The Sound of Michael de Kooker
An open mind is a joy forever. A saying that perfectly matches the musical motto of Dutch producer Michael de Kooker. You'll rarely find a producer that manages to switch and blend styles so flowing like Michael does. He's just made his debut on the Pilot 6 label, with the wondrous 'My Little Music Box' and tender 'Dear Daisy'. Two examples of the adventurous sound of the youngster, touching boundaries with a full-colour palette of every shade dance music has to offer: house, progressive, trance and even a twist of electro. Yes, it's quite impossible to put a label on this one. And that's just the way he likes it. As we discuss his past and promising future, we dive deep into his kaleidoscopic sound and discover he's doing nothing else but following the tide of his creativity. Michael:"I’ll just see where the music takes me. "
We're very glad to welcome you to the Armada label with your E.P. on Pilot 6! It's time to get to know you a little bit better. Can you give us a three-word description of the MDK sound?
Michael:"Thank you very much! Of course I’m really excited about my debut E.P on Pilot 6.
Three words to describe my sound would probably be: different every time."
You sure love to keep things diverse. Any special reason why your sound doesn't fit one particular style, or is it just a matter of wanting to keep your options open?
Michael:"Actually it’s because I find it boring to produce the same stuff multiple times. I’m looking for challenges and always try to make my new tracks sound different from my older work. Also producing wise I like trying out new techniques and just play around while producing. This way it keeps things interesting for me."
In 2008, you had your breakthrough with a remix of trance classic 'Veracocha - Carte Blanche', ending up in the Dutch Top 40 and supported by the DJ elite. What has happened in the 3 years following?
Michael:"Mostly developing my sounds. I got the advice to try and focus on a sound people could recognize me by. So I tried to find out what style and sound suited me best only to come to the conclusion I don’t want to be pinned down to one particular thing. I just don’t like to do the same trick twice or more. That’s why over the last few years I had releases going from house to trance, from techno to electro. I also started dj'ing in 2008. So I’ve been working on my DJ skills as well, and played at some nice parties too."
You've been producing full-time for the past few years. Got any goals you're aiming for, or would you say you're in it for fun and creating what you love?
Michael:"I’d say for the fun of creating the music I personally love and share it with other people. Of course I see it as a challenge to do better every time but I don’t really have goals. I’ll just see where the music takes me. "
That probably also leaves you with a lot of open, unfinished projects. Do you have the discipline to finish them, or are there countless of concepts stored in your hard drive?
Michael:"Yeah, I think there are more concepts and half finished tracks on my hard drive than there’s sand in the desert. It has some advantages though; when you have a bit of a lack of inspiration for new stuff you can listen to older concepts and the inspiration will come back, so you can turn the concept into a full track."
You worked under several aliases, such as M.W.T. and Mr. Monsieur, but lately chose to go for releasing under your own name only. Is there a reason why? Isn't it easier to put different styles under different aliases?
Michael:"Nope. I found it harder and harder to say which track should be released under what alias. So I figured to just use my own name for the tracks. I might use some of the aliases in the future again though."
You've also done remixes for the likes of Dave Graham, Ruben de Ronde and Vincent de Moor. What's your aim with remixing, do you try to honour the original or create something new?
Michael:"Both actually! I like to think of a remix as my personal interpretation of the original work. So I’ll keep some of the original stuff recognizable while changing other parts of the track. That way I usually end up with a remix that sounds completely different from the original. I like it best that way. I mean; what’s the point of a remix when it sounds exactly the same as the original?"
Last year, you released a very original, ethnic sounding summer tune, 'Fundo Nua'. Unfortunately it didn't really turned into the summer hit you hoped for. We did hear some rumors about a 2011 version, can you confirm that?
Michael:"Yes! I’m currently working on it. Unfortunately the original track was released a bit too late for summer. So I’m hoping for a re-release this year, with some fresh remixes."
'My Little Music Box' is a very unusual type of tune, blasting away and taking you in with a very tender break, all in one go. What's the story behind that one?
Michael:"My girlfriend has got this little music box which plays ‘Für Elise’ and somehow I just really liked the sound of it, so I kept winding and winding it up. While working on a new track I suddenly saw the little music box in the corner of my eye and figured it would be really interesting to try and incorporate that sound in my track. The result was the track I called ‘My Little Music Box’. "
The flipside, 'Dear Daisy', is much more intimate and quiet, mixing tech-house and melodic electro. It makes a perfect balance to this E.P. Was it something you had laying around somewhere?
Michael:"Yep. I had been working on that track for some time, but never got around finishing it. After signing ‘My Little Music Box’ to Pilot6, I figured ‘Dear Daisy’ would be the perfect flipside."
What's next? Will we hear more of MDK in the next following months?
Michael:"I sure hope so J At this moment I’ve got a lot of really cool new tracks and even more almost-finished tracks lying around in the studio. I’ve got some older tracks as well which I’m not planning to release anymore because I think my new work sounds better. Instead I’ll be giving those away for free on my SoundCloud and Twitter."
Download 'My Little Music Box' & 'Dear Daisy' exclusively on Beatport now!