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20 Questions With Mau P: How His Hit ‘Drugs From Amsterdam’ ’Opened Doors I’ve Been Banging on for Years’

todayDecember 12, 2022 1

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A shining example of how one song can launch a career, Dutch producer Mau P hit the stratosphere in 2022 with his “Drugs From Amsterdam,” an omnipresent global club hit since its August release.

Based on a simple conceptual premise — “Off my face, don’t know where I am/ ‘Cause I got my drugs from Amsterdam” — the sexy tech-house heater helped cement the ubiquity of the genre this year, while also making the 26-year-old producer born Maurits Westveen part of the global conversation. It also garnered him both a flurry of bookings, along with congratulatory DMs from scene titans like David Guetta and Tiësto.

Out via Lee Foss’ Repopulate Mars label, the song hit No. 1 on the Beatport overall chart shortly after its release, currently has 5.6 million official on-demand U.S. streams according to Luminate and is in its 11th week on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs. It also gained additional momentum with a recently released edit from Dutch techno powerhouse Reinier Zonnefeld.

A producer since age 18, Westveen is gearing up to release his followup single in early 2023, and in the meantime will play some of his first U.S. shows over the holidays, with not one but two New Year’s Eve sets in Southern California (at Proper NYE in San Diego and Insomniac’s Countdown in San Bernardino), before a spring run of U.S. club shows — during which Mau P will surely demonstrate how music is the greatest controlled substance of all.

1. Where are you in the world right now, and what’s the setting like?

I’m in Amsterdam right now, working on lots of new music. The weather really sucks, but the vibes are still there.

2. What is the first album or piece of music you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?

I think it was either deadmau5‘s For Lack Of A Better Name or Stevie Wonder‘s Talking Book. Both albums were CDs, and I must have been 13 or 14 years old. I was just getting into dance music, but at the same time I was also super interested in the music that my parents listened to.

3. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid, and what do or did they think of what you do for a living now?

Both of my parents are musicians actually. My dad was a saxophone player — he contributed to a lot of songs and played with many different live acts. Next to that he was a conductor and later on he mainly worked as an arranger. He met my mom at the conservatory where he taught music, at that time she actually was one of his students! She’s a wonderful singer and has been in a lot of different bands throughout her career.

Sadly, my dad passed away when I was 18, and he didn’t get to witness the things that I’ve achieved, but I still make all of my music in his recording studio. My mom thinks my dad would’ve been really proud. I know that she is. 

4. What’s the first non-gear thing you bought for yourself when you started making money as an artist?

I believe I bought a really expensive backpack for when I would go on tour; I was convinced that I’d make it as an artist and would need that bag. Funny thing, last month I actually got a new backpack because I needed a new one, as this first one started to fall apart. 

5. If you had to recommend one album for someone looking to get into dance music, what would you give them?

Wow, that’s tough. Just one? Daft Punk‘s Homework, Calvin Harris’s 18 Months, Disclosure‘s Settle and the deadmau5 album I mentioned earlier – the one that got me started. Oh and Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

6. What’s the last song you listened to?

SIZZLIN” by The Last Days Of Pompeii.

7. If you could go back in time to any era of dance music history, to when would you go and why?

2000s trance era for sure. I’d do anything to be in a crowd for a Tiësto set around that time. 

8. “Drugs From Amsterdam” has been such a massive hit this year. What was the first moment that you knew you had a monster song on your hands?

Probably when I played it for the first time. I did a show at a club in London, and the crowd was really cool, so I decided to try it out. When I dropped it the whole place just turned upside down. After posting a video of that on my Instagram I started to get a lot of messages about it, and from there on the rollercoaster just never ended.  

9. How has the song changed your life?

It opened up a lot of doors for me that I’ve been banging on for years. I’ve been making dance music since I was 18 — I’m 26 now — and I’ve always wondered how the big guys got to where they are. I was like, “Why is it not me?” or “What am I doing wrong?” I guess it’s all about finding your groove and your sound. I am now 100% inspired and comfortable in the music that I make and ready to give the world a lot more. It’s also so cool to see the big DJs and the whole dance music community support me. I feel like we’re all on a mission together to push the scene forward, and I’m super happy to be part of that. 

10.  What would the younger you think about what your life is like now?

He would be screaming and jumping around for sure.

11.  What else do you love about Amsterdam, besides being able to get drugs there?

I love the people and of course all of my friends that live in the city. I love the energy and I specifically love the city at night. 

12. In terms of controlled substances, which one is your favorite?

The ones from Amsterdam. 

13. I know quite a few iconic DJs have hit you up looking to collaborate. Who’s your dream collaboration?

I’d love to work with Skrillex. I’ve been following him for so, so long, and trying to get a glimpse of his production techniques and the way he manipulates sounds. I’ve always felt like he’s been sent from another world to teach us how it’s really done.

14. What’s the best part about being a hugely popular DJ? The worst?

The best part is the feeling that DJing gives me. The feeling when I’m the one building the mood in a room through music. You’re the one taking everyone on a journey, and every time it’s a new challenge of how you’re going to do that.

The worst part probably is having to control your dopamine. You get so much attention from people mixed with adrenaline from actually being on stage. I’m happy that my first real hit song is happening after doing shows for a couple of years. You really need to be mentally strong and stable for this.

15. How do you plan to follow up “Drugs From Amsterdam”? Are you feeling any pressure, given that it’s such a huge track?

Sometimes I definitely feel the pressure, but I always come to the conclusion that the only way to move forward is to get into the studio and have fun. Stop thinking or worrying. Mess around and make new tunes. The follow up to “Drugs From Amsterdam,” “Gimme That Bounce’” was made in the exact same way. I wasn’t thinking about anything. I wasn’t trying to follow any rules. I was just in the moment creating something that I thought sounded really cool. I’ve been playing it in my sets for a while now and the response is insane, I can’t wait for it to be released early next year. 

16. Have you gotten a chance to play much in the U.S. yet, and if so, how do U.S. audiences compare to European audiences?

Not really. Definitely not with this new sound that I’m doing right now, so I have yet to find out. I’m actually going to play Proper in San Diego during NYE. In February I’ll be back for my North America Tour, I’m really looking forward to that one. You can find me in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and a lot of other cities!

17. How do you unwind after a big show?

You don’t. You keep on partying. 

18. What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?

Changed my name to Mau P.

19. Who’s been your greatest mentor, and what’s the best advice they gave you?

My dad. He taught me everything that I know about music until I was 18 years old. I don’t really have any best advice from him, but I made him a promise to one day get a gold record plaque for one of my songs so that I can hang it next to his.

20. One piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Stop overthinking and just do whatever you think is cool.

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