Mousse T Talks About His Career, No. 1 Chart Success with Horny, Tom Jones, The Scottish House & Disco Fest & His Top Remix Tips (Audio Interview)
Mousse T Photo by Jens Koch Photography
Hi this is John from levisiteuronline.com and today I am speaking to House legend Mousse T ahead of his appearance at the Scottish House and Disco festival in Glasgow on Saturday 16th April. Check out more on that event here and grab your tickets for the event via: http://houseanddisco.co.uk/
We had a long chat about his introduction to music, his inspirations, his long and colourful career, including his albums, his Grammy nomination, his mega hits with Horny and Sex Bomb and his favourite own remixes. He also gave us some fantastic advice on how to craft timeless remixes. We chatted about some of the artists who are exciting him right now including Folamour, Young Pulse and Tom Misch and who he is excited to see at the Scottish House and Disco festival.
It’s a wonderful interview. I hope you enjoy it!
Mousse T Talks
Hi Mousse T
Many thanks for taking the time out to talk to Le Visiteur today.
Introductions to Music
Going way back. Where did you grow up? And what were your first introductions to music when you were at school?
Well, I was born in Germany in Hagen, which is quite close to Cologne. And then my father moved about, he was a doctor. When I was five years old, we settled down in Hanover, which is quite up north between Hamburg and Berlin. My parents, don’t have like music history or something, my dad was a doctor, my mum was basically a housewife, but they were loving music at home. So my dad was listening to Turkish music and my mom was listening to Tom Jones, funnily enough. At that time, you know being young, I didn’t like either you know, I mean it was kind of like ohhhh, you know what the parents listen to is not really cool and all that stuff. But you know, I always loved music and I was more, you know, when you’re like rebellious, into hard rock, into rock. I really admired bands like AC/DC because it was kind of very minimalistic and yet they had great songs, it was really cool. And when I was 13 my dad asked me if I would want to learn an instrument and then I was like, yeah, you know, let me try and then I decided to do the the organ. It was basically between the organ and the piano and the organ had a little bit more to play around with like, a bit more electronic which was fine. But then I stopped it after a year because obviously being at school and then doing another school in the afternoon you know, it wasn’t for me.
But my dad luckily enough again, you know, he helped me like buying my first synthesizer, the Roland JX3P, which actually Purple Disco Machine uses as well. He raves about it, it’s a really cool synth. So basically, that was a moment when I kind of shifted from playing in live bands with my little organ. But you know, that synthesizer thing opened up the electronic world for me in parallel, basically. Obviously, like consuming radio and I don’t know if you know, but in the North of Germany, the British forces were still there obviously, they brought all the culture. We had the British Forces Radio, and I think it was there that I first heard Donna Summers I Feel Love. And it really changed me instantly because I was loving live music, and this was like, so different, yet appealing. And I was like, “wow, what is this? no real drums, but it’s really erotic, great vocals”. And that completely changed my perception to music and then I was like, alright, you know, I still love my live music but this is new, I love that. I developed a love for amazing vocals. And that kind of describes my understanding for music nowadays. I love talent, you know, when you play an instrument, really cool. I love great vocals, and the combination between analog and digital, like electronic and live, that’s where I come from
Brilliant, apart from the British radio show. Are there any other radio shows that you were really passionate about? Or early DJs on the radio who really piqued your interest? Or was there a local record shop that you frequented when you were growing up?
Back then obviously not having the internet or any, like digital outlets or stuff, the record shops were basically the places to meet, first of all, you know, to socialize. But obviously, if you went there long enough, and you know, bonded with the right people, you got the right records, you got the right recommendations, and that was very, very important for my upbringing. BI mean, in Germany, obviously, the radio was really important back in the day, because obviously at the British influences at the BFBS you know, the John Peel and all that stuff we were listening to. That said the German radio, back then, wasn’t that bad either. So we had quite good music on the radio, quite good shows. And at one point, I basically started DJing when I finished school, and I wanted to, start studying and then I started DJing because I had a nice record collection and you know, kind of wanted to earn some money and develop my skills and all that stuff. And by doing that, obviously, you get to meet a lot of other DJs and that’s another level of musical learning, musical lessons basically.
