TMSV is far from unknown, yet an artist I’ve been meaning to feature since those eastern flutes on ‘Myth’ caught my ear back in 2010. The impeccable drums and oscillating sub movement featured many a time as the narrative opener for DJ Youngsta, and are now the trademark elements behind the TMSV sound. The record, backed with the equally impressive ‘Flow’, not only secured a third release with the Black Box / Box Clever family, but the approval from the underground community as the ‘producer to watch’. Perhaps a phrase that is often thrown around, but would evidently prove true. Further releases on Black Box and Box Clever, collaborations with DJ Madd and June Miller, and countless remixes pleasantly appearing in mixes and DJ sets, TMSV consistently delivers value over hype. With two essential releases around the corner, I thought it was about time to catch up with the Dutchman and ask him a few questions about his wholehearted commitment to music.
TRUSIK: 2013 has perhaps been a little slow for you on the release front, partly due to educational commitments. How have you successfully juggled between building beats, studying for a degree and managing a social life?
TMSV: Depends on your definition of successful, I guess. I’m glad the studying is over for a while, but unfortunately I do feel like focusing on Uni has slowed down the music side of things. That’s why I’m having a bit of a break from studying for now. I want to see what I can do with music when I actually have time to really dive in. I’ve always managed to maintain a social life, fortunately. I have some good friends for whom I gladly give up a night of making tunes from time to time.
TRUSIK: Interestingly you wrote your Bachelor thesis on sampling and copyright law, in which you received top marks. What was interesting for you about the paper, and can you briefly summarise your conclusions?
TMSV: I was glad to finally be able to combine music and studying by writing about sampling (something that’s given birth to so many genres, including the ones I love so much). I basically concluded that Dutch (and European, because it’s mostly the same throughout the EU) copyright law isn’t equipped to deal with sampling. The term and the practice are virtually never mentioned in any laws, books or cases. Here in the Netherlands, sampling someone else’s copyrighted work is always a copyright infringement, and while I do think that everyone who creates art should be the one who decides what happens with that art, I think the lack of a legal framework only confuses people. This has lead to record companies asking crazy money for sample clearance, and to people releasing music with samples without authorisation, because most of the time, nobody will notice.
TRUSIK: Now that you’ve finished your Bachelors degree, and plan on taking a masters next year, what are your thoughts about the future, in terms of a career? How much does your music have a influence in the decision making process?
TMSV: In terms of a career, I’m not sure to be honest. The reason I’m not studying for the rest of the year is that I want to see if I can keep progressing in my music career, so basically to see if I can live off of playing tunes in clubs while making music (semi) full time. I’ve had to say no to a lot of opportunities over the past couple of years, so I hope I can make something out of it. If it works out, cool, I’ll see how long it lasts. If not, I’ll go back and get my Law degree. In the future I think I’d like to do research and write about stuff, or maybe help other musicians with legal problems they may face.
TRUSIK: It was only 2010 when you launched into the public eye with your debut track ‘Subconscious Brain’ on Tube10. Shortly after, you found a permanent home with the Black Box family. Looking back over the past couple of years, how have you progressed in your approach to music production? How much of this has contributed to the development of your current sound?
TMSV: Above all I think that I’ve become more efficient. Apart from that I have to say that my approach has always been experimental in the ‘let’s throw some stuff together and see what works’ sense. Of course I’m better at getting the technical side of music right, as well as the musical side, so I guess I’ve progressed. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to release on several reggae labels as well, because it’s given me the opportunity to work on things beside ’ typical’ dubstep sounding stuff.
TRUSIK: I’ve clocked a healthy amount of TMSV remixes emerging from your studio over the past year. Is this an angle of production you enjoy challenging yourself with? How do you typically approach the break down of a remix?
