Welcome back to the second edition of Spotlight. It was a cold and rainy night in March 2014, and I had the pleasure of welcoming Moody Moore & General Motorz into the Annex Studio.Moody Moore a staple in the DJ Jungle scene and her daughter General Motorz, a second generation junglist that is a raising star in the DC DnB scene. What transpired that night consists of 2 hours of non stop Jungle / Drum & Bass and a hour long interview and a great deal of laughter. Without any further a due, I give you Moody Moore & General Motorz.
“We’re sort of a really edgy version of the Partridge Family”. – General Motorz
ANNEX: Records Organization?
MM: I would just rather spin them.
ANNEX: So you don’t have any organization?
MM: Well, I’ve moved a couple of times…
GM: Yea, so right now we have a lot of stacks of records laying around.
MM: Because of you!
GM: Hey, hey, you do that to. You keep your mixes laying around. In places where I knock them over all the time.
MM: [laughter] Yea potential mixes. I will put the needle on the record and say hey those tracks will go together
GM: Well yea that’s what my stacks are as well.
ANNEX: So what is it about a track that will make you pull it out for a set?
MM: I’m a melodic mixer. So I will not mix tracks that compete, you know? I like the marriage between two tracks that were made for each other, that’s what I’m always going for.
GM: I’m sort of similar. I will listen to a track and go “Oh! this track would go really well with something hard or vocally”. So I will start looking for something along within our huge collection. I like to have a lot of shifts in my sets.
MM: The Journey.
GM: Yea! I enjoy change ups, also a good bass line! If it has a good bass line I will pull it.
ANNEX: So where did the name Moody Moore come from?
MM: [Smiling] This is a great story. I had just started DJing, and I had Ken Lazee, Tamela, Yaz,Steve Raskin & his wife Johanna, over to our house in Arlington. I was going through a few names that I was just not feeling. So I was going through these names and Kenny all of a sudden interrupted the conversation. “DUDE, your fucking Moody. Your God damn Moody Moore.” I was like that’s it! Especially since the best DJ names are bequeathed.
MM: I was telling Gwen this story, when she asked me to teach her how to DJ. I was like “OK, you’re going to learn on vinyl, you’re going to learn how to program, and mix properly.” But Gwen was all worried about her DJ name, then one night while driving…
GM: This is after several months of coming up with nothing good.
MM: Yea, and it just popped into my head GM, Gwen’s initials. G.M. Dude, General Motors!
GM: It really work for me to covering the bases. Since I was really concerned with having a feminine DJ name. Since I feel like there is a stigma for female DJs getting booked for their tits, and it doesn’t matter if you’re really any good. So I wanted a name that was gender neutral. Of course it was from my teacher, my mentor, my mom so it just worked for me.
MM: Yea, I’m proud to have been able to give her, her DJ name. Like Kenny did for me. Besides the best names are bequeathed. Kenny my friend, then boyfriend, then friend again gave me my name. I really like the alliteration the M-O-O, M-O-O of it.
GM: He was the one who introduced you to Drum & Bass, right?
MM: Kenny was the one that introduced me to electronic music. He was our roommate. When he set up his turntables and one night he was spinning, I was like, what? Where do you hear this music? Like, this music is amazing! Where do you go to hear this music? He said I’m going to take you to BUZZ at Nation. And I walked in and I was home. So Ken Lazee gave me my name.
GM: Big ups Ken Lazee.
ANNEX: How long have you been DJing?
MM: After Kenny moved in, I was a raver first. Then we started doing parties together, so I was a promoter. That got me very acquainted with the DJs in the scene, John Tab and other heads that I established relationships with. Then my dad died, although my father left me nothing in the will, eventually after some arguing I got a few thousand dollars. That was enough to buy Turntables, mixer, receiver, monitors and a coffin. So I went through the full spectrum. Raver, to Promoter, to DJ. I practiced everyday. Its been proven in history that if you practice a skill every day for an hour you can master it in a year. Generally speaking. That’s what I did, I committed myself everyday, and came out with [the mix] “Surge Reflect”. I gave it to John Tab and he booked me.
*In a email follow up I did get the answer to the original question. Moody Moore started DJing in 2001.
