A Cup of Coffee with Moos Lamerus

by Ilaria Mangiardi



man against wall
man against wall
man against wall

An uncontrollable passion for music, an entrepreneurial mindset and a deep interest in human behaviour and social psychology. On 12th March 2019, Moos launched ‘Gelukkig Maar’, a scientific search into human happiness, now also available on Apple Books and Google Play as an audio book.

A very structured thinker applying his ninja skills to all things Massive. Will he also apply them to answer our million dollar questions? Let’s find out. But first, coffee.

Hey Moos. This series is called ‘A Cup of Coffee with’ which sounds like rituals and deep conversations. Would you say that habits and relationships are essential for a happy life?

Underneath a habit or a relationship lies who we are as a person so indeed they are crucial elements for a happy life, yet the subject is far more complicated. Our inner life is shaped by biology and the environment. It’s a very complex interaction of factors that determines what kind of relationships we develop, how we nurture them or what kind of habits we form or break.

What is your weirdest ritual?

Getting up at 6 am a few days a week even though I’m not a morning person. Carving out time to learn, read and write. Every Sunday night is pizza and film. No minute is ever wasted. And within this, I include rest as well.

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Relationships nowadays are also nurtured online. What’s behind your decision of not being on social media?

It started as an unconscious decision. The conscious decision came afterwards, when I decided to keep it that way. I saw the frustration that it brought to some of the people around me. Also, I don’t really need to keep in touch with people this way. All my life is in Amsterdam. All of my friends are still here.

You’re MassiveMusic’s COO. How can a title accommodate such diversity and still be meaningful?

By trying to let the people at Massive flourish in terms of creativity and productivity in a meaningful and fun way.

How would you explain your role to a 5-year-old kid?

I want to create a nice working space for the people I work with.

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    people meditating

You’ve been working at Massive for 7 years now. Any anecdote about your beginnings? Was it your first working experience in a company?

Yes, it was my first ‘proper’ working experience in a company. It all started with a couple of coffee chats that later brought to a few job interviews.

During one of these, we went outside and ended up in a random place as Hans had to meet someone. They had organised a soccer match and the whole atmosphere of how it just came together was very cool. I remember I thought: “That’s a community I want to be part of.”

And where do you see it going?

Personally, my emphasis is mostly on the music creation part that we do, in the broadest sense of the word. For our friends, clients, brands, creatives applying our art to their stories, but also the music we make just for the sake and pleasure of making art. I’d love to expand this even more. It really is one of my hopes: to create more beautiful music for the world.

How would you describe music to someone who’s deaf?

I think it’s something you can’t describe. You have to feel it, to experience it. Music triggers something on a very unconscious level, it has the power to move you without knowing how or why. It’s something beyond the physiological effect.

What was the last album you listened to and why did you choose to listen to it?

‘MOUNAIKI ~ By the Bright of Night’ by My Baby. Abstract thinking at its finest. They create the perfect music to get in the right trance and stay focused.

You worked as a Music Producer for a long time. How do you know when a song fits the picture?

Also hard to put into words. Again, you feel it in your gut. Without even realising, you build a muscle as a result of your training and experience. What I usually do is to ask myself: “Is this the right fit for the story we have to tell?” and if it doesn’t work, that’s how I know. I feel some sort of disruption. I feel disconnected.

What’s one thing you learned in the last few years?

Incrementalism. To achieve great things you have to take small steps. I had the tendency to go too fast and take very big steps but this increases the likelihood that, eventually, it will fail. There’s always enough time. If you don’t have enough time, you should revise how you prioritise your tasks.

You read hundreds of books.

Yes. I made a list: I read 140 books. Out of these, 11 are my personal must-reads.

If you had to pick one book that should be taught in school, what would that be?

‘Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari. It has so many insights described in a beautiful way: where we as human beings come from, what has shaped us along the way, how our society works. What I like about it is that the author, also with the other books he wrote, always tries to be conscious and differentiates between our biological reality and our imaginative reality. They are so interwoven that you would be surprised when you pay attention to the details.

So, if we think of a company..

