What Happens When Man Power Interviews Moscoman
Sure, there are many similarities between the two musicians: their rise, their approach and their current unavoidable statuses. Their shared deep groove and spatial, cosmic signatures in their sound. They’ve both released debut albums and launched labels in the last two years. They’ve both been spotted on ESP Institute and appear on Man Power’s Album Remix EP on Correspondent as Moscoman has remixed ‘Beilsteiner’.
But the link goes deeper than career parallels and shared releases: both have deep seeded connections with their home cities (Moscoman is from Tel Aviv and Man Power (a.k.a Geoff Kirkwood) of Newcastle) yet live thousands of miles away from them, both share a sense of adventure, both are musical magpies who clearly relish in their influences and the deeper, atmospheric side of the sonic spectrum. Judging by this unique correspondence between the two, they share the same sense of humour, too.
Read on as Man Power and Moscoman enjoy an extensive conversation about bad haircuts, castles, the magic that happens when they’re behind the decks together and the mental gymnastics needed to endure the album writing process…
So, kicking things off, can you remember the first time we met? I remember it vividly, but I’m curious to know if you do too?
To be honest I do, I think Franz (Futuro / Underwear from Slow Motion) booked you to play Berlin, we went to have a pizza , then I didn’t come to your gig as always, but since then I’m blank, just a lot of vague clubbing memories
What is your first memory of Tel Aviv?
Yeah, you had the beginning of that stupid haircut you eventually got rid of. You were telling me how you were gonna be the next big thing, and I can remember being quite amused, but also impressed by your assurance in that fact.
I was with Asaf and Katzi, who went on to from Malka Tuti label. They actually bothered to come to the gig btw (at Greissemuhle). They’re also my first memory of Tel Aviv, as I played there for the first time about two weeks later, with Asaf promoting it.
I can remember he was such a sweet and quiet guy in Berlin, and then when I arrived in Israel it turned out he was Mr Tel Aviv and knew everyone. He lied and told everyone that the party I was playing was his birthday party too and the place was JAMMED (it was like about two months away from his real birthday I think). It was only the second party I’d played as Man Power (the Berlin one was the first), so it was quite an auspicious start for the project, and also made me fall in love with Tel Aviv.
My first memory of you in Tel Aviv is when we stayed there together for a week for my second gig there. You’d also brought Krikor over, so the three of us ended up sharing Asaf’s aunties apartment and you showed me the sights.
Your strange hair was about as long as it got at that stage I think. It was the first time I’d heard you play, and I was really impressed. Autarkic was also playing then. Seems we’ve all came a long way.
On the subject of TLV, what’s been the best party you’ve played there?
Also, I can remember listening to the stuff from your old band (sounded a bit like Pink Floyd), I’ve always meant to ask you more about them. What were they called again, when did they exist, and what happened to them?
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I think the best party I played in TLV was at the old Block club NYE 2011 or something, that was the best hour of Tel Aviv Disco. After I was over the police came and shut us down for overcrowding, that made me happy because everybody went home after me, which I felt was the peak.
My band, they are all alive that’s for sure, but I’m not sure if they still practicing music. We were called Rotchild 17, which is a long story. That was super early around 2007-8. We had two gigs and we quit.
What is the most annoying thing you ever encountered travelling lately?
Ha! I knew you’d come back with a negative question! I think, as with anything, the source of my greatest annoyance is me. I went through a big period of second guessing myself after the album.
“When you first start out with a project it’s only defined by you and you just please yourself. After that you (well, I) hit a stage where you’re find yourself trying to play towards the public’s definition of you instead. You go from zero pressure, to absolute pressure…”
Whether that pressure is to make a hit, or make a statement of being anti-hit, or whatever. That pressure was all internal though, and I’m over it now I think. I guess that’s not specific to travelling though.
With that I suppose the most annoying things are early flights and promoters being scared to ask for late check-outs. I can put up with pretty much everything (you know how easy going I can be), so shitty food, a bad hotel, or a lack of attention is all forgivable for me (any promoters reading this please stop now), but I can’t handle people fucking with my sleep, it’s too precious.
Getting back to albums, well done on yours (out over the summer on ESP Institute) and all of the praise it’s earned.
Two questions, how you feeling now it’s all done? I got a bit down for a while after mine as it felt like there was something missing in my life all of a sudden. And… did you ever even fucking listen to mine?
Well, negative is my forte (not really), I think it’s good that people will know its not all chocolate and roses, but again, it’s still amazing to travel to places and do what we do… and yes, sleep is the key to a normal life.
I feel pretty good about the album, it’s had good reviews and good attention, not that that’s the reason I made it. It feels good to get things off the chest as they say, I’m ready for new music to get out. I did feel a bit of a come down, but that’s natural I guess. The emptiness was filled with great gigs, so it’s a way to keep the mind busy.