Mousse T early bands
You were in bands when you were younger, were you playing rock or were you playing electronic music at that point? You obviously had your synthesizer but was it AC/DC influenced stuff or did you go straight into producing electronic music?
It was really strange because I was always the alien with my little keyboard under my arm, you know even when I played in blues bands. Everybody was like about the drums and I came with my Organ then they were “all right, you know, you can play this Organ riff or whatever”. So I always brought this little special something to it. And then at one point, I met my, back then, musical partner Errol, you know, he’s a Brummy guy, Birmingham dude. And then we started doing our own songs which were, I would say between pop but still very soulful and very kind of like really special and that’s where we broadened our horizon in terms of songwriting. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever played in like an electronic band, it was more like funk bands, more about live instruments.
Great. So when you started getting into producing electronic music, who were the first producers who really piqued your interest in the genre and grabbed your attention?
Yeah, we spoke about it briefly that obviously the record shops were the places to be where you kind of like mingled and got the hot gossip and the hot records and stuff and the good thing is with records and even with CDs, you know, you still have the sleeve. So you can like look it up, who produced it, who’s behind what and stuff. And I was really lucky in Hanover, I played what was basically the smallest club in Germany. It was called Casablanca, it was kind of posh, it would probably hold like 70 people or something. But musically, I could do whatever I want. I would play from James Brown to like a blues track to Chicago house to anything, you know, which was great to broaden my horizon.
But that said, with electronic music, you had like the folks from England you know, your great housey scene, like Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson, like, amazing folks. You had all the Americans, you had Masters At Work, obviously, you had people like Smack productions, Eddie Perez and stuff. I really liked the dirtiness, you know, they were kind of like doing their music with, so that was really cool. And obviously still, people like Nelly Hooper and Jazzy B. The approach they had to music kind of formed me basically with like, the old dudes like Herbie Hancock who I was listening to, to nick some keyboard ideas and stuff. So that’s all the big picture basically.
So I guess it was kind of right across the board. Was that representative of the Hanover music scene? Was it really kind of soulful and funky and verging on house music at that point in the 90s?
Not at all, we were really big and probably still are in the rock scene. Obviously, the Scorpions are from here and stuff. There’s a very healthy rock scene. The house music it was basically going on in Hamburg, they had a big gay scene. You had the Frankfurt guys, you know, they had their electronic thing going on. So they were basically the city’s we had to go to, to get some influence.
So when you were starting to progress your career in the early 90s, did you have any mentors who helped you learn your trade and gave you some good advice?
Good question, I probably have to call my dad a mentor as well, because obviously, he supported me with gear and stuff, which was really strange, because he supported me at first, but then later, when it all went serious he hated it, because he thought, like, look, you have to study or be academic to be somebody. And then later on when I was successful, he really understood what I was doing, but not before.
Apart from that, I would say, my songwriting partnership with Errol was really important, because, we were kind of developing serious skills then. And all the other stuff, it was trial and error, you know, I was basically fiddling around. I was like, okay, this works, this doesn’t work, you know. But apart from that, it was really hard work. And after that, even harder work, you know what I mean?
Absolutely. So very early on in your career, you founded Peppermint Jam, and Peppermint Park studio with Errol. Having developed those businesses now for three decades and knowing what you know now, if you were able to go back to those early meetings that you were having with Errol, about those businesses, what advice do you think you would give your past self?
I mean the reason why we founded Peppermint Jam was because, we were talking about, almost mid 90s, like 93. Us basically soul heads, with a Garage mind and like a House, Soulful whatever. Being in Germany, we didn’t have any outlets to release our music, no labels we could send stuff to because everything was pretty much electronic Trancey Euro dance, Techno, that’s what it was.
