Somewhere in the Westside of Amsterdam lays a flat with a bed, a collection of vinyls and a Jimi Hendrix poster on the wall. That’s the home of Dutch Drum & Bass DJ and producer Maduk aka Mark van der Schoot. With his debut album “Never Give Up” the winner of two Drum & Bass Awards changed Liquid and with his second one he wants to bring it back to the roots. After his gig at the Warehouse we caught up with Maduk and talked with him about his second album, Pokemon and his grandfather teaching him snowboarding.
There’s a story about you making your first DnB-track with your sister as homework for school and then getting to Liquicity, can you tell it?
The story is, that I was at music school and I got an assignment to compose certain chords with special elements in it, so I composed like four chords at home and I was like “that is pretty cool” and then I put a Drum & Bass Loop on it, cause I had a sample pack. I never used it before though. And I felt like “now it needs some vocals” something like “ee uu aa” (imagine the ‘Avalon’ intro) and my sister was like next door and I asked her if she can make something like “ee uu aa”. She recorded it and so I got a 30-second loop and brought it to school and I was like “here you got the chords and I also put some extras on top of it cause I liked it” and the teacher said I failed, cause the task was to make a Baroque chord structure and I was like “oh, well okay, but, listen to it, it’s pretty cool”. So I put that 30-second loop on Soundcloude in private mode and at some point I was on a boat in Amsterdam enjoying the weather with friends and my Soundcloud was playing a Techno set I played earlier and recorded it. So when the track was over this loop came on and my friends were like “wow that sounds cool, fuck” and I was like “this is just a school assignment, relax” and one of my friends told me he has this friend who owns a Youtube-Channel with Drum & Bass and he would really like that. I was like “whatever dude, it’s just a 30-second loop, it’s nothing” you know, but he said he will send it to him. So a week later Maris, the founder of the Liquicity-Channel contacted me and said he wanted to upload my loop right now, cause he really, really liked it. I told him I will come up with an artist name and finish the track, as it was just a loop and then you can upload it. So I spent two days working the loop into a track, came up with a name, he uploaded it and Maduk was born.
And now you got a box in a box as a studio?
Yes, together with my dad I built a ‚box in a box studio‘ because my place is really noisy and my neighbours aren’t very nice, so yeah they complain a lot. We heard, if you build a box floating inside your house, you can reduce sound, so we just did it and my neighbours don’t know anything about me making music, so yeah it’s cool!
Do you like writing? Lots of your lyrics are by yourself, aren’t they?
Yeah, some tunes like ‘Life’, ‘Not alone’ and ‘Never again’ are written by me. I ain’t a singer myself and also not really a writer, but when I’m in the studio with someone, I still like to write lyrics that fit to my music, I think ‘Not alone’ is the best example for that, cause the lyrics really say what I wanna say and they also fit very good to the music. I just sung them myself and then gave them to a professional in the studio. I also make the melodies myself most of the time. Sometimes I also write it with the vocalists together. Just jamming.
Is there a track you’re singing yourself?
Yeah, there’s one song and that is ‘Never again’. (Sings chorus of never again and starts laughing) I put a lot of effects over it and in the end I was ‘ok’ with it.
Is it true, that you couldn‘t pronounce your name when you were young?
Well yes, as a kid I wasn’t able to say the ‘r’ and I said Maddk and classmates in music school started to call me Maddk as well but. When I thought about an artist name I they said “yeah just take Maddk” and I thought “hey wait a second, when I exchange one ‘d’ with an ‘u’, it actually sounds pretty cool”. I’m still super happy with my name; I think it’s very strong!
And what makes a good MC?
A good MC knows when to shut up. Especially in my sets there is so much going on with vocals and stuff, there’s no time for ‘blablablabla’. So the MC must hype the crowd even more before a drop.
I just enjoy the silence.
In an Interview you said: „It may sound weird, but I hardly listen to other music. My iTunes only consist of own projects and my iPhone is empty. I have no Spotify and when I’m hanging out with friends, I’m never the guy who puts on the music.“ – Is it still like this?
Yeah, still like that. I don’t know, it’s not that I don’t like music, because it’s my job, but there’s kind of a limit of music I can consume. I play shows at the weekend and produce during the week and every time I have left I’m like full. Of course I go to parties and when I’m with my friends I still like music being played. I have no iTunes on my phone and even no Spotify. I just enjoy the silence. *laughs*
And is there space for Jimi Hendrix, because you have a Poster in your room?
Yeah, wow, wow you know stuff! *laughs* I was playing piano since I was 9 and when I went to college a friend who played guitar, introduced me to Jimi Hendrix and we started playing together, also with a drummer and we played a lot of Jimi Hendrix.
And which instruments do you play?
My main-instrument is the piano, I play it since I was little and I also play the guitar and drums.
How did you learn to play the piano?
