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Made With Tracklib: Mike Mago - Wake Up

Made With Tracklib: Mike Mago - Wake Up

“Boem, klatsch, kick, snare.” Not only sounds important to hip-hop and sampling, but also to Dutch DJ and producer Mike Mago: he started off as part of DJ collective Boemklatsch in the early 2000s, which later evolved into his own dance record label, BMKLTSCH RCRDS. Besides that, he now also releases tracks via electronic music powerhouse Spinnin’ Records. His new track, “Wake Up”, features a First Choice vocal sample off Tracklib.

By DannyVeekens

How would you describe your own style of sampling?
Since I also write songs, I think my work is somewhere in between sample-based composing and straight-forward songwriting. It differs a lot actually. Sometimes I create a harmony for strings, for example, and have it replayed by a violin or cello player. Sometimes I don’t like the entire track from the vocalist, but just a bit, so I'll use that as a sample. And other times I have a vocal sample and use that melody or vibe as a starting point for the writing of a new top layer.

That indeed sounds like a lot of variation. How’s that for more recent music, such as your new track “Wake Up”?
I now tend to lean more towards using samples as I like the process of digging, finding and trying to fit a sample just the way I like it. It’s more of an individual journey: every sample triggers a different world of new ideas. It’s so awesome if you get that “win-feeling” when you find the right sample and change the whole feeling of that in your own track.

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5:23

Were you already familiar with the First Choice track before sampling it?
Not at all. I didn’t even know how the original track sounded till after I finished my track! It was just one of the vocal tracks I downloaded, and it ended up working on my piano chords. After I finished my track, I checked the original “Wake Up To Me” to see if my track didn’t sound too much the same. I was really surprised it was a really slow, ballade kind of track and happy that my take was totally different.

So you didn’t even listen to the original before sampling it? Interesting, can you tell me a bit about the ‘digital digging’ process then?
In most cases, I have the first draft of a track: some chords, a lead, and the beat. Most of the time I feel it needs something to add a bit more life or soul to the track. I then check the key of the track and go through all the vocals, guitars, and other tracks in that key or around that key. I download a few and then see what works–First Choice’s “Wake Up To Me” was one of those. Working with Tracklib for that is great fun and something that I have incorporated into my production process.

"Sampling in house music is way different than in hip-hop. There's not always a vocalist to keep the listener’s attention, so the sample has to carry a lot more."

Mike Mago

Your old "gang" Boemklatsch, over a decade and a half ago, was partly grounded in hip-hop. Does that background in hip-hop still influence your way of producing and sampling?
Yes, definitely! I actually started DJing because all my friends were hip-hop DJs. I didn’t want to do the same as them, so I started collecting records that were used as samples in hip-hop. I still have loads of rare grooves, disco, jazz & funk records from that era, and I use them every now and then in my tracks. There's so much good music available and sometimes it’s just that certain sample that can breathe life into a track. I always explore chopping up a sample during my production process.

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6:18

How is sampling different for you now than in those days?
Sampling in house music is way different than in hip-hop. In a hip-hop beat, a sample can work really well as a vibe or “energy” to get the rapper going. In house music, there's not always a vocalist to keep the listener’s attention, so the sample has to carry a lot more.

As a producer yourself, what do you think of Tracklib?
It can be a world of endless possibilities and is a good asset for creating music. Even if you end up not using the sample, it’s good to generate more ideas. I'd recommend it to anybody, although I wish I had the samples all for myself [Laughs]. I hope the digital crate to dig from gets bigger and bigger!

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