Techno Tuesday: Catching up with Moscoman on the ‘New Tel Aviv Wave,’ Gather Outdoors, and more
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Record label owner and global sound purveyor Moscoman is an artist who needs little introduction. First becoming a pillar of the Tel Aviv underground, his sound that effortlessly smudges the lines between disco, electronic, global music, and house have since made him a subject of international intrigue. He eventually made Berlin his home base, where he launched Disco Halal in 2016. In just a few years, the imprint has earned a high reputation, playing an ever-increasing role in the rise of left field dance music with notable signings from Chaim, Red Axes, Trikk, and more. Moscoman also made waves in 2017 with his hybrid imprint/eight-part series, Treisar.
The artist has continued to build upon his recent successes in 2019, putting out well-received EPs from Trikk and Nicola Cruz & Auntie Flo while stopping by fellow avant garde leader DJ Tennis’ label Life and Death for Wave Rave. Like its name, the eclectic four-tracker is rife with new wave/1980s influences—with futuristic overtones. His and his artists’ output remains impeccable, and it’s clear that Moscoman has fully stepped into his own as an artist,
He also follows a busy tour schedule, with one of his key upcoming dates being Gather Outdoors. The festival, organized by New York scene shapers Teksupport, is putting on its first edition at the Holiday Mountain Resort in the Catskills region of New York. Moscoman joins the likes of Francesca Lombardo, Brian Cid, Audiofly, and more at the festival’s Members-curated Oak Stage.
Curious to know more about his take on the rise of global sounds in dance music, lessons he’s learned through his long-reaching career, playing Gather, and his curatorial influence, we had a brief chat with Moscoman for this edition of Techno Tuesdays.
Learn more about Gather Outdoors and get tickets to the festival here.
If you weren’t able to DJ and produce for a living, do you think you’d still be working in the industry full time? We saw a Twitter exchange about publicity?
Ha, the PR tweet was a joke amongst friends, but i’m super into everything around this industry!
I would do something maybe in management or any other way to help out artists, and of course my daily label work is one of my favorite things.
‘Disco Halal’ has been described in the past as “a very Berlin based label” – can you give us a rundown on how your sound has changed and evolved since moving to Berlin from Tel Aviv?
I reckon that only in Berlin I really found my voice, and thus begun this era of New Tel Aviv wave. Both happened at the same time simultaneously. Disco Halal is a Berlin Label, but its influences are worldwide. There isn’t really a play-by-play of what happened. But in terms of content, it moved from editing remixing other people music to releasing originals and giving people a platform to release their truth.
On a similar note, you’ve also advised that Berliners tend to have a more restricted mindset. But in recent years with artists like yourself, Acid Pauli, Powel, etc, it seems as though the city’s mind has “opened” more toward world sounds and more melodic material. What do you think has led to this change?
Tourism, inwards and outwards. More DJs playing outside of Berlin and more outsiders play in it all became a melting pot, people need to dare more to standout these days (and throughout history for sure).
Why do you think people connect so deeply with your sound? It’s been crazy to see how much you and your brand have grown over the past few years.
I believe people connect to us because its very Mediterranean in its core. It’s like your mother’s cooking, its something you are familiar with or something you want to be familiar with. It comes from the heart and soul of all of us, its a story of unity somehow.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned since launching your own labels [Treisar project and Disco Halal]?
Not to want too much too fast, and everything has its moment. The smart ones know when the moment is right (I’m still working on that point!)
Do you ever feel as though you’ve sabotaged yourself at times in your efforts to release other artists’ music over your own on Disco Halal? Why not?
No, in life you give and get back, and never directly. This label is not my personal playground, it’s made for the music, for the fans and of course for the artists that are helping us to create and develop it.
Who are some artists you’ve signed as of late that are particularly noteworthy, and what makes these artists unique?
I have a personal relationship with all my artists, and I love to hear what they say and what they’re after. No one is after huge success really, and all are after their true artistic selves. That can be annoying as a label manager, but as an artist myself so i can also understand it. Ultimately every person is unique, but only a few standout.
Having lived in two distinct music towns, what are the similarities and differences you’ve noticed in terms of innovation, support for the arts, etc between Berlin and Tel Aviv?
You can’t really compare stuff. Tel Aviv has been about survival, Berlin invented many of the rules of this scene, when I moved I had no idea that things will pan out they way they are so I didn’t really notice too much. I would say that there’s great music from every city, and party wise there are better parties in Israel at this point, because the Berlin club market is over saturated which makes stuff a little bland. That said, the key clubs still hold their own.
How do you determine when the timing is right to release a certain track, or EP? Thinking about how you waited until the right moment (2018) to release your debut EP on Disco Halal.
I go with my gut, to be honest, no magic. I don’t live within patterns so I honestly do whatever i want all the time. It’s not always right, but it’s never quiet.
What inspires you the most creatively these days?
You’re about to play the debut Gather Outdoors festival, which has a very specialist/underground lineup. What do you think this says about the US dance scene as a whole?
I love the change. From the first time I played in the US ’till now its been a crazy ride and I’m so happy that there’s place for people like me in the US Scene.
What excites you most about playing Gather?
The amazing line up, friends, and of course visiting the borscht belt for the first time!