Track & Trace: Maik Cox
Some people tend to overthink music. Just let your heart speak and create whatever you please. Let’s take that Meghan Trainor track, for example. That song was crafted by some of the best writers in the world and they still decided to keep it simple by repeating the same chords over and over. Just because it feels good. Another example would be Trap music. A lot of these trap tracks don’t contain more than 4 layers of production. Might seem very basic and simple but it is also the result of a clear creative decision. I think it is very interesting to listen to all the creative decisions made and what effect those decisions have. It is all about making music from the heart instead of trying to showcase your academic and theoretical background. You can hear the passion for the craft.
I feel like this is the main reason I have taken on the role as Head of Music Production at Amp.Amsterdam; I am able to listen as a professional as well as a consumer. I am constantly trying to find a balance between the two. Whenever a client sends me a brief I can already hear the way the track should sound in my head. This way I am able to brief a composer by using professional, musical terms. Sometimes this could be as detailed as communicating a specific harmonic structure or even the way things are played by using specific techniques. This approach has developed through my rich history of being an active, professional musician. Mainly as a DJ and producer but also as a percussion player when I was a kid. I studied classical percussion and played in an orchestra. The same orchestra where Igor from the band Heideroosjes received his education. During these younger years I played at almost every concert hall in the Netherlands as well as during a lot of national holidays. It is amazing to play a small part in the bigger picture and be the rhythmical foundation as a percussion player. I also love the tension and responsibility that comes with it. Still, to this day, I read musical notation as fast as I can read words. This is a big benefit for me as I enjoy studying classical piano during my spare time. I grew up with classical music and still like to listen to it. I enjoy the works of Beethoven and Bach but also more cinematic work by composers such as John Williams or Ennio Morricone. That being said, my heart mainly lies with romantic, classical music stemming from the 19th century. Music by Chopin and Schumann, for example.
I have always listened to all kinds of music. I still do, to this day: one week I will be listening to John Mayer and The 1975, the other week you can find me listening to Drake and Lil’ Uzi. All thanks to my local library, where I used to rent CD’s as a teenager. I used to love listening to Britney Spears as much as I enjoyed listening to Thunderdome Gabber records. Just to be able to listen to all the different rhythms and the way the music was crafted.
I eventually discovered DJ’ing through a buddy of mine who owned some turntables. This resulted in me working as a professional DJ for nearly 9 years under the monikers Kid de Luca and Capitol Candy. As a DJ I always tried to serve the audience. Zwarte Cross, Mysteryland, a track with Freddy Moreira, FeestDJRuud and Lady Bee, many gigs abroad, a platinum record and different songs that I wrote for different artists that all did pretty well: those were some busy times, between my 20’s and 30’s. I still enjoy making music today but it is more of a hobby project to me. When I occasionally write music for other people it does not seem to differ too much from my job at Amp.Amsterdam. You are assigned the task to create bespoke music. You are attempting to translate somebody’s thoughts and words into music. It is a great feeling when the client is as enthusiastic as you are when delivering that first demo. Simply experiencing a real collaboration without any ego’s getting in the way. Just letting the music do the talking.”
Listen to all of Maik’s favorite tracks:
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