“Nobody really takes the nightlife scene seriously…” 909originals catches up with Moscoman

Raised in Tel Aviv and now residing in Berlin, Moscoman is known for fusing various flavours of electronica and house via his label Disco Halal, which has served up releases from Mount Kismet, Simple Symmetry and Auntie Flo in recent months, as well as providing a platform for his own productions.

He’s just released his sophomore album, Time Slips Away, on Moshi Moshi Records – the title single of which was chosen to accompany a new Louis Vuitton bag launch. The new album is just the uplifting tonic we need these chastened times, encompassing lo-fi electro, ambient, synth-pop and all points in between.

909originals caught up with him.

Thanks for talking to us. The year 2020 has been filled with both challenges and opportunities for musical artists. Has it been a creative year for you, musically?

It’s been one of my most creative years. I was free of the endless loop, and I just enjoy making music for no reason. I cherish it, and I’m already working super hard on my next album.

You’re closely linked with two cities renowned for their nightlife – Berlin, where you live, and Tel Aviv, where you are home. How has COVID-19 impacted the respective scenes of both, in your eyes?

COVID-19 has killed the nightlife. Both cities are shut down, as well as most of the world.

I hope that people will come to their senses and we will take some self-responsibility among ourselves to be able to restart this; otherwise, if we wait too long there’s going to be nothing to restart.

Back in April, you launched the Disco Halal COVID-19 relief fund to try to ‘give something back’ to the underground arts scene. With coronavirus still affecting artists to this day, do you think enough has been done by governments and other relevant authorities, to protect musicians and artists?

Nobody really takes the nightlife scene seriously. They never did. Even Berlin, which makes €1.5 billion a year from clubs in the form of taxes, gave back way less than it should.

If parties are not back worldwide and in Berlin in the next couple of months, most of us will need to find a new job. It’s a real shame.

Trust me, it would be enough if they just gave back what we paid in taxes over the past five years, and we can live respectfully. The hype is gone now. The world loves to talk about everything but what’s important; that’s the way of the world.  

Time Slips Away is your second album. Do you think your musical style has matured since your debut in 2016? How?

I’m older, let’s start with that, I like different vibes of music, but all in all I just think I’m better in what I’m doing, and I dare to do more, and think outside my box. But the base is still the base.

I still love to write music which takes both sides – it’s happy and it’s sad at the same time. This time, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists and to collaborate with them. For the next album, I’ll do the same – and more.

There’s a strong synth pop influence on a couple of the tracks, particularly What Do We Care and Natural Born Losers – which could easily have been recorded in the 80s. Is synth pop a guilty pleasure of yours?

I’m a 80s kid. It feels natural, it’s optimistic, and harmless, but with a lot of dreams and feelings. Sometimes I wish i could write only music like that! I don’t take myself too seriously to have a guilty pleasure, really.

A couple tracks on the album seem to bear Eastern influences, Sense of Time for example, while there’s also a track called Wish I Was In Tokyo. Was this always the intention, to bring different cultural signifiers into the mix?

I think growing up in Israel, not to mention travelling a lot all over the world, influenced me the most, I just filter it through and produce music from it. There’s no actual reason – it’s just music that I’ve written. It’s part of who i am.

The Disco Halal label appears to be in full swing, with plenty of recent releases. How would you describe the label, and how does your approach differ from when you first launched it?

The label is a mixture of sounds I love, trying to follow the timeline of our generation. It’s my life’s work and the thing I enjoy doing the most.

When I first launched it, I wanted to do a few records, mostly edits from friends, and as time passed I evolved with it. I still approach it with a very honest ‘yes and no’ mentality, either I like what I’m hearing or not.

You recently had the chance to rework an all-time classic, Three Drives on a Vinyl – Greece 2000. Was that period of music (late 90s/early 2000s) particularly influential for you, musically?

Yeah, I started to DJ when the tune came out. I used to play it a lot, and in recent years I edited it and started to send it around. The rights owner contacted me and we did something with it.

It’s really important to me – the sound represents where I’m from, and what I believe should be a right moment on the dancefloor.   

What sort of dance music industry will emerge once the coronavirus pandemic subsides, do you think?

I wish I could tell you. I used to believe the switch will be flipped again, but as time progresses I know there will be many casualties. Most of the places won’t survive.

I’m sure some of the scene will take a different turn – people need to work, we all need to survive, and who knows what will come instead. Either way, thanks for the amazing trip.

[Time Slips Away is available on Moshi Moshi Records]

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