Saturday, July 13, 2024

Q&A with avant-garde and electro-pop musician MOGAN

MOGAN has just premiered their debut single What Happens Next?via Music week. The musician-activist is open about grappling with issues such as politics, sexual identity, divorce and accepting, and loving the skin that you are in. They have cited Bjork, Liars, Peaches, Dirty Beaches and  Broadcast as important influences to their craft. MOGAN has a deep appreciation for the underground music scene and associates themselves with DIY Punk and Queer Punk community.

‘What Happens Next?’ on SpotifyApple Music

We find out more about LGBTQ+, avant-garde and electro-pop music composer below.

Your single, ‘What Happens Next?’ appears to be a fitting release for these turbulent times. What are you hoping to have happen next in your own life?

I’m most hopeful for some security. The music industry was already being torn down before the virus, with venue closures and funding cuts. For artists, freelancers and small businesses I’m hopeful that a level of security will come through in the aftermath of all this. The cynical part of my brain says it won’t happen – but then I’m hopeful for the punk ethos to prevail. We will find a way.

In a previous interview, you have expressed that “there is not enough representation for young, queer and trans people of colour”. How would you like to see the industry change to become more inclusive? What are some steps you think need to be taken?

I think that the industry as a whole could do more to broaden the platform for expression – rather than just finding the next best catchy pop song. But in these times of isolation, everyone is feeling trapped, and on an even playing field. Queer people out there need to see this as their chrysalis phase. Hone their craft. Grow. Reflect and be ready to burst when all this blows over. This is the time to press the reset button and change up all the rules.

If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?

Brash. Lo-fi. Melodic. Electronic.

Tell us about yourself. How did you get into music?

I’ve always written lyrics and poetry since I was a kid, and I’ve played in bands when I was older. But MOGAN fully flourished when I invested in a loop pedal and an FX pedal a couple of years ago. I was just experimenting really, recording feedback loops and singing over that. It was quite haunting and spacious, and felt quite unsettling, which was exactly what I was feeling because I’d usually had the comfort of band mates around me. Then when I got a computer I started to create and edit compositions with those noises, which has brought me to where I am today.

When you compose and produce tracks, do you make music for yourself or do you make it with others in mind?

I guess in a selfish way, it’s for me. If I don’t like it, I won’t bother with it. It has to sit right for me as the producer and the performer. But it’s the performer that can really grab the audience by the hand and lead them to my way of thinking.

What key pieces of gear/software are you using to define your sound?

I use Boss loop pedals and FX pedals, and I compose using GarageBand. GarageBand does everything I need it to. If I’m trying to work on getting a particular noise or sound, I have to try and get it in its rawest form without throwing too many filters at it. I find the more complex editing softwares a little intimidating at the moment. Perhaps one day I’ll venture out of that comfort zone, but for now, GarageBand suits me fine.

Has your arsenal of equipment changed much since you first started?

Absolutely. I used to just have one mic, one loop pedal and one fx pedal. And that was it. I’ve now got a loop station, a mini Korg and I edit on my computer. I like getting little pieces of kit to add to the arsenal, rather than huge purchases. Like the other day I was over the moon at buying a microphone stand and a pop filter.

Three favorite tracks of all time?

Wow.. this is tough!

Bjork – ‘Wanderlust’

I’ve moved around a fair amount since leaving home. I connect with the feeling of wanderlust a lot. The production on this is just insane.. the crunchy percussion, the euphoric brass, the morse code… it’s everything.

Placebo – ‘Nancy Boy’

This was the first cd I ever bought. I was only about 9. I remember my dad being like “you sure you want this one?” And I was like “YUP!”

Missy Elliott – Da Rain

I can remember seeing the video for this on cable telly when I visited my family up north, and being totally blown away. There was a lot of Motown being played in our house when I was growing up, so it was cool to hear a sample that I recognised. She’s a true inspiration – no one does it like Missy

What inspires you outside of music?

People. On an individual level, not just societal. Individual reactions, quirks and nuances really fascinate me and inspire a lot of my lyrics.

What is the best or strangest reaction you’ve had to your music this far?

After playing a gig, someone came up to me and said my music was like techno goth punk, which I’ll definitely take.

What, in your opinion, would be the perfect genre fusion?

Grungy- Techno Hymns.

Do you consider the Internet and social media as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?

Now more than ever. I like using Instagram because it’s fun, engaging and quite lighthearted. I steer clear of twitter though. I think the limited characters make it difficult for people to explain themselves coherently, so they just sound like they’re picking fights left right and centre.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or releases in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

My forthcoming EP is out in April and I’ll be bringing out a video soon too. Later in the year I’ll be featuring on a couple of tracks, and I’ve made a remix for someone too, which I’m excited for people to hear.

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