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Track & Trace: Diederik van Middelkoop

"I’m always fully aware of music. Whenever there’s music around it instantly takes over my mind. It’s been like that all my life. Background music doesn’t work for me. Hotel lobbies playing muzak are like a plague."

Diederik van Middelkoop

I’m always fully aware of music. Whenever there’s music around it instantly takes over my mind. It’s been like that all my life. Background music doesn’t work for me. Hotel lobbies playing muzak are like a plague. I only listen to music deliberately. It always has a purpose. I constantly hear music playing in my head. If I’m in my car I can hear a song in the rumbling of the engine. I started writing my own songs as a child. When bedtime came around I would sing myself to sleep. Years later I was proclaimed the best songwriter in the South of Holland. Occasionally I would even write 3 songs simultaneously. Ranging from tearjerkers to Charleston style tracks.

My brother used to be a professional flute player. He was really into the theory of it all. I tend to gravitate more towards feel and using my ears. I remember being 12 years old when he took me to my first concert: Miles Davis. I grew up with jazz through my brother. Artists like Pat Metheny, Brecker Brothers and Weather Report.

Truly, amazing music. Intelligent and well thought out music made by the best musicians in the world. I was completely floored by it. The same never seemed to happen for me when listening to Pop. Then Prince came along.  My dad and I were driving to the local swimming pool when suddenly Sign ‘O’ The Times came on the radio. Prince started singing and I got overwhelmed with goosebumps. I asked my dad to pull over the car. I remember Prince’s tone, the simple intro, the harmony; I didn’t even know who I was listening to at the time but when my dad asked me what was so special about it I said: “this guy can do it all.” My fascination with Prince hasn’t stopped since. I could talk about him and his influence on Pop music for hours and have seen him play live more than any other artist. I once saw him play for 7 hours within the span of one day: the soundcheck, the show and the afterparty. Nobody has influenced me more than Prince. He is the one who triggered me to start getting more involved in music.

You could consider me a musical glutton. I’m fascinated with creativity, have an admiration for craft and always enjoy being surprised by music’s true innovators. As I stated before, Prince is one of them, but let’s not leave out Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Tom Waits, just to name a few others. Their musicality and creativity brings something into the world that only they can create.  They break the existing mold and create a new wave. It’s about that initial spark, that first idea and the magic that occurs when an idea seems to appear out of thin air. That’s always been my favorite thing about creativity, pertaining to my own music as well as my current job as a creative director.

In my role as Executive Creative Director at Amp.Amsterdam I’m responsible for anything creative that we do. This could be music composed for film but also supporting a particular message through sound. This means all kinds of music cross my path. One moment you’re working on a big band arrangement for a Lotto commercial, another moment you’re recording the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road or even designing the sound for a big Asian telecommunications company. Something’s being brought to life that wasn’t there before. What used to happen within the confines of my mind, as a child, now gets to flourish in collaboration with amazing people who work at the highest level. I might have lost my hobby but at least I got an amazing job in return.

Listen to all of Diederik’s favourite tracks:

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Diederik van Middelkoop

Executive Creative Director & Partner

Contact Diederik