So we were loving the music so much that we said, “you know what? Let’s take our fate in our own hands”, then we founded the studio, I mean, Peppermint Park was existing before Aaron and myself, we went there basically, and kind of like shared forces. But that helped obviously, because, we had producing facilities. Quite swiftly we recognized that we need our own label, we need our own distribution to be able to have the certain kind of power as well. And we have to build a catalogue, like really build like great songs, tracks that we own actually, and which we’re still doing. So basically, my advice to my own self would be “well done, buddy!”
It must be brilliant to look back and think, yeah we actually nailed it!
So what’s the vibe of Peppermint Jam right now in 2022?
Well, I mean, we’re almost what are we like 27/28 years old? And you know, we have a massive beautiful catalog, with beautiful tracks. But obviously, we have times as well where we were always about the vocal side of things. Like great beats with a great vocal with like a rough production, that was our trademark. Sometimes the trend crosses your path and everything becomes a little bit more electronic where we have to kind of like, take ourselves back, be a little quieter, whatever. And right now, we’re enjoying almost like a second spring. People, first of all, re-discovering our old stuff. You know wherever I play, I mean, we see it at the sales as well that people really want to hear, or basically want to see the history of things, you know what I mean, which is beautiful. And yeah with us, it’s basically the same as ever, we’re trying to kind of like find the new young guys, who kind of like share the same passion as we are. Plus, Peppermint Jam, luckily enough is my playground. So I can really release the stuff that I want to release, although I’ve been quiet on Peppermint Jam because I was doing so much on other labels. But 22 is my year guys.
So my first real introduction to Mousse T was via your production, Odyssey one as Federation X with Grant Nelson, which is a timeless EP, and I still play it today. What are your memories of how that EP came together?
We had in the old studio, that’s before we moved to the new studio in the year 2000. We were in the city center of Hanover, and it was like a beautiful big building and the basement there was a furniture shop that went bust at one time and then we kind of took it over and did a nightclub. So the first guy who I booked was Roger Sanchez. And then we kind of started to bring in friends, guys who we had a relationship to. So Grant came over and then we became friends and then obviously, speaking and exchanging tracks, we we were doing remixes for each other. And then we said, “let’s let’s do this, you know”. We can produce some of the tracks in my studio in Hanover, and then I flew over to London stay at Grant’s house. Amazing times Grant is such a talent, because he’s good with the beats and with the keyboards. It’s the same with me so I was bouncing off so good with him and then when that thing came about, and it’s really funny, because obviously in Germany I didn’t realize that the Garage scene was so big in the UK or in London for sure. I was still “look this is a great soulful EP I did for Grant”. And then the sound that I did blew up in the Garage scene, and people were seeing me as one of the big Garage guys. And really, it was a great compliment.
Yeah, it’s a fantastic EP!
So very soon after that you had a huge international hit with Horny, a track, which came out originally in 1997, as an instrumental on your own Peppermint Jam label, before being re-released as Mousse T vs Hot n Juicy in 1998. What was the journey to that single becoming such a huge hit? And were you surprised at just how successful it became?
I mean, let me answer that first, as a producer, kind of your job is, like a film director, you have the screenplay, you have the book, you have your actors and everything, which are the singers, in my case. So you paint the picture, and you kind of know what the outcome is going to be. And by that time, I was producing great artists, I was doing a lot of great remixes but obviously, with Horny, it was basically an accident. You know, as I said before, Peppermint Jam was basically my playground. I was able to do a lot of great tracks on it, and the tracks became better and bigger, all the time. And at one point, I was doing a lot of remixes. And sometimes I would take kind of like left overs of these remixes, probably the beats or something, and do my own tracks for my own label. And that happened with Horny. I was doing a Michael Jackson remix at that time and I was doing millions of versions. And at one point, you know, five o’clock in the morning, I gave up. I said, “that’s enough versions for Michael Jackson. Let’s keep this one for myself”. I forgot about it.
