Muso Mirror interviews: The Showhawk Duo’s Mik Asanovic

The second instalment of our interview series, where we speak to musicians about their careers and experience using the Muso Mirror, is a chat with Mik Asanovic, one half of the Showhawk Duo. With his partner Jake Wright, Mik has worked his way from busking on the streets of Bath to playing arena-sized shows and inventing the sound known as acoustic dance music. He also has an important connection with the Muso Mirror. 

 “It all came from trying to draw people’s attention, and then keep their attention.” Mikhail Asanovic, one half of so-called acoustic dance music act the Showhawk Duo, is explaining the simple guiding principle behind his band’s success. He and partner Jake Wright met on the streets of Bath, both part of the city’s busy busking community. Mik was a classically trained grade-eight guitarist, fresh out of music college. Jake was a budding singer-songwriter who finished school at 16 and not long ago had been homeless. They hit it off. Soon they were playing together. 

Mik Asanovic - Showhawk Duo

 “It kinda came from this like ‘Well, we need to do it because we wanna earn more money busking’,” Mik adds. “The more we tweaked it, the more we worked on it… we structured everything in a way so that as soon as someone starts to get bored it’s like oh, something new comes in.” 

 It’s a philosophy that remains clear in their work today. Among their most viewed videos is an instalment in the TEDx Talks YouTube channel entitled ‘The Most Unexpected Acoustic Guitar Performance’, a spellbinding medley in which the duo interpret a series of rave classics for the acoustic guitar. Their repertoire includes covers of Alice Deejay, The Prodigy, Darude, Calvin Harris, Tiësto (via Samuel Barber) and Daft Punk (RIP).

 They started out playing standards from the pop canon — ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. But their eureka moment came thanks to a mammoth 90s trance hit by Faithless. 

 “Before we’d done any dance music we were just sat in the flat together, getting pissed,” says Mik. “‘Insomnia’ came on the radio, and we were just like ‘Ah, this is a banger!’ I had my guitar in my hands, started playing along and then Jake started hitting his guitar and tapping out some bass notes. We were like hold on, that sounds sick, paused the radio, then it literally just came from that.” That night they played an open-mic gig and threw their new ‘Insomnia’ cover into their set. “The place went absolutely bananas.” 

 Less than a year later they were playing ‘Insomnia’ at the Edinburgh Festival. A video of their set went viral. Their phones started ringing. “Can you come and play ‘Insomnia’ at my venue?” People asked. “I’ll literally pay you to come here for 10 minutes and play that tune.” Eventually they adapted their set to give the baying crowds more of what they wanted. Acoustic dance music — ADM — was born. 

 They were booked for a 20-date residency at Pacha, Ibiza’s world-famous, 6,000-capacity club. “For acoustic guitarists to be doing that, that was pretty out there,” says Mik. He remembers meeting lots of “A-listers” (his words) backstage: Ricki Lake, Jack Whitehall, Gareth Gates, Dick and Dom. 

 Over the years Showhawk came into inevitable contact with a number of the artists whose songs they were playing. While on tour they met German Eurodancers Snap (see their undying hit ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’). After their ‘Sandstorm’ cover went online, Finnish superstar Darude shared it and heaped on the praise. Faithless shared Showhawk’s Radio 1 performance, while Russian DJs PPK and Dutch group the Vengaboys have expressed their appreciation too. 

It was during a tour that Mik and Jake first came across the Muso Mirror. Supporting Showhawk were hip-hop/funk/soul band Benji & Hibbz. Mik got talking to their keyboard player, who kept going on about his technique, wanting to perfect his posture while he practised. A week later he’d designed a prototype, a mirror that could be attached to a music stand, and gave one to Mik. That was the start of his friendship with Muso Mirror inventor Alphonso Archer. 

 Mik has practised with a mirror since his adolescence and speaks highly of its benefits. Though he and Jake have been unable to play together for some time now, Mik still practises every day. As soon as lockdown lifts, there’s a Showhawk UK tour planned. “Basically every city in the country, you’ll be able to get to a gig within a half-hour,” says Mik. If you’re fiending for some live music, you could do a lot worse than getting yourself to a Showhawk show. 

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