Hooker loves getting the crowds going and dancing.EXPAND
Hooker loves getting the crowds going and dancing.
Brian Hensley

Michael Hooker Is All About Embracing Technology


In Pound for the Sound, Phoenix New Times get technical with local musicians about what gear they use to create their signature tones in our community.

DJ Michael Hooker is a fellow who loves to dig deep and find new music all around the world, via the internet, all the time, building a career out of being a producer, musician, and businessman, all in one cutting-edge human shell.

Hooker comes to us from Jersey in the Channel Islands off the coast of England, and it certainly has played a role in his identity. As a youth, he loved music; as a teenager, he began working in the music industry as a club promoter and DJ back home. He did this until he was 21, when it was time to reach out to bigger cities and opportunities.

Michael's first move was to Birmingham in the U.K., where he spent several years making connections there and in the Phoenix area, before deciding to move to the Valley on a music visa.

Hooker also is involved in lots of other facets of the industry. He works for a label called Suah based out of Liverpool. He also has his own label called Re:Sound Music, which has recently released his latest track, "Sueño," a track done in collaboration with local DJ favorite Sean Watson. He also runs some weekly programming for internet radio shows called Fnoob and Saturo Sounds. Around the Valley, he opens for some big shows such as those put on by Relentless Beats and BFF.

This Saturday, July 14, Hooker has a night booked by Re:Sound an Music at Valley Bar. He promises a night of "progressive techno, progressive house, and positive vibes." He will also be laying some tracks down and the night is free for all to come and dance the night away. With his busy schedule, New Times was able to get some words in with Hooker about his gear, his outlook on the future of music, and his label's upcoming night.

Phoenix New Times: What's the secret weapon of your sound? And how did that help you find your signature tone?

Michael Hooker: There is no secret weapon as such, but the key is to constantly listen to and search for new music.

I manage my record label Re:Sound Music, and I am also the label manager for Suah, which is a label based in England. I constantly receive demos from undiscovered artists. I’m also on weekly promo lists, so I receive tracks before they have even been released.

The music I play now is very much influenced by a lot of European producers and DJs. I will listen to a brand-new DJ mix every day, so I stay up to date with what is current. That way, any new tracks I like I can source straight away to include in my sets.

What's your favorite piece of gear in your collection and why?

My Sennheiser HD25 Headphones. I have been using this make and model to DJ for over 16 years and I really trust them. The sound quality is so good that I will also use them to cross-reference when I’m in the studio. I would 100 percent recommend these to anyone looking to get new headphones.

Michael in the mix.EXPAND
Michael in the mix.
Jaime Gaeta

Any special pieces of gear acquired over the years? Any special story, or stories, behind your collection of tools?

When I was 15 years old, I was gifted some money and I was given the opportunity to buy my first car. I persuaded my Mom to let me buy some Technics turntables instead. I was already so passionate about music, and having my own turntables meant I could practice every day after school. Once I became good enough, I’d make mixes and give them out to people. After a while, people started to ask me to play for them at house parties, small gatherings, youth clubs and discos; I was even booked for Under 18s nights. I got my first gig in a club soon after, even though I wasn’t technically old enough to be there at the time. That was the start of my career in music.

Just listened to your recently released track “Sueño – M.E.E.O. Remix." Great stuff, super-fun and nice and thumpy. How did you go about composing this track?

This was a collaboration with Sean Watson. He had some awesome sound bites and wanted to build the track around them. It took around three or four days in the studio back and forth until we got it exactly how we wanted it to be. It was Sean’s first time delving into the world of production, and we were both happy with the end result. M.E.E.O is an artist signed to my record label, and he did a remix. Both the original and the remix were released in June, and can currently be purchased exclusively on Beatport. They will be available to purchase on all other digital download sites on July 23.

You had said during our phone conversation that you have been DJing since you were 13 and have tried all the methods of DJing. Following that, you said you embrace technology when it comes to making music. Can you expand upon this thought please?

I started to DJ on vinyl, then moved to CDs and now I can DJ on any platform with just a USB stick. Technology is ever-evolving, and there are some amazing pieces of equipment out there. You really can be as creative as you want in your DJ sets to the point of making bespoke loops whilst you’re playing to add to tracks. It’s like creating a live remix in the middle of your set.

It’s amazing to see that the entire music industry is changing rapidly. The way we listen to, and even purchase music, has changed. People now buy music to download, and don’t often buy hard copies. I feel that as a DJ, and especially as a producer, it is very important to understand this so you can stay on top of the game. If you don’t embrace the changes, and make sure you keep relevant on all of the new platforms like Spotify, Beatport, YouTube etc., then you run the risk of people not hearing your music, and that is the whole point of making it.

Michael in his studio.
Michael in his studio.
Michael Hooker

This Saturday, July 14, you will be DJing as part of your label’s free event at Valley Bar. Any words you wish to share with readers about Re:Sound Music & Friends upcoming night?

My Re:Sound Music & Friends events are all about showcasing underground music in amazing bespoke locations. If you want to be taken on an eclectic journey through the realms of melodic house, progressive house and techno without having to go into a club, then this is the night for you! Everyone is welcome!

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