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Music in the street #2: ListentoMerijn

Interview with Listentomerijn

From the Neighourhood Newsletter of March 2024, by Gerwin



Merijn (M): What do you want to know about me?


Gerwin (G): Well, I see a lot of devices and thingies here. What are you actually working on?

Are you making things and actually using these devices?


M: Well, a lot of things at the same time. With these devices, it's mostly figuring things out. So then I have a music device or instrument that I don't quite know or understand yet and then I go and study it separately for a while.


G: When I asked you for an interview, you said you are not really making music at the moment?


M: Well, I am involved in music, but sometimes you're more into producing and sometimes you're more into playing the piano or other loose things. Kind of messing around, so to speak. Then I buy another piece of equipment and then I sort that out.

Then you are making music, but it doesn't really feel like that. But I like that too! Then I sit and play with a keyboard like that on my lap and make up songs and do little things.


G: I actually know very little about what you do. What do you do exactly?


M: What exactly do I do?

Yes, a lot of loops, but also just songs. And in terms of style: electro, techno, 8-bit-like music. But I also make songs with a ukulele or piano, or some sort of experiments.

I call that studies.


G: Do you also perform?


M: Yes, I also performed when someone asked me to, but I don't really have a repertoire or anything like that. I've never really released a CD or a demo. So if someone happens to ask me "Hey, Merijn, would you like to perform?" then I need to have enough time to prepare a set. Then I have more focus. Then I collect some equipment that I can easily take with me and then I actually play live. Or I record things at home and practice and try to play that live.

One time I really had nothing prepared and started playing on stage from scratch. I would start with a melody, which I would loop and build on and add to it. Then it became like a stretched out piece, but at the same time I found that quite scary. Then you start thinking about whether the audience actually likes it and you also make yourself very vulnerable.

I also have an intermediate way, where I already have a pre-programmed bass-lines, but then I have to add the drums live and then I would play keyboard as well.

I don't find it so interesting to just stand on stage with your laptop and turn the different tracks on and off and occasionally turn a knob. 

That can be interesting in itself, but then you have to already have complete songs. Then it really becomes more of a performance. That seems like fun in itself, but then I really have to start producing.


G: And what kind of music inspires you?


M: Yeah, old electronic music, those Moog thingies. Music from the 70s. Those crazy electronics thingies. Or I also like those 80s soundtracks. Music from 80s computer games, so to speak. 


G: What kind of equipment and instruments do you actually use?


M: Yes, keyboards, synthesisers, ukulele, piano or the gameboy.


G: And you also record with these devices?


M: Yes, I do record here and there. I used to work with computer programmes, but now I have, for example, 3 devices and one does this and the other does that and then I let it run, so to speak, at the same time, but then it is difficult to find a beginning and an end. This can work live, within a set, with techno or electro. That I really like.


G: Do you enjoy performing?


M: Yes and no. I do enjoy performing, but it is also a bit double sided. I like to show what I've made, but I don't really need to be in the picture.

Once, a performance went really wrong and I couldn't get it right again. The settings of my equipment were wrong and then you see people looking at you like, what is happening here? Yes, I didn't like that very much and that's why I try to prepare a performance as much as possible.

But if it goes well, for example at a techno party and everyone is enthusiastic, then I really like it.


G: And do you have any plans for the future?


M: I think it would be fun to organise a music event with some other people at our new place, our shared W1555 space, the Wolfart, and then do something myself for 20 minutes.

And I also think it would be fun to release some kind of mini album with four songs or a single. But yes, then I really need to set myself a deadline.


You can listen to Merijn's music via: soundcloud.com/listentomerijn

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