Dutch beatboxer MAASK: ‘I like to swim around in bass!’

Joost Maaskant, otherwise known as MAASK, is a trip-hopping, beat-boxing phenomenon from Leeuwarden in The Netherlands.


His intuitive solo performances, blending hip-hop, dubstep and underground-grade bass are all products of his vocal chords, and when combined with a looping system creates something that is distinctive as it is frenetic.

In his first foray to Scottish soil, MAASK heads up the goNORTH after-party tonight, and is an artist that must be seen to be believed. He talks to Jamie Brotherston

Joost, can you quickly describe how you discovered your ability to beatbox?

When I was 16-years-old I bought my first drum’n’bass/jungle LP. I could only listen to it at home (because you can’t put an LP in a walkman!). When I walked to school the tune stayed in my head and I wanted to listen to it again, so I started beatboxing.

How did your sound evolve to what it is today?

I was really amazed by the UK bass music sound. I always liked bass music a lot, I like to swim around in BASS! If you listen to my set you clearly hear influences from Noisia and Dope D.O.D (who come from my region in the North of The Netherlands). But, I’m also influenced by very old bluesy Ska like Laurel Aitkin and the soulful beatboxing of Reggie Watts.

Could you explain how you put a track together?

In my setup I work with digital loopers and Ableton Live. Normally I’m hanging above my equipment and improvise for an hour. Most of it comes when I discover a cool snippet of music. Around that snippet I create a song with intro, bridge, chorus, etc. Or, I have a small concept or a joke in my head and work that out.

What are your expectations of Scotland?

I’m really looking forward to it, I’ve never been in Scotland and really want to see the Loch Ness area. I’m going to try to see some nature in Scotland!

Would you describe yourself as a producer, or is your form of beatboxing something else?

I describe myself as a live performer. My work has to be seen on the stage. I always try to make a experience for the audience without a dull moment. I like to make a show, tell jokes, do unexpected things. The live feel is very important, but also the craft.

MAASK performs at the goNORTH after-show party at the Ironworks, Inverness, tonight (Thursday) – midnight – 3am. Follow MAASK’s movements at his official website.

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