The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Interview: Move D

Patrick Hinton talks with Move D about the superiority of Manchester to Berlin, the stagnation of the German scene, and red wine

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David Moufang aka Move D is a veteran selector and vinyl purist. Opting to shy away from the limelight, he has steadily built a devoted fan base across his long career. We spoke to the German prior to his appearance in Manchester at Sankeys on New Year’s Eve.

Move D has produced in a range of genres varying from deep house to experimental spoken word; his 1995 album Kunststoff is hailed as a seminal techno classic. I questioned if this variation in his production process is planned or naturally occurs: “The latter. Usually I start off with a musical idea that could be done as anything: loungey or house or whatever. Then it will naturally shape and evolve in a certain way because of what the music is like or my mood at the given time.”

Move D is an active collaborator, having worked with numerous other producers on tracks. He next explained how these initiate: “One of the first collaborations was the one with Jonah Sharp – Reaganz. I became aware of him through records he put out on his own or with Pete Namlook, and through Pete I got his phone number. I was going to go to California anyway but thought I should try and ring this guy. I was actually just eager to meet him in the first place, but then he said ‘oh yeah, let’s jam’ so that’s how this came together. Since then obviously I’ve been really into collaborations. It’s not that I actively look for people, it happens naturally. I think the reason I really like collaborations is relevant to the first question in a way, producing is open to even more surprises when you work with other people. You get different kinds of input and I think it’s kind of refreshing to deal with different input instead of being locked into your own mind frame.”

Is there anyone new he’d particularly like to collaborate with? “Well, Larry Heard for instance would be really awesome. I met a lot of guys in Detroit at the Movement this year, or I knew them before, like Keith Worthy and Big Strick. They’re all great guys; I would definitely be up for jamming with them. In December we have Jus-Ed coming back to Heidelberg; it’s not my party but we’re using this as an opportunity to work together again. We did some stuff before it just never really got properly released – it’s only a video on YouTube.”

“Yeah, so pretty much anyone” he continues, before drily adding “I mean, not anyone… but it could be a lot of people. Essentially though I’m not really looking for more people to collaborate with because I’ve already got so many. Primarily of course Juju & Jordash in Magic Mountain High.”

On the mention of Heidelberg, talk turns to the trend for DJs and producers to move to large European cities. I ask if there’s any particular reason Move D has rejected this trend and remained in his aforementioned hometown: “Well, I did kind of fancy London in the 90s but it’s so fucking expensive and all my friends – heroes of mine – like Baby Ford were going to get the dole to pay for their living you know? I thought no, I can’t put up with this so I stayed at home. I’m not saying Heidelberg is cheap but it’s not as ridiculously expensive as London.” Berlin seems to be the current number one destination. “I like Berlin, but it’s becoming more and more like a hipster centre and also getting more expensive. It was more exciting to me when the wall came down about twenty years ago, it was a lot more open. But even back then I was never that much of a real Berlin fan, I mean it’s great to be there for a while but it’s always great to come home. I think even Manchester is more homey and beautiful in the centre, it’s amazing.”

Move D has been a frequent visitor to our fine city over the years, playing several times for club night meandyou. as well as for Sankeys and Warehouse Project. Elaborating on his experiences he shares: “I think I came to Manchester the first time in 2006 and since then it’s gotten a lot cleaner and you can tell how neighbourhoods are rising, it’s really fun to go there. I would consider living in Manchester anytime over Berlin. It’s great; I love it.”

“I love the north of England and Scotland and Ireland in general, there’s always good parties there. It could be Leeds or Glasgow as well, or Edinburgh or Newcastle. But Manchester is special because of the meandyou. guys and the friends I’ve made there. It’s also a lot bigger than these other places I’ve named so in the north it’s kind of the metropole in a way.”

His next visit is on New Year’s Eve, to play at Sankeys alongside Kerri Chandler. “I’ve played for them once – well, a couple of times for the Sankeys in Ibiza – but played once for the Manchester Sankeys before in the upstairs room. I really hope that’s where I play again, it’s beautiful. I really love the upstairs in Sankeys.”

“Honestly I’m really into small intimate parties like meandyou. kind of stuff, but if it has to be a bigger scale I guess New Year’s Eve is a good excuse. Although actually even the Warehouse Project, which was a massive event, is a night I really enjoyed myself at I must say” he reveals, before continuing in an amused drawl, “proper Mancunian party attitude, loving it.”

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A career DJ gets to visit many different countries: “There are places I go to that I would never end up being even if I had loads of money, like I played in Central Siberia in Omsk which is really far away from everything. These places have been really special because they show you spots and parts of the earth that you wouldn’t know about and the people are extremely nice there. They have hardly any English and a very basic kind of way of living: no fancy iPhones or BMWs – forget all this. They seemed a lot more happy and content in a way than other people. I think it is a really big blessing that I can visit these places. Taiwan as well, not only playing in Taipei but also seeing Kaohsiung. It’s the other major city on the island and it’s out in the jungle somewhere; it’s amazing.”

