Times & Tunes with Makèz

Young producer duo Makèz have recently released their debut EP on Heist Recordings, Different Planets. Fusing influences from disco, house and beyond, it’s a release right up there with any on the ever impressive Heist catalogue. We caught up with the duo to get to know a little bit more about them, their process and also asked for some advice for other young aspiring producers. Read the full interview below.


INTERVIEW


Hi guys, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us.. Can you explain to us, who are Makèz?
We are Kees & Willem, two friends and music fanatics. We met each other back when we were 15 years old. Back then, we started a musical journey together that we now call Makèz.

Whats been going on for you guys this year, what were your highs and lows?
Over the last couple of years we made lots, and lots of tracks. We often contacted labels but for some reason every single time we got an answer like “sounds great, but not for us” or “this is not the right time” etc… As you can imagine this wasn’t very stimulating. Fortunately, this year one of our favorite Dutch record labels showed their interest. A debut EP on Heist Recordings, that’s a hell of a high for us!
How did you start out in music production?
Kees: After hearing Junkie XL’s remix of ‘A Little Less Conversation’ on my dad’s computer I knew I wanted to do something similar myself. I saved money to buy (yes buy…) Ableton Live and started to chop (or rape…) some of my favorite disco tracks and added house loops to it. I was so soaked up into the process of making new out of the old that I applied for a Music Productions study. In this period I had the chance of developing myself as a composer, sound designer and artist.
Willem: The first DJ gigs started for me at the age of 13. I was a hyperactive Housemusic-kid, playing piano, and always looking for new tracks for my cd collection. I had the urge to work out musical ideas and bought Logic Pro, a midi keyboard and Maschine. After hours and hours of practice and lots of tutorials it started to sound like something… Playing my own tracks at small parties and seeing people dance to it convinced me to sign up for a bachelor degree in Music and Technology. 

During the period of finding the right workflow and discovering ‘our sound’ we’ve always worked as a duo. This resulted into a unique workflow.

Any advice for aspiring producers who are looking to get their music signed?
We struggled with the process of finding the right label. It literally took 4 years. So our advice is to keep trying, don’t give up! 
We also believe that it helps to meet people. For a record label, it’s nice to have a face with the music they receive. So go out, meet people and expand your network.

Furthermore, try to get inspired by art you don’t know yet. Visit random concerts and museums, explore musical genres you don’t know that much about, and try and use that knowledge to create something original.

What’s in the (foreseeable) future for Makèz?

We are going to release a lot more music! Next to that, we’re working hard to present our first live-set performance at the Amsterdam Dance Event this year. Very excited about this!

With festival season almost over, what’s the scene like in Amsterdam these days? 

The festival season might come to an end, but we are blessed with the diversity of musical events throughout the whole year. Not only in Amsterdam! Cities like Rotterdam, The Hague & Utrecht have exciting things to check out too.  Last year there were over a thousand festivals in The Netherlands…. That’s a crazy number right? Big artists playing every week and festivals are competing to get your attention. It can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. But we try to see it as opportunities.

Amsterdam Dance Event is coming up so soon, what are you doing and what can you recommend to us? 
One of the nicest things about ADE is that everybody that you want to speak- or listen to is in our own city. We like to walk around the city, get lost, see the iconic yellow flags and explore. 

As mentioned before we present our live-set for the first time on ADE. This will happen at our own event Peak Mystique in one of our favourite clubs, Claire. We organize these monthly parties with a collective of talented DJ friends from Amsterdam. Our collective is playing next to Phil Weeks, Folamour, Dan Shake and Playing For The City (live) on Saturday the 19th of October!

Do you go record digging a lot? What’s your latest find? 
Hah, funny story… We’d ‘agreed a long time ago to disagree on the use of vinyl in clubs. Willem loves playing vinyl in clubs, so he does! But Kees saw it go wrong too many times. Skipping needles, spilled drinks, damaged records… he’s not a fan of taking that risk during sets… 

However, we love record digging! We are always on the hunt for new sample tracks, and Willem is out there too often (€€€) for stuff to play at our gigs. He spent over 5 hours in Rush Hour the other day and came back with some diamonds. Mike Huckaby ‎– Too Many Classics (To Be Left With Little Or No Protection) is one of them.

What track would you close with after an all nighter?
Barbatuques – Baiana (Du Chatinier’s Extended Mix)
What’s the track you wish you made yourself?
We absolutely love the anthem vibes of Todd Terje – Ragysh. He creates a whole world without using many ingredients.  

We like to close things off with a few of your favorite records taken from your record bag atm?
Klein & MBO – The MBO theme (inc. a great cover version on Rush Hour)
Jitwam – Honeycomb (Tartelet Records)
Demi Requisimo – SEMID002
Soundstreams – Love Remedy (on his own imprint)
Pal Joey – Party Time (Loop D Loop)

And of course.. Our new Different Planets EP on Heist Recordings.