"Raves and records."

Amid the splintered fragment of bass culture, Mosca gleams brighter than most.

By keeping his releases to a minimum, the producer ensures maximum hype and minimum waste. Flitting between genres, it was the release of 'Bax' which enshrined Mosca as a Garage nut, as a 2-Step disciple.

The truth, as ever, is much more complex. Returning with new EP 'Eva Mendes' the producer has done yet another u-turn, this time paying homage to the soulful sounds of deep house. Refusing to be pegged down, Mosca manages to soak up what he needs from each genre; stopping for a time, yet never resting.

Catching up with the producer for a quick Q&A, ClashMusic probed Mosca about his eclectic DJ sets, that Radio 1 slot and of course his new EP.

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Do you feel under pressure to make another definitive statement?
I wouldn’t say I feel under pressure now, no. It’s my first proper House release which is why it’s taken so long – it’s the same with bashment it’s close to me heart. It’s easier to put out other things – like a little Funky thing or hip hop – it just seems to release itself. Whereas House.. I’ve made so much of it and scrapped it and deleted it and not put it out – this is the first thing I’ve been completely happy with.

So it’s been a lengthy process?
Oh yeah, yeah. This is about thirty tunes worth – down to three.

Do you have a perfectionist streak?
Yeah probably. In a word: yes. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse. Like you say, it does mean that I don’t put stuff out every month or so.

It does keep the quality high. Have you always been buying House?
Nah not always House. Started out.. the first kind of dance music was probably Jungle and hip hop, that I came to. A lot of dub, bashment and ragga and stuff – through those channels. House and Garage I missed out on actually, for the first part. I was a big Grime head, a big bassline head.. early dubstep. House isn’t something I’ve always been into. Probably just since ’07 or ’08.

What is it about house which has grabbed you just now?
It’s just.. I guess the fact that having come from a lot of scenes where it was very small. When Grime started out all the DJs would be playing the same tunes – the same with bassline. With House because it’s so ridiculously big and global it’s a lot easier to kind of select tunes which you really love rather than just like. You can really build up – not a theme, but a character. Same with techno. It’s more about what you leave out rather than what you do actually play.

Which House producers would you include?
I play a lot of Afro stuff actually. A lot of South African stuff, actually. People like At-Jazz.. soulful, deep – lots of shakers, percussion. All that kind of stuff. Also a bit of deep tech stuff. I’m not really a classic head. Y’know there’s some great classic deep house out there but it does – for me – get a bit samey. Yeah something like Martinez Brothers, a bit more of an urban sound. I don’t know if you want to call it dubbage – that Circle sound, those type of raves.

That South African scene is so stripped down, does that appeal?
Yeah. It’s kind of a dirty word now... minimal. In kind of the same way that electro is. Yeah a nice minimal, stripped back.. I don’t mind like a full on gospel anthem with every kind of horn under the sun and that real built up sound. In general, though.. stripped back. Club ready, I guess, is the way to think about it. It never sounds that minimal in the club, you’ve just taken everything out that you don’t need and when you amplify it to a club level it doesn’t feel empty or even repetitive or boring like it might sound on a laptop.

Those early Grime cuts were so minimal...
Same with ragga. Like 80s digi stuff. Some of them wouldn’t have a kick drum it would be a snare and two hi hats, and then one bass stab or something. That would be the tune. They wouldn’t even need the full kit.

Do you still collect dancehall?
Yeah I’ve still got boxes of sevens, all packed up. Don’t play ‘em anymore, still need to rip ‘em onto mp3. It’s kind of a nightmare playing sevens, especially in a club. It just seems so fiddly.

Are you going to continue to move between genres?
When I get out playing house I like to play other house records around it. It just doesn’t work, if you play a deep house tune to then mix something else in beside it. It’s nice to kind of build up a groove. Like I was saying earlier you can never play just one House track and say: “that’s me”. You need to build up a character. I play a lot of House sets where it’s just House and a bit of techno, maybe. Most of my sets move from Jungle to Brazilian Baile funk, Algerian music, Mexican cumbia.

