Mikey Lion is the Mane Man at Desert Hearts: Deserts Hearts “mane” man (geddit?) Mikey Lion got his start DJing when he was just 13.

I was obsessed with hip-hop and bought my first pair of Technic 1200s and a mixer,” he says. “I spent every day after school scratching vinyl in my room trying to emulate my favorite DJs and producers. Then when I was 17 I went to my first festival, Coachella 2006, and took my first ecstasy while witnessing the debut of the historic Daft Punk pyramid. That moment changed my life and I said goodbye to hip-hop and became a house DJ that night.”

After graduating from college in 2010, Lion returned to his hometown of San Diego and started throwing parties with his Desert Hearts partner, Marbs.

“I quit my job and we threw our first Desert Hearts Festival in 2012 and my career snowballed from there,” he says. “I started my record label Desert Hearts Records in 2014 and slowly started touring more and more with the Desert Hearts Crew, consisting of myself, Marbs, Lee Reynolds, and my brother, Porky. I started seriously touring in 2015 and have been working on the road while throwing festivals and running the label ever since.”

Lion says that “tech house” best describes his current sound.

I play a range of music in between house, deep house, tech house, and techno, but I’d say my sound is closest to tech house,” he says. “My sets often include music that is high energy with a tough attitude, but also contain tracks that are groovy, funky, and make people feel good. I don’t take my music too seriously. The more the crowd is smiling during one of my sets, the better as my goal is to uplift people with love and positivity through my music and vibe.”

The artist says that this is a time to celebrate for electronic music, thanks to Coachella.

I think electronic music just celebrated quite the milestone this past weekend with the Sunday Coachella headliner, Frank Ocean, being replaced on Weekend 2 with Four Tet, Fred Again, and Skrillex,” he says. “Usually that spot would be reserved for a major pop or rap act, but this new trio is the hottest thing in music right now and that’s saying a lot about the state of dance music. Especially since these guys are mostly making and playing non-commercial music. Usually if that headlining spot went to an electronic act it’d go to someone like Calvin Harris, David Guetta, or another commercial / crossover DJ who pre-plans their set. But instead it went to this trio who played with very little production and completely improvised their set, which although at times chaotic, was incredibly fun and what DJing is all about in my eyes. I was there in the crowd it felt like we were witnessing the dawn of the next era of electronic music where the masses are discovering incredible underground music.”

This year’s Desert Hearts Festival in L.A. takes place at the Torch, at the LA Coliseum.

It’s a two day festival on May 6-7 with 40+ house and techno artists across two stages at one of the most iconic venues in Southern California,” Lion says. “We’re bringing in top of the line sound, our Desert Hearts and City Hearts stages, all kinds of art installations, theme camps, chill out areas, our healing sanctuary, and most importantly the Desert Hearts vibe pushing love and positive energy that you’d expect at one of our camping festivals. Our lineup is absolutely insane this year with musically diverse acts like Skream, PartiBoi69, Derrick Carter, Miss Monique, DJ Minx, Justin Martin, & so much more. This event is without a doubt going to be the talk of the L.A. dance scene and we can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been planning the last 6 months.”

Beyond that, Lion has plenty more planned for the coming months.

My big thing this year is releasing as much music as possible on my label, Desert Hearts Records, as well as other labels I vibe with,” he says. “It’s been really tough juggling all of my duties running festivals and throwing parties so the rest of the year I’m focusing on myself as an artist and DJ primarily. I’ve got my first release of the year “House ‘Til Infinity” coming out on Desert Hearts on May 12th and multiple other releases in the pipe coming shortly after. I’m also focused on bringing back my live streams and building up my YouTube and Spotify as to me those are the future of music.”

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