I told you before that we had the club, so Roger Sanchez came over and we’re exchanging music. I didn’t even think about it, I played him that track. I didn’t even want it to release it and he completely fainted. He was like, wow, what is this? And he was urging me to put it out. I was like, “Oh, really, you really like it?” It was basically an instrumental track. I played in the bass, some keyboards, and used a couple of horn samples. And then obviously, with us being able to print our own vinyl and distribute it, we did quite some vinyl and it flew out of the window. I mean, I never experienced something like that before. It really went mental. I was very proud of that.
But obviously, the German vinyl edition already being so successful came to the attention of all the UK A&R’s and A&R’s all over the world. They were like, oh, we really want to sign that track. And I’m like, “that’s really strange, this is an instrumental track, and you really want to get into that?” I didn’t understand back then. I mean, it was sounding special and very unique, I understood that. But it was an instrumental track. So basically, we kind of spoke to English A&R’s. In the meantime, I was like, alright, if they already like it let’s try to write a song on top of it. And obviously the track being called Horny because of the horn stabs said like, let’s keep it for a lyric and try to move it into a modern age love song if you want to say so. And yeah it really blew up and to answer your question, no, I did not know that this track would become so big.
Mousse T Grammy Nomination
So in 1998, you were also nominated for a Grammy Award. How did it feel to be recognized for such a prestigious award? And what career doors do you think it opened for you?
Yeah, 1998 was, you may call it a turning point but it was a very big year anyway for me because obviously I had the release of Horny as my first artist single, if you want to say so. And then the Grammy nomination came about and obviously that came really out of the dark, I didn’t even have a hint or something from somebody. It was the first time that the Grammy’s had the remix category basically. And back in the day ’98 it was the best remixers. Myself as a European and then four other guys Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, Armand and Todd Terry. So quite a cast actually. The jury picked five remixes each, so it wasn’t even about one song. It was about five songs that we did. So with me, I think it was the Ann Nesby Remix, the Simply Red remix and a couple of others. And yeah, I mean, it was really crazy that somebody pre-internet, would recognize your work and nominate you for such a prestigious award. I really made the effort to go over to New York at the time for the award. And then I actually realized that I was nominated for a Grammy, not before, it was still like a hoax for me, you know what I mean?
Favourite Mousse T Remixes
Touching on the same subject, you’ve been in huge demand as a remixer. What are some of your own favorite personal remixes that you’ve produced over the years?
You may recognize that my remixes, although they might have the Mousse T touch. I still don’t know what that is, but people say “that really sounds like you”. But it’s kind of tough-ish, yet a groovy beat with a cool baseline and quite a musical backing track with a beautiful vocal. But I still try to be different with every remix I do, with every production I do. So it’s a little challenging for myself basically. That said, it’s really hard for me to pick my remixes. And that’s obviously because the songs are great as well. I will probably pick Ann Nesby’s Can I get a witness? Because the vocal is so good. I mean, the track would work probably without the vocal but combined its amazing. Stomp by Quincy Jones and recently, I would say Selace So hooked on you’re loving, and probably Horse Meat Disco Love if you need it, because I had fun with that, to really take a song and make it something totally different, you know what I mean. That’s probably my top four remixes, I would say.
Now that you’ve mentioned that you always have maybe a specific sound at the time, that’s really obviously Mousse T. So I’d say like Angel Simply Red was kind of along the same vibe as that Ann Nesby track. It had a real pumping groove to it. And again, your remixes more recently, like your Mike Dunn and your Davie remix, they have that similar groove but obviously, a very now sound. So I think that you mention it, that is a really obvious trait to you remixes.
It’s actually great that you recognize it, especially with the Mike Dunn one, I really liked that one too. I kind of like said, “look, how would I approach a mix?” Because it was basically, you know, Mike is kind of like rapping so I said, “let’s do a really nasty, rough groove. How would I approach that, like, 20 years ago?”, that was my approach. So it’s great that you recognize that.
