According to the dictionary, a maverick is a person who shows independence of thought, especially by refusing to adhere to the policies of a group to which he or she belongs. We’re not sure if Wim Thijs chose his artist second self because of the previous definition - for all we know he might be a fan of Tom Cruise’s persona in Top Gun - but given his past with Addicted Kru Sound and now choosing a solo adventure as Maverick, it’s not so far-fetched. After turning heads with some genre-bending productions together with Selah Sue and Poldoore, the producer has now signed on Sony Music. 2017 will see several releases by the Leuven based producer and we can expect collaborations with Selah Sue, Woodie Smalls, Birsen (Hydrogen Sea), Shogun (UK) and many more. High time to ask Maverick what’s up!
Hi Wim! Congrats for signing to Sony Music! Does this mean we can expect more releases coming from you this year?
"Thanks! I’ve been in the studio for a long time now, and with my recent signing it’s time to put some of that music out there. There are quite a few tracks that I consider to be finished, so you can expect a lot more music to drop in 2017. I’ve pushed myself not to wait too long to release new material, because that prevents me from starting to dislike some of the work I’ve made. I tend to evaluate my earlier work as “less good” after a while. So, yes new music coming at you soon!"
What sort of release are you planning? An EP or an album?
"As my Maverick-project is pretty unknown, I didn’t want to put out a full album from the start. Albums tend to create some sort of momentum, that’s a good thing… but keeping that momentum is something else. People these days have a very short attention span (guilty myself) and as Maverick is a fairly new name, I want to be able to release new music every month and keep the listener interested. This also gives me a lot more freedom as a producer, I can still work on my music while I am releasing tracks."
Collaborations are a recurring theme in Maverick productions. Are you increasingly triggered by ideas from other artists?
"Collaboration is indeed the common thread in most of the tracks I will be releasing this year. I love the excitement when things come together and where 1 + 1 equals 3. It’s also interesting to be able to see your music from a different perspective, and in working with other artists that tends to happen. They look at my production from a different angle and by adding their input, it somehow makes the end result so much better."
How does the creative process work for you? How do you start a new track?
"I usually start by myself in the studio, I lay down a beat or a very basic piano chord progression in Ableton Live. I fiddle around with it until the drumline and the harmonics feel right. From that moment, I start looking for a particular sound that will give the track its “feel”. Most of the time I will start replacing the piano sound with a synth or a sample and then I work my way towards the point where all the elements start to fit together. I often end up with a bunch of different versions of the same idea. It could be the same synths with a different beat, or the same beats with different samples, a slower/faster version, a different arrangement etc.. That’s the moment where I start bringing other people into the equation. If I think a vocal would be fitting, I’ll send a Soundcloud link to a singer, rapper, screamer,… If they like it I’ll invite them to my studio. The same goes for instrumentalists basically, I ask myself if the track could use some great bass, Rhodes, guitar,…? After we’ve recorded the new parts I put everything in place and hopefully the end result is satisfactory for everybody. The song usually goes back and forth a while until we’re all happy with it."
You’re not entirely new in the electronic music scene and people might know you already from Addicted Kru Sound. Why the switch to Maverick?
"I think it’s all been leading up to this moment. With AKS I had such a great time and we all learned a great deal. Maverick just feels like the logical next step. The music we made with AKS had a huge “waste your weekend” vibe. Maverick is more about “enjoy the whole week”. "
What are your most important musical influences?
"I listen to a lot of soul, hip hop, funk and electronic music. My all-time favourite will forever be The Fugees and Lauryn Hill. Further, there’s also Erykah Badu, NAS, Kaytranada, The Roots, Talib, Anderson .Paak, Jaques Brel, Oddisee, Goldlink, Frank Sinatra, Flume, 20syl, and Aretha Franklin."
Next to a producer and DJ, you’re also a project worker at Poppunt, organiser at Horst Festival, a teacher at SAE institute and you host your own Mav. parties. How do you keep your girlfriend happy?
"An agenda, cooking skills and good abs."
What long-term plans would you still like to realize?
"From a creative point of view? To be able to tell a story with a lot more creative tools than only music. To work with people from other creative domains like design, technology and cinema. I’m always in awe when projects like Gorillaz or Soulwax release new work. Or when a movie comes out that integrates all these elements seamlessly. Time will tell! Of course, I hope all the projects I’m involved in can grow and have an impact. That means more people at HORST and Mav invites, helping more (electronic) musicians at Poppunt and a hell of lot more music and beer (and Red Bull, of course)."
‘I Know’ by Maverick is out now on Sony Music. Stay on top of all things Maverick by camping at the man's website.