Making grime, vocal chopping and the state of Brighton’s underground scene; a chat with Moony [Interview]


Hot on the heels of his ‘3 Days’ release on Vex Records, Brighton based producer Moony is continuing his sunshine tinged, UKG assault on dancefloors up and down the country with his forthcoming ‘Bullion’ EP on Southpoint. We spoke to Moony about the Brighton scene, production techniques and what’s coming next for him.

Easy Moony! So we first heard about you a fair few years ago after Aaron Hanson spun your Delilah remix on Rinse. How has your music career changed since the release of that track?

I’ve been doing music in some capacity for a decade now, so for me it’s been peaks and troughs. Some years have been manic, some have been relatively calm but I’ve always tried to maintain a presence and keep progressing; last year was really busy with bookings where as this year I’ve focused more on production and lining up releases. Basically as long as I can stay consistent and relevant I’m happy.

How has the underground music scene in Brighton changed over the last few years and how has it affected you? 

Brighton’s always been historically a Dubstep, D&B and, obviously, Hip Hop place so in terms of Garage, Grime and Bass music it’s 100% changed for the better. There was a time when I felt like I was the only person making Grime and Garage but now there’s loads of producers and DJs that are smashing it and I’m very pleased to be a part of that.

Do you think the UKG scene is healthy right now?

I think it is yeah but I guess it depends how you want to define it. That 1999-2001 sound that originally got me into UKG has obviously had its day but if you put stuff like Bassline, Funky etc under the UKG umbrella then I’d say it’s had a pretty respectable legacy and there’s definitely been a 2step revival in the last couple years. So yes, I’d say the scene is very healthy.

A lot of your tunes have a summery vibe to them. Is that something that comes naturally or is it intended? 

It’s not really intended, I’ve just always been naturally drawn to the more melodic side of things so I think that just comes through in whatever I make. In some cases I try to tone it down a bit but with Garage I feel like it’s a formula that works if done tastefully.

Talk us through the way Moony approaches and and makes a tune? 

I don’t really have a standard approach; sometimes I’ll come up with a melody on the keyboard, others I’ll just be working on a bass sound and go from there. Although more often than not I’ll start with a sample or vocal and that will dictate the general feel of the tune.

What’s the secret behind your vocal chopping?

 No big secret really, just pick a good vocal to start with – soulful vocals with lots of vibrato and variation work best as opposed to 2 or 3 note repetitive pop accapellas, and most importantly less is more.

Do you prefer making tunes or playing out?

I’ve been asked this a few times and I cant decide, I love both for different reasons. Making music is more of a necessity it’s just something I feel I need to do. The feeling of making something from nothing is very satisfying for me but then some of the best experiences of my life have been playing out so I could never pick one over the other.

If you weren’t making UKG, what kind of music do you think you’d be making? 

A few of my friends rap and mc but ain’t really into Garage so I still actually make the odd rap tune. I went through a long phase of just making grime so I’d do more of that sort of stuff I guess. And possibly experiment with more live instruments as well.

Who are 3 UKG artists you’ve been rating recently and why? 

  1. Mind of a Dragon – Because his drum programming is so on point. He proper channels that Steve Gurley, El B type of bumpy 2step in a way not a lot of people can.
  2.  Conducta – Even though he doesn’t make millions of tunes everything he makes is quality, keeping the old school sound but with modern production techniques.
  3. PVC – Though not strictly Garage in the traditional sense I think he has a very unique and interesting style.

There’s loads more that I haven’t mentioned but they know who they, I don’t play anything I don’t personally rate

Is there anyone you would collaborate with if you were given the chance? 

As far as our scene I’d collab with pretty much anyone –  I actually think that’s what’s great about this generation of UKG. There’s no real big egos and everyone works with each other. I’ve made tunes with people like Conducta, Flava D and Killjoy in the past  and they’ve all been well received tunes. I think the ravers/listeners really like artists collaborating as well.

How did your relationship with Southpoint first come about? 

I think they got in touch about me playing an event for them and it went from there. I’ve always been happy to do bits with them just because I really rate how they operate for an independent label/brand. They are very professional, the standard of music they put out is always high plus they’re decent lads so I was pleased when they asked me to do an EP with them.

Did you approach the Bullion EP as a dedicated project, or is it more a group of tracks you made separately with a similar vibe?

Definitely more the latter. I mean I knew I was going to do an EP for SouthPoint and when I made the lead track ‘Bullion’ and saw the reaction it got in clubs, I did think ‘Yeah, I’ll use it for the EP’. The rest were all made around the same time though so in terms of feel and sound there’s sort of a theme throughout.

What’s your favourite track off of the Bullion EP?

Mine’s actually ‘Be Your Only’. Bullion is the lead track and works great in the club but musically from a producers point of view ‘Be Your Only’ is my favourite. It’s got that old school sound without sounding dated, it’s melodic without being cheesy and still bangs in a club.

What’s coming next for you? 

More releases! I think my next one is an EP on Four40 which I’m looking forward to, the tracks are mastered and ready to go. I haven’t got hundreds of bookings lined up this summer so I’m just planning to get my head down, get in the studio and line up more releases.

Stream the title track and a showreel of Moony’s ‘Bullion’ EP, forthcoming on Southpoint, below.

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