Hey, Mr DJ!
Mike Amie has worked with the likes of the Commodores, Kool & The Gang, Ray Parker Jr, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. Even with Busta Rhymes, Fugees, Shaggy, Black-Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige and Sean Paul – as a DJ; and has spun records as far as London, Munich in Germany, Italy, Hungary and Spain.
Fluent in German and French, Amie quit his job at the now defunct British West Indian Airlines (BWIA) when he was offered a deejay gig at a then popular disco The Garage (yes, he’s in the over-50 crowd), and that was the beginning of his career as a DJ.
A product of Harrison College, the bachelor has travelled the world with his music, even dabbling in banking, insurance and working as a travel agent. Now he is back home hitting the decks at Wesiers On The Bay, Brandons, on weekends, with the moniker Mike The MC.
With such a wide playlist he has “many favourite songs”, and he can’t put his finger on the song that ever fails because “. . . it all depends on the kind of audience I’m playing for”, he says, as he sits down with the WEEKEND?NATION.
What was the first event you ever played at?
The Black Beat Night at the Olympic Stadium in Munich. Artistes onstage were the SOS Band, Inner City and Snap.
You have lived in various places? Tell me about them and how that came about?
I left Barbados 1980 for London after having played at most of the major clubs here at that time, including The Rendezvous Room where I met and deejayed with my friend and partner Anthony Lowhart for the first time.
I made the move to London (where my father lives) to pursue my career. After two weeks I had already landed my first regular gig in Piccadilly Circus in the heart of London.
After a few months I started working at a club for millionaires – that was one of the requirements for membership – Dial 9.
While performing there I met several celebrities, including, Sheena Easton, the British actor Michael Caine (who was also one of the owners of the club), Stevie Wonder (who after hearing me play some Bob Marley, asked me to test the latest single he was about to release – Master Blaster Jamming) and Boney M. who recommended me to the owner of Germany’s No. 1 club at the time, Eastside.
The owner paid for me to fly to Munich for a demonstration. So early 1981 I flew, played and got the job. My intention was to stay in Munich for three months. However, I ended up being based there for the next 30 years.
You also worked on various radio stations in Munich?
I was also the only foreign announcer on the local radio in Munich for around 15 years – from 1988 till 2003. In the beginning I did mix shows in English only and progressed through the years as my command of German grew to broadcasting even political news in German.
What kind of crowds do you like playing for?
Anyone over 25 who enjoys international dance music.
So how is the party scene in your eyes at the moment?
It could do with some new events and more musical variety.
How big is your vinyl collection?
Estimated 30 000 vinyl and more on CD.
What does your professional equipment set-up looks like?
Software: Serato Scratch Live and Serato ITCH; Hardware: Pioneer CDJ 350 CD players and with Pioneer DJM 400 mixer Limited Edition and Vestax VCL 300 Limited Edition; MacBook Pro 17” (custom-built); my Beats Studio headphones by Dr Dre; and a Sure SM58 microphone.
Funniest thing that ever happened at an event?
A guy jumped on the bass speaker to perform the moonwalk and ran out of space . . . but realized it too late! Plus, the speaker was about five feet high.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming DJs?
It’s about the performance, not the women; and don’t talk so much . . . . Just play the right music. Selection and timing are the two most important factors to a successful party.
What are the five things you can’t live without?
Good friends, music, a good book, My MacBook Pro and my mountain bike.
If I was to turn on your iPod right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
Adele, 112, Rihanna, Machel Montano, The Wanted, Gotye.
When all the partying is over how do you like to chill out?
Reading, walking; or movies.