The Mousse T Process & Remix Tips
So do you have a process that you stick to for remixing and what tips do you have for the producers among our readers and listeners to try and make a remix their own?
First of all, generally speaking, it’s obviously great if you do a remix, you kind of have to honour the original. That said, you know, it’s great, obviously, to put your own touch in there. Because originally the remix was there to touch on the sound of the record, maybe like prolong a record or make a special part for mixing or whatever, like in the disco area. And then later on, it really became a creative art form. And we look at Todd Terry, you know what he did, to Everything But The Girl.
And for me, it was the same. When I do remixes like my Ruffneck remix back in the day, you know, obviously, I did like different versions as well. But one version I said, look, the original of Ruffneck Be somebody is so good, I just want to beef it up a bit, so that’s okay. But I generally say, look, if the song is great and I can really put my touch to it and make it something else, to maybe get another audience interested in it or something that’s great.
So my advice would be obviously, always try to, as a producer, develop a trademark that people know you for, that’s really good. Which I used to do and that’s what you probably mentioned earlier that obviously, you have phases in the time like when you work and your eras. And, I have like little out times, where basically I sit back, listen to a lot of music, collect sounds. And then from these sounds, I nurture my remixes for a certain phase. And then I stop again, look for new sounds and all that stuff. So the choice of your sounds is very, very important, so that’s going to make your sound as well. So take really good time to do that actually.
That’s great advice.
How would you say your production technique has changed over the years with the advent of new technology?
The new technology made things a lot easier, like obviously, all the DAW’s, where you can process the audio in the computer. You were speaking about like Horny and Stomp and all these remixes. You know, what I basically did, I recorded stuff on two inch multi-tape, and then sampled it back into my Akai samplers, and then I reconstructed tracks again, in my computer with MIDI. It was really hard work. But that said, you know, the stuff that we were doing back then, even Grant Nelson in the Garage scene, with his little vocal licks and all that stuff. That’s how it came about. Because you know, you have the samples on your keyboard. So actually a lack of technique sometimes helped your creativity which was great back then. So I try to kind of go back a little bit to that, you know. I don’t make it too easy for myself, having all these amazing possibilities and all these amazing plugins and everything. So I’m a sucker for hardware as well so I have a nice little balance between a digital setup and a beautiful console and a real keyboard and all that stuff. So I love that.
So looking back across your career as a whole, what are some of your own favourite memories?
It’s a good question. I mean, obviously, everything was really exciting back then I would say. I really don’t want to sound old, but now I almost did this like 20 year cycle and everything kind of is coming back, you know. The people rediscover my music, I play gigs with beautiful young kids in the audience singing Horny, which is amazing. They weren’t even born back in the day, you know what I mean. The style is coming back, people are proper into vocal house music, proper into 90s, and all that stuff. So that’s great but back then everything was new. So it was really exciting you know. And out of every little experience, I had something new develop. Obviously, you do Horny as a house producer, and then you do as a follow up single, you know, something like Sex Bomb happens, which wasn’t planned either. And then obviously, your spectrum broadens from being a cool house head to a producer or pop artist, if you want to say so. Which means, I try out other things. I mean, I have played in bands before, but now I do gigs, with a full live band and with orchestras and all that stuff. And then obviously, you get to produce and meet other people. And then it’s always the first time so it’s really, really exciting. And that excitement, I’m wishing back right now. And that excitement, I mean, I get that kick out of collaborations and working with other people. But apart from that, in terms of like, maybe a technical revolution, or something like. I don’t want to sound like I’ve seen it all or something, but you know, I did a lot of what is to be done in music, basically. So I’m kind of always looking for the next little excitement.
Just picking up on something you mentioned there. What was it like working with Tom Jones, when you’d been brought up listening to his music at home?
