An iconic figure in Berlin’s queer nightlife scene, most who frequent it will never forget the first moment that they catch a first glimpse of MIKEY appearing across a crowded dance floor. Alongside a swathe of trailblazing queer artists who are currently re-inventing the pop format to create new spaces to live out their own experiences, MIKEY’s music offers a fresh sound for a generation that is hungry for transformation. Their debut E.P. “Paths” launched in June of this year – a shamanic ritual of astral soundscapes and visionary trans/trance pop developed from years of live sets. As well as creating an exclusive editorial for KALTBLUT – we share a first look at their hypnotic new video for “Love Levitation” and read on as we talk about their own path to Berlin, the connections that have shaped that journey, and the importance of staying present in the moment.
KALTBLUT: Can just tell us a bit about your journey, how it brought you to Berlin?
MIKEY: I actually ended up in Berlin kind of accidentally on a dance project. After leaving Australia I was living in New York and in London but it was always a struggle with my visa to stay there longer. When I arrived I kind of hated it here because I felt like I had to reel myself back in from the freedom of the other scenes which were both very out there and experimental – where I felt there was less judgment. Berlin was a bit darker and I had to adapt my colourfulness to be here. But after a few months, I fell in love with it. I guess it was the nightlife that I really connected to. I was always into the nightlife in other cities but then here I found it to be on a more spiritual level. Through my experiences, I realised that there are deeper things we’re capable of – much more than I was made to believe was possible.
KALTBLUT: So Berlin was a bit of a portal to place inside of you that you didn’t even know about?
MIKEY: Definitely. I’m not talking about using drugs to go out and get fucked up on purpose but using them to look more internally to unlock something. Once you realize this and once you realize it’s not just a trick of the mind, and these trips are not just things that you’re making up, it opens up a whole new world to a new way of thinking, possibilities and connections. I think it’s helped me develop and forced me to really ask myself why I am here? What’s my purpose in the universe? Rather than writing songs that don’t really ask those questions and just unlocking a different door to ask these types of questions.
KALTBLUT: So in the end moving to Berlin became a key moment in your creative journey. How has the experience of your process changed since you’ve lived here?
MIKEY: I guess it made me realize what real friends are and what real connections are and I think it’s what I really needed. It’s what the universe had in store for me. When I lived in London and the other places it helped me to grow in other ways. I think musically it helped me fight to be the best I could be – it’s a very competitive place, so it really helped me push myself whereas I think if I had moved straight to Berlin, I don’t think I would have pushed myself as hard. Berlin is a way more chilled and laid back place that moves at a slower pace, so it was good to experience London and New York first and then come here and learn how to approach things in a more relaxed way. My process of writing has changed here, now I am taking my time and realizing that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life at the same time rather than getting stressed out over everything.
KALTBLUT: Can you tell us more about your inspiration and influences, where you draw from?
MIKEY: I pull from anywhere, as an artist, you can’t look for it in one place. It comes when it comes and every now and then something will affect you, or life will affect you in different ways. I look for it everywhere – in nature, connections, relationships. I’m open to everything. Sometimes I know what I want to say, and sometimes I don’t but part of the songwriting process is letting the song guide and teach you what it is you wanted to say. I guess in that way, I feel very lucky that I’m able to write songs and able to be on stage in front of an entire room and be at my most vulnerable about this experience I’ve gone through. It’s something that many people don’t get a chance to share in front of a lot of people or are scared to have this moment. It’s much more therapeutic for me to go on the stage and tell the deepest, darkest experiences. So this is a very powerful healing thing for myself. When I perform on stage and the audience is in it with me they feel a sense of familiarity and allow themselves to open up too.
KALTBLUT: How much does this experience go beyond the music? How does that all come together when you’re on stage?
MIKEY: My journey has been about understanding the power of realizing that everything is energy and the power of vibration, the effect that the vibration has when you write a song you’re using many different forms of manipulating vibration. So when you use a letter, one letter isn’t just one letter – to me it branches out into infinite possibilities. So then you put one letter with another letter to make a word, to make a sentence, to make a whole song. And that’s a very powerful thing. You’re playing with magic. And then you’re also mixing that with the power of sound frequencies, which is another form of manipulating energy. It’s a very powerful magic thing you’re dealing with. And so when you understand that as a performer and an artist – you are there to enhance and make people aware of their own potential, as you control the energy of the room – it flows out of you, branching out into every single person. Even though they might only just see it as a song, I know what’s really going on.
