Hailing from the lively city of Tel Aviv, Chen Moscovici aka Moscoman has made his label Disco Halal a fertile land for creative artists who look beyond the typical tropes of house and techno. Operating since 2015 following Moscovici’s move to Berlin, the label has made its founder a well-known name in the city’s vibrant underground dance music scene, and with a performance at Farr Festival on the horizon, we thought it about time that we got to know him a little better.
Speaking to him shortly after the release of the terrific new EP Donkey Jumps Ahead, here’s how things panned out when we went In Conversation with Moscoman.
Hi Chen, I hope festival season is treating you well. Has it been a busy summer so far?
Hectic! But wonderful, met so many good people and had great gigs, food, beaches,woods, fields; a great time all around.
Your label Disco Halal has been behind some outstanding releases from the likes of Imarhan, Autarkic and Simple Symmetry. What would you say is the core principle behind the label in terms of who you sign?
The core principle is music that I love and artists I believe in, that’s all, there’s no other hidden agenda. I hope it shows.
How influential was Tel Aviv and its music scene on your musical character?
Tel Aviv is a good mixture of east and west, Africa and Europe, so I’ve absorbed many cultures and I tend to be as diverse as possible in what i produce, release, DJ.
A lot of the music on Disco Halal is based around samples from the middle east. Do you think that this grounding in non-Western sources could act as a bridge between cultures, or do you perhaps instead see it simply as a way of adding more interesting sounds to the music you release?
That’s not completely true, most of the music of Disco Halal is original by our artist, which are, middle eastern, or highly influenced by a more open view on music then the conformist house,techno, disco. I think we are walking on the bridge for a long time now, it’s not that I want to release “world influenced” music because i want to do something, this is the music these artists are creating, it is who they are.
Disco Halal also seems to have a close relationship with the excellent Berlin record shop Oye. What made Oye the right record shop for you?
OYE is anti snobbism and techno elitism which ruled Berlin at the time, I found a home there with great people as Markus (Delfonic), the connection was easy, experimental and ideal.
This week you’ll be playing at Farr Festival, on a lineup that includes Helena Hauff, Floating Points, Omar-S and loads more huge names. What excites you most about the festival?
The location, and the guys from Ransom note who are my close friends and have curated an amazing stage with Ivan Smagghe, Young Marco and more which are in my musical spectrum and are great DJs!
What have you got in store for us in your set?
A journey: short, because at most festivals you can’t play too long, but a journey story is in hand, through the depths of my brain, and usb sticks.
Last year you released your debut album on ESP Institute. What made you choose to do it this way rather than release on your own label?
Disco Halal is not my private playground, it’s a place for people I love to express themselves. ESP is one of my favourite labels, and the fact that Lovefingers chose me to release an album there gave me wind and great satisfaction.
You’ve toured that album live with the assistance of a drummer and bass player. How have you found playing as part of a group?
It has been a great ride, it’s a new experience for me; well, new-ish; I was in a punk rock band when I was younger, but playing my electronic made music in a organic way feels amazing, more in store for this.
Finally, let’s finish on a track. What’s a piece of music from your homeland that you think we should have heard?
The late Inbal Perlmoter is one of my fav lyrical prophets.
Moscoman plays at Farr Festival in Hertfordshire’s Bygrave Woods at 11pm on Saturday 15th July, on a lineup that also boasts Todd Terje, Tama Sumo, Omar-S and Helena Hauff among others.
Photo courtesy of Nuphar Blechner