2009 ended with the annual barrage of breaking talent lists highlighting a good few artists to keep track of during the following year, with many being tipped yet few delivering. 24 year old Tom ‘Mosca’ Reid may not have been included on as many lists as some of his peers, but he certainly came through with the goods in 2010.
Before 2010 Mosca was mostly known for his ‘U Dun Know’ club nights which were promoted in London’s vibrant Dalston area, alongside DJ partner and long-time collaborator Unknown Soulja, plus his much-respected Bruk Magazine blog. However, the young producer started 2010 being chosen as the first artist released on the soon-to-be massive Night Slugs label after his Square One track earned him praise on various forums and caught label head Alex Bok Bok’s attention. After being asked to stop giving his tracks away for free the Square One EP was created and it soon became the first must-have release of 2010. Remix requests soon followed with edits for the likes of Four Tet and T Williams recieving heavy rotation from the scene’s finest, whilst he later even managed to fit in getting married, with a stag do at the legendary Tresor club in Berlin.
But as 2011 approaches Mosca is firmly concentrating on original material and has had to take steps to ensure remixes don’t get in the way. “I’m turning everything down at the moment, even if I really want to do it.” He reluctantly says. “I’ve been getting mad offers at the moment [an official Gucci Mane remix could be forthcoming via Sinden and Mad Decent]. To be honest it is a good policy because I’m turning everyone down at the minute and it makes things easier for me producing my work.”
That discipline is down in part to the time it takes him to craft his tracks. It took him eight months to finish ‘Nike’, which featured on flip side of the ‘Square One’ EP, with the results definitely worth the wait, having caught the ear of may a taste maker. After the Night Slugs release people may have expected Mosca to keep on producing similar sounds, in and around the UK funky genre, but instead he started to create hip-hop, (like his latest release ‘Tilt Shift’) and plans to release tech-house and garage tracks with his next few releases on high profile labels like Glasgow’s Numbers.
His thinking behind the eclecticism is simple. “I want to play hip-hop in my set so why not make a hip-hop tune?” he asks. It is a fair point and anyone who has heard Mosca dj knows that there aren’t many genres he won’t tap into at some point. Mosca’s DJ sets have taken him all over Europe and the US, and when I ask him where his favourite place to play is his answer is almost immediate. “Hamburg. I like Germany man. They’ve got patience over there. They are not too bothered about individual tracks or whatever. You can lose a whole dancefloor in London by playing two tunes back to back that people are not feeling for whatever reason, that’s it, you’re dead, you’ve died.”
Mosca’s meandering DJ sets and production style certainly isn’t what London and UK crowds are used to. His desire to weave in and out of genres and tempos is the complete opposite of some of his more popular peers who rely on big build ups and established crowd favourites to get by. So why not just play it simple and stay within one genre? “Sometimes I’ll do a straight bashment mix and sometimes it’ll be straight up house. When I start a mix I’ll start on one thing but I don’t want to leave anything out. It’s not like I work out how many genres I want to be involved before I start. If I’m playing some hip-hop I’ll be feeling it, but then I’m always thinking about playing some Kuduro or house or whatever and then the same thing will happen again”.
That desire to take chances and move around different genres is what makes Mosca an exciting producer. Not content to churn out identikit tracks, he wants to work with more vocalists (possibly Numbers lady Jessie Ware) and even dancehall mcs. But what about an album or extended EP? “Nah, never say never but I don’t think I could do an album. Like I say I produce so slowly an album would be ridiculous. How many tracks on an album, minimum? Ten? By the time I’d done ten tracks the oldest one would be four years old,” he says laughing. For now Mosca is more than happy to be getting his fair share of dj dates and continuing his critically applauded string of 12″s – and if 2010 is anything to go by, then next year should be vintage for this next level talent.
Words: Lanre Bakare
Photography: William Biggs