We are extremely excited to have No Moon on our Mixed by series. He has released on the likes of Church, Craigie Knowes, X-Kalay and Blorp and continues to provide dreamy Electro, Techno and Breakbeat tracks for the dance-floor and beyond.
During a worldwide pandemic we found the time to talk through a recent move to Berlin, the influential city of Manchester and we even managed to get some insight into his music production methods.
How have you been keeping throughout this crazy period in 2020? The year that seems to keep on giving.
Yeah its definitely been a weird one for me. I was in the middle of a short trip around the UK in March when it all hit the fan, and ended up getting stuck there for 2 months. Its been quite musically frustrating as I didn’t have the equipment to really do anything, but have just kept busy with other stuff and tried to make the best of it. At least I was stuck somewhere with a garden and with good company so can’t complain.
You recently made the move to Berlin from Manchester. How has that been for you? And other then the incredible electronic music scene over there was it something specific that made you go?
It has been really great so far. It was a combination of a lot of things… I was already playing in Berlin more than anywhere else and had quite a few music pals already living here. The last piece of the puzzle was meeting my girlfriend. I was also planning to quit my job and do a year of just making music so just made sense to do that here.
Sounds like a plan! Going back to your entry into the scene briefly. Did the city of Manchester influence your sound in any way?
Yeah it definitely has at times, I mean I kind of owe my interest in electronic music generally to moving there. And also I don’t think I would have persevered with the first few years of making terrible music without the encouragement of the people around me. From a DJ perspective I can definitely see that the city has influenced some of the sounds I’m into and want to play out.
Reflecting on some of the music I used to make I think I spent a lot of effort trying to fit in with some of the people around me which is obviously a rubbish idea. Manchester has some really thriving music scenes but I never really felt like I was part of any of them. So I dont know really, I’m sure I have passively picked up some Manchester traits but I feel like it has yet to manifest itself heavily in my production.
Any local Mancunian producers / DJs we should keep an eye on?
Lack is doing bits atm, with a really nice new record on Livity Sound. Kerrie also one to watch as well as Anz. Contours of course is also an essential Manchester artist imo!
Can we talk production? Tell us a little bit about your process and go-to piece of gear, if there is one of course. And if there is a synth / drum machine you have wanted for a while or recently purchased?
This is always changing so the stuff I am using now hasn’t really featured on any records yet. Its also a bit disjointed as a couple of bits of gear at back in the UK still (notably and sadly my SY22). But right now, my go to piece of gear is 100% the Behringer Neutron. Its honestly so sick I have never been as buzzed about a synth before, and it cost me like 200 euros. An interesting comparison is to the Moog DFAM which I got recently for about twice the price, the neutron is miles better at least for what I’m doing. Main thing I’m lacking at the moment is a poly synth.. I borrowed a Behringer deepmind from my old work for about 2 years but had to give it back when I left. The dream is probably an OB-6 right now, but yeah I dont have a spare 2k lying about.
I should add though, basically 90% of my process is inside the box. Most of my releases in the last 2 years have something external going on but usually just like 1 synth part. A lot of people assume that there must be some expensive bit of fancy gear going on, which is flattering I guess but its really important imo to dispel those myths. You do not need expensive gear to produce music that sounds good, and 100% of the hardware I use is predominantly to stop me from getting bored.
When you sit down to write music do you make a decision to create something that would work in a club or something more chilled, or does this happen naturally?
Nah I am totally incapable of directing this process in a deliberate way. Its pretty annoying but something I’ve learnt to live with. The majority of the time I’m making chilled out stuff, and then a couple of times a year I just go mad and make a Sirens EP. I end up frustrating labels a bit this way because I’lll end up with like one track thats a belter, then not be able to make anything to go with it for 6 months or more.
Do you have a trusted group of friends that help you review music and decide what works and most importantly what does not?
Kind of yes and no. I have a bit of a network of music friends now that I send stuff to for feedback, but usually I’m good at knowing what works and what doesn’t. There’s been a few tracks in the last year that have taken me ages to get things like the structure correct, and my girlfriend has actually been unbelievably helpful on this front. I feel like I often send people stuff for feedback and in a way im just looking for confirmation that it is, as i suspected, a bit shit. Occasionally I find it hard to tell whether something is incurably shit or worth persevering with, but generally if its good then I know immediately.
Any upcoming releases we can get excited about?
Sadly not, I’m kind of in that stage I mention where I have a bunch of tracks I’m really happy with, but they’re all waiting for 1 or 2 more to finish a coherent release. Should be a couple more this year though with a bit of luck.