Through Radio 1 you must get tonnes of new music....
I’ve been trying to ignore half of it, to be honest. The whole music industry thing to me is some kind of mad bubble which I don’t want to step into too much. You do get sent a lot of music that you can tell it’s not because of who you are or the type of music you play they just want some PRS. People’s managers sending you the music, so it’s not personal anymore. A lot of it I just take one look at.. if I see another fuckin’ Lana Del Rey remix! Y’know what I mean? It’s like very music industry music. It just seems kind of manufactured and it doesn’t particularly speak to me. I’ve actually just been trying to find as much music as I can. It’s great when you start out and get on a few promo lists, and it’s great when DJs make you dubs.. when you’re starting out. By the end of it, when everyone’s sending you stuff, you could rely on that as your source of music. You wouldn’t have to pay anything for it, you could get it all on promo. But then you’d end up playing the same shit that everybody else plays!

What have you been exploring?
To be honest, I don’t feel that I’ve got much time to be listening to non-club music. The only thing I do listen to is real mad dark jazz, real late night cinematic stuff. Apart from that, it’s just music from when I get up in the morning to when I go to bed. It’s all club music, basically. I’m not really interested in the whole wanky, twiddly stuff.

Grime is having a resurgence just now.
Yeah I still listen to Grime. I know there is a resurgence just now, but it’s still very hard to get decent, decent Grime. I mean decent quality.. not produced well – because I don’t think Grime needs to be – but just new ideas. Because when Grime came out it was so weird, it was like experimental music but the most kind of aggy music as well and clubby.. the whole culture behind it was really mad. And such a UK thing. I think people’s minds have been closed a little bit.

Do you worry about being pigeon-holed?
It’s half and half, really. Yeah I do spend half my time in interviews saying: “I’m not that Garage guy!” I’m not this one type of music guy. In a way, you’ve got to embrace it.. because I do play sets of just Garage sometimes. So if there’s Garage heads out there who like it, then at least if they’re interested then they’ll explore some other stuff.

Is there a sound you feel you haven’t explored?
Bashment. It’s coming, it’s coming. It’s probably going to be at the end of the year now. The foundations are in place! Looking for vocalists. Like I was saying earlier with this House thing I don’t want it to be throwaway. I also don’t want it to sound like.. there’s a few people who do play bashment but it has that white boy bashment type feel to it. And I am white! (laughs) It’s got a certain kind of sound to it. It’s a bit electro-y and all mixed in with club music.. faster stuff, like 130. Funky House. Funky Bashment! I don’t want it to sound like that, I want it to sound like a decent Dancehall record.

Will that come out on 12 inch?
Well, we don’t know what’s going to happen yet. The thing is that nowadays it’s all free – everyone just downloads it. With bashment you never really pay for anything. Sometimes the producers will just give you the pack. Everything will be 320, they’ll just put it out there. Big producers as well, it’s not just like up and coming people. It’s a weird culture so to fit in with that.. it will get leaked and it will be on those sites.

Are you working with people in the Caribbean?
Couple of UK people, yeah. The scene’s strong, actually, at the moment in the UK. The fact that we’ve got Styla G, Gappy Ranks, G Star making waves in Jamaica and being Top Ten hits over there on the radio.. that’s a good look.

What else do you have coming up?
Yeah, yeah.. lots of festivals and raves and whatnot. I’ve never really taken any time off from DJing so that’s a constant thing. I know people take two months off to write tunes or whatever.. I just write my tunes in the airport when I’m on my way to the rave. Lots of the same, basically. Putting out more records – a deep house thing, deeper than this Hypercolour thing. In a nutshell: more of the same. Raves and records.

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'Eva Mendes' is out now.


Mosca is to appear at the Latitude festival which runs from 13th-15th July in Suffolk. Find out more about the line-up and get tickets HERE.


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