German deep house par excellence.
There's a deep-seated level of respect attached to the music of Kassem Mosse. It brings to mind an idea RA scribe Peter Chambers put forth in his 2008 Move D piece in which he proffered a three-pronged defence against production complacency: "1) go deep; 2) develop a style; 3) make an emotional connection." Mosse, real name Gunnar Wendel, has undoubtedly achieved all three since his first serving of barrel-aged deep house arrived back in 2006. Indeed, his carefully considered run of subsequent releases through labels like Workshop, Laid and Mikrodisko have been that much more deep/smoky/far-out than almost all comparable music in its field. UK bass music isn't championed first and foremost for this type of subtlety, but Wendel has recently become something of a darling on the scene, appearing with a 12-inch last year on Instra:mental's Nonplus imprint, turning in a remix for Joy Orbison's Doldrums, and picking up regular gigs across the country.
In keeping with the northern hemisphere summer season, RA.272 finds Wendel taking his foot off the pedal somewhat, stitching together music from fellow masters like Omar-S, DJ Qu and Theo Parrish.
What have you been up to recently?
Producing a mini-album with my man Mix Mup, readying a new EP for Nonplus and compiling an EP for Ominira that will feature Kowton, Juniper and myself. Other than that I have been touring in the US, enjoying coffee and fresh fruit on my balcony, hanging out with friends and listening to music, going to the beach, reading books...summer stuff, really.
How and where was the mix recorded?
With a bunch of records, two 1200s and a budget Vestax mixer. It's actually the second version: I originally recorded it together with some friends, but the recording was unusable due to some technical issues. I wanted to create a live vibe, with people chatting and stuff. It didn't work out...whatever, that's life.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix.
It's a laidback summer affair, some current and all-time favourites of mine. The intro for instance is something I wanted to have in a mix for a long time. And then I had a conversation about the use of vocal samples/lyrics with Mr [Philip] Sherburne recently and that made me reconsider my ideas, which in the end led me to add things like the FSK track as a sort of counterpoint, as if the records were arguing with each other. So instead of people chatting, I got the records chatting, with all the cross-talk, misconceptions and errors this entails.
Are there certain environments/situations in which you prefer DJing over live sets and vice-versa?
That's hard to pin down. Because I tend to play live more than DJ, I guess I feel more at ease with the live set, because people really expect you to bring something else to the night, to make a difference, to do your own thing. When you DJ I sometimes feel like people would be more easily put off when you don't play what they would usually hear at a certain night. And of course nowadays often people do not even understand the concept of presenting a live-act in a club; as soon as there is a laptop involved people figure you're DJing and ask you the usual requests. I think in a small space, with friends, I would prefer to DJ. Then again,I believe that the type of stuff I play and the music I make works best at more intimate venues, anyway. I don't really like the DJ as rock-star approach and setting.
Do you generally try to accurately recreate your music in the live setting or do you prefer a more improvised approach?
I don't try to accurately recreate anything at all. I usually play unreleased material, parts of tracks that I'm working on, bits that are exclusive for the set and then jam along with drum machines, keys or synths, whatever. As a result my sets will vary in character and feel: sometimes they are a bit more deep, sometimes a bit more aggressive and driving, depending on how I feel, what the situation is like, what the mood in the space is like, what gear I'm using etc. I also change the setup regularly because I'm easily bored.
What are you up to next?
All sorts of things. I'm thinking about looking for a new studio, a change of place for a new vibe. Perhaps I should also consider growing a beard to live up to the Mosse persona.
Photo credit: Rene Passetti