If you dissect it, it’s a shared vision of how a group of people with a very complex set of rules should operate. If you strip away all that we know, you’re left with ‘a bunch of people coming to the same place every day to God knows do what.’

You took more than 50 courses online, especially on Coursera. Where do you find the time and how do you prioritise all the different aspects of your life?

It’s all about what you want out of life. I broke it down into 7 categories: social interaction, family, work, personal development, exercise, reading, music. I make sure there’s enough time for each one during the week. Waking up early definitely helps with that. I developed a very specific routine and I’m very conscious of how I spend my time. If needed, I reflect on it in the sauna or when I go to bed.

What if something doesn’t go the way you planned it?

I can be flexible if needed. I ask myself: “How can I use this time in the best way possible?” It’s a daily calibration and it’s not only about productivity. It’s also about relaxation or spending time in a meaningful way. The optimal point is between bored and overpressured. If you’re too harsh on yourself you’re not being productive and it’s going to backfire at some point.

How do you develop self-compassion?

By paying attention to how you speak to yourself. By allowing yourself to produce crap. If your output is quantitative, quality will show up in the end.

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    back of book

You also attended a course called ‘The Science of Happiness’, which leads me to your book ‘Gelukkig Maar’ launched on 12th March 2019 at A’DAM & Co. Happiness is such an emotional, heartfelt, vulnerable and elusive condition, and so are feelings in general. How can this be paired with science?

It’s not an easy subject for scientific enquiry. It’s still possible though. The method scientists use to assess happiness basically comes down to one question: “In general, how happy are you with your life on a scale from 1 to 10?”

Of course, you might also think that it depends on the moment itself – I mean, it could be that someone feels happier now compared to two days ago. You can study the subject on three different levels:

  1. Happiness as a snapshot of positive emotion (ecstatic or similar)
  2. Happiness as an evaluation of a longer period (‘leading a happy life’)
  3. Happiness as something meaningful (that transcends the normal)

Science makes the choice to view happiness at level 2. This cognitive evaluation of your life assumes that everyone can determine what constitutes a happy life for them. The assumption is that each one of us has the self-insight to figure it out.

Anything stunning that you found out during your research?

Surprisingly, external forces don’t have too much of an influence. It mostly comes down to your inner life and your attitude towards life. The optimist might say: “Well then, in order to be happy, you just have to change yourself” whereas the pessimist might counterattack and say: “Easier said than done”. I’m aware it could sound speculative to some but indeed, it’s all about how YOU approach life and treat other people, how YOU decide to embrace or avoid certain things, how YOU navigate through the social jungle.

Can you give us one example?

There was this study where they divided the group into two and gave 5 dollars to each. One group had to spend it on themselves whereas the other group had to buy a little gift for someone else. They found out that the group who spent the 5 dollars on others was happier, which is a heartwarming result.

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    computer in front of city skyline

It does sell us as respectable inhabitants to other planets.

Which is true. We tend to fall into a negative narrative when describing ourselves. Take climate change for instance. When did we start being aware of it? Maybe a hundred years ago. Well, we’ve been trying to do something about it. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but we should also have self-compassion instead of describing ourselves as parasites. I doubt that you can get something out of it if you keep on being so harsh on yourself. It doesn’t reflect reality.

Also when it comes to corporations, no matter what they do, they just can’t seem to do anything right anymore because it will always be viewed as something they do to brag about it or with a second purpose. This is not doing justice to what the reality is. We should change our mindset and be more open and aware of the positive effects. We should also encourage them. Isn’t it the way forward?

So, to wrap it up, why did you decide to write a book about it? Was it because there were not enough books on the topic?

The topic really caught my attention, and I also noticed there were many similar books in English but not in Dutch. Plus, it’s always been one of my dreams to write a book one day. Well, I guess that ‘one day’ is here.

What does the sonic identity of Moos Lamerus sound like?

Like Bach.

Let me guess: meticulous and structured?

Yep. That’s me.

‘A Cup of Coffee with..’ is a MassiveMusic series. Creative Copywriter and Content Manager Ilaria Mangiardi sits down with other Massivians to ask unpredictable questions over a cup of coffee.