MOGUAI – “I Think EDM Found A New Home” [iBrostep Exclusive Interview]
iBrostep was given the amazing opportunity to sit down with one of the sickest DJ's/Producer's in the game right now, German native MOGUAI aka André Tegele. We got to chat it up w/ MOGUAI down at Ultra Music Festival 2012, and see how he was enjoying the festivities, his thoughts on the future of EDM, and what he's got in the works after hitting the No 1 single on Beatport & Hitting Top 10 on the itunes US Dance charts for his 'Mpire' release on Deadmau5's Mau5trap label, and dropping his EPIC Essential Mix. Let me just say that he was one of the most down to earth, nicest guys I've had the opportunity to talk to in this industry, and we greatly appreciate that we got to touch base with him!
For Starters Check his essential mix (More Music Below the Interview):
iBrostep: So lets get it started. Just for those that don’t know you lets get a brief background about you.
MOGUAI: I’m Moguai from Germany. I started making music in the early 90s when the techno revolution began, especially in Germany. I grew up with the inventor of May Day Festival, WestBam, and Dr. Motte of Loveparade and played tons of parties, mostly techno parties, in Germany from Europe and then worldwide. I started producing in the mid 90s first on Important Records, an acid label in Belgium. I had my first top 10 single in 2000 then I decided to quit studying law and to live this unserious way of a musician. Then from there I started with my own label and it’s now released I think 30 releases. I named it Punx. Right now I’ve stopped it because I’ve been focused for the past two years on releasing Deadmau5’s label mau5trap and also Steve Angello’s label Size Records. As well as these, I collaborated with Fat Boy on his own label Southern Fried Records. I’ve done thousands of remixes for artists such as Fischerspooner Afrojack, Underworld, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Xpress-2 and many more.
iBrostep: Killin it man – and so on it goes from there!
iBrostep: So how would you classify your sound at this point? What makes you different than any other artist?
MOGUAI: I would describe it as what most people call it – the famous Moguai synthy action. I think they mean that it’s kind of like anthem style; a very emotional, feel-good sound, but in a quality way, you know what I mean?
MOGUAI: Ya, kind of rough, kind of punky, but not too much. I think it’s a unique sound. Right now I can say it, but up until a few years ago I wasn’t sure, but I heard it so often. When people are coming to the show they are really up for the sound and for them it’s like it is what it is.
iBrostep: Definitely, cool! So from that question – where do you draw your musical influences from? And what artists got you into EDM in the very beginning?
MOGUAI: When I started it was like the late 80s I was very into skateboarding. I did street style, halfpipe and watched all these famous Bones Brigade videos out of America. Heard lots of skate punk - so handmade music - and we had a club in Düsseldorf where Kraftwerk are also from and they had a punk night every Sunday, which started at 12 midnight - very late for a Sunday. They played punk then they switched it into very hard electronic punk techno music and I watched the DJ playing there and I thought ‘he’s the man; he knows what he is doing’. It was so artistic and different and new. The crowd was so different, I’ve never seen people like this before in one spot, you know. I said ‘OK’ lets give it a try. I bought my first Technics, I don’t know how many tapes, recorded them, gave them to promoters and started my own parties. This is when I really started DJing with electronic music and with techno.
iBrostep: Yea, I actually did read that punk rock music was one of your influences.
iBrostep: You kind of answered my question, I was wondering how that transition was from punk rock to electronic, but you said in the clubs they just kind of integrated and turned punk rock music into electronic.
MOGUAI: Ya, it started simple. When you see me playing or people that play with a more full on and rough sound, like Skrillex for example, there is kind of the same energy. I don’t want to say that I play the same sound like Skrillex, as he’s noisier and has the dubstep sound. It’s not my sound, but it is the same sort of energy.
iBrostep: A little more aggressive?
iBrostep: That’s awesome! So how has your relationship with deadmau5 and mau5trap influenced your career? Has it influenced your sound at all up to this point?