ANNEX: Was that your first gig when he booked you?
MM: Winterman. Do you know Winterman? He was the first one to actually book me then shortly there after John Tab booked me. I can’t really recall but it was very soon after that first gig that he booked me.
ANNEX: Have you always been a DC based DJ?
MM: In 2006, I was done with DC. I was getting headaches everyday and had a horrible job. So I had to get the fuck out of there, so I moved to San Diego. I lived out there for 3 years, went toBurning Man and had club gigs between San Diego, San Francisco, L.A. and a few desert parties. Came back to DC after hitting a new low in my life, and focused on putting my life back together. Focusing on my family and my job. Its really only been in the last year since Gwen started to learn to spin. Teaching her how to spin really got me back into it. I actually considered… I know this is a terrible thing to say and you will hate me for this. I actually considered selling my equipment because… you know from a financial perspective. You know, this lifestyle is not maybe what I should be focusing on…
MM & GM: [Laughter]
MM: I know, right?!? But that was right when Gwen asked me to teach her how to spin. It has slowly gotten me back into it. Yea.
ANNEX: How did the west coast change your sound? Or did it?
MM: I don’t think it really did.
GM: It’s funny though, because you were in real opposition to what was going on out there.
MM: You see Burner’s don’t really like Drum & Bass. I remember Skandar, my boyfriend at the time got me booked in for this party in Mexico. The promoter listened to Fuck Cinderella Mix, and was like wow this is Drum & Bass? That mix was melodic and vocal, its something that people can relate to even if you’re not into Drum & Bass. Because of that mix I was one of the first D&B DJ’s to play a Burner party in that community. From there we started playing parties in San Diego. You know I’m a Junglist Soldier, like hardcore I would say 95% of the music I listen to is Drum & Bass. Its my warm blanket.
ANNEX: Whats your favorite DJ moment?
MM: Oh that’s tough. You know their are a lot of them. I remember spinning the front room at Nation. Spinning with the Bansheez, you know Jungle Jessi, Inna K, Silkey & Skandalus (Amanda). Forming that crew, you know, that was major, because there were no female DJs in the scene. So we formed this crew to take shit over, partnering with the HeadHunterz. You know how we were talking about 4 turntables, we would do that ridiculous shit at places like Alias. Those Alias Shape the Future battles, were where I was playing more than one genre in a set. Spinning Drum & Bass and Breaks and people were like, what is she doing? Whats going on here? And because of that I got second. Scott Haapala / DJ Haaps beat me out by one vote! Why because I did not VOTE FOR MYSELF!
GM: Oh Well.
MM: From there I became a member of the Midnight Sons with him [DJ Haaps] and Peter Lantern / DJ Lantern and a few others. Defiantly spinning at Burning Man was an amazing experience. But I think spinning at U Hall with Gwen was huge. Because after everything is said and done, things have come around full circle and to be able to spin with her in the premier club of DC. WithJungle Jessi and Joanna O was totally amazing.
ANNEX: So you all share your vinyl?
MM & GM: Yea.
ANNEX: Where do you both buy your vinyl from?
MM: She buys more vinyl than me. I work for a non profit now so I don’t have a lot of disposable income, but I have so many great records that I’ve never played out.
GM: That’s sort of my job.
MM: Yea, and she [Gwen] buys far more vinyl than I do at this point.
MM: This is why I really admire Joanna O because she is hardcore vinyl, because she is like, “I’m not making the switch”. So when I was trying to figure out if I should make the switch? Should I buy CDJs or Serato? Fuck Serato. Every time someone spins Serato…
GM: Something goes wrong
MM: We were at U Hall for the Danny Byrd and SPY at Hospitality. And the only problem he had that night was with SPYs set, because he was spinning Serato. Every time someone spins Serato…the sound went out on him 3 times during his set. I just started to feel bad for him.
GM: It was a solid set…
MM: But, as a DJ you have to be crushed every time the sound goes out [in their set]. He handled it and Kenny got it back really quick but… the thing about vinyl its so interactive and people can see what your doing. You can see what your doing. Its tactile, you know I love the feeling of vinyl on my finger tips. You can see the music.
