David Moufang aka Move D talks to Martin Guttridge-Hewitt about his on-screen debut, the UK's dance music scene and his upcoming projects.
Date published: 30th Mar 2017
David Moufang is one of those artists everyone should speak to. Cutting his teeth in the inaugural days of dance music culture, in the years between then and now he’s played more sets that most of us have had hot dinners, crafted a discography that is as genre defining as it is exploratory, and still managed to avoid getting lost in the limelight.
From early Deep Space Network work, through to the rightly acclaimed improv act Magic Mountain High, and live offering Mulholland Free Clinic (both alongside Juju & Jordash, the latter with Space Time Continuum and Jonah Sharp also in the mix), to say the man in question - also known as Move D - knows a thing or two about setting parties off would be an understatement.
Naturally, then, we were keen for a chat on the eve of his return to dark rooms and hedonism following the birth of his second son, so gave him a call to discuss getting back to work, finding himself on camera for a new movie documenting German nightlife, and where it’s really at right now. Complete with baby on lap, this is what he had to say.
Hey David. Hope you’re well? How has your paternity break been?
It’s the longest I’ve had off in years, before I was getting a bit itchy- two weekends off I was like ‘where’s the party?’ But now I’m OK, although I’m looking forward to getting back out there.
You’re in Edinburgh this weekend.
Yeah, it should be a great night - Telfort, Optimo. I don’t think I’ve played there before.
We’ve heard good things about the venue - Biscuit Factory. Aside from gigs you were also in a film recently, When I Think Of Germany At Night. What did that involve?
Yeah, I think it was in Amsterdam Schipol Airport when Roman Flugel said to me, "I’m meeting this guy". So he introduced me to the director, talked about the movie a bit. I was sceptical really.
Well, because it can be hard to talk about music generally, and typically they want to come to your home and see your studio, which I’m not too into. So I kind of tried to ignore it. It was also about German night culture, and I play a lot more in the UK than Germany, so told them I’m not the perfect guy for it.
But they still wanted to know when I had a gig in Germany. I said OK, but if you come to one of the UK festivals you’ll see something really cool. Then I sort of dropped out, but when me and my girlfriend arrived at Gottwood last year I was surprised to find the guy there with his crew. When that happened I was like ‘well, at least they’re committed’.
So you agreed to take part?
Sort of. One thing that impressed me was when they came to parties it wasn’t like they were just there for half an hour disturbing everyone and then disappearing. They would stay for the whole night, and not use any artificial light - just the club lights. So you could almost forget about them. But then you’re wired too, you have a mic on, which is weird. So everything I said was picked up, including how it sucked they were filming.
Anyway, they came to Gottwood, filmed Roman and myself a little, and the producer is a really nice guy. So I gave in. But I didn’t want to do the stereotypical studio thing, so we headed into the Heidelberg Forest for a walk. Then they came to a few more parties and caught a bit of Mulholland Free Clinic, my live project with Juju and Jordash and Jonah Sharp. We did some backstage stuff at ://about blank in Berlin, and then throughout the process I only knew who was involved - I never saw any clips.
I was told Roman gave a really good answer to a question, that was it. Then the premiere was at Berlinale, and it felt super-awkward. Like having a record out that you’ve never heard before. I was sweating as I remembered a lot of awkward moments. It felt at times like the guy was leading my responses a bit too, but I have to give it to them, they used the nicest bits - I’m basically just rambling about music. So I’m happy with it.
And what did you think of the film overall?
It’s kind of long - long scenes I mean. It opens with Ricardo [Villalobos] listening to some agitated Korean political shit. It’s nice, a different approach. Most music films are set to a pace of 20 second clips with bits of music. This is the opposite so I think it’s definitely worth watching.
Has it made you more trusting about people’s ideas for projects then?
I don’t know... I don’t think me and the camera will ever be friends. But it’s nice for memories. It was interesting that everyone in the movie was on the older side. I said to the guys, ‘Why focus on Germany, and not the global scene, and why only older people?’