“Last year in 2013 my two favourite parties were in Chicago and Taipei, but this doesn’t guarantee that the next time around it will be the same and it could be another place. It’s really hard to generalise. But if we have to generalise I really think Europe is super cool and England better stay in!”

“I feel the scene is still kind of growing and evolving or turning to new generations, it’s a lot of fun.”

Move D does hold reservations on one European country’s scene however – his home nation: “I think maybe Germany is the only scene that isn’t evolving. I mean I’m not saying it’s bad here but there’s this prevalent attitude of still relating and referring to stuff that’s been around forever like Sven Väth. I’m not dissing Sven, he’s great, but I think we lack the openness for something new really. You always have the new trends breaking in the UK and kind of crossing over with stuff that’s been around or influencing stuff that’s happening. In Germany we’re a lot more conservative when it comes to music and parties which I think is a shame.”

I note how I’ve never seen Move D draw for one of his own releases in a DJ set, and ask if this is something he doesn’t tend to do: “Sometimes I do, but because I play vinyl I’m very limited on the records I can bring and I always have to leave stuff behind that I would ideally like to play. I’ve heard my own stuff the most so that’s probably why it often leaves the bag pretty soon and I only play it once or twice. It’s not like I’m militant in not playing my stuff, it’s just that I want to play music that excites me as well, so chances are higher that I prefer other people’s music.”

Move D has been playing improvised live sets with Magic Mountain High. I question if this ability to do sets of his own music that he’s not become bored by was the inspiration. “That’s a whole different game. Essentially if you’re DJing you’re serving the people to make them have a good time and you can’t really do it with too much of a dogma. You really have to feel the moment and the place. I would go to all sorts of places if I had the records with me and I feel that it’s appropriate to: I’d play some techno or bass or whatever. I’m really flexible like this. Because live sets of your own music only last an hour or something, I don’t think you should try to please the crowd too much. Instead you should be true to yourself and your music.”

“Improvising is what you do with collaborations, that’s all improvisation it’s just happening in the studio. I thought that it was perfect to find the guys in Juju & Jordash who were ready to take this onstage and make it a lot more risky but also more entertaining and I guess interesting for people to watch. Even if there’s moments where we struggle at least they can witness that, and it’s not like we’re firing off our best hits from the studio which I think would be kind of lame.”

Move D has spoken at length of his great love for the festival Freerotation at which he is a resident. A heart wrenching clash took place this summer with perhaps the only event that could be better taking place on the final night: Germany winning the World Cup final. “I saw that coming! I just wasn’t sure they would be in the final and then they were and I knew I was going to miss some essential hours of the festival: I missed out on doing a great set in the ambient tent. But I mean it’s been like 24 years or something and next time will come around.”

Move D keeps his Facebook feed regularly updated, speaking about whether maintaining a human connection with fans is important he reveals: “Well, that’s the way I do it. I know others who don’t have Facebook or only have their agency doing it for them. For me it’s kind of essential. I’ve been around for a long time, but I also had a few years dip in my career around the year 2000 shortly after my son was born. I was staying at home not playing out and not making much in the studio either so I kind of dropped off the radar. Just when I was starting to think about job opportunities someone told me that I should join myspace which was happening at that time. I did it and it had an amazing dynamic to it.”

“People I hadn’t talked to in years from all over the world, Birmingham to San Francisco, would all of a sudden pop up saying ‘You’re still around! Would you like to come and play for us? We can only pay your flight and accommodation and a little symbolic fee but it would be lovely’. That’s how I got back into the scene without an agency, I was doing it myself via social media so I couldn’t diss it at all.”

“I think it’s fair, these people make my living and at least I should be humble enough to be accessible and talk to them.” Possibly an opinion that gets revised every time he’s flooded with guest list requests. “I must be doing something right because I think I get the nicest crowds in my parties and the nicest people so they never bother me, usually they are really nice. Sometimes, especially at Freerotation where everybody wants to have a word with you, it does get a little much. Especially if you’re kind of trying to buy some time off and get a little drunk or high or whatever, and then it can be too much physically or time wise. But I always feel bad about it and I’m sorry about the individual ones because they all deserve to be talked to; they’re interesting and I’m interested in who they are and what they’re doing.”

So, what’s coming up in the future? “I have a brand new release out, the KM20 Tapes Volume 2 on Off Minor. This is stuff that I did almost twenty years ago, but it is just coming out for the first time now and I’m really happy about this. Then there’s the Reagenz triple LP The Periodic Table that also just came out. There’s more Magic Mountain High coming out too, that’s just pending. Future plans I can’t really talk about but I’m always working on something, of course.”

Move D’s skill set expands beyond music. He only ever drinks red wine in the club, and I think he’s a bit of a connoisseur. My final question, which is his favourite? “That changes when I discover new ones. Lately I’ve been really into Primitivo.”

Move D plays Sankeys on New Year’s Eve alongside Kerri Chandler and more, tickets are on sale now.