Meat Free interviews: Bas Mooy
What an honour it was to get the chance to sit down (virtually) with none other than Mord Records label boss himself, Bas Mooy. We think you’ll agree that this makes for compelling reading, thank you for your honesty and insight Bas!
Don’t forget to book your ticket for 1st October, when Bas brings Mord Records to Mantra Warehouse.
You talk a lot about your hometown, Rotterdam, do the sounds of Rotterdam come out in your music? What should we be listening out for?
Rotterdam has always had a massive influence on me, not only in the music I make, but also on the person I am I guess. The ‘roll up your sleeves and go for it’ attitude is something that’s connected to many harbor or industrial cities around the world, I like that attitude and the way people in Rotterdam are, straight up, no bullshit, no diva behavior. Music wise I think it’s probably the raw edges in my sound. Rotterdam has always had a lot of love for the harder styles of music, so I guess some of the filth and fury you hear in my music comes from influence of the city. In general I like my tunes to be quite heavy.
Tripeo has recently released his first record on MORD, how do you find new talent and what are the criteria for joining the MORD family?
I get a lot of demos, about 10 every day, which basically means I have to filter it a lot. There’s quite a big amount of quality stuff coming in, but there’s only room for just a few. Sometimes it feels bad to turn down people, who’s music I actually really like, but it’s something I must do on a gut feeling. Everything needs to fall into place when i decide to sign someone. If people have a rude attitude from the start or just sends the same demo to multiple labels at the same time, they basically have no place on Mord. I like to work with people who treat others with respect.
Most artists I sign are approached by me personally, but I will always keep an eye out for talent by listening to all demos that are sent to me. I signed some really talented relatively new or completely new artists the past 3 years and I’m proud of that, since it’s not the easiest approach of running a label. Regarding Tripeo, I’ve known Darko for many years, he’s a Dutch legend and I always respected him a lot, both as a dj and as a producer.
When he sent me some tunes I really liked them, but because of the heavy schedule I couldn’t offer him a full EP at that point. Since I really wanted him on board, we decided to include him in the follow up Herdersmat release part 8, which features various artists, just like the MORDBOX we released last year.
You said before that you think the 90’s were one of the best times for techno – is there anything about today’s scene that you think has changed for the better and what do you miss?
A lot of my love for the 90’s has to do with some sort of nostalgic feeling i guess, I have the tendency to dwell in nostalgia I’ve been told. When you look at it, of course loads of things are way better now, for example the productions of most parties: the sound systems, lights, artist handling etc. Everything became way more professional these days. When it comes to the music that comes out, I sometimes missed the rawness of productions back then. At some point, when this shit minimal hype came along everything became so crazy clean and still there’s this whole scene based on the same clean boring sound.
It still hurts a bit that some of my old heroes sold their soul to the devil, but at the same time everybody is free to make their own decisions. So if they feel happy about it, who am I to judge. The past couple of years there has been a whole new generation of new producers that brought back this kind of 90’s feeling into music. When I first heard UVB’s demo I wondered if he was teleported from the nineties. Raw and dirty stuff is back and that’s great, hopefully Mord has contributed a bit to that too.
Do you remember one track that changed things for you? Either inspired you to get into DJing, producing or even to start MORD?
One of the tracks that has a special place in my heart and still gives me goosebumps every time i play it or hear it is Chris McCormack’s remix of Number and Measure by Jamie Bissmire. I remember Jamie playing it at one of the first parties I organized (around 2000) in collaboration with Sound Architecture, I had taken my own decks from home and Space Djz were playing on MY decks and they played MY favorite track, which was a very special moment for me back then, since I just started dj-ing myself. What got me into djing was basically visiting a Strictly Techno party around 1998. The next day I decided I really needed to have decks and that’s where it all started I guess. When I finally had the cash to buy Technics and a mixer it was the first thing I did. Some well spent money I think. Still got the same decks after all these years.
Have you ever felt like giving up? If so, what would be your advice for those that are struggling with their art?
I was going through a really difficult time about 3-4 years ago, right before I started Mord. I went fulltime on music about 9 years ago and went through some hard times after that, especially financially. Over the years a lot of people around me advised me to give up, which wasn’t a weird advice considering the fact I was trying for over 15 years, but you don’t really want to hear that to be honest. I was already really happy that I could make a living from it for so many years, even when it wasn’t really taking off so far, I was still able to do what I love. But in all honesty, there was a moment where it actually seemed like a good idea to get a regular job again and get some air, since the pressure was suffocating me and I really wasn’t happy anymore.
I realized I needed to make some changes to get the fun in music back again. The idea of starting a new label had been going through my head for some years already, so I decided to start Mord, which immediately got me loads of new inspiration. It felt really good to select music, artwork and artists on my own. Never expected it to take off like it did, I’m very grateful for the massive support I got from the start. I also switched from laptop to cdjs, which I think was also a great move cause it really brought the fun back in dj-ing.
Bottom line is that I’m glad I didn’t give up.
Sometimes you just need to re-invent yourself I guess, don’t get stuck on the same path for to long. I think it’s important to always keep looking for opportunities, keep your ears and eyes open. There’s a lot of things you can do to make yourself known out there. It’s hard work, keep in mind that there’s not a lot of people who are willing to make all those sacrifices in the end. By working hard and holding on to your dream you are already one step ahead of the people that just sit at home and bash on dj’s on Facebook. When it comes to music, in the end quality will stand out and will be noticed. Just think twice before you send out your first demo to a label or approach someone. You only have one shot at a first impression, better make it a good one! And like I always say: be a gentleman! Probably the best advice in my opinion.
Outside of techno, what music inspires you?
Think my inspiration comes from many different sources, music being one of them. Most of my inspiration probably comes from just being in the club and experiencing techno on a heavy sound system, sometimes from hearing other dj’s play, but also literature, Rotterdam, movies, documentaries etc. I think my radar is on all the time, I’m making a lot of notes everywhere I go, words, sentences, new ideas, concepts. You should see my black book, it’s messy, but looking back into it every now and then is interesting, since you can see all those ideas in phases, slowly developing into something real. I probably only use 5% of everything I write down, but it works for me! I’m filtering all the time.
Anyway, I actually almost never listen to techno at home, most of the stuff I listen to is actually the same as when I was 15-16, there comes that nostalgia thing again…Stone Roses, Sonic Youth, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, Joy Division, Wu Tang Clan, Pennywise and some really bad eighties stuff I won’t even mention.
Really like bands like The KVB (thanks to my friend Lag for the tip!), Grandaddy, White Lies, to name a few, but unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time to discover new music lately. As a teenager I was listening to music almost 24-7, now I just don’t have that much time for it anymore unfortunately.
As budding promoters, we have to ask, what makes a great party for you?
Proper venue, good heavy sound system, quality sound in the booth, some lights and strobes, great crowd…that’s all you need.
Finally, what can Manchester expect when you play for us?
I’m really happy with this varied line up with many of the producers/djs I really respect. With a line up like this I can see people getting really excited, so I hope for a lot of energy from the crowd and then those things usually work out fine. Music wise I play what I always play, heavy and banging techno, let’s see if they’re up for that. They can expect me to give the full 100%, like i always do.