If it was about the UK scene then you’d definitely have an 18-year-old next to Andrew Weatherall or whatever. I think they wanted to avoid trends and people that might blow up and then disappear a few years later. We do have young talent in Germany, but the media seems to focus on them only after they make it in the UK. Like Motor City Drum Ensemble, for example. Always looking to other places first, and not enough faith in what’s happening in Germany.
Do you think the UK has a younger scene then?
Well, it’s more vibrant and livelier. In a way it’s good for Germans, because when you’re there you’re there forever. But it can also be boring. I wish it was more like the UK.
Sometimes as a journalist it feels like the UK media is too quick to pick up and then put people down though.
That’s definitely a problem. Like in the 90s, when ambient techno was big and The Orb were topping the charts. And Aphex Twin. Mixmaster Morris was in the eye of the storm - all over cable TV and stuff. Then the next album with Aphex Twin didn’t quite meet expectations, and it was immediately seen as uncool. That’s sad, and not very fair, but I like the aspect of always bringing new things through.
In terms of scenes, you were out in Australia for a while last year. How was that?
It was cool. It maybe feels a bit behind somewhat, but not more than the West Coast US. There are good people there, as everywhere, and nice festivals. Some bars and clubs in the cities can be a bit rough, but the festivals all seem really peaceful. Really cool. But if we’re talking about scenes I can’t not mention France, and Paris especially.
It’s interesting, if you’ve been involved in the scene for years. In the 90s of course there was Laurent Garnier, French house, Daft Punk. There was a lot of attention on France, then things went a bit boring. But now there’s this new generation, like in the UK. 22-year-olds putting on parties, lots of great records coming out of the country.
We were at Cariocas beach bar in Greece last year when the Djoon guys, from Paris, were taking over. It was pretty special.
Yeah, it all feels a lot more on the UK lines rather than Germany. You know we have new house, the lo-fi stuff. But not so much this deeper interest in history- disco, funk, how you can excel in records by taking that into account. There’s some awesome stuff coming out of Hong Kong too. This Homesick label, they do a lot of edits, really cool stuff.
The Edinburgh date is with Optimo as you said. In terms of looking at things from the perspective of people who have been around for so long, how is music now?
Yeah my first gig abroad was in Glasgow actually, with Optimo. I can’t remember but I believe it was their party, or their club. That was in 1993. And Telfort who is playing too, he’s great, and a really nice guy.
Anyway, I’d say music is the best now that it has ever been. When I first started out there weren’t so many styles. When I’d go digging for records it was either bland techno, rough breakbeat - hardcore, whatever. Now it’s the opposite.
People might be really snobby - I can only use hardware or whatever. But anyone can actually do it with some cracked software on their mum’s computer. That’s why it’s almost like there are more people making music than actually listening to it. Which is good. There’s no way you can keep up with everything coming out anymore.
But in the vast stuff that you can choose from there’s some really good stuff to find. When I grew up music was still how you defined yourself - a mod or a punk or whatever. And people went with the music that fits with the sub group. You would identify yourself by that. The Sex Pistols or Madonna. And it was all about people agreeing within that group. Now music isn’t as relevant anymore - or it’s not how people define themselves. You can hang out with someone who likes rock ‘n’ roll when you like electronic music, and still be best mates. It’s a lot more open, there’s more freedom. People do what the fuck they like. That’s amazing.
Finally, then, what else is coming up?
I’ve got a couple of releases at the moment- a split 12”, one side Move D, the other Reagenz on Away Music. And there will be a Mulholland Free Clinic album- a triple LP that is. And there’s an album coming out on Kassem Mosse’s label, Ominira, which is really interesting, everything is pretty much down tempo, and a lot of original recordings from YouTube- political stuff, demonstrations. It’s almost like radio, I’m pretty fond of it.
Catch Move D at Nightvision on Friday 31st March. Tickets are available below.