KALTBLUT: Can you tell us more about the process for your live shows, how do you develop those concepts?
MIKEY: When I’m thinking of performance, even the outfit that I’m wearing, I’m not thinking of what’s going to look good. I’m thinking I also how colours affect people, for example, what you’re wearing, what does that colour mean? So even the hand movements that I’m doing, for example, I’m not just doing them at random – it’s controlling the energy in the room. So when I’m moving my hand forward, it’s like an entity coming out of my hand. I know that the energy is going to keep flowing out to everyone. I can connect with those people, and everybody has their own kind of energy field or sphere around them, so I’m trying to grow my energy to embrace the entire room – creating an entire sphere or force-field where nothing else could touch us at that moment.
KALTBLUT: You released your first E.P. back in June. Can you tell us how it felt to release this music into the world for the first time?
MIKEY: I’ve been doing music now for 10 years and this was the first I felt ready to release it. I just think I wasn’t really comfortable in my own self yet to make my stance in the world and to come out in the world like that. I am still trying to understand my own identity and my place in the world, knowing myself to a level where I’m able to talk about where I’m coming from. So yeah, that’s what the first E.P. focused on – a lot on gender issues and struggles, trying to find my identity and where I fit in in the world. It’s a long road but I’m glad that my first E.P. dealt with those issues. They were the hardest things that I’ve had to go through, and they really caught me off guard at the time. I never had imagined I would have to face those questions about myself in order to just “be” in the world.
KALTBLUT: Your work is very sensual and emotional. Putting so much of yourself into your work that’s a brave thing to do. What kind of message are you hoping to share?
MIKEY: I guess with my work and what I write about it’s all about reconnecting with yourself, but also realizing how interconnected we are to each other.
KALTBLUT: Why did you decide to focus on the track “Love Levitation” for the video, and how did you develop the story for it?
MIKEY: I chose to film “Love Levitation” in one take – a continuous shot – as a kind of personal challenge. Part of me wanted to test my intuition and performance abilities, to prove to myself that I could cross over into a state of performative trance and be present in it as a do-or-die moment. Here I’m channelling the X-Men character Rogue, whose touch can kill. From my own experiences of living as a gender-non conforming being, I feel a connection with Rogue because she exists in a place where no one dares to bring their love. The powers and strengths you’ve come to accept are also a curse because you feel you can never be loved like a normal human being – you’re always in-between the in-betweens. “Love Levitation” is an anthem & a reminder about never compromising who you are for someone who isn’t ready for you. Keep being Rogue!
KALTBLUT: Can you tell us more about when you started to understand this part of yourself and further explore your identity?
MIKEY: Years ago when I first started dressing up and discovering my own gender I just did it to have fun and to go out with friends, and I didn’t know what it actually meant or how it would affect my life. Now, the gender non-conforming part is such a big part of my life. It’s affected everything from my relationships in love and my friendships. Even going to a club and having people completely freaked out because they don’t know what to think of me. They don’t know where to place me. It’s like a forbidden fruit that’s still enticing and they’re attracted to this appeal of the mystery behind me. But now I understand it better and understand myself better. It’s got to a point where I realize that identity is not actually important because the very concept of identity is about trying to find where you fit in – only because this is what society has told us to do. The construct to be “something” or to fit in to a group, into a box, and in truth none of that actually matters. I’m just trying to just be present and in the moment. All this other stuff is just a distraction to distract us from finding a higher awareness and potential within ourselves.
KALTBLUT: Can you tell us what you have coming up next?
MIKEY: I’m already working on my next E.P. so I have my set of songs chosen already. It’s a concept I’m working on called the transce-former, it’s all about building this constant state of trance in everyday life – we are all vibrating, Transce beings. It aims to rebalance gender and recognise and delete the ego, rebalancing the agenda within oneself rather than being a man or a woman and coming back to the middle. Coming back into the middle of your own energy sphere and from the middle, there are infinite possibilities to go in every direction. Harmonising spheres to make room for everyone.
Paths is out now
MIKEY plays The Winter Ball at Traumabar Und Kino with Evvol on 15th December