When the Berlin label Aim debuted in 2010, they did so by introducing a new artist at the same time. The “Hardmood”/”Joe MacDaddy” release from White stalwart Oskar Offermann and newcomer Moomin turned out to be one of the most vital house releases of 2010, and so set the ball rolling for both the newly minted label and the producer. Though Sebastian Genz had only been making house music for a couple of years, his love of music stretched much further back into a hip-hop background. He started producing more than ten years ago, though it was only more recently that he turned his attention towards house music. After two more appearances with Offermann on artist comps, Moomin cut his first solo record for Aim in 2011, giving us the slamming deep house of “Watermelon” and the grainy, soft-focus lushness of “Morning Mist.” These tracks proved to be a teaser for his superb debut album, The Story About You, released on Smallville later that year. Since then, Moomin has continued to impress with his own releases and as half of Roaming with Christopher Rau. LWE caught up with Genz to find out if we’ll be hearing more from Roaming, to discuss his own label, Closer, and how that will tie in with his love of hip-hop. Charged with putting together our 170th exclusive podcast, Moomin truly turned it out with 80 minutes of deep house classics and rarities.
Download LWE Podcast 170: Moomin (81:48)
01. Office Gossip, “Blue On Black” (Atjazz Remix) [Winding Road Records]
02. Metro Area, “Atmosphrique” [Environ]
03. Session Victim, “Yes I Know” [Delusions of Grandeur]
04. Moomin, “I Whisper A Prayer” [Smallville Records]
05. Mr. G, “Black Breeds” [*]
06. 3 A.M., “I Love This Place (Bonus Beats)” [Movin' Records]
07. C & M Productions, “Lesson One” [UrbanHouse Traxx]
08. Schatrax, “Restless Nights” [Schatrax]
09. Brett Dancer, “I’ll Be There” [Track Mode]
10. Fresh and Low, “No Going Back” [West Side]
11. Trailer Ends, “Runnin Around” [Downtown 161]
12. Greg Cash, “I Got Your Love” [PK]
13. Reset, “Robodisco” [Paper Recordings]
14. Baby Ford, “Built In” [Force Inc. Music Works]
* denotes tracks which, as of the time of publishing, are unreleased
So you first released as Moomin in 2010 on the Aim label, but you had been producing for quite a while before this hadn’t you? Had you released anything under different names?
Sebastian Genz: My first step into making music was at the end of the 90s with a DOS program named FastTracker, and I used Cubase a bit as well. I must admit I was more a music lover, a collector and DJ at that time, so I didn’t really take it as seriously until recently. My first release was on Aim and I never released something under a different name prior to that.
I understand you have a strong love of hip hop, funk and soul. Were your first productions based around hip hop or were you producing house from the start?
Yep, the first productions were hip hop based. I started with house a couple of years ago.
What was the biggest hurdle for you to overcome in getting your music to sound how you wanted it to?
To be honest, I never had any thoughts about how my music must be or should sound. Some years ago, when I started producing house, I had all these ideas in my mind and I couldn’t stop producing. I’d just make music, without the intention of getting it released, and that was basically it for me.
You also work with Christopher Rau as Roaming. When did you start working together? What do you feel you each bring to the studio that makes your Roaming work different?
Nearly two years ago when Chris visited me in Berlin, we both had a good workflow from the start on. I think we finished the Roaming EP on Smallville within one evening session. Working with Chris is like making something without talking. We just jam and we also tried to change the setup almost every time.
You’ve been playing some live sets as Roaming. Are we going to see some more releases from the two of you? An album maybe?
In the beginning of this year, I moved to a new apartment. I work part time and, with touring on the weekend, this means my time for making music is now really limited, unfortunately!
Anyway, we still had some great sessions. See, for us, it is not about finishing a track or even making a track. We just jam. We love to hang out together and make music, and what happens just happens. But besides that, there will be a Roaming remix on the next Aim EP which I am really looking forward to. An album with Chris would be something cool, but who knows.
You recently started your own label, Closer. Why did you want to start your own label? Will it be just for your own releases or will you be releasing other artists as well?
I prefer to release music on labels with people I actually know and am friends with. It’s a family thing, but I can’t have every second or third release on Smallville or Aim. However, with Closer, I can do things I was thinking about for such a long time. I now have my own platform to realize these kinds of things. Pretty soon, there will be a hip-hop tape like back in the days with beats by people who are known more for making house, but with roots in hip-hop, like me. It will feature Iron Curtis, Axel Boman, Baaz, Quarion, Christopher Rau, Cuthead, Awanto3, Hauke and Matthias of Session Victim, and so on. It is nostalgia for me. We will see what Closer will bring in the future, but I prefer to work with people I know personally, not just through a digital demo. Plus, I don’t want to stick to one type of music only. I want to be open minded.
There is a sunny, hopeful disposition to your music in general. Do you feel that’s reflective of the way you are as a person? Do you ever toy with making things of a darker or harder nature?
If it’s reflective of my person, hehe… I don’t know. Maybe you should ask the people who are around me? No, I never tried to make something specific. Actually, I think the most important thing is to make music that comes out of your heart, something you feel.
What can we expect from Moomin over the next year?
Release-wise, an upcoming EP on Closer, some remixes, the tape, and something special that I unfortunately can’t talk about yet. At the end of this year, there will be a long tour around the globe with stops in the US and Australia which I really look forward to!