Mixing elements of house, techno, breaks, electro and more into potent tracks, Paolo Mojo is rapidly gaining attention in the club world. We sit down with him for a lowdown on what makes him tick, and what doesn’t.
What’s the latest record that has caught your attention?
The Chemical Brothers’ Electronic Battle Weapon 8. I love how they use real elements and electronic sounds to create raw, atmospheric moments. I don’t like everything they do but when they get it right, they hit the spot. My friend Eric Prydz is another one who can make those moments. The best dance music tracks are always about these moments—basic things that hit emotional touch points.
More people seemed to find your music touching too. So what’s the weirdest compliment you’ve ever received?
A girl once came up to me at a gig in London and told me she loved my set (OK, great), that it made her feel horny (OK, not QUITE normal but absolutely fine) and that she was going home now to take lots of heroin and kill herself (errr right-ho). Fortunately, it never got that far, but the rest of the evening was interesting, persuading the poor girl that it would be better to go home and get some rest.
That’s a bit scary! Well, and we heard Danny Tenaglia left you a phone message praising you before…
He left a message way back in 2001 to thank me for sending him my “Music Is Freedom” demo mix, left a few compliments and how it made him feel. The fact that he listened and phoned me was a classy and unexpected thing to do. He’s the kind of DJ I really respect, so it was a nice moment. Most messages tend to be fairly mundane; usually reminding me I owe someone some money somewhere.
Haha. OK, and what do you consider to be a sin at the dance floor?
Night clubs are places where people go to let off steam, so I don’t think too many rules should really apply. The only thing I get irritated by is if people get in my way while I’m playing. If you’re rude and persistently distract me, I’ll get a bit cheesed off. However, I don’t mind people coming up to talk to me while I play. I dislike musical elitism. It usually covers up insecurity. It’s the whole “My dad is harder than your dad” school of thinking that’s ridiculous. I’ve never been able to understand how people can dismiss entire genres of music, particularly musicians. You’re just locking off whole areas of potential ways to get inspired. I often hear little things in music I wouldn’t necessarily play and then think of ways to use that in stuff that I would play.
What makes you happy then?
Peace of mind is the main thing that makes me happy. It’s not something that’s easy to achieve. Music makes me happy because it’s a channel for our emotions and thoughts and memories. I really enjoy DJing too. I love the fact that when you get it right, the atmosphere in a room really changes. Something “clicks” whether it’s 50 people or 3,000 who lock into what you’re doing and once you have that, you can take them wherever you want to go. I’m constantly searching for that “click.” I try to learn from every experience. When you stop learning or thinking, that’s the day you start going backwards.