[Interview] Maarten Stok: The first musician aboard Tara

© Maarten Stok

“I entertain the possibility that this might be a life changing experience”. Maarten Stok is the next resident artist aboard Tara. We interviewed the future « Taranaute » to get to know and understand him and his work better and find out about his feelings regarding his futur experience aboard.

Could you introduce yourself in a few words? What are your story,  your passions and your hobbies?

My name is Maarten, a Dutch professional musician and scientist. I also sometimes write poetry since to me that’s the most expressive and musical form of language use. Ever since my youth I’ve enjoyed discovering the world around me. Since I was surrounded by musicians all the time, the most sensible way to express my fascinations, love and thoughts has been through melodies and songs I study the Life Sciences (biochemistry) at the University of Delft and of Leiden. Although the left part of my brain was satisfied with the formulae and theory, I discovered, the right brain wasn’t. This is why I wrote and studied music in the nighttime, first by myself and later at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam. I joined (inter)national touring bands. When I’m not touring, I enjoy teaching children music and chemistry. I feel truly blessed now that I have the chance to combine all these aspects of life in this Tara Expedition adventure.



Portrait of Maarten Stok – © Reinier / RVDA.nl

Could you present your work? Your aspiration, your music ?

I’d suggest you listen to it before I burden you with my opinion.Check out my band and my solo work .

I’m a pop musician with a love for the 60’s and 70’s. I love simple truths in pop music. I believe it’s a very expressive artform wherein emotions can directly be presented by both song structure and timbre. When I work in a band, I try to conjure emotions and capture them in sound and lyrics. On the other hand, when I work alone I tend to write instrumental music which may be very serene. For me that music flows from a meditative state, a thoughtflow that has both a melody and a rhythm. For TARA I also aspire to do field recordings on board of the ship!

What is your story, your link with the sea ?

I literally swim whenever and wherever I can. My latest passion is freediving which I learned from the incredible Carlos Coste. I’m a sailor and diver and when it’s cold, I go ice skating. I tend to believe that my love for water emerges from a fiery personality (ask my bandmates). Opposites attract !

What made you want to join Tara ? How do you prepare for it ?

TARA has a connection with music, science and water which got me very excited. Above all I really support this expeditions purpose. I’m a small link in a movement which creates awareness of the fragility and beauty of the aquatic ecosystem. I’m honoured to be part of this.



Maarten Stok in concert


How do you imagine your residence aboard Tara ?

One of my aspirations is to dive into field recording while at tara: to capture the voyage. My goal is to capture the flow of Tara in both sound and song. To create an EP which enables the listener to dive into the expedition on an auditory level. A soundtrack to this journey. To enable everyone to sail away for a few moments.

I have a really hard time picturing myself on this awesome Schooner. Where will I sleep? Where will I watch the stars at night? I dream about it regularly but man, this is going to be wild… I’m used to physical labour on board. I’m used to doing scientific research and I’m used to writing music. But to combine this all in one really blows my mind. The expedition is bigger than me. I will be humble in the presence of this project. I imagine one big go-with-the-flow experience.

When you hear Tara how does that make you feel ? What does that do to you ?

I’m a bit emotional when I think of the weeks ahead. Being on a sailing boat is always a humbling experience. A lot of our daily struggles become futile when you’re surrendered to the elements of the ocean and the wind. You have to commit yourself to the journey ahead. I’m also very curious. I want to be a meaningful addition to the expedition. . Also I find it hard to imagine that these weeks will be my only involvement in this project. I hope I can be of service when I return home. I entertain the possibility that this might be a life changing experience.

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