Music has always been the main focus in Lieke’s life. She used to dance on a professional level and her parents were always listening to music. She remembers it always being so loud every day in her parents’ car; you can say she was surrounded by music. Both her parents were Jazz, Blues and Rock orientated. It took some time for her to appreciate those genres again as Lieke wanted to discover her own music taste and like every teenager she wanted to go against everything her parents liked. Only nowadays she find those very interesting. It was precisely because of the confrontation with different kinds of music that she was able to develop her own style as she grew older. Her parents used to take her to the Free Record Shop every Wednesday, where she could chose a CD or record from her weekly allowance. After the bankruptcy of the music store her parents took her to the Wednesday market, because there was a stand with House Party cassettes. From there on she spend her time discovering a broad range of music. From Hardcore and Rave to Hip-Hop and everything in between.
In her short career Lieke has had shows at Operator Radio, Red Light Radio, Marktkantine, Shelter Amsterdam, Radio Radio, Claire, Mono Rotterdam and many more. During her set you can expect a diverse electronic spectrum with a touch of Rave, Detroit, Chicago, Techno, Acid, UK, Electro, New Beat & more.
Hi Lieke, nice to have you! So, please tell us; why do you do what you do?“After my studies I really wanted to make a career and noticed quite quickly that it didn’t make me happy. Music was my passion, but it didn’t feel obvious that I could really make my job out of it. After a number of years working as a booker and manager of artists, I was editor-in-chief of 2 magazines and eventually took over the business. This was the moment I started my own business. In addition to magazines, I wrote a lot as a freelancer for festivals and also did film reviews. It was this moment in my life where I could find the time to be more involved in my musical interest because I could organize my own time. I had been in LA for a while where I learned to produce, at the time I was 27 years old. Music slowly grew in my life and got bigger and bigger. I sold my share of the company and turned music into my work.”
How do you work?“Last year the music business completely turned upside down. Before that I used to work towards gigs. Everything fell away when COVID came and I had to restructure how I kept myself motivated without the gigs and deadlines from before. In addition to all the rubbish, this gave me complete freedom to look at my music selection and production with an open mind.”
What role does the artist have in society?“I think that the role of an artist in society is to introduce people to new music. In addition, the effect that music can have on people. Music can help in processing certain matters and be supportive in all kinds of processes. Music plays such an important role in society.”
How has your practice changed over time?“Nowadays I can select and search for new music with a fully opened mind. I experience a lot of freedom in that. These days I can develop my own sound better because there isn’t anything attached to it. I am purely concerned with the process and not with the end goal.
What sound do you most identify with?“That depends on my state of mind and emotions.Besides the fact that it differs per moment, it also differs very much per phase. One moment I can identify more with jazz music, for example, the music from the movie Amelie is fantastic, but a day later I can also dive deep into the old hardcore tunes.”
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?“What I really remember very strongly is that I got my first Walkman. It was almost magic how I could listen to the music on my headphones without any other noise. It gave me the power to be completely in my own world. From that moment on I started to experience music very differently and much more intensely.”
What’s your scariest experience?“I was in Hollywood at Halloween walking the Halloween parade. When all of the sudden a shooting took place. Everyone was dressed up and wearing masks, I saw mothers running with prams and no one could see right away where it came from. Everybody was running in different directions and it felt like a very scary horror movie. The women and children were taken care of in a nearby restaurant, but in all the panic I had lost a local friend and he was unreachable by phone. We had no idea where he was or how he was doing. After being locked up in the restaurant for a long time, the police eventually escorted us to our car. We had to stoop to the car with a police escort, it felt horrifying. Halloween has not been a party I like to go to since that moment.”
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?“A while back I gave a DJ course in collaboration with refugee work. I did not know what to expect in advance, but it has become clear to me how intense the effect of music is on a personal level. People with very intense stories of which you can see that music gives them so much strength and support. I did this together with Rutger, Joris and refugee work. For me it was very close to confirmation how beautifully music connects and in what way music connects.”
What’s your most embarrassing moment?“I had a first date once and we had never seen each other before so we decided to send a selfie to each other so we would recognize each other. At the time I just got a new phone. I shot a few pictures and accidentally sent all the photos, some of which weren’t quite as appetizing, to this blind date. I turned off my phone after that. Luckily later on he could laugh about it, but at that moment I felt really embarrassed.”
What memorable responses have you had to your gigs?“Every now and then I get messages from people with compliments after gigs and every time it feels super special. It even feels a bit crazy. Because I find it difficult to see myself that way, even with compliments I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed. Last night I received a message from someone from Russia who told me that he had a fantastic evening with friends partly because my music was playing, that appreciation is great fun and I am glad I was able to play such a role. Because people do this for me, I have noticed that I have started doing it more myself towards other artists.”
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?“Yes, it is quite lonely at times. You spend most of the time listening, making and selecting music. Now I have no problem with it myself and I don’t mind being alone. But sometimes I find it quite strange that I spend most of my life sitting alone with my headphones on. Maybe pretty odd but hey that’s me.”
What do you dislike about the music business?“What I find difficult is that the moment it becomes your work there is actually a commercial edge to it. So somehow something financial has to come back. I prefer to totally focus on the creative process, but as soon as it becomes your work it is difficult that you cannot be 100% on that side.”
Name something you love, and why?“Besides music, I really like ginger tea, madame jeanette peppers and espresso martinis are great too. Do you want me to continue?”
What is your dream project?“I did a study in pedagogical care, I would like to combine this with music in the future. Setting up a great project in which I bring aid and music together.”
Name something that inspires your choice of music?“What always inspires me are artists where you feel that they are their own. You can feel that the music they play and make, it comes from their hearts. For me this can really go in all directions in terms of sound. I get my inspiration from all kinds of music, not just the electronic genre. Sometimes I also sit in the mornings listening to classical music and jazz. My inspiration comes mainly from music that I would not play or make myself.”
Favorite or most inspirational place?“I really enjoy being at home. A place where I have certainly spent a lot of time last year and I try to make sure that I feel completely at ease in my cosy house. I do miss traveling though, new places give me energy and inspiration. Besides that my house is fantastic, I certainly miss those trips.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?“In the period when I started my own business and shifted my main focus to music, I came into contact with new people who showed me that not everything has to be within the lines. You are going to study, make a career because that’s how it should be. Because I surrounded myself with new, creative people, I came to the conclusion that not everything has to be that way. I also realized that working within the lines did not make me happy.”
Professionally, what’s your goal?“My goal is to be able to keep working in music in the long term. As I said before, I would like to combine this with helping other people. I would love to be able to travel more internationally in the future and play this in creative places where people with an open mind like to come.”
What couldn’t you do without, besides ginger tea, madame jeanettes and espresso martinis?“Very cliche, but those are my family and friends. Although I am quite on my own, I do need a lot of contact with the people around me. Every day I have a moment when I call a friend or family member. That’s important to me.”
What has the last time besides all the shit, brought you?That I feel and take the space to develop my own sound and that I have thrown myself more into my own productions. I can now purely work with the creative process of music.”
Thank you a lot Lieke, always a pleasure
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