Talking collabs, working with MCs and Yu-Gi-Oh! with Tengu & Mofaux [Interview]


For Tengu and Mofaux, both long standing members of both Brighton’s underground music scene and the Southpoint family, collaborating with each other must be second nature. With a string of a releases either working together or remixing one another’s music, the pair have teamed up again on a huge new EP, ‘Jinzo’, set to drop in early October. We caught up with Chris (1 half of Tengu) and Mo about their early influences, creative processes, their current favourite producers and more.

You’ve worked together a lot on both collaborations and remixes for each other – how did your musical relationship begin?

Chris: I was actually a big fan of Mo’s old project Rakta. We got talking through knowing we were both producers! We kicked off our musical relationship with our first tune ‘I’m Ready’, which still to this day kills dance-floors, and ever since we have been not only great influences on each other but great friends.

Mo: Yeah, I met Chris through the music scene and knew Ken (the other 1/2 of Tengu) through DJing at a local night club. There’s not much of a scene in our town so when I heard the tunes they were making it was obvious we had to link up!

How does a collaboration between you normally work?

C: We always meet up so we always vibe off each other when making a tune. It also helps that we are a 10 minute walk from each other’s houses. Jinzo was incredibly natural and just came out of no where. We honestly think that tune defines both of our sounds.

M: We just have a laugh really; we pick a day then I get over to Chris’s and we just vibe. Get some food in, listen to some of each other’s new tunes and projects we’ve got going…Then just let the tunes roll!

If you could pick a 3rd artist to collab with you in the future, who would it be?

C: I personally think we would both make a sick track with Albzzy – again, another massive friendship we have gained in the scene. If it was anyone else, I’d (as a dream) love to collaborate with either Hybrid Theory, TS7 or Notion.

M: That’s a tough one! For me personally, Bushbaby or Distro. Both are producers I’m constantly rating and would both bring their own flavours to the mix. Then again, I could imagine us working with TC4; together we’d make something really sick.

Do you find it easier working with other producers or on your own?

C: It depends really because some tunes I get so engrossed in I feel if anyone touched it, it wouldn’t have the same impact as I am hoping. However, I have loved collabing with people recently. It’s a great way to gain more friends in the scene and also to get past some mad writer’s block!

M: Easier, I would say, on my own because I can always find time to produce – I even spend my whole 1 hour lunch break every day working on tunes. But the sweet thing about working with someone is bouncing back and forth ideas and getting something you could never create on your own.

What got each of you into dance music and how did you end up making the kind of music you are now?

C: Pendulum. That band inspired my whole way of thinking musically. Ironically, I could never ever produce anything like them, but I will always be inspired and smitten by Rob Swire! Kenny grew up in the garage and grime scene from the beginning. We went through his collection of vinyl once and got inspired by everything we listened to. For the scene we’re in now however, the sound of Tengu got madly inspired by the likes of EZ and the whole old school garage scene, as well as names such as Notion, Jakes, Mikey B, Tuff Culture and many more – there’s too many dons to shout out.

M: In 2011, me and my mate Nathan AKA Like Son stepped into the Dubstep scene under the name Rakta after we met studying music tech at college. That’s what really got me into dance music. As for the music I make and play now, probably the influence I’ve always had from Dubstep and the crazy new ideas coming from My Nu Leng, Taiki Nulight etc when they were first transitioning into the UKG/ UK Bass kind of sound.

When making tunes, whats 3 things you can’t go without?

C: 1 –A clean and tidy work space – I get horribly irritated being surrounded by rubbish.

   2- I need to be in the mind space that ‘This tune I’m about to make is going to make people want to tell me to “fuck off” when I play it’

        3. I need to always make sure that the tune is going to be different to the last tune but also still have that Tengu sound!

M: 1- Logic Pro 9, for obvious reasons.

          2. I like to have some sort or midi keyboard/ pads when programming drums to get the proper groove.

   3. Ideally a Pomegranate Arizona because you’ve gotta stay hydrated!

On to the new release, where does the name ‘Jinzo’ come from?

C: We both grew up (and still throughly enjoy) Yu-gi-oh! Jinzo was my favourite card, and this tune has some sort of ‘mechanical, cyborg -esque’ style to it don’t you think? In all seriousness, we just loved the name also.

M: Only the best damn card game ever created! We’ve been planning to have a duel backstage at our next gig – any other DJs feel free to challenge me!

C: We give guest list to anyone who can prove they believe in the heart of the cards.

You’ve both got tracks with vocalists on the EP, did your approach to production change to cater for original vocals, and how did you find the whole process?

C: I’ve been madly inspired to work with more vocalists ever since working with Dread; ‘Murda Murda’ is still our biggest achievement. However, ‘Parasite’ needed that evil, angry sort of vocal. We wanted Duke on the track because we have been a big fan of his for a while and he’s the nicest guy, which is ironic after saying we wanted evil and angry vocals! He absolutely made the tune what it is and its now my favourite ever production –  people even already know the words!

M: I’d actually had a pretty much finished tune when I sent it to Jay (KXVU, Southpoint co-founder) and we spoke about an MC feature. For me, Razor was an obvious choice- he’s a Southpoint don and mad on the mic. It made sense to keep the MCs within the Southpoint family too

Talking about family, how did your relationships with Southpoint start?

C: Funnily enough I sent them a demo which we didn’t release with them in the end! We ended up releasing quite a bit with Southpoint and I have never been disappointed with the releases. I gained a true friendship with Jay and Josh and honestly cant thank them enough for all the help and support they have given us! I fully respect both of them and I have gained some amazing relationships and collaborations with pretty much the whole family.

M: Well, I also met Jay through the Dubstep community years ago when he was also under a different alias. I heard the first few Southpoint releases and knew I wanted to be involved, so I sent Jay my tune ‘Safe’ which sampled P Money ,and next thing I know it’s released on Southpoint Presents Vol 2! And on a side note, Southpoint are the most organised and hard working label I’ve ever worked with, no question!

With Habouchi on remix duties for the title track, it’s clear you both rate his work. If you could have each had another up and coming artist remix ‘Jinzo’, who would you have picked?

C: Habouchi honestly destroyed the remix! I am so glad he did, he’s someone I’ve had on my radar for a long long time, and he’s incredibly talented. If I could of picked someone else up and coming though, I would of picked either Freddie Martin or Affiliate – both artists have such an incredible, unique sound which I rate.

M: Yeah Habouchi is still really underrated, he’s a top guy too. If I had to choose someone, probably Hamdi. He’s recently remixed my tune ‘Rewind’ and it’s doing bits! The kid has some UK Funky, Grime, UKG vibe going on and I fully rate it!

Finally, what’s next for each of you?

C: We have a few major collabs we can’t talk about just yet that are in the works and releases with Southpoint, In:flux Audio and more!

M: Well, next up after the EP is a remix I’ve done for an artist called TK Vicious. The tracks entitled “8 Track” and I’ve given it a bit of a garage remix. I’ve also got an official remix of “Ravin Face” by Tyrone in the pipeline, and not to forget my debut Four40 release!

Stream the showreel of Tengu & Mofaux’s forthcoming ‘Jinzo’ release on Southpoint, below:

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