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Backstaging with Moses X – interview

Throughout his time at Trinity Laban he worked in a professional capacity as one half of the duo Binker and Moses, with his ensemble The Exodus and on his own as Solo Exodus and released music under his own label Exodus Records. Moses released his debut album ‘Dem Ones’ with Binker and Moses in 2015 and this year saw him release his instant sell out debut 12″ featuring the anthemic “Rye Lane Shuffle” as well as joining Kelsey Lu to form Sampha’s band. Ruxandra Mazilu interviewed Moses X just before his concert at Jazz in the Park 2018:

Ruxandra: Could you tell us something about your passion for music? How did it first appear? Was it like a love at first sight?

Moses X: I think for me, my passion for music began with my family,  which is very eclectic and very into a lot of different styles of music. They’re not musicians per se, but they would always play different kind of music in the house. Then at high-school, at about 13 or 14, I just started listening to a lot of music and around that time, in London, there was a style of music called grime and I grew up alongside listening to grime on Pirate Radio. Then I got more into different kinds of music, I decided I wanted to pick up an instrument and I think everything came together in school, because I had a good music department, music teachers who encouraged me to get into different instruments and different music. So I think it was a combination of my parents and definitely at school, it all kind of came together and kind of formalised my passion for music.

R: Is there a hidden message you are trying to communicate through your music?

M: I don’t think there’s a hidden message in my music, it’s just me, being me, really, being honest with what or whatever it is at that time I am trying to say and I don’t think I’m trying to hide that. Somedays that might change, it might just be one very simple happy message or a positive message, tomorrow it change and be something else. I think I’m just trying to be honest with what I do and that can change from song to song so I don’t think there’s a hidden message really. It’s just me being honest.

R: Do you remember how you first felt when you had your first performance?

M: You know what, I don’t remember how I first felt. Right now I’m trying to remember what my first performance was. I’ve been performing for a long time so it’s kind of blurry. It would’ve been in school, I guess, I would’ve easily been about 16 or so, I must have been nervous, but i can’t actually remember. I don’t really get nervous performing anymore, because now it feels like a second nature, but that time I must have been nervous, I must have been like so scared to play in front of people. For a long time I was just playing drums on my own and I guess for anyone to step out and do something in front of people is always quite shocking, but I can’t actually remember, I’d have to think hard about what it was. Or maybe I’ve buried that memory.

R:What’s the most memorable thing a fan did for you?

M: There’s this lady Kimberly, she lives in Sydney, Australia, and she reached out to me and she had basically made a family tree of all the musicians I know and I’ve worked with and it was really accurate. It was really memorable because she’s on the other side of the world and she’s so connected to what we’re doing right now. She was like “I’ve just got to give this to you cuz I really appreciate what you guys do” and it was really humbling for me as an artist. There’s been a lot of great encounters but for me that was really special. And it’s not only that, she also put it up on Facebook and I saw how it united a lot of people that I hadn’t seen and spoke to in a long time and everybody was just so amazed to see that somebody took the time to celebrate, I guess, what we do, what I do and what my friends, associates do in London. For me that was really memorable, so shout out to Kimberly.

R: Wow, it does sound pretty memorable.

M: You can check it out, it’s online!

R: I surely will. Could you give us some insights about your future plans? Do you plan on releasing a new song or maybe a new album?

M: I’ve got a lot of music ready to come out, I’ve also got a whole album that I recorded a couple years ago which kind of caught a lot of my musician friends before we all started touring, before we were all doing our own things. It’s a very honest record, raw and ready that’s coming out later this year. Also I’ve got a more recent album coming out, something on which I am working now, that is very musically close to what I am now. I think the album that I’ve just spoken about is where I was 2 or 3 years ago, but this  one is really where I’m at now. I think it will be coming out later this year. I’m also working with some collaborators in London, putting music together for different projects, there’s always something coming, I’m always working on music in some shape or form. So yea, there will be more coming out later this year.

R: How should the public feel about tomorrow’s concert? Is there something about the performance they should about before?

M: I think my audience should feel ready to feel the unexpected. I’m playing on my own tomorrow and not many people see that, particularly from a drummer. I’ve got my electronics, my modular, my drums, so it’s very different to what most of the people see. I do a lot of electronic music first of all and with this being a jazz festival, hopefully the two will come together tomorrow. It’s gonna be loud, funky, beatsie, so it’s gonna be fun. Come with and open mind and expect to hear something different.

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