Dutch artist Malvae had it made. Born in the Netherlands, he moved to New Zealand at a very young age, and grew into a passionate surfer. When that’s what you’re into, there’s really no better place.
But growing up in a musical household also left something else in him. That passion for crafting sound led him to return to the Netherlands to pursue his passion for music and sound at the Rock Academy.
There, he learned to hone the sounds that floated through his head into a cohesive vision. Now graduated from the university, he’s making and releasing music full-time.
His newest track, “Running Away,” is the culmination of these efforts, creating a deeply layered and complex bass sound that’s sure to reveal something new with every listen.
We also got a chance to speak with Malvae, who’s real name is Jim van der Breggen, a bit about his music, his day-to-day life, and where he’s going from here.
Can you introduce us to yourself? Where are you from?
My name Is Jim van der Breggen, I am 25 years old. I was raised in New Zealand but born in the Netherlands. I have a passion for music, surfing, wildlife, and nature and I just finished my bachelor of music at the Rock Academy in the Netherlands.
How did you get into music? What made you want to pursue it as a career?
Even though I was living New Zealand I was still listening to the music scene back home. Electronic music has always been around in the Netherlands and was not a huge thing in New Zealand at the time. This influenced my decision to find out how it was made. My parents were always playing it at home. I practically learned to walk while listening to it.
After learning to play the guitar for a few years, I started with FL Studio. But it wasn’t until I started taking lessons in Ableton, when I moved back to my home country, that I really started getting into producing music. Ableton really gave me the freedom I was looking for and I have been working in this DAW ever since.
Back when I lived in New Zealand, I was really into electronic house music, as nobody was listening to this over there yet, and I thought I was doing something original. When I moved back to the Netherlands, I discovered that everybody was making this, and I found it harder to be myself within the boundaries of this sound.
It was around this time that I came upon Flume’s “You and Me” remix of Disclosure which really inspired me. I had never listened to this sound before, and it was like a bridge for me to get into bass music. It’s like my music taste had completely widened. It made me realize that it was fine to just make what you feel and don’t have to live up to the hypes around you. In the Netherlands, this sound was not common at all during this period, so it is funny that I then started listening to the other side of the globe again.
I started to pursue it as a career because I wanted people to feel what I feel when I make the music. For the past four years, it is all I have been doing. It’s like a way to translate your emotions for other people to understand and feel them and I find that very interesting. It also helped that opportunities just kept on unfolding as I was working on my music.
I was very lucky to be selected to join the Rock Academy in the Netherlands, which is an audition-based university. Here, I really had the room to work on my own creative ideas and sound while being guided and learning about the industry. It was one of my teachers that asked, “Jim, why don’t you record your own sounds?” because I was already leaning to this idea by downloading organic samples. That was really a golden tip for me I think.
What does your day-to-day life look like?
When I wake up I usually meditate. This helps me to clear my mind and keeps me focused on my goals. I try to work out or go for a run every other day as well. Depending on the day of the week and schedule I have, I usually open Ableton and try to make three new ideas within one hour. When I listen back to them, I choose one of these ideas and continue working on that in the afternoon. Of course, this depends on if I have existing songs that need priority, but it is something that gets me to make new songs at a quick pace.
I am currently taking the time to work on a lot of new music, and that is all I have been doing for the past weeks and will be doing all summer. I am also preparing my live performance for the upcoming gigs.
A couple of times a week I travel to Utrecht to see my girlfriend. It’s a one hour train ride. It gets me out of the studio and I find it inspiring to work on music in the train. If I was still living in New Zealand, I would be surfing daily. Sadly, it is something which is not an option here and I miss it a lot. Hopefully, there will soon be a change in that though!
Tell us a bit about the new release, how does it build on what you’ve done in the past? What’s new?
As with my previous release “How It Hurts,” I made almost the entire song from sounds I recorded from my mouth. I really wanted to see how far I could go with experimenting. Almost every little melody and percussion element originated from my mouth. The new thing is that this is the first time I also sang the lyrics myself. Even though it’s just one sentence and very manipulated, it is something I want to continue doing in the future.
The inspiration came from becoming aware of what we are doing to the natural environment around us. I think that this growing awareness in me is expressed especially in the drop. While making the song it was like an emotional fight of what I should do. To run away or get involved.
What do you hope for in the future in music?
For me personally, I want to influence the world in a positive way with my music and projects around it. I hope to open people’s hearts and inspire them to do the same in their own way. I want to work more with stories around my music of where the sounds and samples came from and I hope to reach as many people as I can.
Who is your music inspiration?
I grew up listening to a lot of different music that I still listen to today. To name a few Bob Marley, Moby, Faithless, Deep Forest, Manu Chao and Buena Vista Social Club are all artists I still listen to that indirectly inspire my music.
To name a few artists I really look up to in the bass scene are Machinedrum, Tokimonsta, Flume, Sober Rob, San Holo. Here in the Netherlands, it’s amazing to see that there is a scene in bass and beats music rising, which was not here previously. With many aspiring artists evolving, it is creating opportunities for all of us locally, which is great to be a part of.
I also think that the boundaries within this type of music are so extremely wide, because all these artists have a distinct sound, while they still share something in common.
What’s next for you? More music?
More music for sure! I am also playing a couple of live shows the next months as I’ve been selected for the Popronde, which is the biggest traveling music festival in the Netherlands. I’m planning a few trips to find new inspiration as well, but I currently still have a lot of new music that want to finish first before I start with the next story.