Label Showcase 20: Desert Hearts Records
Desert Hearts Records is a tribute to House, Techno, & Love. What started as an intimate renegade gathering in the Mojave Desert has since blossomed into a movement that celebrates love, life, and music.
With multiple Desert Hearts Festivals year round and one-off City Hearts events popping up around the US, the idea is to spread love through music towards a better way of life. The belief is in a society where acceptance, creativity and passions flourish. The Desert Hearts goal is to provide a safe haven away from Babylon for people to connect with nature, be themselves, and do what makes them happy.
So, with that, we continue our series highlighting our favourite labels from around the world. Today, we thought we would catch up with Desert Hearts records boss, Mikey Lion to get the scoop on all things Desert Hearts. Also, at the end of this article you will find an exclusive full length mix from Mikey giving an idea of how Desert Hearts is meant to be heard.
“I mean hey we liked to get psychedelic in the desert and we liked to fuck around!”
What does Desert Hearts Records add to the dance music spectrum?
Love. Ever since it’s inception, the driving principle behind our record label, our festival, and our traveling City Hearts Tour has always been to spread as much love and positive energy as we possible. The world needs more love and we’ve made it our mission to spread it far and wide. We live by the ethos: House, Techno, & Love.
When did you first think about launching Desert Hearts Records
Desert Hearts Records came about organically from the evolution of our Desert Hearts Festivals. We threw our first renegade party in November of 2012 with only about 200 people battling freezing cold temperatures with very little shelter. We pretty much had to dance to survive for most of the weekend until Sunday morning when we enjoyed the most beautiful sunrise of our lives. The love vibe and the weather was perfect that morning and as we celebrated there was something magical going on. 200 relative strangers became a family that day and by the time we threw our next Desert Hearts party 4 months later, 900 people showed up to be a part of it. The love and the family has been growing ever since and we now cap our festivals at 3500 people to keep the vibe and the intimacy intact.
When did Desert Hearts Records actually launch?
We launched the record label in July of 2014 as a totally free label on Soundcloud. We wanted to take our message of love and community that we share at our parties and introduce it to the world. Half of our festival lineups are made up of our friends and family who absolutely kill it behind the decks. The record label was all about creating a platform for our music to be shared with the world while keeping the same ethos of constantly giving back to our family. We aren’t doing this for the money. We’re doing this for the love and the music. All of our music still goes out through all of the regular distribution channels to maximize it’s exposure, but it’s all available for free on our Desert Hearts Records Soundcloud.
Story behind the Desert Hearts name?
When we were first coming up with the name of our first party, we tossed around some pretty terrible names. I think my favorite one tossed around was “Psychedelic Desert Fucks!”. I mean hey we liked to get psychedelic in the desert and we liked to fuck around! I’m very thankful that one of our core crew DJs, Deep Jesus, came up with the name Desert Hearts. It just clicked with everything that we’re about.
What was the most difficult aspect of launching the label?
We had such great expectations for the label when it started and it was a major wake up call when our first couple of releases didn’t get half the traction we thought they deserved. None of us had any idea how to run a label and we were just winging it with no experience and very little guidance. But that’s always been our style. Just fucking go for it and figure it out as it goes.
What qualities do you look for in a Desert Hearts artist?
For the most part, our label is made up of our friends and artists that we vibed with when they played the festival. The #1 thing we look for in a Desert Hearts artist is a good vibe. The whole concept of Desert Hearts comes from love so they have to radiate good energy when they DJ. They also have to have the drive to put their music career before anything else. We aren’t looking for artists who are doing this on the side. We want artists who are hungry and in it to win it with no back up plan.