Moguai: Deadmau5's Associate Leads a Big Beat Comeback
Veteran DJ Moguai was born Andre Tegeler; he's been playing parties and putting out music since the mid-'90s. Jams like "U Know Why" (2002) picked up on the Big Beat sound popularized by artists like Fatboy Slim, while 2007's "Freaks" is a guitar-inflected electro track. He's even got his own label, Punx, but has remained under the radar for many EDM fans.
This is, until he hooked up with Canadian powerhouse Deadmau5, who has been releasing much of Moguai's recent work on his mau5trap label. Since then, the German DJ, who splits his time between Recklinghausen and Berlin, has remixed the likes of Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Afrojack. He turned Fatboy Slim's 2000 track "Ya Mama" into one of last fall's big club hits. His new single "Mpire" is doing great on Beatport, and his album of same name will be out on January 30. Ahead of his show tonight at Playhouse, we caught up with him about subjects including Deadmau5 and Big Beat.
How has DJing for you changed over the years?
Back in the day, I only played vinyl. Then I played CDs. Now I play CDs and a computer with a controller that I customized myself. The Internet has changed a lot. When you produce a track, it's not only for vinyl and only for those who know. Right now, when you have a good track and it's on the Internet, immediately, it's a worldwide release.
Right now, I'm touring a lot in America. For example, last year, I played 40 shows in America in 40 different cities. This would never happen if we didn't have the Internet.
Does your vinyl background influence the way you play now?
Absolutely. I'm from this time where it was necessary and important to tell the people a story when you play music, not just play one big hit after another. It has to be a conversation. You can have a good talk or a bad talk and I prefer the good talk. This is most important: how you start the set, what you play in the middle and how you end the set.
The guy who influenced me a lot back in the day and still, is Sven Väth. He's a German techno DJ and he's doing this club in Frankfurt called Cocoon and also this party in Ibiza every season.
He's different and always [has] an eye on the crowd. This is the most important thing and most important for the younger crowd. They're pumping up all these new DJs with one big record, but they have to have their eye on the crowd. I'm not sure if everybody has it, but that's another story.
Over the past few years, you've been really busy with remixes and live dates. Was there a big push for you?
It was coming together with Joel [Zimmerman]/Deadmau5 and mau5trap. This changed a lot. Because of this international release and the big platform he gave with me with his label.
Before that, I hadn't played yet [in the U.S.]. I started everything in the U.S. one-and-a-half years ago. It's really crazy, but I'm happy for it.
Your Fatboy Slim remix is great. What attracted you to "Ya Mama"?
You hear so many Fatboy Slim bootlegs and remixes from "Star 69" or "Rockafeller Skank" and I was always in love with this old track "Ya Mama," and also the video, and I thought it was a good idea to bring it out.
Are you seeing a resurgence of that Big Beat style?
Yeah, a little bit. It also goes into the breaks and dubstep direction. I can imagine dubstep with a strong "Rockafeller Skank" or "Ya Mama" vocal. It's quite the same.
The good thing is, right now, there are no boundaries in this kind of genre. For me, it seems that everything is possible and everything is allowed. In the end, you just have to make fun and make good music.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.