ANNEX: How do you feel about these other mediums people are DJing with?
MM: Yea. I do want to get CDJs eventually because its cheaper; and if you have a gig that night you can roll online and buy all the new hot shit now and have it; and CDJs are a cakewalk compared to turntables.
GM: Oh yea, do you remember when we were out at Rhonda’s Summer house? I had never spun on CDJs before. I had only been spinning for a couple months. I figured I should learn how to do this because some clubs don’t have turntables anymore. Which is terrible!
MM: The clubs are terrible not the turntables.
GM: No. Not the turntables. So yea I was going through Ra’s CDs, and Ra only spins House and Garage, and I’d never spun House. But I’m sitting there beat matching everything, mixing things I had never played before and I never went off my beats. In comparison it was so easy.
MM: So I’m now wanting to take the hard line at this point. Start collecting vinyl again and be like this is what I spin. Cause vinyl is really coming back. Clubs at least clubs that cater to our scene always have a pair of turntables. For the sound guy, the maintenance is so easy, because rarely do you have problems with turntables. Unless its a problem with the needle.
ANNEX: Because you both live together do you have to jockey for practice time?
MM: We kind of have to sometimes. I’m like okay I’m going to go do my exercise.
MM: Cause the turntables are in my room.
GM: We don’t really have a living room in the apartment.
MM: The Living room is my room.
GM: I like to practice alone cause I’m that kind of guy. So whenever there is a free moment.
MM: I think it works out, we negotiate it well.
GM: Yea, Yea.
MM: She will come home from school while I’m still at work and have that time.
GM: I set aside a couple days a week to make sure I get my practice in.
ANNEX: What was your reaction to Gwen when she asked you to teach her to DJ?
MM: She is very musically inclined. She can play the guitar and is a very good vocalist too.
MM: She will argue with me over that. When she came to me I was like, Okay. Your going to learn on vinyl, with turntables. You’re going to learn how to put tracks together / program, cause beat matching is the easy part. But you’re going to learn the basics.
GM: She took it really seriously.
MM: I did.
GM: You were like a drill sergeant sometimes.
MM & GM: [Laughter]
GM: Especially with the equipment making sure I was handling it correctly.
MM: She learned really quickly. She is very emotional like me. So when she would have the AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! I would be like, “okay its cool”, I will let her scream. I will not comment.
GM: Remember the first time I spun Drum & Bass and I got a headache. This was when we first moved into the City. So the speakers were above the turntables and you had to…
GM & MM: STEP BACK
GM: to hear it.
MM: It was terrible.
GM: It sucked. So it was just so difficult to get a feel for what you were doing.
MM: And you thought you wanted to spin Electro.
GM: I know, I know. Back in the day that’s what I wanted to spin.
MM: Which is fine, I was like whatever…
GM: I still like French Electro but of course I was born to spin Drum & Bass. Can’t escape fate.
MM: Of coarse that’s what you grew up with.
GM: 2nd generation Junglist. All the way.
MM: That’s what’s up baby. [High Five]
MM: When you started spinning Drum & Bass, it just clicked.
GM: Well its the music I know better than anything else. You know most people grow up listening to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones that sort of stuff. I did too, to an extent, but to me my childhood was Drum & Bass.
MM: Because that’s what you listened to every night.
GM: Its very familiar to me and a music I feel I understand. So yea I guess that made the learning curve not so steep.
ANNEX: Whats it like sharing a Stage with your Daughter?
MM: Amazing. I’m sure there are some pictures from U Hall where I’m just glowing behind her. I’m not sure I can really explain the feeling… its just huge. More than what my body and soul can contain…
GM: We’re sort of a really edgy version of the Partridge family.
MM & GM: [Laughter]
[ General Motorz / Moody Moore @ Konkrete Jungle 2014 Photo Here ]
ANNEX: What advice do you have for any young upstart looking to get into the scene?
MM: Fundamentally you need to be a supporter of the scene. You need to be going out, supporting the parties, the promoters, the DJs. That’s the first step.
GM: You have to learn to kiss ass.
MM: Well I mean… there is that to. You have to support the scene. I’m particle to vinyl, I think to really understand how to mix and program you really have to start with vinyl because its so challenging.
