Talking Shop with Mojuba

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Welcome to the eleventh edition of our series of short interviews affectionately titled Talking Shop. The majority of media and fan attention gets showered on the artists who create the music we love to listen to/DJ with/dance to, and for good reasons. But without the hard work, keen ears and business savvy of label staff, we’d be stuck only streaming tracks on Myspace. This time we delve into the workings of deep-house mavens Mojuba. Founded by Thomas Wendel, better known as DJ/producer Don Williams, Mojuba captures a dusky, Detroit-influenced style of deep and dubby house music in its intimately designed releases. Home to Nick Solé, Sven Weisemann, Oracy and temporary lodging for Bernard Badie, Mojuba has also spawned the a.r.t.less and wandering sub-labels (the latter of which released a hit this year with “The Rock” by JC Freaks). We chat with Wendel about his approach to drawing in listeners, the vinyl/digital divide, and the meaning of Mojuba.

Please tell me about the beginning of Mojuba. Why and how did you start out? How did you decide on the name Mojuba?

Thomas Wendel: The beginning was 2005. I always had in mind to start my own little label with an own sound for deep-house to feature some friends music which is worth to be heard outside. Then I came across “Minimal Summer” by my old friend Nick Solé and thought, ‘Let’s try it!’ The name Mojuba is an African expression and it is the traditional way of greeting somebody, e.g. father, the chief of the tribe or the ruler of the world 😉 I found it on an old African record.

How did you select the artists for Mojuba roster?

It is mainly friends or family apart from some exceptions like Bernard Badie, for example, for the 10th release celebration.

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Do you get many demos?

Yes, but I am really fuzzy if it’s about Mojuba and it will be hard for an outsider to get in there. If so it has to be something very special. 😉

According to many doomsayers, running a record label isn’t one of the “smartest” fiscal things to do. How do you keep Mojuba running with sales “as they are”?

Well, I try to keep things interesting for the customers and always try to run label the way I as a consumer would love to experience a label I am following consistently.

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Do you think blogs like mine hurt the music industry? Do you think blogs have a role in the future of dance music promotion?

Actually I am not really into blogs, but I think it’s not that nice if there are people who are ripping vinyl and make the music permanently available for free to the public. I love music and I will always support music I like by buying the product and give the artist a little back for their hard work. Recently I discovered blogs about music gear for myself and think reviews and hints on that topic are very helpful.

There is no shortage of labels in dance music. What does Mojuba do to stand out from the crowd?

Hope you noticed the little fabric application on the sleeve, and of course the sound itself, I hope so!

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As technology advances further, vinyl is moving closer to becoming obsolete to many DJs. What are your feelings on this? Do you think the end of vinyl is in sight?

Well, the future of non-vinyl DJs is there. I realized the advantages and disadvantages on digital DJing for myself as well and I am not comparing the two ways with each other; to my mind it is a totally different thing to DJ with Traktor Scratch, for example, because the possibilities of sound manipulation which is offered through the software is not comparable to the situation which is offered by vinyl.

What are a few other labels you respect/revere most?

I don’t wanna name anybody here, but there are some out there which are doing their job really good. It is not about name dropping, the only thing that matters is the music!

What specifically can we expect from Mojuba in the next year or so?

A lot. As I said I am trying to keep it interesting for all who like Mojuba and will try to reach more people to introduce this vision of house and techno to them. There will be some old and some new… like it always used to be!

sven  on November 28, 2008 at 11:40 AM

‘Hope you noticed the little fabric application on the sleeve, and of course the sound itself, I hope so!’

the music is great and the little fabric detail on the sleeve is cool too, but to make Mojuba even better, please deliver a real solid cardboad sleeve for the vinyl, the paper one gets damaged so easily

Thomas  on November 29, 2008 at 8:20 AM

Nice little interview, i’ve got lot of time for Mojuba, even more so for A.r.t.less – fantastic label!

Agree with Sven, solid cardboard sleeves are definitely the way forward.

Jamie  on November 29, 2008 at 8:39 PM

yeah great label for sure, but I agree about the cardboard sleeves. My Mojuba records are a mess. :)

kuri  on November 29, 2008 at 8:52 PM

great interview with a fantastically class label. keep it up Mojuba!

phil  on February 22, 2009 at 3:37 PM

Fantastic label, well love the 3 ove them. But
Yes please on the cardboard sleves:)

Mr 8  on August 13, 2009 at 3:43 AM

great record label. Cardboard sleeves needed

Trackbacks

Have You Heard It – Blog and portfolio of Robbert van Ooijen – Mixtape Monday: Mojuba Records  on January 17, 2011 at 3:05 PM

[…] that pays a tribute to one of my favorite labels: Mojuba Records. The label has been releasing “Dusky, Detroit-influenced deep and dubby house music” since 2005 and has steadily been delivering high quality music since then. Therefore in this post: […]

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