MIICS isn’t your typical DJ duo that trades on twisting knobs. The Las Vegas-based team consisting of Mikey Cross and Mike Uriarte (hence, MIICS) met in second grade. Capitalizing on their shared love for incorporating instruments in live and studio settings, they have moved on to performing at Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and Life Is Beautiful. Uriarte is also poised to launch his own event-producing and talent management company, Momentus Entertainment. But first, catch the boys at Hyde’s The Nightmare Before XIV-Mas party on December 13.
What was it like to play both Electric Daisy Carnival and Life Is Beautiful this year?
Uriarte: EDC was the first major festival I have ever played, and it was a dream come true. I have been attending as a fan for many years and I’m a big fan of Insomniac in general, so that made it a very special weekend. Life Is Beautiful absolutely blew me away; seeing the Troubadour stage left me speechless. I remember walking out of the artist tunnel at EDC and said, “Next year, we’ll try to get Circuit Grounds.” This was damn near close enough! To have both our families, so many of our friends who traveled from all over the country and all those people there supporting our show was unbelievable. I am not going to lie, I was worried about how many people would turn up that early in the day at 102 degrees, but they did and I will never forget that set for the rest of my life and am forever grateful for everyone who came out.
Cross: Both shows were fucking amazing! I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to tour and play a lot of big festivals around the world in my old band Taking Dawn, and I gotta say— EDC and Life Is Beautiful are two of my favorite live experiences, Life Is Beautiful especially so because it was the first real gig that we got to do our thing by incorporating musicality and the “live feel.” It was also a big icebreaker in my musical journey, because I ended my band to pursue MIICS three years ago, and had to start something new from the bottom. The Life Is Beautiful gig made me realize how real MIICS is becoming and that all the hard work and grinding we have been putting in is paying off.
Las Vegas is littered with DJ/producers. How does MIICS stand apart?
Cross: Everyone who DJs today and has some beat-making software on their computer calls themselves “producers.” That term is used very loosely. I’m from the world where the producers are writing real songs—the vocal melody, the lyrics, playing the instruments. Today, you can just string a couple sample packs together, have no idea about anything musically, and call yourself a “producer.” All you have to do is put it on your Instagram bio, and it becomes real. [But] talent and hard work will always rise to the top. We’ve never been concerned with other “DJs” because we aren’t in a competition with anyone but ourselves … as long as we are constantly progressing we are happy.
Uriarte: We are always thinking what can we do, but at the very core, it’s the music. Mikey has been working on this EP for months, and it’s been one of the most inspiring processes I have ever witnessed. We always try to do something that the crowd will remember. Most of the time we have no idea what that will be, so if you see us colluding on stage, that’s when shit is about to go down. We want our shows to be fun, engaging, memorable and entertaining.
What’s next for MIICS?
Cross: Taking all the necessary time and paying attention to every detail to make sure it’s an original sound that sounds like MIICS.
Uriarte: From there, we want to find management that aligns with our vision and goals, and understands what we are trying to bring to the scene.
What direction are you moving toward, sound-wise?
Cross: MIICS just wants to release music that is unique and musical to listen to—music with feeling that doesn’t sound like everything else with groove and soul—some real instruments. We aren’t trying to fit into any trends or make songs specifically for the club or for other DJs to play; just good songs that people will want to listen and sing along to. Songs that could have full production for the electronic track, but would also sound just as cool stripped down with just an acoustic guitar or played with a band.
Mike, you’re about to launch a new concept, Momentus. What is it?
Uriarte: Momentus is the next step in my life, one I have wanted to take for a few years now but felt I wasn’t ready. Over the course of the past 10 years, working in the event, nightlife, media, marketing, concert and music industries has given me the experience, knowledge, network and confidence to finally be ready to make the move and start my own company. In legal terms, we are an event/concert/festival producer, as well as artist management and development company. We’re combining our favorite parts of life together and sharing it with the world.
Our mission is to produce the most innovative and comprehensive events, layered with unique content to pique the human senses. [We’re] focused on exceptional visual experiences, special effects, atmosphere and a healthy diversity among artists. We will partner with many local brands from music, art, lifestyle, nonprofit and retail to really bring out the good our city has to offer. We all need to rise together.
What’s on the radar for the company?
Uriarte: The main focus right now is to successfully launch our first brand, “US” at Brooklyn Bowl on February 4. “US” signifies you and me; it’s what our company is all about, and the premise behind the event reinforces [the notion of] bringing people together, creating memories and all around good vibes. The world needs it now more than ever.
Full disclosure: Mike Uriarte formerly worked in marketing for Vegas Seven parent company WENDOH Media, which also owns Life Is Beautiful.