GM: I have to say… sorry for interrupting. Seeing DJs that are my age that are learning to spin, not on vinyl, there is a disconnect. Like remember that guy we saw at Netsky. These kids…
MM: GOD HE WAS TERRIBLE! What was his name?
GM: Honestly I forget. But they love the music that’s definitely there, but they just don’t have the finesse of the fine understanding of what makes a beautiful mix. So they are spinning but not really mixing, maybe beat match kind of…
MM: Well, with the technology, they don’t even have to beat match.
GM: But then they will have these train wrecks of clashing stuff, with no sense of journey to it. I feel learning to spin on vinyl gives you an understanding that really nothing else can.
MM: I agree.
ANNEX: Now turning to you is it General Motorz or DJ General Motorz?
GM: Well before I added the Z at the end Facebook yelled at me telling me I was not a motor company. I changed it to the Z because you have to respect your roots. Being a Junglist you have to use the Z instead of the S.
GM & MM: [Laughter]
MM: Well said.
GM: So I did finally change it but by then [I had created the Facebook page] and had to do the DJ thing. But I prefer General Motorz on its own, because the thing with DJ is that it is an umbrella for a lot of different things. There is the DJ that we all are, then there is the guy with the Hawaiian T-shirt at your 8th grade dance.
GM: I think sometimes it causes confusion, when I tell people I’m a DJ. Personally as a people I think we need to come up with a new term. I hear “selector” sometimes, a lot of British people will used that term.
ANNEX: How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a DJ?
GM: I think I was 16. Its actually funny. It was just as I started to really get into electronic music. Growing up with it as a kid, I definitely went through a phase. A rebellious phase in middle school of being super against it. Agggghhh you know its what old people do. “Its not real music”.
MM: MY MOM DOES IT!
GM: You know its probably what your own parents said,”Its not real music”. Blah Blah, cause they don’t know anything about it. But that was my rebellious phase, you know you can’t escape fate. I was born to be a Junglist. I started to listen to what my mom was doing with a critical ear and one day something clicked. I think it was while listening to a Nero mix, the Nero Essential mix on BBC Radio One. Of course.
MM: Yea, Yea he goes through so many genres. He does Drum & Bass, Dubstep, French Electro, its really an amazing mix.
GM: It was during the French Electro section that I really decided. I definitely love French Electro. I don’t know I was just listening to this mix and it was so amazing. It was such an epic mix and I was like I want to learn to do this. I wanted to be able to bring this same beauty of the mix to people.
ANNEX: What was your first record?
GM: Definitely an Ed Banger record. I think I bought my first two records were both SebastiAn – Smoking Kills, & SebastiAn – Embody. But it really sucks that I can’t even use the Embody track, cause I love that track. Its a great track but its like 105 BPM, and I’m like, what am I supposed to do with this?
MM: Maybe if you mixed it in on a break down. But what was the first Drum & Bass track you bought?
GM: First Drum & Bass track… hmmmm. I think it was those two records that I bought of Chemical. That Ramajam Record & The Zone.
ANNEX: Where do you buy your records?
GM: I buy some of it online, but I’m looking for places to buy without the huge shipping costs. Because Drum & Bass all comes from the UK its hard to find online American stores…
GM: It was a Roni Size record.
ANNEX: So what was your first gig?
GM: Was Transit actually. It was last July I think. So almost a year ago.
MM: Peter hit me up… mind if I take over for a second? He was like, Moody do you want to play out? He knew I was looking to play out. So I was like, by the way my daughter is spinning now and I think she is ready for her first gig.
GM: I was not by the way. [Laughing]
MM: You played a great set. You played Breaks, and it was a really good set. So I was like, “Peter I would love to spin, how about booking Gwen as an opener”? Because we go way back he was like, “Of course”.
GM: Big ups Peter Lantern!
MM: He is in Miami right now spinning with the big dogs.
GM: [If] I really honestly, had been the one to say if I was ready, I would say “probably not”, but it was a good experience definitely. Especially because it was the same night Aphrodite was in DC, so nobody was there.
