As he displays every month on his firey radio show on NTS, Mosca’s more concerned with creating a true product rather than simply churning out a next run of bangers. It’s here on his show that he gets to properly present his genuine appreciation for music from around the world, presenting it alongside the darker side of sub bass driven electronic music and it’s probably the most direct insight one can get into the way he works and the way he plays. With the inception of his Not So Much imprint last year, Mosca’s also positioned himself as a label kingpin now too, providing the outfit’s first two releases himself before turning to Samuel for the material that makes up 003.
Honestly, it’s been a little while since we’ve had the opportunity to talk to Mosca and, if we’re honest, it’s an opportunity we always relish, so ahead of his set in Room One on Saturday we caught up with him to discuss his music and his record label.
You’ve moved away from the more upbeat garage sound we found in ‘Done Me Wrong’ and ‘Eva Mendes’ towards a hybrid between darker dub-techno with an underlying pad driven house vibe, what is the reason for this shift in sound over the last few years?
Mosca: Yeah I have, although it was never really a 'sound' - just those tracks you mentioned… and ‘Bax’... I missed garage when I was growing up, I didn't do garage raves or anything, it was mainly jungle among other stuff. So those tracks were just a little dabble really, indulgent I guess. But I'm still making some upbeat stuff... I guess the reason was I was feeling a little trapped. Frameworks you know? With house and techno there's so much you can do, so much freedom, but with something like garage, you experiment even a little bit and it's no longer 'garage'. The stuff I first came out with – ‘Square One’ and ‘Nike’ and whatnot - even though I think they sound terrible now, they're a lot more typical of what I'm about. Experimental but efficient club music.
There was a brief absence in 2013 and then suddenly you dropped ‘No Splice No Payback’ on your imprint Not So Much a year later, was this time out a conscious choice?
It wasn't a planned break release-wise, but I had my first kid at the end of 2012, I've now got two and look after them a couple of days a week so I've had to adapt to a different working pattern. No more late night sessions with a few beers in the studio... I've got much better at it now though, more ruthless, more efficient. I know what I want.
You’re now on your fourth release for Not So Much. What else can we expect in the future in terms of the type of records and sounds you put out?
My ears are open... my hands are free... I wanna keep NSM as a vehicle for pushing things forward. House-wise I'm developing a certain sound I think, to an extent the same is true with techno, and I'll carry on down those paths with other labels but I wanna keep the label fresh and rule-free.
"I love the feeling of running someone else’s record and being able to dance to it with as much love as the crowd."
By having complete creative control of your label, has this freedom encouraged you to release more unexpected ‘weird’ and ‘experimental’ tracks?
As long as I think they're strong enough. The trouble with experimental is it's actually quite easy to do, as is straight up club stuff. It's trying to get the best of both worlds that's the tricky bit, y’know? I actually have a background in 'weird' and 'experimental' as well as club stuff, when I started going to gigs I was seeing people like Fred Frith and Chris Cutler as well as jungle raves seeing Remarc or whatever. Artists like I:Cube do it really well - strong club trax with an out-there flavour, heavy on the FX.
Has the lack of boundaries allowed you to experiment with the sounds we heard in ‘Clinical Trial’ and the forthcoming ‘White Mice’, which aren’t typical Mosca sounding tracks?
[Laughs] To me they sound pretty typical... But then again I'm sitting on X amount of unfinished tracks and loops and whatnot, so I've seen what 'typical' is change over the years. I can see the differences between ‘Eva Mendes’ and a track like ‘White Mice’ of course, but also the similarities you know? Both kinda dark and sexy, they both have an energy but it's not a euphoric, joyful energy, there's a moodiness to those tracks. I hate the drums in ‘Eva Mendes’ though [chuckles].
Have you ever considered doing a live set?
It's never really interested me too much, the live thing. I'm a fan of recorded music like anyone else, I love the feeling of running someone else's record and being able to dance to it with as much love as the crowd, I'd feel like I was missing something if I went to a full live set up. But I'm working on a hybrid thing, a kind of extension of DJing. I don't wanna say too much!
With Not So Much being a vinyl venture alongside the usual digital releases, I’m interested to know what your 5 favourite records are from your collection?
The last five I bought (you're not getting me that easily...).
Aside from the UK, what city abroad have you most loved playing in?
The only place I like playing is fabric. You know that.