MOGUAI: Absolutely! Like I told you before I had my label Punx. This was not really punk music, but it was electronic handmade music, like rough techno, break beat, big beat. From there I heard lots of minimal sound – I heard it, I haven’t played it because it blew up in Germany on this minimal thing out of Berlin. Right now it’s no more like this and I was very happy that I hadn’t really changed to it. I love some tracks and stuff, but very much stayed with my sound. However I felt like it could have a more emotional style and I fell very much in love with deadmau5’s production and how he started saying ‘OK this could be mine’. Then I produced a track which was very not my sound, or what people expected of me, so I said ‘OK it only really makes sense for me to bring it out on mau5trap.’ If they woudn’t take it, I wouldn’t bring it out on my label because if I did then people wouldn’t accept it. They wouldn’t understand it, they would say ‘OK, what is he doing right now?’ So I passed it over to him and I was very lucky that he wrote back in two days and said ‘hey, you know, we want to do it! One track, without mixes’. Steve Duda did another mix so we had two tracks on the single and this is how it began. From there I passed to them two more tracks, two months later. Then I produced, a half year before, another album, 15 tracks that went in this direction and I wasn’t sure where I could bring it out.
iBrostep: So Mau5trap gave you another opportunity to bring it out and try it out there?
MOGUAI: Absolutely, and they never requested an album with 2 or 3 releases to go after. I gave them 12 tracks and said ‘OK what do you think? Let’s do an album’ and they said “Sure, why not!”
iBrostep: Hell yea, That’s a great opportunity.
MOGUAI: Very simple and very easy. I was surprised! Before that as well I had only toured in Europe and sometimes Asia, but never America.
iBrostep: So Mau5trap kind of allowed you to break into the US?
MOGUAI: Full on!
MOGUAI:You know I started touring here 2 years ago. That’s no time at all! And right now I’m playing EDC.
iBrostep: And for how long you’ve been around [15 years].
MOGUAI: Ya, I’ve been here in Miami very often, like maybe the first time 8 or 10 years ago without even playing here, just meeting people. Everybody was like ‘OK hmm, how is it to play in America?’. Then my agency asked me “what do you think about touring here more? Like one weekend every second month?’ I said “OK, one weekend”. And I did it 3 times, flying over from Germany on a Friday, playing Friday and Saturday, leaving Sunday and being back in Germany on Monday. So you can imagine how it feels, but I was happy I made it because it helped me a lot to break through.
iBrostep: So with that said. You said you just toured in Europe and now America. Is it cool to be able to tour worldwide? Do you switch up your sets at all? Do you switch up your approach?
MOGUAI: Um maybe a little bit. America is a little more full on. I played last week at Beyond Wonderland. Normally a few DJs have to play before me, but they had power problems - not only in the venue, but the whole of San Benito County. So I opened the room and everybody was right in front of the door once I came inside. In Germany I would start a conversation, building it up ‘boom, boom, boom, boom’, but from in there… fuck it. Full on! I started straightaway with a special edit - the track I made with Fat Boy Slim - and the party started directly.
iBrostep: So also you kind of touched base on this with Mau5trap doing a different approach to sound. Are there any other genres that you would like to delve into? Or is it just about staying true to your sound at this point?
MOGUAI: No… it is like life. You are influenced by everything and I think with music, or art, it is the same. It doesn’t matter what it is; you name it is the same. Like, for example, today you like blue pants, but maybe next month you’re up for yellow ones, but you are still wearing it and it’s still you. I always try doing something special, something new. I could go on this commercial house thing; it’s no problem for me to produce in this direction. But ya, I do it my way. I think the next course will go back in the direction I came from and try to bring more handmade music. If it works, I’m not sure what will happen, but we will see.
iBrostep: I’m sure it will be a success
iBrostep: So after a number one Beatport single in January, Mpire hitting top 10 on the US iTunes dance chart (M in the background: It was amazing, I was very surprised) and then your recent essential mix out… you’re staying busy. So what’s next? What’s next in 2012? You have any remixes, any new tracks dropping soon, anything you can talk about at this point?