TMSV: I love doing remixes, especially of reggae and dancehall tunes. I usually take the vocal and get a bassline and some kind of melody going, just to lay the groundwork (the key it’s in, general vibe, etc), then get the drums right and fill it up with effects and all that. When I get all the stems (not just the acapella), I tend to import them into my DAW, take out stuff I don’t like, as well as the drums, and proceed from there.
TRUSIK: Talking of remixes, you must be rather chuffed with LX ONE’s remix of Haze?
TMSV: Yeah, it’s really cool to have someone like that remix a tune of mine. It was already half done when I first heard it was gonna be an LX One remix. J:Kenzo asked him to do it, so it was a pleasant surprise for me.
TRUSIK: With your Artikal single set to be a banger, you also have an impressive EP dropping on Box Clever later this year. The record packs a diverse flow of sounds, ranging from intricate drum grooves to bass bin stompers and synth heavy rollers. As your biggest project yet, were you inspired to push a conceptual aesthetic when selecting tracks?
TMSV: Well to be honest I wanted to take this opportunity to get new music out, but also the older stuff that I had wanted to release for years. People have been asking about tunes like ‘Crashing’ and ‘Explain’ for a long time, and to be able to release tunes like that through Box Clever is very nice. I also wanted to show a bit of diversity and put one of my 85 BPM tunes on there, as well as keeping it as diverse as I could within the Black Box / Box Clever style, by including 140 BPM tunes with various vibes.
TRUSIK: Some of your contemporaries have either released (or are finishing) their first album. Is this something you have given any thought to?
TMSV: Yes I have. There were plans for a TMSV album, but I just didn’t have the time to make an entire album this past year. If I do make an album someday, I want it to be special. I know that if I had made an album during Uni, it would’ve been a collection of tunes rather than an interesting album.
TRUSIK: The DJ lifestyle has its moments. Can you share with the readers your favourite anecdote?
TMSV: The two times I’ve played in the UK were eventful.. The aftermath of Stink Like Sock vs Black Box in Cambridge included me opening a taxi driver’s door (much to DJ Madd’s amusement), not realising that the driver’s seat is on the right side over there.. In Manchester I was so tired I sleepwalked and woke up when I heard the hotel room door slam shut behind me.. I had to go downstairs in my boxers to ask for a new key. My favourite moment was the Black Box boat party at Outlook in 2012 though. My friends had made a huge cardboard banner, which they held up during my set. It was a funny and memorable moment during what was probably the best gig I’ve played yet.
TRUSIK: What else can we expect from TMSV in 2013, is there any forthcoming material, or other interesting projects you can inform the readers on?
TMSV: At the moment I’m working on lots of 80 – 100 BPM stuff, as well as house-y music. I’m also trying to keep the 140 tunes as diverse as I can, and I’m going to focus on reggae-inspired stuff even more.
TRUSIK: Take us through the mix you put together for us.
TMSV: I think the mix shows roughly what I’m into at the moment. It’s not as reggae and grime (sort of) heavy as a set of mine in a club would be, and that’s because I had home and road listening in my mind when choosing which tunes to include. It’s not one of those ‘100% unreleased’ mixes, because first of all I don’t see the point of those, and second, I don’t have that many unreleased tunes at my disposal, haha. I chose music that I love, and mixed it in a way I hope sounds pleasing to everyone’s ears. At about two-thirds in, I switch it up and get into 85-100 BPM territory. I’ve really been into that sound lately. Om Unit’s label Cosmic Bridge and Kromestar’s downtempo stuff are very inspiring to me at the moment. I’m working on something with Danny Scrilla right now. He’s been making amazing music at these tempos, so I’m glad we could start working together.
TRUSIK: Finally, your five favourite tracks at the moment…?
TMSV: In no particular order…
Kahn & Neek – Chevy
Om Unit (feat. Tamara Blessa) – Dark Sunrise (Kromestar’s Lean’in Mix)
Stimming – November Morning
Alpha Steppa (feat. Lutan Fyah) – Two Sacred Swords (DJ Madd Remix)
Mala – Stand Against War