A journey from hip-hop to house: on how Christopher Maiken became Maiken Reel.
When your adventure with music started?
It started when I was 13, my friends and I used to get together after school and during breaks and we had ciphers so we made a circle and then someone will go in the middle and beatbox. The bravest would start, we called it breaking the ice, we started rapping but generally we would write scripts, our lyrics and then we would rap them in the cipher to show our skills and the better we got, we didn’t have to write anymore we could just do it straight from the top of our heads. At that time I was more into hip-hop, we did a lot of ciphers, we used to get into rap battle. Growing up I got into some talent shows and a friend introduced me to a software called Fruity loop studio, music production software and then I started making music from the age of 17 but it was just messing around, at first nothing was good enough, I was pretty much the only one to hear those songs, those beats.
What was the trigger?
The culture, the hip-hop lifestyle, I wanted to be young MC, ya know what I’m sayin. I was very influenced by a hip-hop culture, I was basically practising writing all the time, my rapping, trying to get as much out there as I could, I got to meet a lot of people while doing it, I got to make good connections over the years, I got to meet people that were relatively well known in music, it was nice. I was exposed to different way of living, it had its bad as well, it was not only good.
Would you say that music got you in trouble?
Less often than you would think, to be honest music was actually kind of my saviour because I was very lost in my identity growing up, I was not so confident, with music I felt I had more purpose, I felt I’m getting recognition for doing music with me peers, I felt better, I felt I was working towards something, I was making music. It kind of made me more confident while growing up I guess. It did more good than got me in trouble. I got myself in trouble, it wasn’t the music, it was me, music just happened to be there.
Do you remember what was the first song with which you fell in love?
I’m pretty much like that with all the tracks I work on, it’s more like a love-hate because when I work on a song I feel very passionate about it, I stick with that song, I really work on it and I will be perfectionist about it but then the more I listen to it the more I start to dislike it because I find all the flaws in it then I eventually think that I have got either to finish it or I will never finish it. It even gets to the point where I’m even too shy to play my music to people because I feel I didn’t work hard enough or it is not good enough. But that’s past now it’s more about progress than perfection. Now I have courage to play despite my fear.
How important is music in your life?
It is probably one of the most important things in my life. Music is a story, a frequency that I always want to be involved with, it’s a universal language, it’s the one language that no matter what language you speak we all relate to. I feel that music does connect people, one way or another, music has actually been how I have met a lot of people in my life because I was always chasing the music. I was very stuck on certain genres of music but now I try to listen as much different music as possible. There is good music and bad music, I’m not gonna dispute that but I don’t wanna feel boxed, in brackets. Basically to me music is crafting my personality, it’s making me more open-minded because I choose to be like that with the music I listen to, it makes me more accepting of different cultures and different people.
Do you have any gurus or mentors?
No one is mentoring me, I’m mentoring myself (laughter). I actually aspire to certain DJ and producer by the name of Hot Since82, I even made a hotsince86 mix (the year I was born) in a commemoration. The reason I like him is that every song he makes is quality, he’s not famous in the sense like David Guetta, he is like underground famous and that’s what I aspire to. I don’t want to be like famous to walk down the street without wearing mask.
If you were supposed to say what kind of music is stuck in your head what would that be?
The genre that I resonate with the most is house and I like dubstep. I feel that house has certain soul. I used to listen a lot of hip-hop, I can quote you rhymes but I found that the message of the song doesn’t resonate good with me, they talk about violence and guns and bitches and jewellery and bling so I don’t want that to resonate with my character.
How do you get inspired?
I get inspired sometimes through dreams like I hear an amazing song in my dream and I wake up and I have to make this song, I can hear the melody and all that in my head but when I start making it, it sounds completely different than in the dream. So a lot of the time it is not really an inspiration for certain song it’s more a motivation. Sometimes I have to force myself to so I literally have to write it down on a piece of paper: produce a song today.
What is your creative process?
I try not to keep it confined to certain methods.Sometimes I will just have an idea and I will be walking down the street and I can’t really compose anything so I would take my phone out and I would record some sounds just so I can remember it for later but if I’m ready to start composing then I genuinely just play around, I try to keep it fun otherwise it’s not worth it.
What kind of influence is visible in your productions?
I’m influenced by European house and by American hip-hop. I like to think that my music is international because I try gaining influence from around the world.
You get up and …?
My alarm is a dubstep song by Dirty Laundry, it’s a really catchy song, I like the beat. I’ve programmed my alarm to have an affirmation so in order to switch off the alarm I have to read something really positive to start the day off and then I make a coffee, I pray and I write down my hit list for the day.
The best music moment?
My best moment is usually the last song I’m working on because I never know how people will respond to it. It may sound decent to me for now but later I’m gonna be dissatisfied with it and then I will be working on something else and that will be the best moment, it’s always a now thing, the best moment is usually now.
What’s the plan?
I wanna have my music really well exposed and I want to play on big festivals. Being DJ is the best way I know how to push my music further, it’s a brand thing.
How are you making it real?
I mustn’t forget that my life is a movie, that’s how I came up with the name. The main character has to reach that point of victory, he has to accomplish his dream, I’m the main character and I won’t stop till then, till I catch that rabbit. It’s gonna have a happy ending, trust me.
Author of photographs: https://www.facebook.com/ogi.ancevski