📷: Valle Marie
With a massive festival to run in a week’s time, a whole string of releases ready to drop over the coming months and an album on the horizon, Maduk has every excuse of being a little tense, on edge or distracted at the moment. But he’s not.
In fact the Amsterdam-based Liquicity co-owner is the most chilled and cheerful we’ve ever known him to be. Not that he has ever been known to be anything remotely like a stress head, there’s just a general air of calm about him. A sense of balance and confidence in all aspects of his life.
He’s in the studio only two days a week, for example… Yet he’s never been happier with his output both in terms of quality and quantity. After years of studio graft, he’s reached a level where he can articulate ideas from his head fluently and mix them down at a level he’s proud of.
Case in point; Colours / Still In Love. The next instalment of our don-decorated year-long UKF10 anniversary series, his latest single follows heat from some of the biggest artists on our network; Camo & Krooked, Hybrid Minds, Killsonik, Truth, Mohican Sun, AC Slater’s Night Bass crew and many more.
Following from other major league cuts he’s dropped this year (the massive Go Home on NCS and his first Liquicity single in years Go/Coming Down) both tracks are the sound of Maduk in his element and the single is split across both brands: Liquicity will premier Colours, which features the thunderbolt vocals of another familiar UKF face Diamond Eyes and some lightning charged guitars. Later this month we’ll be uploading Still In Love, a track that takes us back 10 years to Maduk’s and indeed UKF’s roots.
Picking up where we last spoke to him in at the start of the year, read on to find out why Maduk is in such a good place, how his UKF10 tracks came together, what’s coming next and why he’s playing three sets at Liquicity next week…
You told us you had lots of music in store. You weren’t lying…
There’s still a lot more to come! I’m very excited. This single on UKF10 is the tip of the iceberg but I’m very happy how it turned out.
How’s the album coming along?
My plan is to keep on releasing singles. Like this current one on UKF, also the previous one Go and Go Home. I want to release singles like this over the next two years, take the best ones and put them on an album along with some new tracks. I feel in the current time and age of streaming this is simply the best way to release music.
Long game things! A constant steady flow of bangers…
Exactly, that’s the plan.
You must be packing in a lot of studio time?
Less than you might think. I have a nice balance in my life; I do one or two days in the studio a week. I make sure I have time for running Liquicity and also my own personal time. What I have found though is that I am much more efficient with that I want to accomplish. I have a good mood and energy in the studio. When I get into the studio it just works, I know how to finish the tracks. It can be up to 80% of the track on the first session. I guess it’s just how I’m approaching things in a much more positive way. When I’m starting to work on a track I don’t tell myself beforehand how it should sound, but more importantly: how it not should sound. I stopped caring about the negative reactions on my tracks. Whether people feel it sounds outdated, like someone else, commercial, underground, easy, complicated etc. If I love it, I know by now that many of my fans do too. Since I made that mental switch I’m blasting out tracks more tracks than ever before and I love every single one of them so much.
It is all about the mindset isn’t it? But I guess there’s an element of quality over quantity too?
Totally agree with the mindset. That’s what I like about this phase I’m in. Everything I make, I like. It’s not even about quality over quantity, everything gives me a good feeling. I’m never making tunes just to make as many tunes as possible, I’m only making tunes to express myself and I’m happy that I can do that right now so smoothly. Maybe in two year’s time I won’t feel that way, it might not be so easy for me to write like this, so I’m enjoying this while it lasts and it feels good to build up a buffer of tracks as well. Writing music under pressure is not something I like.
Tell us about Colours. How do you know Diamond Eyes?
I started making the track about a year ago, it was another one where I did the sketch in a day but I just left it. It needed a vocal. I wrote a vocal with another vocalist but wasn’t sure about it, then at some point you guys hit me up for a special project between UKF and Liquicty. I sent Luke and Sampo a bunch of ideas and tracks and explained this one needed a vocal so Sampo suggested Diamond Eyes and introduced us. He did the vocal, we went back and forth a few times and that inspired me to step it up and take the instrumental to the next level too. I’m really proud of the mix down, it bangs and sounds awesome. It’s one of my favourite mixdowns so far.
It’s quite a full powered, busy tune. Does that make a mixdown harder?
There is a lot going on but at the same time the elements are quite simple and clean. The guitar especially. It’s a friend of mine called Sean Kennedy. He does all my guitar work, he’s just the best. He’s such a talented and kind guy. I send him tracks and ask for some guitars and he always comes back with pure ear bliss. You put his guitars in and it instantly sounds 10 times better, he also did them in my track The End and on many new songs to come.