… And yes I did fucking listen to yours. Many times. I even have a fresh copy on my shelf waiting for you to come and sign it ha. As you can remember I even remixed my favourite track, but that’s because of Mick pretty much (Mick Rolfe – Vocalist and member of Last Waltz).
Actually, what’s up with Last Waltz these day? Are they dancing without you? Is it still happening?
Yeah, Mick is an amazing singer, and it’s criminal I’ve not prostituted his god given talents for my own selfish ends more than I have done so far. Last Waltz are back next month with our first release in 3 years.
We made it all together still, and we’ll never release music that isn’t all of us together, but for gigs we often did it as a twosome back in the days, and sometimes individually under the name too, so it’s likely that for DJing it’ll more often than not be Mick and Foss as Last Waltz, or sometimes Last Waltz and Man Power (if schedules align), just to keep things clear for the public.
They’re still my favourite DJs I’ve ever heard, and the two people I’ve learned the most off. It’s nice we’re all back in the saddle (even if we do come close to killing each other when all three of us are together)… I actually just remembered it was you who dragged me to listen to my album on vinyl for the first time at Oye!
I’ve told you already but O really love your remix on the new EP. You were the first choice for both me and Jennifer (Jennifer Cardini – label Boss from Correspondant who are releasing the Remix EP) when we started discussing a remix EP. It just seemed right.
How you finding the live band you’ve formed to perform your album?
Are you playing bass or what? You played mean bass for me as a favour on that Daniele Baldelli remix I did, but I like the thought of you as a kind of Rod Stewart type front man…
I’m totally the front man. On the side though, it’s a trio. I play pretty much everything but real drums and bass, so electronics, and guitars, some synths.
I think it’s amazing. It’s so great to see my album and other tracks come alive like they should, and the process of doing it has given me a new approach for music which I’m really feeling, and also a new appreciation for what we do in our dark rooms in the middle of the night ( I.E. electronic music production).
So what’s next for you? Also when am I gonna see you next? I know that life is really good in Mexico these days but still, Europe is holding its breath
I’m actually not back in Europe till December again now. I took some time off with planning my wedding (and then getting married and honeymooning) but I should be back and forwards a lot more frequently in 2017.
The week after I get back to Europe is actually when you and I play in Rotterdam together, which I think will be the first time since Naples in summer 2015. I’m actually looking forward to that one… Depending on how drunk we get we can always try the reformation of MoscoManPower with a bit of b2b…
But you know, it’s mad to see how all of the people I met on that first trip to Tel Aviv have kind of exploded (Naduve, Autarkic, Xen, Yovav and Asaf and Katzele with Malka Tuti). A lot of that has to do with Disco Halal too. I’m a bit schizophrenic with my influences, so I’m kind of envious of the clarity in yours sometimes.
Do you push that middle eastern sound in your DJing and production consciously, or is it simply because it’s what you were surrounded with growing up. I mean, do you ever make straight up 4/4 techno for instance, and then decide that you won’t release it because it doesn’t sound very “Moscoman”?
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Well I do a lot of straight up techno or house and every kind of 4/4 music, but I think I can’t escape myself. Sometimes I try to make a cleaner sound but I fail miserably and do this Mosco sound instead.
What I think what got me by till now is the fact that my sound is very honest and represents who i am at the moment. I’m really happy to see all my friends in Tel Aviv making it, as in doing cool stuff, and I think its great export, but to be honest being from Tel Aviv is a set back as opposed to being from London or any other central place. I’m happy the spotlight came to us now.
How do you see it? What is the reason that there’s such a big spotlight on my country now (finally for the right reasons)?
I kind of see it that Tel Aviv, due to the way it came about, is a melting point of all of these influences and the music has potentially always reflected that, however it seems people are now certainly a lot more receptive to things with a multitude of origin points, mainly due to the amount of access people have to a wider range of music via the internet. The circumstances in TLV have kind of left it ahead of the curve for the evolution of the greater public’s musical tastes.
It’s actually weird as there are so many people getting huge from my hometown (Newcastle) with straight up house and techno right now, but the attention is different.
Richy Ahmed, Patrick Topping, Christoph, Jackie, Elliot Adamson, are all massive, or about to become massive, and if this was five years ago all the music press would be writing pieces about the “Newcastle Explosion” or something like that, but
“the world has moved on and people are thinking in a more globalised multi influenced way, that what they’re doing just exists as part of the House/Techno community, and doesn’t reflect on their origin as its not as obviously influenced by their hometown”
(I mean it is, but house is a global property now, unless you stick the word Chicago in front of it). Actually… we’ve talked a lot about your hometown, but not about mine. Without googling, tell me 3 things you know about Newcastle Upon Tyne…
Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan, Les Ferdinand. Pretty much all i know about Newcastle, is there a real castle over there?
