Love has and always will be at the center of everything Mikey Lion does. Since establishing and launching Desert Hearts back in 2021, Mikey has built up a strong community of like-minded fans. His debut album comes at a strange time in the world of dance music, but at a time he continues his path of transparency and positivity; something the album duly delivers. We got to speak exclusively with the US DJ and Producer about the almost decade wait the the album, the talents who feature on it and the behemoth journey both him and Desert Hearts have been on through festivals and events to music they release.
Mikey Lion’s ‘For The Love’ album is out now on Desert Hearts: https://deserthearts.ffm.to/forthelove
How has the past year been for you, obviously a challenging time for everyone?
– You know, all things considered, I think it went pretty well. It was definitely a roller coaster for my mental health as I think it was for everyone, and I’m just digging myself out of the dark, but I moved from Los Angeles back to San Diego where I’m from to be closer to my family and friends, my wife and I went on a 2-month road trip, camping at 8 different national parks along the way, and I finished my album that I’ve been working on for a few years. I also started live streaming every week which actually helped my career immensely during this downtime. It was a difficult time for sure, but I’m grateful for the lessons I learned and the shift in perspective it provided me.
It’s been a time for reflection but also a time for new skills too, is there anything new you learned?
Livestreaming on Twitch was easily the most time-consuming but at the same time rewarding new skill that I learned over quarantine. The streaming world was totally foreign to me, so it gave me something to sink my teeth into during those first perilous months of quarantine. One of the biggest takeaways I learned from the pandemic is the importance of living close to family and friends, having a rock-solid community around me that I see regularly. It’s given me so much love that I won’t take it for granted again.
The ‘For The Love’ album has been in the works for almost a decade, why was now the right moment to release it?
Something that really resonates with me is the concept that we’re collectively experiencing this hyper Spring season. Normally Spring is the season in which we get to release all of our pent-up energy from winter, but in 2020, just as we were about to come out of winter, the pandemic hit and we were forced into a year-long winter of sorts. So right now, we’re basically in the midst of a hyper spring where we’ve had a year’s worth of pent up energy to release. I couldn’t think of a better time to release my debut album, “For The Love”, than during the energy blossom post-pandemic, just when shows are coming back.
You have enlisted some great talent alongside you on the LP, the likes of Justin Martin, Lubelski and Sacha Robotti all appear. How did you collaborate with these artists across the tracks?
– Justin Martin has been a huge influence and a dear friend of mine over the years. When I was first throwing parties, he was the very first headliner we booked and I remember how gracious he was to his fans that night. That always stuck with me and now I always hang out in the crowd with my fans before and after my sets. So when I asked him to be on my album he was so excited and invited me up to his studio in Oakland, CA. We worked on music over the course of two weekends and came up with the track Through The Fog, which is based on the ups and downs of mental health and the struggle for clarity. Sacha Robotti and I have had a lot of success working on tracks in the past and it’s always been a really seamless and fun experience making music with him. As for Lubelski, he’s one of the best producers I know and we’ve made tons of music together over the years. He really pushed me to release this album and the tracks I made with him are some of the most special tracks on the album in my opinion.
Desert Hearts is obviously a huge part of your life, since beginning the journey over a decade ago did you imagine the brand would turn into what it is now, and what are your hopes for the future?
Honestly, we had no idea what we were doing when we threw our first Desert Hearts party. We were just a bunch of naive twenty-something-year-olds with a crazy “uncle” Lee Reynolds, throwing a renegade party in the desert with the sole intention of spreading as much love and positive energy as possible. The ethos really resonated with a lot of people and over the years this culture of love, acceptance, and doing the right thing really spread throughout our parties and into the industry. Desert Hearts is the strongest it’s ever been because of the love and the community that it’s built around. People feel safe, accepted, and seen at our parties. It truly is “Home” for countless people and I’ve never felt more optimistic about the future.