it's as emotional as it gets,” Mike interjects, before grinning and hitting the gas pedal. Now it’s the engine’s turn to make sweet music.
We never ask ourselves, ‘What do I have to do?’ Instead we ask, ‘What can I do?’ and ‘What do I want to do?
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike: EDM in their DNA
Dimitrios Anastasios Thivaios and Michael Thivaios, to use their real names, knew from childhood that music flows through their veins. Aged 15 and 17 the two brothers, drawn to one of the pulsating centers of electronic music, moved from Greece to the Spanish party island of Ibiza. Within the space of just a few years, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike made their way from being largely unknown to the top of the electronic dance music (EDM) scene. Today they are among the most influential producers in the world, composing anthems for festivals like Belgium’s Tomorrowland. In 2019, British music magazine “DJ Mag” named the duo the best and most popular DJs in the world for the second time (they also won in 2015).
If you want to set the pace, you have to be able to give ground sometimes.
Sound library of memories
The two creatives find inspiration for their music by looking back at the past or particular experiences. “We draw on a lot of memories, particularly from the late 1980s and 90s, when we were growing up,” says Mike. “Iconic films, musical milestones. Lots of the songs released at that time are still being remixed and played today – and with ever more new mixes. We’re also inspired by things like a beautiful view, a sunset, holiday experiences or emotions like a drive in a car.”
Trailblazers prepared to compromise
Yet the acoustic realization of these inspirations is not about agreeing immediately, the musicians explain in unison. “For our songs, for every performance, we always rise to new challenges. You have to reinvent yourself without losing your identity. One of the most important factors is to voice, and to represent, your own opinion,” says Dimitri. Mike adds: “This is normal when two creative people work together. There are always points of friction, but if we want to set the pace, we have to be able to give ground sometimes. We never ask ourselves, ‘What do I have to do?’ Instead we ask, ‘What can I do?’ and ‘What do I want to do?’ For each track, we then combine both approaches, exchange ideas, supplement the melodies and find what’s best.”
In doing so, the pair don’t spend the whole time together in the studio; each has his own creative process. Nevertheless, the brothers regularly give each other feedback. And Mike admits that they are probably each other’s worst critics. That means a melody has to be very good before it gets the nod. “Mike may have taken the lead on one project, me on another,” says Dimitri, “but the final song will always reflect both of our characters. It requires compromise, but ultimately this is our constructive method.” And their success proves it works.
“The car is the ideal place to test new music”
Tromso lies ahead of them like a magical painting in the Norwegian night. The lights of the city reflect in the water. Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike recline in the rear of the BMW M8. The snow-covered streets shimmer in the headlights like a mesmerizing melody. For the two renowned electro DJs, the journey between performances acts like a break. They both travel a lot with their work. By plane, bus and car. Most of the time they would actually be in the back seats, the brothers say.
After the studio, their vehicles are the perfect place to listen to demo versions in peace and test current recordings (➜ Read more: The best songs to test car speakers). “When I’m travelling in the car I can switch off and hone my music in peace,” Dimitri explains. How much time is there between performances on tour to get behind the wheel themselves? Not as much as they’d like, the DJs concede. “We usually seize the opportunity in Ibiza in the summertime.” In the meantime, though, there are always these off-the-leash moments when time in the vehicle is not a means to an end but downtime, a pleasure. “And then there’s drives to the supermarket.”
The soundtrack of the acceleration
The brothers share not only their success, but also a long-standing passion for BMWs. “Their vehicles are luxurious, yet just as sporty. They are reliable, precise to steer and combine comfort with pure driving pleasure,” explains Mike. Their favorites include the BMW i8, the BMW X5 and the BMW M8 – the last of these preferably as a convertible, as far as Dimitri is concerned (➜ Read more: The best road trips for a convertible). “It goes without saying it’s tailor-made for Ibiza in the summertime,” adds Dimitri. He prefers cruising in the M8 to flooring the accelerator, although he says it’s good to know that the engine power for mountain roads and long straights is there, dormant under the elegant hood. After all, both artists work on the soundtrack of acceleration every day.
Photos: BMW, CNN; Author: Markus Löblein