SINCE forming Milk & Sugar in 1997, Mike Kay and Steven Harding have lived the dream performing alongside the likes of Frankie Knuckles and David Morales and remixing Jamiroquai and Janet Jackson.
They have continued supplying dance floors with a steady stream of hits via their own imprint but also on huge labels such as Ministry Of Sound and Positiva.
To celebrate 20 years in the game they have put together a concept album “20 Years of Milk & Sugar” which is out next month. Despite boasting an incredible back catalogue, the new album is far from a Greatest Hits compilation and features lots of new material that sonically offers a much more focused and modern electronic sound. Their 2017 singles are all there including their euphoric house album “Summertime” which was born from the sessions spent creating the long player.
We caught up with them this week to find out more.
For those people out there who aren’t familiar with you and your music, how would you introduce yourself and how would you describe your music?
In 1997 we started a record label, and tried to establish ourselves as DJs and music producers specialised in house music ever since. Today we are grateful that we had and still have the opportunity to play our music almost everywhere on this planet. Over the years many of our productions made it to the DJ- and sales charts, such as our classic track “Let The Sun Shine”, which reached a #1 in the US Billboard Hot Radio and Dance chart.
Can you believe it’s been 20 Years since your first release? How does being Milk & Sugar now compare to when you started?
Sometimes it feels like we’ve just started, but we are happy that we were able to establish a healthy infrastructure for our releases, our touring and we also built a network of great business partners and fans. We became more professional than in the beginning, but when it comes to creating music we think we are still as enthusiastic as in our early days.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Maybe when we pressed our very first vinyl and found out that it was selling really good . It made us more confident that we were on the right path. Also listening to our own tracks on radio stations all over the globe is always a great feeling. Beside our Space Ibiza residency in the early 2000 era, we played many amazing festivals in remote parts of South America or Eastern Europe that we don’t want to miss.
During your 20 years, what nations/countries have you had most success in? Are there particular places that dig the Milk & Sugar sound?
It’s interesting to see that some of our tracks were big hits in some countries only – like “Stay Around” only in the UK and Brazil – whereas others performed great in other territories like southern Europe or the Middle East.
20 years of hit records is no easy feat. How do you manage to deliver the goods so consistently and so often?
Maybe the DJing plays an important role. If you are able to play in front of many different audiences you get a good intuition what tracks work well and why. This experience is probably the most important part of our studio work.
Tracks like “Let The Sunshine” and “Canto Del Pilon” are classics. How early on in the production process do you recognise a classic anthem in the making?
Like mentioned before, you never know. But with a constant output stream of productions it is more like to happen.
What do you prefer to do, DJ or produce music?
Touring is the bigger fun part, but we think that both is essential.
Tell us about your DJ sets, what can people expect when they see you play? And how do you prepare the set together?
People can always expect that we will do our best to create an atmosphere of positive vibes and that people will dance and be happy. We don’t play a pre-recorded set or a playlist, we are always trying to gather the special vibe of each place and make every night a special experience.
Tell us about the new album, 20 Years of Milk & Sugar, how did you decide what tracks to include from the back catalogue?
We were working really hard on the track order. We kicked some songs that we feel would not fit to the sound of our album, for others – like “Let The Sun Shine” – we made a new version to make it fit to our vibe. The album tracks are new and there is a lot of amazing stuff to discover, like our cooperation with Ron Carroll. Our intention was to make it sound like concept album and not a best of Milk & Sugar.
What about other genres of dance music generally? Do you experiment or are you house through and through?
Of course we are listening to other genres, we still love to feel the Ibiza vibe, which was mainly tech house or techno this season, but we also go to mainstream festivals. But when it comes to producing our own music, we prefer to stick to our trademark sound that has served us so well in the past 20 years.
Finally what else do Milk & Sugar have planned?
We will have an anniversary showcase at the ADE in Amsterdam and for sure throw more celebration events around the globe. For the rest of the year our focus is clearly on promoting this album.
‘20 YEARS OF MILK & SUGAR’ THE NEW ALBUM IS OUT ON OCTOBER 6 ON BEATPORT, TRAXSOURCE & SPOTIFY + OCTOBER 20 ON ITUNES & CD
Catch Milk & Sugar at ADE at Café in the City in Amsterdam on Friday 20th October.