Yeah, as I told you earlier, my mom was a big Tom Jones fan, and I didn’t really feel it back then. And then you grow up, and you realize, first of all, the talent of the guy. And then, coincidently we met Mark, his son and manager. And he was like, “Oh, we really like what you do, and maybe you know, you’re up for like, remixing some of Tom’s old big hits?” And we’re like, yeah, whenever, we’d love to and that never happened. But we had the contact with Mark and then thinking about coming up with a follow up track to Horny, for my first artist album. I was playing like the cool little blues riff and then, we wrote a song together. Emma from Horny, she sang the demo, and they were like, Sex Bomb could be something nice, could be like a homage to Tom. And then we sent it to Tom and he absolutely loved it. And then I flew to London, met him for the first time. I was obviously, very impressed, because first of all, he’s a proper gentleman, but he really knows his music. He’s a proper worker, he really, really gives 200% in the studio. And he’s basically, he’s a proper legend. I mean, we’re sitting together, and he tells me about his live tour he had together with Elvis back in the day. And I’m like, man this is surreal. And that gave me so much because I saw, that he’s a proper legend and he’s so down to earth. And that’s very motivating for a young producer.
Mousse T Albums
You’ve now created three studio albums. Gourmet de Funk, Right about now and Where is the love? Do you think electronic albums still have a place in the scene today with the current dominance of streaming? And do you have any plans to craft another album in the future?
Yeah, the concept of an album is a very interesting one. I think nowadays, you really have to love music, to decide to do an album, , to really say, look, this is a piece of work. And despite all the trends, with the streaming all that stuff, I really want to make sure I do an album, like a proper concept and maybe even physical product to go with it. And I would say, I would be interested to do another album. But right now I’m feeling like one of singles. I’m really feeling like, quick, I want to do a collab with this guy, I want to do a collab with her, you know, as a singer. I want to do this, we’d be able to move fast. But that said as it is with producers, you know, obviously we do work, but we gather so many productions and ideas that at one point without you even knowing you have an album ready laying there, you know what I mean.
So how long did it take you out of interest to do the last album, was like a year’s project?
It was ages, you know, it became longer and longer, but my own stuff, I’m very specific and almost kind of shy. So you know, I’m very fast and determined and self confident when I do productions and remixes for other people. With my own stuff, Gourmet de Funk, the album, I finished because I had a deal with a company back in the day, and I didn’t deliver and they said, look, if you don’t deliver in three months, you have to pay like a million Deutsche Marks. So basically, it was written in the contract and I was like, oh, okay, let’s finish it. So I always need this little pressure.
And with the second album it was kind of the same, it took a bit. But we released the single Is it because I’m cool and it was really big, so I said, okay, let’s finish the album. And the third one actually Where Is The Love took the longest because I really took my time, which was actually beautiful. I went everywhere recorded with people and then it was, look, I feel this as a body of work.
So what are your views on how the streaming platforms treat their artists and labels such as Peppermint Jam?
First of all, I’m a big fan of the technological side. Basically it’s amazing how you can easily consume music, discover new artists, amazing. What I don’t like obviously with these kind of platforms, is that most of the time they have been set into place without the consent of the artists or even that somebody, gives an opinion or says, alright, you want to sell our music, but can we at least have a say you know how much we would like to have, or whatever.
I was in Italy for a big project a couple of months ago, and I spoke to the CEOs of Sony and Universal. They were laughing, they said, look last year, which means 21, we had the biggest year in music since 2006, which was like really big back in the day. And that’s without physical product, which means that they’re making a ton of money with streaming, but the artists don’t see any of that, which is not right, obviously.
Mousse T DJ Style
So changing tact. How would you describe your DJ style now in 2022?
I mean, I’ve been lucky to be DJing for, I’m 55 now, so 27 years, and I’m really confident now, and for me, I really want to make sure that the crowd has an amazing time. But at the same time, that I have a great time as well. So it has to be a balance, which means, I’m obviously trying to put a lot of new music in my sets. But I want to dig out some of my old stuff, you know, where the people go “oh, wow, what is this? I’ve never heard this before”. It’s almost like a showcase of my whole career with really cool secret weapons and all that stuff.