GM & MM: [laughter]
GM: But it was a great night of music. Anyone that went to see Aphrodite, choose wrong. [laughing] Even though there was barely anyone one there I got 3 gigs out of that [night].
ANNEX: How would you describe your sound?
GM: I don’t know. I guess Eclectic. I just like a lot of different stuff. So I mix tracks that are vocally with tracks that are hard.
MM: Similar to what I was saying earlier. She will pull records out of my shelves and play the B side of something, and I will have never thought to mix those tracks together. She also has a different mixing style than I have as well. So when she mixes these tracks together I’m like, that sounds fucking awesome!
GM: Why thank you. I’m really ADD when it comes to listening to music. I feel like a lot of people will get into ruts and play a lot of similar tracks and I just get bored. I like for the gears to switch a lot, I guess.
MM: For instance DJ Fresh: Bass Invaders. From the early to mid-2000’s, and that’s just what he does up and down through the whole mix. Its amazing
GM: That’s what I try to do.
ANNEX: Seeing you have made such a splash on the DC scene, Where do you want to play next?
GM: SubDistrick definitely. Whats that new venue…
GM: Yea! I would like to play there. I hear its a good club… I do have that dream one day, because the [Drum & Bass] scene is not that big that someone huge will come into town. LikeHospital Records, and someone will book me to open for them. I want to share a stage one day with Danny Byrd, and Netsky. One day.
ANNEX: Do you have any events coming up we should know about?
ANNEX: Whats the best way for people to find out more about you both?
ANNEX: Top five Jungle / Drum & Bass track for each of you?
GM: Hold your Color – Pendulum. I grew up with that track. Its almost the sound to my life, because its been in the background the whole time.
MM: Up All Night – John B. As a Junglist I’m not sure how you can not have that in your collection.
GM: I really love a lot of stuff by Danny Byrd. I also really like what the Brooks Brothers are doing now too…
MM: I’ve been prepping for this question. However, asking me this is a lot like asking me which of my children I loved most. So its been really hard.
MM: Actually a lot of the tracks I played tonight would be on my top 5 listing. Literally every track I’ve played tonight are my faves.
GM: I tried to do something similar in pulling tracks out that stood out to me that I really really loved. I’m not sure if you said this about playing tracks that made me love Drum & Bass but I really did try to base my mix around that idea.
ANNEX: What is the DC Scene missing right now? If anything?
GM: I feel like a lot of Drum & Bass DJs defected to playing Dubstep when it became popular. But Drum & Bass as a whole is really getting influenced but Dubstep and Electro; its not bad but I feel like when I was growing up in the mid 2000’s there was a renaissance of Drum & Bass. As it started evolving from Jungle, and there were so many good tracks that come out then. I would really like to see that happen again. A new renaissance of Drum & Bass, where there is just this explosion again.
MM: I feel like that’s happening again. The Upbeats are totally making their own sound.
GM: I don’t hate Dubstep, I’m just really looking forward to its popularity waning. Its really not my cup of tea, honestly… Sorry that was a bit of a tangent.
MM: What was the original question? What is the scene lacking? If you had ask me this a few years ago I would have said there is just not enough Drum & Bass parties going on in the area. But now with Julez / SubDistrick, Cadence at Flash, Sunday Sessions, and even Steez, they still bring in large Drum & Bass headliners. So what is the scene lacking…you know I feel like some of the new kids just really don’t respect the history.
GM: You know no one really knows how to dance anymore!
ANNEX & MM: [Laughter]
MM: The raves now, with the girls in their fucking underwear.
GM: Ok, yea, I get that its hot.
MM: What happened to the big pants? It was not about “Here is my body”. It was, “I’m here to dance”. That’s what I really miss. Its actually why I don’t even go to big raves anymore.
Notes from the Librarian:
I would like to thank both Moody Moore and General Motorz for taking the time to come out to the studio, play a few records and talk to me about their lives as a DJ family. As a soon to be father myself, I take comfort in the trails these two junglist are blazing. My hats off to them.
Who’s up next? We here at From the Annex have some ideas but we would love to hear from you. Who with in the DMV Jungle / Drum & Bass scene would you like to see next on Spotlight? Let us know in the comments.
As always I will catch you’ll on the flip.