Six Questions for Desert Hearts DJ Mikey Lion

The house and techno DJ plays The Midway on New Year’s Eve with Beats Antique.

Photo by Galen Oakes

Desert Hearts has been referred to as “a celebration of house, techno, and love” as well as life. Mikey Lion, head honcho of the label, wants to bring back the love at his raves, noting that human beings have been achieving a meditative state through dance for thousands of years. As we roll toward the end of 2017, we could all use a little togetherness to usher this terrible year out the door.

With 2017 wrapping up, what were some of the most unforgettable moments with Desert Hearts this year?
2017 was such a huge year for Desert Hearts. I can’t describe how heartwarming it is to see our message of love spreading all across the world. We started the year with a huge statement in January throwing one of the best parties of BPM Festival.  We then followed that up in April with our best Desert Hearts Festival to date. Our takeover at Global Eclipse Gathering was definitely one of the best parties we’ve ever played, not to mention the actual eclipse was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen in my life. Burning Man this year was also on another level as our Desert Hearts Family camp, Pile Palace, had its most standout year. Right after that, my b2b set with Porky at Dirtybird Campout was one of the most insane parties we played all year. Finally, to cap off the year we went on a 35-date Take the Ride Tour while throwing our very first City Hearts Festival in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Desert Hearts crew and Dirtybird crew seem to have a natural camaraderie with each other. How did this relationship begin?
Before we ever started Desert Hearts, Marbs and I used to throw a party called JUNGLE. Our very first booking was Justin Martin, back when he was first starting to have success as an artist. We couldn’t get over how down to earth he was and we stayed good friends ever since. When Desert Hearts started blowing up, the Dirtybird guys kind of took us under their wing and always offered words of advice whenever they could. There’s a ton of crossover between our vibe and theirs and our fans love when we collaborate with them. By now we’re straight-up homies with the whole Dirtybird crew, and I think you’ll see a lot more DB/DH parties together in the future.

What is one of the craziest or weirdest things you have ever seen happen at a festival?
This one guy at Desert Hearts Festival straight-up became one with the Earth. He was literally rolling around on the ground dumping handfuls of dirt into his mouth. It made me so proud!

Can you share your personal favorite albums from 2017?
LCD Soundsystem, Walker & Royce, and Wu-Tang released my three favorite albums this year.

Looking ahead to 2018, do you have any big plans or goals in store? Or perhaps any New Year’s resolutions?
Europe is my number one goal for 2018. I haven’t been over there since I studied abroad in Barcelona back in 2009, but I know 2018 is the year we throw ourselves into the global ring. Our movement of love is too powerful not to share with the rest of the world.

Without spoiling too much, what surprises do you have planned for your New Years Eve show with Beats Antique at the Midway?
I’m going to be ringing in the New Year at midnight and I’ve been known to make some pretty awesome New Year’s Eve countdowns. I haven’t decided which character will be counting it down for us just yet, but past countdowns have included voices from The Ladies Man and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I take this job super-seriously.

Beats Antique, Wax Tailor, Thriftworks, Mikey Lion, Sacha Robotti, and MarbsSunday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m. – 4 a.m., at The Midway, 900 Marin St., $29.50-$99.50,

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