We had one at home and at some point I remember, when I was 7, driving home from a holiday we were on and in the car radio it was playing a song and had like a piano part in it. All the way home I thought “that is very simple, I want to play that”. I never played the piano before, but I really wanted to try it cause I thought “how hard can it be?” so when we arrived, I jumped out of the car, ran home, sat down and tried and tried until I got it right in the end. At that point I realised, if I hear a song or any music played anywhere, I want to reproduce it just by ear and since I was 7, I developed that skill and kept on listening to music and played it on the piano. I didn’t know notes or anything at that time and I think it worked out pretty well. When I was 9 or 10 I also started to learn chords, still not knowing any notes and the next five years until I was 15, I combined the theory of chords alongside with my ears and since that moment you could give me any track and I was like “Okay give me ten seconds and then ‘bambambam’ and I had it”.
You also started to play the soundtracks of your games, didn’t you?
Yeah, that’s another thing that modified my piano skills. When I was young I played a lot Mario, Zelda, Nintendo 64 and the music was so incredible, it still gives me goosebumps when I hear it. The same thing with the radio song: I played a game, went downstairs and tried to play it. It started simple, but at some point it went better. I can still play a fucking lot of Zelda and Mario songs! *laughs*
So I guess you also played Pokemon, because you made the Pokemon track. The question I need to ask, although it’s hard is: What is your favourite Pokemon?
Yeah, it’s a tough question! I don’t know, I definitely was a Pokemon-kid, I played these games thousands of hours and i watched the show thousands of hours, I don’t know, I guess as a kid I really liked Hitmonlee.
Is there a Zelda remix coming?
Yeah I want to do one at some time! I had in my head for a long time, but I haven’t found one that fits to Drum & Bass, guess I got to keep looking! The tempos are to different most of the times! There’s no game remix in work by now.
What is your favourite game anyway?
It’s probably Zelda – Ocarina of Time!
You’re a good table-soccer player I heard?
You know a lot! *laughs* Well, in high school we a soccer-table in the cafeteria and every lunch break I used to play and I played a lot! It was really nice at Liquicity Bratislava, there were two football tables and after the set I just went to the tables and played with a lot of random guys I think after one hour somebody recognized me and was like “Oh my fucking god, we have been playing with Maduk, oh my gosh”. This was really nice! *laughs*
Monty the dog is your dog. What can you tell me about him?
Monty was a dog at my parent’s house, we got him when I was 12 and he is also on the internet with a Liquicity cap and a keychain on his neck. Sadly he passed away like three months ago, but he got very old so yeah, he was a great dog!
I’m sorry, that’s sad to hear. Let’s go on to something different. You once said “If I wasn’t a DJ I would probably open a restaurant”. How comes that?
I see myself as a business-minded guy and if I wasn’t a DJ I would probably open a restaurant or a chill-out area or anything at some point. Not related with Drum & Bass of course, for later when I’m 40 or something.
So, what happened to your red suitcase? When was his „last breath“?
To be honest, he died two years ago, when I was on a skiing holiday. It was a plastic red suitcase that I left in deposit area. When I put it in it was fine and when I put it out, it was completely crashed and broken, so I had to buy a new one. *laughs*
You said “skiing holiday”, but wasn’t it more like a snowboarding holiday, because I heard your grandpa taught you snowboarding?
Yeah, that’s true. When he was like 75 he taught me snowboarding. I think he stopped right now, but I still do it, so I owe that to him.
Your girlfriend likes Drum & Bass?
Yeah she likes it. I mean she listens to other music as well, but I know for a fact, that she plays Liquicity-Yearmixes a lot of times during her work and when she’s studying. When I’m playing she’s in the crowd going crazy and not behind me, so yeah that’s cool!
So at the end: What are you up to next? Do you have any plans for a new album or an EP?
I’m working on my second album at the moment, although I really want to take my time, don’t want to rush it. I know the sound I wanna produce. I want to keep producing music for myself, not for the dance floor or the radio, just music which puts a smile on my own face, because this is what I’ve been doing since the start and it has worked. When I meet people because of my music, I see that it has worked, because it makes them happy too. So I know what I want, but it takes some time to get back in the studio, find inspiration, new sounds and new vocalists, but album number two will come for sure!
Then what are your inspiration, what will the album sound like?
Well, I’m still really happy with my first album, but you see, when I got into Drum & Bass I listened to Logistics, Pendulum and Danny Byrd and I have the feeling, that this sound, this era was like the golden era of Drum and Bass, especially for Liquid. So I think music evolves really quickly, like when Jazz came up it took some time like five to ten years to evolve into Rhythm and Blues and many to become Rock and Roll, but since there are so many DJ’s and possibilities with the computer there is a new hype a new genre like every year. If something new comes up, people stop making the rest and in my opinion the golden era of Drum & Bass in 2008 or 2010, it’s gone, it moved on and I’m so in love with that style and I think a lot of people are, so I just wanna go back to that point and start making it again.