What are some of your favourite clubs or events to DJ at just now?
I mean, first of all, I’m always fond of like playing somewhere for the first time, which is great, because I have played quite some gigs. But that said, I really enjoy Ministry of Sound, the sound system is amazing. So that’s super, and then we have the thing in Germany called Baltic Soul Weekener, almost the equivalent to Southport weekend. And they have like all the amazing old soul bands and Horse Meat Disco there, and English dudes coming over. And I really like this kind of festival where everything’s about soul, but you can still play it from Rare Groove to house. I love those places.
Scottish Disco Fest
So one of your next upcoming gigs is a Scottish House and Disco Festival in Glasgow on the 16th of April. Do you have any new tracks that you’re really looking forward to drop that day?
Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, obviously, they can be sure that I’m going to drop some really really cool edits of my own stuff or maybe some really cool disco stuff mixed with some obscure beats and stuff. I just finished a remix for Defected for the Spotlight record, which is beautiful. I did two different mixes, but very Mousse , a really nice beat but with a very soulful backing track. And I’m working on a single right now, which I actually started 2019 with Kathy Sledge, basically it’s going to be my next single. It’s a beautiful soul disco track, and I’m sure even if it’s not finished, I’m going to play a version.
Check out more on the Scottish House & Disco Festival HERE.
Natasha Kitty Katt
So who else are you looking forward to checking out at the festival?
I mean, first of all hats off, because the lineup of the festival is like really amazing. And I can’t remember when the last time I played in Glasgow, it’s been a while. I think even sub club, I don’t know. So you know, obviously Jocelyn Brown, the Queen, she’s gonna blow it away. The last time I saw her live was in New York, when they had the inauguration of the Frankie Knuckles Street, it was a beautiful Block Party and Jocelyn was playing there. So I’m really looking forward to see her.
And Nicky Siano, I haven’t seen him live yet so that’s going to be great. And obviously meet up with all the pals, like John Morales with Michael Gray. And who I really admire, because I’ve played with her a couple of times is Natasha Kitty Katt. She is a bomb, she’s so knowledgeable, I played with her at a couple of Glitterboxes. The last gig I played, she opened for me, I think in London, and the journey, from the beginning to where I took over, it’s like mind blowing, and that’s a proper art form in itself, really beautiful.
It’s a great line-up. I’ve seen Nicky Siano when he started touring again, and he was brilliant. And obviously, Jocelyn Brown. I saw her maybe about 10 years ago, and I vividly remember she was singing Somebody Else’s Guy. And I was looking around and there were loads of people crying on the dance floor. Grown men just in buckets of tears. So yeah, she’s so incredible live. So it should be a brilliant day.
Yeah, I can’t wait.
Michael Gray – The Weekend
So you recently remixed The Weekend for Michael Gray, who’s also on the bill at the Scottish House and Disco festival. Very much like Horny, The Weekend has become an evergreen classic. What do you think is the common theme between those tracks, which have seen them so celebrated over the years?
I think the ingredient for a big record is a great song. First of all, it’s a song you know, which is like, recognizable, which Horny has and The Weekend has, you know, the beautiful hook line. And the uniqueness of the production. I mean, even to scrap the vocals on both tracks, if you just play the instrumentals, you’re gonna go like yes, it almost sounds like a proper song on its own. And I think that’s why honestly nowadays, it’s really hard sometimes to kind of like recognize a song or you know, even remember it. If I would have to go back to a record shop and like, probably sing it back to the guy behind the counter you know, I wouldn’t even remember. If you have a big song and even if it only goes “mee, Mee, Mee Mee Mee, Mee”. You know, that little synthesizer line on The Weekend, that’s the stuff that you’re going to actually sing back to somebody.
So what would you say is the secret to your continued success as a producer, still being in such huge demand after more than three decades?
