Home Interviews Mr. Mojo (DE) [Interview]

Mr. Mojo (DE) [Interview]

19 min read

As the name is inspired by The Doors, Mr. Mojo (DE) stands for deep atmospheric soundscapes with driving hypnotic melodies. He is constantly looking for a musical reflection of his emotions and thoughts. The cologne based producer loves to experiment with gritty progressive leads and subtle dark nuances to add some spirituality to his songs. He released on labels like Vision Decades, Deep Now and Antrieb. This finds Mr. Mojo returning to Big Toys for his second project entitled 'Napole'.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Mr. Mojo to learn more about the release of 'Napole', his background, nightlife in Germany, DJing and much more. Enjoy.

Hi Mojo, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Thank you very much for having me!

My year has been great so far. I spend a lot of time in the studio, learned new things and upgraded my setup. Also, I had a couple of releases I am really proud of! Today, I finally managed to pick up our passports, so we can go on vacation to Cuba at the end of the year.

Take us through a typical day when you’re not traveling, what does a day in your life look like?

I work as a physiotherapist as my main job, so my typical day involves going to work, doing a little workout, making some music, and chilling with my girlfriend.

Tell us about growing up in Germany, how did discovering electronic music there influence your music taste and direction? And who from your home country first inspired you and why?

I grew up in a small town in the south of Germany and it wasn't always easy because of the many ultra-conservative people. However, there was also a small creative scene with many great DJs and producers. I think my first influence in electronic music came from those people, and some of them even made it to the top!

What are some of your best memories from first going to clubs in Germany?

When I was 22, I moved to Leipzig in the east of Germany, and the illegal raves there were mind-blowing. Some people would pack an empty house in the middle of a forest with a big sound system and just blow my ears off. There were also some legendary clubs in Leipzig, like Distillery, Elipamanoke, and So&So, which I really enjoyed.

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Germany, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

Right now, I am living in Cologne, so my first thoughts are Odonien and Arttheater. I can also recommend all the clubs in Leipzig I mentioned earlier, and of course, the big players like Sisyphos in Berlin. If you want something more underground with a lovely vibe, I would recommend the 'Elektronischer-Querschnitt' parties at Krefeld's Schlachthof.

When it comes to local DJs, I would definitely recommend Pustelny, who plays really nice house music, Matthias Verberg, who mixes all genres with a lot of surprises, and Knarz, who is more into Psytek! Theta Kavka and the rest of the EQ-Crew are also very versatile and highly skilled Djs!

You’re artist name was inspired by The Doors, tell us about how you ended up settling on Mr. Mojo as your production moniker.

As you mentioned, the name is inspired by The Doors. I really love their music and the psychedelic soundscapes and depth they created. They have a song called 'Mr. Mojo Risin'' where the name first came up.

There is also a really sad story about one of my best friends who passed away way too early. His nickname was Mojo. So, the name is a mix of inspiration from The Doors and a tribute to my friend. RIP, Mojo!

You have a new EP ‘Napole’ out now on Big Toys, tell us about the release and what sort of vibe you were going for on these tracks.

The EP contains two tracks: 'Napole' and 'Lighthouse.' 'Napole' has a more clubby and traditional progressive vibe, while 'Lighthouse' is more melodic and a bit melancholic. Both tracks feature ethereal vocals and soundscapes that let your mind float away. I am really proud of this EP because I worked very hard to finish it. There are 6 versions of Lighthouse and maybe 3 of Napole, but i knew i have to keep on working and now i am super happy with the results!

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically on ‘Napole’ EP.

My DAW is Ableton Live, complemented by my Genelec 8030 Speakers, Kali Audio WS 6.2 Subwoofer, and a Native Instruments MIDI keyboard. I love to work with unconventional sound libraries like Eduardo Tarilonte’s masterpieces. "Nada" with its meditational pads have become my secret weapon. Additionally, I love experimenting with sample chops and like to work with audio files. Besides that my go to synths are Diva, Serum, and Omnisphere.

This is your second appearance on Big Toys, what makes the label a good home for your music?

At first I am a big fan of the music that comes from the whole Freegrant Music group, thats why i reached out to them. I think they are very profressionell and have a great label structure so it feel good to be part of it. Thanks again Big Toys!

How much do you get DJ in your country and more specifically Cologne where you live?

When i lived in Leipzig i used to DJ a lot more. As i moved to cologne i have decided to fully commit to the art of producing and make an international name in the progressive house scene, while proggressive isn't that big in germany.

Please tell us your approach to DJing, and how do you go about programming a set.

12 years ago i started DJing and tried different genres, played different venues and also co-founded a small festival. At the first years often I prepared a setlist and played it. Most of the times it was good, sometimes I was to inflexible. The most fun I have is when I am completly improvising. I love to connect to the people and reading the crowd, so i think that was the biggest step forward to me and leveled me up! My preparation right now is to make a playlist with 100-300 tracks and go with the flow, and I love it!

How has DJing to crowds influenced your view of music as a producer? Has changed the way you approach production?

My main goal with productions or DJ-Sets always was to get in a transcendental state of mind and take the crowd with me. Those are the most inspirational moments for me. Also I am constantly looking for sounds or samples that are resonating on a deeper level. Its cool to connect on a party level, but for me it always has to have a bit more depth.

Where do you source the majority of music for your gigs? Is it primarily from producer friends or promo mailouts at this point?

Most of the time the classic streaming portals, Dj-Sets or some promostuff. I also like to play older records and I have a huge library with tracks for every moment.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Pustelny 10-00

Forty Cats 00.00-02.00

Dowden 02.00-04.00

Digital Mess 04.00-06.00

Matthias Verberg 06.00-End

Current top five tracks in your sets?

Dowden - Diatom

Forty Cats - Nocturne

Digital Mess - Thanos

Ivan Aliaga - Sami

Makebo - Beyond

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related.)

I would be a physiotherapist as i am now and would love it as i do now! Maybe i would make more sports and be in better shape then now :D But i think my life would be the same.

What’s something we do not know about you?

I used to be a skateboarder in my younger days and i am still loving the sport and watching all the contest and videos.

What are some of your favorite TV series? Both all time and recently, what have you been enjoying lately?

All time: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Peaky Blinders, Chernobyl (it can go on and on...)

Right now: FROM, House of the Dragon and Yellowstone.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My girlfriend! Love you J!

What does 2024 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I got an upcoming release on Forty Cats label Purrfection which i am really hyped about. Also i am working on a project for another great label and i hope i can sign it to them!

'Napole' is available now via Big Toys: https://tinyurl.com/ys7u7hrx

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