AKA Block

Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience. 

My name is Tim Blok. I’m 9070 days old as I type this. I was born on the 13th of February 1993 in The Netherlands. I grew up in a diaper and cougar filled suburb of Amsterdam called Amstelveen. There were only two places I slept as a baby; my father’s moving Citroën DS or my neighbor’s dog’s basket, any other place was a place of sleeplessness and tears. I spent my allowance on contraband high in E-numbers, sugar and artificial flavoring. I would buy this from a candy vending-machine at the local supermarket and hid it from my parents in a duplo bucket on the attic. My plan was to fill the bucket like a treasure chest, but my mom found it before it reached the top. During recess, I once jumped over six toddlers in my inline skates and landed on the seventh. I switched to skateboarding, because it was cooler. My family moved to Barcelona when I was nine years old. I attended BFIS where my art teacher, Mr. Magaña, introduced me to Salvador Dali. I got into painting and later fell in love with graffiti. I knew then and there that art would rule my life. The creative enthusiasm that Dali sparked within me eventually manifested as music when I wrote my first song.

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Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience and skills.

My music career started as an attempt to get the girls, I’m not sure who told me but I remember a low cracking voice telling me “Master the guitar and you’ll get the girls.” My first show I was to play a guitar solo at my high school’s talent show in the local theater, I freaked out and decided holding a lighter under the fire alarm in the dressing room would be a great way to get out of it. It worked but I overlooked a camera in the corner, I got a huge fine for making the fire department pull out and nearly got expelled. I’m over my stage fright now, haha! I spent a good three years as a teenager trying to break through with my old band, 3rd Floor Magic, we had some sick highlights! My favorite was playing support for the Gym Class Heroes in Amsterdam. I produced and wrote the songs for the band, but as soon as a song didn’t fit the band I’d give up on the idea. When we broke up, I signed a publishing deal with CTM Imagem, that allowed me to write and explore all genres from rock to EDM and spent a solid three years trying to become the world’s next Max Martin, chasing results and imitating hits made me feel very creatively unfulfilled. After that failed attempt I decided to spend all my time and energy on what I felt was authentic to me, instead of trying to copy the Top 40 stuff.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song. 

I’m not sure as what genre Far Side of the Moon would qualify, I try not to be too bothered by genres, but I’m comfortable calling it Future or Contemporary R&B. Upcoming releases will have influences from different genres, but will generally rely on hip hop and R&B driven productions.

When I wrote Far Side of the Moon I just distanced myself from a very unhealthy relationship with my ex. Neither of us was willing to admit it at the time, but she went to rehab right after and I went to LA to write and that’s where I eventually wrote this song. It’s very strange to wake up alone after months of falling asleep together and took some getting used to. The day I met up with Satta for the session I read a line from a novel by Haruki Murakami, ‘She might as well be on the far side of the moon.’ That resonated very strongly with me at that moment because I had no idea where she was or how she was doing. That ended up becoming the subject of the song.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business. 

I like to think of myself as an all round chameleon when it comes to genres, songwriting and production. My computer is my main instrument and I thrive as a collaborator. I absolutely love working together. I am also forcing myself to create independently more often because I end up with an uncompromising sound, which hopefully people will enjoy in the nearby future. Most of the downs I’ve had in the industry have come from my own high expectations. I’ve had countless moments in which I absolutely, without a doubt, believed the song or the idea I had created was going to be the next big thing. Looking back I think I’ve now attained the skill to look at my own music more objectively and understand why those songs never did anything. I’m learning to let go of the pressure to succeed and am trying to create from a place of authenticity (my favorite word) without expectation. I mean, at the end of the day I want people to listen to my music. Having said that, I also want that music to honestly represent who I am and what I felt in the moment I created it.

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot. 