Wow, good question. Other people probably have to answer that. But you know, I’m still curious, I’m still in love with music. And I always try to reinvent myself without forgetting about the core. You have to stay true to yourself, but be open to the new.
Which Producers Excite Mousse T?
So the house and disco scene is in great health at the moment. Who are some of the producers whose work really excites you in 2022?
Wow, I mean, the good thing is about house and disco, is that there’s a big, big, big, big, long history about it, which means you have the guys like John Morales, for instance, who have been there already, but basically can bring their knowledge to the present, which is amazing. You have those cats and then obviously, you have the cats like maybe Folamour or Young Pulse. The guys who basically take that old material, I would say and bring it in a new form, which is really beautiful. I really like that.
And then I’m a big fan of Tom Misch, he just released a track called Supershy. I think it’s his house outfit or something which is like a sample disco track but a very musical. And that gives me hope that really amazing musos, you know, when they dip into that scene and, do something crazy about it.
Mousse T Re-orchestrated
So you were one of the first artists who created an electronic show with a full orchestra Re-orchestrated, where you performed your hits with the film orchestra, Babelsberg, a live band and several guest stars in Berlin. Is it still ongoing? Can we expect to see this again, are you going to be touring with the show?
I was a very, very lucky guy. I did one cover version in my whole life, which is basically Brother On The Run. It’s the old Johnny Pate cover, like a Blaxploitation soundtrack. And the rest of songs I perform, are original songs. And obviously with that in your back pocket, it’s great, because like Pete Tong basically does the whole Ibiza thing, which is amazing. But obviously, for me, I couldn’t do that, it would be like copying a concept, but like to do that with your own music. It’s a different pair of shoes, I would say.
So most of the time, people ask me, if I would be up to do a gig with them. So it was the Babelsberg guys, I played like several gigs as like a bonding love of music. I think the next opportunity, I would grab delighted, because obviously, as a musician, to play with an orchestra, and basically bring those worlds together and make your own songs even bigger. It’s everything you ever wish for.
Fantastic. So you’ve also been recognized for your work on film scores, which is obviously very different to creating club hits. Is that something that you enjoy? And do you have any other projects in the pipeline along those lines just now?
The great thing with your own catalogue, or with your songs, is that obviously every now and then they get used for great movies. So there’s nothing much you have to do, you just like have to cross your fingers and maybe they show up in some cool Netflix series or whatever. But obviously, it’s an amazing experience, basically, to be able to do music for a movie from scratch, because your music has a certain energy about it, and then the movie has a certain energy. And if you bring those two together, like the pictures and the music, something indescribable happens, really crazy.
Sometimes, it’s a very classical approach, that you take a very scorey approach, and sometimes a very modern, electronic approach, so. And that’s beautiful. You’re not the boss in this, you have to work with a team and I love that. So, I just hope I can do it again soon.
Still To Achieve?
So you have had such an incredible career. Looking forward, what, if anything, would you still love to achieve as a producer?
Good question. I mean, the good thing is the whole digital revolution, if I may say so, is that it opened up so many new doors for people. And I would say even maybe people that probably would be in their own bubble back in the day, they’re open to work with people now, which is really great. And to be honest, I’m a fan of great vocals. For me, it’s who is out there that you really want to work with, and then probably approach them and the good thing, you know, it that with most of them, you can directly write on Instagram without even going through management or whatever. So that’s great.
So to answer the question, I really want to work with some old and new talent. And that’s what it is to hope for the best.
Brilliant, so finally, what else can we expect from Mousse T in 2022.
So as I mentioned, I’m really happy to be hopefully, soon releasing some new music on some different labels, and on Pepperment Jam as well, which is great. And you know, the DJing, being with an English agent, I was really lucky to play a lot in the UK when you guys open up basically. I would say, August or something last year, so that’s a lot of other territories I want to travel to again. So there’s going to be a lot of touring this year.
Yeah, let’s hope that I’m clever enough to combine the touring with a producing.
Thank you very much indeed, and I’ll see you soon.
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