Behind The Rhythm 009 | MogaDisco
In the space of a just over a year, MogaDisco have pursued to grab the attention of tastemakers around the UK with their own idiosyncratic sets and mixes of African music. With a lot of club nights offering up largely similar 4/4 ideals, their infectious blend of Afrobeat rhythms deliver something both uniquely different and refreshing, particularly in light of what audiences are usually accustomed to listening to on a weekend. Opposed to the usual club scene dominated by electronic music, MogaDisco specialise in music from the 1960’s – 1980’s, playing sounds from across the continent from Afrobeat to Hi-Life, Nigerian Jùjú to Ethiopian Jazz, Disco, Soukous and everything in between – not only do the collective provide an educational journey via their music, rarely will you catch a night fuelled with such a worldwide multiplicity of sounds.
Behind the collection comprise four members: Bossa, Kaspar, Jack and Yemi. The idea behind MogaDisco came about back in 2011 when, as Bossa explains, Kaspar came to him with the idea: “Both of us had been listening to African music for a while; I was raised on the music, in fact. After we agreed that it would be unique and a lot of fun Kaspar shared the idea with Jack who also had a passion for the music and we started out with a small event in Withington. It was a success and that provided a platform for us to build upon… After we graduated we came back to London and Kaspar brought what I describe as “the missing piece of the Moga puzzle” our boy Yemi. We decided to regroup and revamp MogaDisco and start again in Deptford. The shows have been a total success.”
It almost feels like a really good house party in a club; so nobody is taking themselves too seriously and people are there to dance and have fun, which is the ideal scenario to play in.
Their affinity and passion of African music combined with being based in the capital city – an inimitable melting pot of cultures and music – have naturally laid the foundations for their night to grow; such a combination has allowed them to be unrestricted in what they do, with the quality of being different in a city like London a prominent feature of their nights success: “I personally love good music. I certainly believe good music is essentially genreless, if it sounds good then its good. In terms of genres the fact I was raised in a household where everyone love music also provides ample scope for so many contrasting influences.”
At the basis of it all, each members differing musicality is at the core of what makes everything so valuable for them, with their nights an ideal platform to express their unique influences and musical discoveries. For Bossa, without that rapport and a naturally healthy competitiveness between each member, it wouldn’t work: “The fact that outside Moga we are friends only enriches what we are trying to do. The camaraderie is genuine and that is reflected by the quality music each member plays at a show or on a mix…there is certainly healthy competition and competition ensures efficiency. I personally love to hear what the boys are going to play because I’m a fan of this music. The fact that we came together has only consolidated that.”
the more you delve into the various genres the more you discover fresher and rawer sounds that you can’t wait to play. As time goes on I think we’ll play the obscure records we have even more than we presently do
Having initially began throwing parties in Manchester, the group started again in London, basing themselves in Deptford at a venue called Bunker Club. Their free flowing nights here have garnered much praise, due to being “purely about the music and having fun in an intimate venue” – the same rule applies when they often play at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. Why does Moga work so well? “It almost feels like a really good house party in a club; so nobody is taking themselves too seriously and people are there to dance and have fun, which is the ideal scenario to play in.”
As well as the usual setting for a club night, the collective also recently earned the opportunity to play at the one of the most illustrious venues in the UK: The TATE. Bossa recalls: “It was a lot of fun. We were and remain grateful to have been handed such a unique opportunity as not many collectives get to showcase what they do with a national institution.” Playing at an international modern and contemporary institution of art is a clear testament to their distinctive artistry.
Though the events allow them to showcase the more “upbeat, party songs” of the music in their catalogue, their mixes are also another critical component of what MogaDisco is about: “Naturally, coming across as much music as we tend to provides a plethora of amazing but less dance/party orientated songs. The mixes therefore provide the ideal medium for us to showcase these songs. That isn’t to say that the mixes do not or will never contain music that you can dance to, but they do provide a little more creative freedom to play songs that otherwise may not be shared.”
As evidently knowledgeable selectors, the key with these guys is that they know what’s required to move a dance floor and what’s needed to take listeners on an inspired journey through their mixes. When we asked what the difference is for them when performing live to recording a mix, their answer is simple yet educationally informed: “Apart from the track selection there isn’t much difference. I make sure that the tracks are coherent; two great songs may not necessarily fit together just because they sound good on their own. Moreover it’s mainly about making sure the music selected fits the mood and that is the same regardless if we are playing live or recording a mix.”
The fact that outside Moga we are friends only enriches what we are trying to do. The camaraderie is genuine and that is reflected by the quality music each member plays at a show or on a mix…there is certainly healthy competition and competition ensures efficiency
Bossa tells us that they’ve only scratched the surface in terms of what they’ve been playing, and while Moga is clearly all about “celebrating sounds as opposed to single artists”, he’s still obliged to reveal some of the artists they’ve been listening to, and artists we should be keeping an eye out for: “I stumbled across Mikael Seifu a few months ago and he’s an electronic producer from Ethiopia. His Yarada Lij EP is quality. But in terms of the kinds of artists we play, it stems from a host of well known artists such as Ebo Taylor, Fela Kuti, K Frimpong to lesser known artists such as Osaymore Joseph, Dr Nico, Segun Adewale and so many more…the more you delve into the various genres the more you discover fresher and rawer sounds that you can’t wait to play. As time goes on I think we’ll play the obscure records we have even more than we presently do.”
Looking ahead, more DJ sets and mixes lay at the core of their progression, but we also reaffirm in Bossa’s excitement to appear at more festivals which will surely mark out a new stage on their career: “we want to play at some festivals next year. I think we would be well received at many festivals because of what we play and we’d love that experience too, so hopefully you’ll see us on some festival line ups soon.”
Big thanks to Moga for taking the time to speak to us and providing us with a very special mix for our series, you can next catch them performing at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen on October 3rd – Enjoy!