With Mashk having new music out this week on Making You Dance Records we catch up with him for the latest episode of 12 Questions.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
Living close to Paris. I started with DJing around the age of 16/17 for friends’ parties. I’ve been producing now for 3 years with my first track Spheris on Re:cognition Vol. 5 & I’ve been composing since my childhood. (classical, jazz, hip hop…)
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
My parents have been the biggest influence on my musical preference. They listened to a lot of music at home (jazz, classical, soul, folk..) and they bought me a lot of albums and took me to concerts. There was always some music at home. And at age 5, I started learning music with classical piano first. Artists like John Coltrane, Bach, Arvo Part, Steve Reich are my main influences. My first memories of electronic music is Jean Michel Jarre. I was amazed to see all these synths, machines and hear all these sounds, for me it was magic.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
Well, when you’re writing music, you have no certitudes with what you’re making… so it’s the main difficulty. I am always looking for refinement with something ethereal (as Hergé was able to do in his research for the clear line). I have an almost mystical approach (the word is too strong), a link between what escapes from us and reality. I try to reach/approach the melody and the harmony in a poetic sense; I try to reach a poetic feeling in my melody and harmony. I would like to touch the beauty with what is impossible, but I do not give up. Sound material as such is essential (timbre, tone color), as is my approach to rhythm and polyrhythm. I started with Cubase, after Logic and now Ableton. I like to talk music have feedback and constructive criticism with musicians or not. It has to be based, but I always listen to it.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
I don’t know, hard question. It’s difficult to put a final point on your work or track. When you listen it you feel always that you could be better, because I am a perfectionist, and I’m trying to do my best. When you create something, you always doubt everything, not because you are wondering whether people would like it or not, but whether you are on the right path or not.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
Starting the day with a huge cup of tea. Practicing music (piano, saxophone..), doing music or checking the lessons for my students. In the afternoon, Teaching music all the day at music school (theory & Saxophone) then back home around 9pm, working on music again, reading, or chilling with a football, baseball or hockey game. The days off without doing music, I listen music of course, go surf, see my friends or family, walk in Paris, go to the museum, concerts, cinema…
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effect on your own productions?
Jazz (Be-Bop, Hardbop, cool jazz, modal jazz with artists like Ch. Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Steve Coleman, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman and many more), classical (Baroque (Bach for the main the beautiful Miserere of Allegri, music of the VI century, Moyen Age, Renaissance and the post romantic music period with Debussy, Ravel, Faure), soul music, hip-hop from the 90’s, cumbia and a lot of kind of music. Everything and every kind of music has a direct effect on my music.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
The first, I really don’t remember, my parents bought music for me, and I always bought music (vinyls, cds..), but the first I really don’t know sorry. The last one I just bought in vinyls ; Nina Simone, Depeche Mode, Olafur Arnalds (Island Songs) and the last Max Cooper.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I’m graduating from a surf instructor 1st level…
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
I don’t know, because a lot of people are making really good music, some of my friends are making some too and have really good musical project too, like the big horn factory project of my friend Mathieu, music of talented of me: Marc Baron with his beautiful album Hidden Tapes…
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
Not only producers, but I am always connected with my deepest feelings, my mood or my feelings of the moment, a sentence (book or other), a meeting, an exchange, a person, a trip, thoughts, souvenirs, movies… everything that surrounds me and makes me feel that life is beautiful or that makes my life better or that makes me happy. Music is part of me, it’s like a confidant. It can express what words cannot say… it is the extension of my thought. I breath music, I live for music.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
Be patient, believe in yourself, keep working and always work hard, be open minded around you and musically, do the things with your heart, soul & love not to be famous, or have a hit, be true and things will be done.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Naima of John Coltrane or Matthaus Passion from Bach (Wir Setzen Uns Mit Tranen Nieder)
Mashk’s remix of Dar & Dor is out now on Making You Dance, you can purchase the release: here