Amazing. I think a lot of artists would love a Sean on speed dial!
He’s incredible. I have about seven tracks with his guitar playing on. It’s very clean so when you come to the mixdown that makes it a lot easier. I’ve also switched monitors from PMC to ATC, the same system guys like Noisia and Fox Stevenson use. Since I switched to that everything just makes much more sense mixdown wise. I do less and less. The system is so good I’m not correcting it in my mix. Things sound good as they are. That’s been a blessing and such a pleasure to make anything on my system.
Nice. Tell us about Still In Love….
I think I started it about two years ago and it felt as the perfect track to complete Colours. Both tracks give me a lot of energy.
Quite old then!
Actually a lot of my tracks will have origins going back two or three years and I pick them up and develop them over time. I’m happy that I have my own sound so they don’t sound dated. At least not to me haha.
The essence of timelessness and not being sidetracked by what’s going on hype-wise
Yeah totally, I don’t care about trends or sounds or anything like that. I go into the studio and make what I want to make. So anyway, I made that track back then and I just love that sound. 2010 era vibes; big pianos, wobbly basslines, reggae vocals and rolling beats.
That was the sound that got you into drum & bass if I recall?
Yeah that was the time when I really got into it. Guys like Logistics and Danny Byrd. 2009/2010. It’s a sound I’ve always loved and I don’t hear in many new productions.
And the message is clear: You’re Still In Love… With drum & bass
Ha. Well said!
Any love for UKF?
Lots! It was there before I even knew what the hell drum & bass was. I was 18 and I gave piano lessons as a small job. One day a girl called me for a demo lesson, but later that night she invited me to a party. At the time I didn’t go out at all and was a bit nervous but went with her and it ended up being a drum& bass party. Even before the party we went to her place and had a few beers, she put on her computer and there was UKF and Liquicity. It was just when UKF started. That was the first time I heard drum & bass. Then we went to the party and I was blown away like ‘what the hell is this?’ Three or four years later I started making drum & bass, my first track was uploaded on Liquicity, a few months later my second ever track was uploaded by UKF. So UKF has been a major part of my career and it’s a pleasure to be part of the 10th anniversary releases.
My relationship with UKF has also been really good in terms of supporting the music and playing at your events. What I really like is how Liquicity and UKF work together. It’s funny; some fans used to say beef between the channels in the comments but behind the scenes we’ve laughed about it. We’ve never seen it as competition or rivals. We work together.
There’s so much music you need more channels to support it all. There’s room for everyone.
Definitely. There’s so much amazing drum & bass around everyone needs to help and support each other. It’s beautiful to be part of.
You’ve had at least 10 uploads on UKF. Give us some persy favourites…
Oh let’s see… I think my favourite one is Miles Apart. UKF usually supports the harder stuff but that track did so well on the channel. It was the track I least expected to get a response and that one did so well.
Close to 900k views!
Yeah I’m really proud of that. And another one I’m very proud of is Don’t Be Afraid. I still think ‘yeah’ when I hear it. I still can’t believe I made that. I surprised myself.
Awesome. How about Liquicty releases we’ve uploaded over the years?
Andromedik – Your Eyes, Fox Stevenson – Take You Down and my own latest Liquicity single: Go.
Nice! You all set for Liquicity Festival?
Nearly there! It’s an incredible amount of work since we do the full production and organisation in-house since 2017, but it gets smoother, easier and more fun each year. It’s a lot of work, stress and focus to make sure every detail is right but we’re fine-tuning now and this is what I personally love to do. We have gathered a lot of visitor feedback on the previous two editions and I think this year will be smoother and better than ever before.
That’s the same as the mindset we mentioned before isn’t it?
You’re playing three sets this year. Bit greedy!
Haha. Well usually I do a set on the mainstage then a special one on the Solar stage. This year the special set will be a set totally of my own productions – old stuff, current stuff, new stuff, my bootlegs and remixes. I’m very excited about that. It’s a bit of a dream; what can be more exciting than playing all your own tracks? Then on Sunday we another special one. We fought hard to keep stages open until 3am this year. Usually we close down the sounds around 12 but now we can keep the Lunar stage open until 3am on Friday and Saturday and 2am on Sunday. This meant some slots opened up so Fred V and I are playing a back to back to close down the festival with the last set of the entire thing. However, first I’m driving back and forth to Tomorrowland to play a set there too on Sunday afternoon. It will be a crazy weekend for sure, I can’t wait.