Having made every online “top UK festivals” list in 2017, the buzz around Gottwood is now unstoppable. However, the festival has undoubtedly earned its share of praise. Set on the idyllic Welsh isle of Anglesey, the festival has nurtured a unique, family spirit over the years; something that cannot be easily defined. It’s a collective wonderland they constantly strive to maintain and enhance with new features, areas and installations so every time you step into the misty forest, you find something new. Add to this some creative stage designs and a campsite framed by coastline and Welsh meadows, and you can see why few others weekenders compare.
This year’s line-up sees another blend of house, techno and disco champions, (Antal, Matthew Herbert, Zip) rising hot shots (The Black Madonna, Helena Hauff), newcomers (Ross From Friends, O’Flynn) and a sprinkling of bass peddlers (LEVELZ, Loefah, Lenzman). And let’s not forget the undisputed DJ mascot of Gottwood, Move D. On the whole, it’s eclectic, weird and wonderful, which brings us to today’s interviewee who is also appearing at Gottwood 2017; Chen Moscovici aka Moscoman.
Moscoman’s wonky, psychedelic take on house and techno fits perfectly into the Gottwood soundscape. Born in Tel-Aviv, Moscoman blends the mystical eastern sounds of his homeland with the dancefloor sensibilities of his new home – Berlin. His music is as hard to define as the arcane Gottwood spirit. He is also label head of the brilliant Disco Halal imprint, which has released a tonne of leftfield club weapons.
Photo credit: Nuphar Blechner
Having just finished touring America and kicking off his new Triesar label, we caught up with Moscoman ahead of his appearance in the forest next month…
You’re playing at Gottwood this year, amongst some other brilliant festivals like Lente Kabinet and Love International. What makes a good festival experience for you as a DJ?
First of all a good festival experience starts at the top with the organisers of the festival, their passion for it, year after year; if it’s Dave Harvey at Love int. or the Dekmantel guys or Gottwood. Afterwards you look at the crowd which is coming and then of course the gig itself! but that’s the bonus usually.
How was touring America? How did your sound go down to a US audience?
It went great! I love the US; it’s one of the best places to travel and DJ these days. It’s really super progressed, I enjoyed all of the gigs, Good Room in NY, ESP Party in LA, Toronto, Philly, SXM Festival, and of course Mexico let’s not forget. The stand out for me was Palm Springs, which I’ve never been to before, it’s magical.
So you’re a part of the brilliant @whatdjseat on Instagram. What’s the best meal you’ve had this year so far and where?
Wow, so many I’ll be honest. A few highlights were in Philadelphia at some members only Italian restaurant that I can’t really say its name but you can ask Dave P [a Philly local DJ and producer]. Barcelona has an amazing food scene, with super fresh seafood that I really like, really too many to count. Momufuku in New York… I’ve been eating really well!
How do we rate for food here in UK?
Food in the UK is becoming brilliant! Especially London, for suggestions go to our page (@whatdjseat)!
This King Crab plate is more than a food experience, don’t need to explain all the ingredients because if you are in Copenhagen you MUST go to this place called Fiskebaren and find the magic yourself with their perfect fresh fish. One of the best place in Europe with no doubts. @marvinandguy @kasperbjorke
Where do you eat when you’re home in Berlin?
I cook most of the time because Berlin, as much as I love it, it doesn’t have a good food scene. So either I cook strictly vegan food at home or I go to eat some Asian food. I usually go Ishin for sushi, Umami for their great veggie burger bun or a ramen joint which I don’t want to hype. But usually I love cooking at home or wherever I travel when I stay at people’s places.
What was the last really great party you played at in Berlin
Good question, I played a few very solid parties at Renate but if i’m honest I think the best one was with Life and Death at Club Der Visionaere. Of course all my Panorama Bar gigs we’re over the top, but it is getting harder to find the good parties in Berlin lately.
How has it been performing as a live band?
It’s really fun, a new spirit for me. First of all travelling as a group and not alone and also hearing my music come alive is really amazing for me. I’m way less stressed than I’m supposed to be because Shachak and Hassan (my band mates) are top tier!
Were there any live acts or performances in particular that inspired you to take on the band format?
Actually the opposite. If I’m honest all the live shows I’ve seen recently felt like an education in what not to do! I really want to bring something else, whether that’s possible or not. Mostly I just do my best to sound good!
How do you feel your album translates into the live format?
It makes me feel that I should have recorded it live! It’s an uplifting feeling. There are moments in the live set that i’m shivering from excitement and I really get the chills, something I didn’t feel whist DJing the album tunes.
With your new Treisar label, other than being a channel for your own music, did you have a particular vision for what you wanted it to be? Did you want it to sound different?
I’m trying to tell a story of who I am at this point of my life and career. The story basically was that, as a DJ, I’m constantly looking for new music. So I said to myself, “why not me?”. Moscoman will be one to provide music to DJs on a monthly basis, I will give it some cool visuals and we’re on. Honestly it was a spur of the moment thing.
Your latest release came with the following statement – “Then Simeon blessed them and said: This Moscoman is destined to cause the falling and rising of many. Do come with me and meet him tomorrow down at the Rocky Beach” – is there a story to be told here?
Ha ha, yes, it has a Biblical element. Treisar in Hebrew means 12 and the whole artwork is influenced by the 12 Tribes of Israel. All the names of the releases and songs are for each tribe. It’s a big story, made up of these quotes.
Why did you take on such a challenge to release a 12-inch every month?
Well, nine records are ready, I left myself 3 to make new music this year. But it’s not a challenge as I really love what I’m doing, I don’t take it too serious, it’s really fun and looks awesome. It is who I am. I love to be in a constant feeling of creating it doesn’t matter what it is. Between music, labels, live gigs, DJing, cooking. I stopped being bored and started to do stuff, I can’t stop now!
You have a realism in your approach to the whole electronic music business etc. Do you find yourself being critical of your own work?
I use to be very critical about my work but these days I’d rather work and let others be. Life is really short and living with constant gravel about what is good and what is not isn’t the right thing for me. I’m here and I’m creating, that is what’s important.
What other producers/artists have you learnt the most from
Red Axes no doubt, my biggest fans and great friends and I’m theirs. We have an unexplainable connection, we just get each other and love to work and learn stuff from each other.
Is there anything in the pipeline for Moscoman?
Producing bands and other other cool projects will probably be my main venture. Outside of Moscoman/Disco Halal related things – eventually and hopefully opening my own little spot for records, food, and pretty much everything I love.
Words by David March.