Nicole Moudaber: In The Mood
Let’s go back a little to the progression in your music. I loved your album: your collaboration with Adam Beyer on ‘Take Hold’ and ‘Libertum Spirita’ especially. There’s also a remix you’ve done with Born in the Backwoods. Would it be fair to say those 3 are more cinematic and operatic than previous work?
Yes, I think so. I tend to evolve musically; I don’t like to repeat myself. I have so many different ideas and feelings. I’m still not perfectly content with my work, and if you hear my new stuff at the moment it’s totally different from the album. That is a large part of the gratification I get every time I’m in the studio: being able to come up with new concepts and redefine new boundaries as I go along.
I recently collabed with Carl Cox on a track called ‘See You Next Tuesday’ coming out on my label Mood at the end of March, which is a whole different spectrum of sound. Carl gave me a bassline; a 4 second loop and said “Right, we are going to do a track together. Here is a loop: work with it.” It is totally different; it even has a bit of dubstep in it! Projects like that really excite me and push me to do more.
Your career to date certainly holds true to that mantra. You first began promoting in Beirut: you left quite dramatically as I understand it. Do you ever feel like you have unfinished business there?
No. I’ve put that part of my life behind me now. I only go to Beirut to visit my family there; the Moudabers are scattered all over in the world – in Beirut and London and Lagos – but we tend to come together there on special holidays.
I have no intention or desire to do anything musically in Beirut to be honest. When I was throwing parties there I was up against a lot of conservatives and radicals around me that did not allow me to express or properly develop what I was trying to do. Then I moved to London, where I had already done my university years; a city filled with culture and freedom. London embraced me and allowed me to promote for the love of the music. I didn’t make a lot of money then. Promoting is tough: it’s like gambling, where one day you win and another day you lose. But you keep doing it because you chase the good party that you experienced and you want to relive that again. And it’s that same passion that allows me to pursue music now. Music is a very therapeutic influence on my life. It puts me in a good place.
And Carl Cox is a man you frequently credit for helping your transition from promoter to a producer / DJ. How did you two meet?
Carl picked up on my records and started playing them on his radio show. After that he invited me to play a little intimate London gig with him, and then at Space in Ibiza. I’ve played there ever since, enjoying lots of releases on Intec and plenty of number 1s. Carl really pushed me by name checking me at the end of 2009 in the DJ top 100. I only found out like 3 weeks after because someone told me ‘did you see what Carl said’? and I was like ‘no’. Because I knew how the business worked, I took the opportunity and everything good has spiraled from there.
You’re on the verge of a Central America tour. How was BPM for you?
I had my first ‘In The MOOD’ party in Mexico at BPM; Chris Liebing was my guest and the party was off the hook! I was very, very pleased. I only did one show, and that was that party, which was amazing. I got to hang with a lot of friends and DJs. It’s nice and intimate in Playa Del Carman, a vibe that I really like. It’s less scattered and smaller than Ibiza but the beauty of the place reminds me of there. I’m definitely going to be back again. I have lots of Facebook and Twitter interaction with my Central and South American fans. I’ve played in Columbia in the past and that was great, so I’m really looking forward to the shows I have lined up there. I love the Latino vibe: its quite hot and sexy!
So now that you’ve done each of promoting, DJing and production on a big scale, can you tell us what the future holds for Ms. Moudaber?
Last week I met with a management company in Los Angeles. That was very exciting as they will probably help me in the US. In the UK I have Safehouse that look after my bookings, but everything else is just me behind the wheels right now.
I have just finished an EP with a leading vocalist, scheduled for June release, and we have plans to do more work together. Working in the song-rock/techno spectrum is very challenging and difficult to do without making it too cheesy I find. I don’t want to make the other DJs scared to play the record! She came down to my studio and laid out all the vocals – which were incredible – but there’s a fine line between using too much and too little. I’m a very self-critical person, and I spent months chewing on that piece. It took me a while to nail that work, and I had a lot of influence from people like Chris Liebing that really understand the balance between rock and techno. I was very inspired by Chris’s advice and now I’m very happy with the EP and can’t wait to do more. Sometimes it takes 2 days and sometimes 2 months; it’s all part of the inspiration and how open your mind is.