MOGUAI: Ya, for sure. Next single off the album release is ‘Lyme’ which comes out with the new mix that I made especially for my sets. It is influenced from the American scene, but it’s still the same track so the idea is not lost.
iBrostep: So you’re still keeping the same base, but expanding in different directions with the same base. Right?
MOGUAI: And some collaborations are coming out. I did one track on the album with Tommy Trash. We made this track 3 years ago and I only knew him by name from Australia because I toured there 4 times in one month. I hadn’t met him and I heard that he was in Germany and that he was unknown in Europe, but I knew that he had a good crowd and fan base in Australia. So I said ‘you know what you’re in Germany’ so he came over to my studio and we made this track, but it never came out. But it’s still my sound… his sound… whatever, so I put it in a new mix on the album and we wanted to bring it out as the 3rd or maybe 4th single on Mau5trap. Also another collaboration I have is with the Swedes AN21 (Steve Angello’s brother) and Max Vangeli. I played yesterday with them at another party and I produced a track for them.
iBrostep: What do you have for upcoming tour dates right now?
MOGUAI: For America I will be back every second month. I am back in May in Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Diego and I think EDC New York. Then back in June once again for EDC Vegas and all the great parties.
iBrostep: So after all this touring, what is your favorite venue or show that you played in the past year?
MOGUAI: Ever? Ohh in the past year!
iBrostep: Or ever, I tried to narrow it down a little for you .
MOGUAI: Hmm… I think Nature One in Germany. It’s the biggest festival we have - around 60,000 people. When I play there I play main stage on a Saturday around 12 or 1 and last year (it’s always in August) they had power problems, but it was during my set. So everything went off, there are small tents, but this is the main stage with about 40.000 people and I think it took 10 minutes… no 15 minutes without music with people just standing there. I’d already played half an hour and I had an hour more, but it was fun and also very strange to stand there not being able to do anything. But then the power came back and I started I think with the Calvin Harris track ‘Awooga’, but directly into the mellow stuff.
iBrostep: And everyone just went bonkers?
MOGUAI: Everyone! Yea! Just one of those moments…
iBrostep: And last but not least, we can talk about how was your WMC/Ultra experience? You played a bunch of shows, did you have a good time down here?
MOGUAI: I’ve never ever, ever had so many shows as this year, but my booking agency, Management and Me, decided just to play the cooler shows: the Mau5trap pool party last night and the set at Nikki Beach with [Stephan Noferini] [Vali Lopez] and so on.
iBrostep: So it was good to have all those big shows?
MOGUAI: Ya, really! Great shows! And its good to be here. It’s crazy what’s going on in America.
iBrostep: What are your thoughts on this EDM explosion? Its almost like its popularity is getting into the mainstream.
MOGUAI: The thing is coming from Germany is that we already had it there. For example we started doing the Love Parade in Berlin with 500 people, next year 5,000, then 50,000 then 500,000, then 1.5 millon, 2 million… you know. Then all the radio stations and televisions stations weren’t sure if they wanted to play dance anymore and so they changed it. We are far away from that in America; it’s an early beginning. I think electronic music will always take a part in music whether its handmade or pop music - it influences everything right now. In Germany we still have these big festivals and big parties. I think electronic dance music found a new home and it will go on and on and on. Whether every body likes it or not it doesn’t matter. It’s the same with Hip Hop and R&B. I’m not a Hip Hop or R&B fan, but we are in the mother country of it and it’s still here… and all the Eminems and P-Diddys and Snoop Doggy Dogs are still doing their thing quite well.
iBrostep: Ya man well I guess that’s it. Thank you so much for your time. [MOGUAI: good talk] Great taking to you!
Check out some more of MOGUAI's Music: