2010 was a huge year for Mosca with his debut ‘Square One’ EP launching the Night Slugs label, from which ‘Nike’ was voted no.1 in XLR8R’s favourite tracks of 2010. Since then, he has teamed up with Fabric to release the instant club classic ‘Gold Bricks, I See You’ as well as remixing both Fourtet and Foals in exhilarating fashion. Taking time out from his whirlwind tour of Australia and New Zealand, Mosca sighs: “It just feels like I haven’t stopped really.” Mosca’s tour has seen everything from girls getting down to their knickers in front of the DJ booth to the more down-to-earth experience of stopping off for swims in luscious lakes along the highway from Auckland to Wellington.
When asked what people should expect from his shows, Mosca laughs “All sorts man, you know me, everything from grime to bashment to house, to funky to hip hop to world beats, trying to mix it up, either that or an hour and a half of Dolly Parton!” I wonder if there is anything Mosca won’t play, he jokes: “Yeah plenty! Drum n bass” but quickly reproaches himself, “you’ll always find one or two decent tunes amongst a genre that you don’t like so much, but you won’t find me playing DnB, dubstep and [new] electro.” As he explains, “Dubstep’s always been a tag that people have associated with me and I just don’t really understand why because I never made any dubstep and I’ve never played any dubstep.”
I question Mosca further about the hectic attempts to pin down his sound, he responds: “Well that’s niche, that’s bassline for you … [when] I make straight house, techno, grime, bashment, those boundaries are already there … [but] it all depends on what kind of tune you’re talking about, some of the early stuff, Square One, Gold Bricks, or Nike, they were a little more genre hopping and it’s fair if people don’t know exactly what to call it, but then tunes like Tilt Shift, that’s just straight hip hop, so it’s about those early tunes where it starts to get difficult tagging it.”
Mosca’s tracks run dance floors red but they are also deceptively intricate. As both a DJ and a producer, Mosca extracts influences from a range of underground bass music but he is no stranger to perfecting a certain sound. Tunes such as the 8bit Hindi hip hop of Tilt Shift and diamond-sparkling new remix of Gucci Mane (by way of Sinden for Mad Decent) are both destined to get the gangsters swaying.
Producing since he was 19, Mosca spent close to nine months on the production of his debut vinyl EP Square One. He explains: “Its great feeling your first piece of vinyl coming out … but I’m never 100% happy and never 100% finished with a track either. It’s just like waking up and going ‘enough’s enough’ and putting the tune out … I’ve got loads of stuff that’s almost finished. I almost enjoy it more at that stage when a tune is ready to play out at a club but is not actually released, just as a test to see how it goes off with a crowd.” Yet despite the epic ten-minute track lengths and genre-hopping breadth of the EP, Mosca affirms: “It’s that old cliche, it’s what you leave out as much as what you put in.”
Speaking about the moodiness often present in Square One Mosca is hesitant: “I don’t feel that personally attached to the music in terms of setting a mood, I’m just naturally drawn to that deeper darker kind of vibe.” Championed by the likes of world music aficionado Gilles Peterson, his appeal is broad and stretches far beyond the UK, making it unwise to take the Night Slugs EP as his gospel sound. On the counter, Mosca ticks off his passions for the feel good music of bashment, soca and other world music, such as Kupe de Kalle and Magic System: “They go off in a club!” he says, “it’s a balance thing, in terms of tempo, tone, ‘up-ness’, moodiness. Like everything in life it’s always a balance.”
Going back in time with Mosca, we talk about his early penchant for producing Baltimore when he tells me about his very first digital releases: “I’d been listening to it for years and years, the stuff on [Glasgow label] Dress to Sweat back in the day, Kazey and Bulldog and those kind of releases, they were seminal because they were so well produced, its nice to have some chunky bangers!” Inspired by the UK adoption of the Baltimore sound, Mosca went onto do an ‘on spec’ remix of Cry Wolf’s Mucky on Sounds of Sumo: “Cry Wolf heard my Baltimore remix of Next Hype by Tempa T, a few loops I chopped up and put together. I was just giving it away for free on the Internet and they’d heard that and said ‘yeah, we want this kind of sound, do that again!’”
Since then, Mosca has been inundated with remix requests, but in line with his perfectionist output says he prefers quality over quantity: “The one remix I still play is Heartbeat by T-williams, that’s a tune I’m not sick of hearing yet even though I play it most sets, because you can get sick of hearing your own tunes pretty quickly… It wouldn’t be so bad if you had four tunes out a month!” Mosca’s next release is a hotly anticipated 12” vinyl forthcoming on the Glaswegian label Numbers. The A-side is called Done me wrong which he describes as: “kind of a pretty straight garagey banger.” On the as of yet unknown B-Side Mosca declares: “I don’t know what its called because I haven’t finished it yet, but its shouldn’t be too long now!”