Loads! We don’t lack for castles in the UK. Football does play a big part in the cities heritage I guess. I thought you might have said Eric Burdon, Sting and Bryan Ferry maybe (well, Bryan Ferry is from just down the road, but we’re happy to claim him). Any super famous none contemporary Israel’s I should know about other than Uri Geller?
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Natalie Portman, Gene Simmons, King Solomon, you know… the usual. We’ve got some castles also i think.
I knew about Natalie Portman, had no clue about Gene Simmons. You got any plans to come to Mexico anytime soon?
Mexico? I hope so! I need to fix my last experience. I came over sick it was just one weekend and I couldn’t be bothered to be honest. I did have an amazing time in Monterrey your new home.
What is your feeling about this city in terms of night life, is it a rare thing with places like Topaz or is it something you think is gonna grow to a real dimension?
It’s tricky for me to comment on, as while I live here, I’m still not from here and it would be wrong of me to claim any expertise. What I will say is that there’s an immense enthusiasm here, and a wealth of Talent.
There’s a lot going on here, but Topaz definitely leads the way for our corner of the musical map in my opinion. I recently judged their DJ competition looking for a new resident and I was fairly blown away by the quality of all of the entrants.
We need to time you coming back when I’m here next time and for you to stay in town for a bit so I can show you “my” Monterrey. I owe you for Tel Aviv (and also for Berlin too really, as you showed me as much as anyone when I moved there).
It’s funny how we manage to experience entire countries and make judgements on places based on a single weekend. I’m guilty of it myself. Have you got any exciting travels lined up at the moment then? Anywhere new, or that you’re excited to get back to?
I’m in Glasgow at the moment, really nice town, excited to go this month to Portugal for the first time, but to be honest I’m excited to go back to places I’ve been and love like Amsterdam, UK, the US , i meet so many nice people i think that’s the key of it, I try to quit judgements also as they reflects on me only, but i tend to change my mind every time I get to a place. To be honest i think i judge places by their food, you do as well?
Glasgow is amazing, and my opinion the closest city in vibe to Newcastle. The people are just that little bit more mental than Geordies too. I’ve still never played Portugal, and bizarrely I’m playing Amsterdam for the first time ever (not including ADE) next February. I’m most looking forward to getting back to Japan in 2017 I think, although I tend to get excited about all of my gigs still.
I was thinking about the food thing the other day actually. I definitely keep a mental competition going whenever I visit somewhere new.
My list is. No1. Tel Aviv (It kills me admitting that to you), No2. Tokyo
Joint No3 is Mexico and Southern Italy (and yes I’m thinking about that day we went out on the boat with the guys from Napoli around the Amalfi coast in Particular)… which is one of the million times I’ve seen you claim to be a vegan while eating seafood). What’s your top 3?
Not counting Tel Aviv which is a landslide winner, today, No1. Naples, No2. Barcelona No3. London.
Food became crazy, we even started an Instagram account for it WhatDJSeat. You should follow us to see where to eat next, a service for DJs, helping the itinerary work,
I think all is said and done, anything else we should know about you? Something personal maybe?
You, Manfredi (Dj Tennis), Manfredas and a bunch of others have all told me to join this group, but I’m in the middle of a fitness binge at the moment (which started before the wedding in October) so that would just kill me to look at those pics (I just now drank a green juice for fucks sake!).
I guess that’s the personal thing really. Just how things have changed for me since being responsible for a 6 year old stepdaughter. I’d never ever thought about my health till now. You’ll have noticed my yo yo weight in the past for instance, which was basically determined by what rest I was getting and how much I was caning things. I kind of now feel I have a duty to keep myself alive as long as possible.
The gigs are less about the parties now, and are definitely a different kind of experience for me, but I enjoy it as much, if not more.
What about you, anything personal you’d care to divulge? The fact that you’re not really a committed vegan perhaps?
I’m a real vegan! I do indulge myself with a fish here and there when i’m near the ocean, but that’s out of respect to the sea.
Something personal? To be honest, my career and personal life is an open book, i’m trying to be the best i can at everything i do, whether its people i meet or goals i have.
Some people think i’m an ass and i can understand why sometimes but mostly i think i’m lost in translation and my cut the bullshit attitude is not for everybody, but just know all of you out there… I love you anyway .
Ok time for a pre gig Disco Halal nap.
Enjoy, I’m going to clean the dishes.
9th December | BAR presents Moscoman & Man Power | BAR, Rotterdam