Members of my band differ, I’m lucky to have loads of friends all over the world so big chance that when I start playing gigs you’ll see a different band in London than in LA or Amsterdam. I wrote Far Side of the Moon at my friend Pat Kudej’s house in Hollywood, there were a lot of good vibes in the room at the time and I remember how natural the whole creative process was. I started with the basic arrangement, my friend Don was humming the chorus melody as I was working on the arrangement and I think Satta and I simultaneously jumped on that melody right away. I think we might’ve spent six or seven hours on it that day, I recorded some guitars on it with my go-to guitar guy Axe Hessel when I got back to Amsterdam but other than that I didn’t change too much after the first session.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal. 

I think I got paid for my music for the first time six years ago, so I would say that’s a good moment to mark my entry into the music industry since. I’ve had such a wide range of experiences in the music industry. I would say the most valuable lesson I learned during the time with my band is that of instrumentation. What does which instrument do where in the song? That has helped me tremendously in my productions. During my quest to become Max Martin I would say I learned a lot about the value of melody in different genres and avoiding cliches in songwriting which hopefully people will hear haha! I have many future goals like playing Coachella, winning a Grammy and having an MTV Award being ripped from my hands by Kanye. Beyond that, creating as many possible connections between me and my demographic, having a positive influence on people’s daily lives by honoring my sonic pallet is always the goal.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing. 

Most of my teenage years I had a pretty hard time, struggling with drug abuse that came hand in hand with sketchy ‘friends’ and other life choices that made everyone around me go ‘This dude is useless and is going to be a fucking bum or dead by the time he’s in his 20’s’. I think half of my motivation comes from a place of wanting to prove those people wrong and the other half is genuine love and admiration for this universe and everything and everyone in it.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song. 

Build a time machine, and write all the hit songs you’ve ever heard before the original writers actually write the songs. I’m pretty sure that’s how The Beatles and Max Martin have been doing things for years.

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.

Cliches are cliches for a reason. Love is abundant. Avoid conversations about pineapple on pizza.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist. 

I would say to any artist, upcoming or not… There’s a quote by Martha Graham in which I find a lot of comfort when I’m doubting myself: “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” Basically just keep going, even when you don’t believe in yourself.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained. 

I made some profit for the first time this year, that was pretty awesome.

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List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send message to them via this platform. 

I really need to get some airplay haha! (laughing and crying at the same time) Thank you Noisey NL for doing the premiere of Far Side of the Moon! Souf, you’re that guy!

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio. 

I write my lyrics by scrolling through an endless list of sentences, words and rhymes that I acquired in daily life. I write everything down, things I read on the street, books, poems and combine that with whatever is happening in my head when I’m creating. I rarely record myself with other people around not out of shame or anything like that but I just prefer engineering myself so I can move at the pace I want to go. I produce my own music and I rarely deviate from the following procedure:

1. Groove

2. Chords for verse/pre and bridge

3. Song arrangement

4. Melodies

5. Words

6. Bass

7. Record and I tend to mix along the way.

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Name five biggest artists that you like. 

Anderson .Paak

KAYTRANADA

Kendrick Lamar

NAO

Erykah Badu

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so. 

I collaborate quite a lot and will be releasing songs with a lot of my friends in the nearby future. I would love to work with Anderson .Paak, NAO, KAYTRANADA, Pharrel, Mac Miller, Goldlink, Tom Misch, Childish Gambino, THEY., Vic Mensa, Schoolboy Q, Little Dragon, Russ, Sabrina Claudio… Pff I can go on for a while!

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network. 

www.linktr.ee/akablock

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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music. 

www.linktr.ee/akablock

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day. 

I remember the sadness and disappointment in my parent’s eyes when I was at my all time low as an addict, that was life changing. My happiest day was June 2nd 2017.

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

I can think of a lot of fun things but first I’d pay back my parents for everything they’ve done for me. I find it hard to stay in one place for too long so I probably wouldn’t buy a house but would probably just enjoy not having the stress of money pressure. How great would it be to just have a lot of money in your account and being free to travel and invest in your own music endeavors?

Published by

Kolade Olamide

I am a poet , writer, beat maker, chef, songwriter, web designer, music promoter,digital marketer, blogger and director.

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