Las Vegas attracts some of best musical talent from the UK to become resident DJs. Who would’ve thought that hardstyle madman Fergie would be playing the big rooms in the States? Following a similar path is producer/DJ Michael Woods. A staple of the scene since the early 2000s, he's had house and trance hits released under his own name and various pseudonyms (Out of Office “Hands Up,” M3 “Bailamos,” Warrior “Warrior”). With his successful label Diffused, a weekly show on Sirius/XM, and a constant stream of productions, it is hard to imagine where Michael Woods gets all of his energy from.
RS: How are you doing today?
Michael Woods: I am doing very well, thank you!
RS: I can’t believe that you just flew here from Vegas and didn’t sleep!
Michael Woods: Well to be fair that’s a lie, I did have a little bit of sleep. Our flight was delayed for about two hours and so we landed at eight and we had to get a bit of sleep. Considering what is coming up over the next three or four days it was needed. I need to prepare myself psychologically for what is about to happen here in Miami.
RS: Over the next three days how may gigs are you playing here?
Michael Woods: Just the one actually, I am in and out. I am doing Electric for Life at the SLS with Gareth Emery and Ingrosso.
RS: Are you associated with the SLS because you had a residency in Vegas?
Michael Woods: That is correct. I was playing there for the last year; it was quite an interesting residency. Before that I was at Hakkasan and now my agency is in talks with Omnia, so fingers crossed I will be playing Omnia.
RS: And you live in Vegas?
Michael Woods: That is correct, between Vegas and London. I have a house in London as well but I would say I am 80% Vegas and 20% London.
RS: Because of the weather?
Michael Woods: Yes, the weather is a lot better in Vegas.
RS: Do you play more in the US or the UK?
Michael Woods: I play more in the US. I have been DJing for about six years and it was more in the UK at first but as the years have gone on it is leaning more towards the US.
RS: When you DJ in Vegas, is it different than when you DJ in club sets?
Michael Woods: Yes, very much so. The thing about Vegas is that if you are playing towards the crowd they don’t really want to be educated with the music. They just want to go there, get laid and drunk and don’t really care about the music. Some of them do and I do throw in some tune, but it is a different set all together, it is more commercial.
RS: Do you do like verse, hook, chorus then next song kind of thing?
Michael Woods: Yeah, give a quick verse, hook and then you are on to the next track.
RS: And like every three songs do you say “put your hands in the air and throw hearts”?
Michael Woods: Not every three, maybe every four.
RS: You made one of my favorite songs over the past three years.
Michael Woods: Oh really what one is that?
RS: “Sleep” with Andrea Martin. I love the message and I swear when I first heard it I thought it was Michael Jackson singing.
Michael Woods: Yeah it sounds a lot like him. We made that record about three years ago. I had a writing session with loads of different writers and she was one of them and we came up with the record. The first time that anyone heard it they said that same thing that you did, “wow is that Michael Jackson?” We worked on the remixes and everything for three years and finally got to release it.
RS: I am going to ask you a really tacky question. So you had Andrea Martin in the studio with you, I have actually never met her but I follow her on twitter and she seems a little crazy.
Michael Woods: She has a lot of energy, let’s put it that way but she is a really great lady and she delivers the vocal as well.
RS: Yes, she does. She actually did the song “Share My Joy” that became “Loneliness” by Tomcraft. It was a song from the ‘90s. Time flies!
Michael Woods: Why do you have two watches? I like that. Is one in Miami time and one in a different time?
RS: Exactly. am a Swatch fan, thanks for noticing. What kind of watch are you wearing?
Michael Woods: It is a Rolex. It is my lucky Rolex, I have had it for like 15 years.
RS: Oh wow, so you got a Rolex when were 12?
Michael Woods: 12? Do you not know how old I am?
RS: You are in your 30s right?
Michael Woods: No 40.
RS: So you said that you started DJing six years ago but I swear I remember playing productions from you in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Were you making tracks back then or am I just delusional?
Michael Woods: Yes, I have been producing for about 15 years. I started off as producer when there was actually money in selling records. In the last six years I hooked up with my management company, which is 360 and they have been pushing me to do the live performance thing which I love. I am a producer before I am a DJ.
RS: And before you were a producer you are actually a classically trained musician. What instruments are you trained on?
Michael Woods: I am trained on the piano, I did all my grades on the piano and I play the trumpet, guitar and drums. My dad is a piano teacher so he taught my sister and I piano when we were 4 years old. We have always had music in the family.
RS: Your record label is Diffused Music right?
Michael Woods: Yes
RS: How do you balance making music, A&Ring the label, and your tour schedule, that seems like a lot?
Michael Woods: It is a hell of a lot. I have a good team around me and it’s just trying to juggle the time. I spend most of the time making music and the rest of the time is trying to look for music to release on the label. With the help of a laptop on a plane it is not that difficult.
RS: Is Diffused Music through another label or is it on its own?
Michael Woods: It’s now going through Armada; they basically administrate the whole label.
RS: Your new song is called “Take My Love,” is that out now?
Michael Woods: It’s not, we just sent out a few records to a handful of DJs but I have already been hearing it here in Miami. People seem to really love it, I just got an email from Erick Morillo and he loves it, Mark Knight and Nervo love it too. Basically I have taken an old Loleatta Holloway vocal and put it over a fresh upbeat record and people seem to have really connected with it. It seems to be a pretty good one.
RS: Don’t you do a weekly show on Sirius XM?
Michael Woods: That is correct. I have a weekly show on Electric Area and it is on Wednesdays from 4-5pm eastern time.
RS: Is the music for that stuff you choose or is it a playlist?
Michael Woods: It is stuff that I choose. I get sent 150 promos every week and it is just sifting through each and every one of those and trying to find a little gem. The ones that I find are the ones that I play. I may throw an old Michael Woods record in there as well.
RS: Of course! When they make the movie about your life what actor is going to play you?
Michael Woods: Oh my god that is a good question, maybe The Rock, who knows!
RS: I can see that; the chest is the giveaway. When I first saw you I didn’t think that you were British because your teeth are amazing. How did you survive as a Brit and have such amazing teeth?
Michael Woods: I use Invisalign, you got my secret, they weren’t always this straight. Yeah Brits compared to the Americans don’t really have as nice of teeth but the Invisalign definitely helps.
RS: If you could go back and talk to yourself at age 18, what advice would you give yourself?
Michael Woods: I would just say to myself that the times when things look really bleak and tough just keep pushing through because it’s going to be alright.
RS: This is the most important, serious question, this has been the biggest issue since ADE last year. Why is it that all DJs wear black?
Michael Woods: That is a production thing. I have been told this before that if they wear white it kind of messes with the lights and the LED screens. The white kind of detracts from that so if you wear black you have got a better vision experience. I just wear black because if it gets dirty you can’t see it.
RS: That makes sense. What do you want to say to all of your fans out there?
Michael Woods: Thank you so much for your support, it has been a long road and they have stuck with me and I am really happy that they are still checking out my music. Thank you very much.
Interview conducted March 2016 during Winter Music Conference.