WHP FEATURE 003
Busy is not the word. The last few months have seen Alice ‘Moxie’ Moxom play gigs everywhere from Panorama Bar in Berlin to Space in Ibiza. Back in England she’s been taking her On Loop parties around the country, popping up in fields, basements and mega clubs, as likely to be seen rocking a tent at Glastonbury as she is to be found dropping soul infused techno bombs at an East London street party. At the same time, she’s managed to curate an On Loop take over for Boiler Room, is a go to DJ when Radio 1 hosts can’t make their show and continues to hold down her regular NTS show – one of the stations longest running at 5 years deep – featuring guest slots that give an insight into her breadth of musical appreciation; one month she’s running through fresh house and classic disco with Tom Trago, another she’s got Mala dropping deep dub pressure. Oh, and on top of all this, she just started a record label.
“I’m rolling with On Loop, I’ve got a whole bunch of releases lined up for through til next year.
“I was quite nervous launching it” she says over the phone from her North London house, the conversation slotted into one of the few gaps she has available between getting back from one gig and flying off to another. “But the club nights and the compilations have been going so well over the past two years that it kinda just felt like the natural step...”
Right now, she’s quite openly carried along with the excitement of it all, marvelling at how the label seems to be slotting together.
“I’m rolling with On Loop, I’ve got a whole bunch of releases lined up for through til next year. Now I’ve started, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do it! There’s so much great music out there that isn’t signed!”
The label has kicked off with a four track EP featuring cuts from Medlar, Giganta, Drumtalk and Lord Tusk. The tracks flow from Medlar’s warm classic house basslines to Lord Tusk’s meditative techno groove, and should be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s caught a Moxie set over the last year – they appear to have flowed seamlessly from her playlists to her release schedule. Clearly uninterested in being trapped in a genre straitjacket, it looks like she’s planning on curating the label with the same privileging of ‘vibe’ over ‘genre’ that she brings to the On Loop nights;
“The label and the events are about house, techno and disco, but essentially its soul music, it’s stuff that touches you. I have to have a connection with it – everything I’ve put out on the label that’s forthcoming is music that I’ve had a really deep moment with. I’ve played it out and been like, wow! this really means something to me. I know you can sound pretentious when you talk about music, but I have to feel it. I’m really sensitive when it comes to music, so it has to feel right, there has to be a connection with the music and the artist. For me the label has to be releasing music that people can go back to, that can be remembered, it can be anything from soulful percussive house stuff or darker techno, but it’s all got that rolling vibe to it.”
Her clear enthusiasm for running On Loop is little surprise. As a DJ who has never branched into production, Moxie has made her name from the skills that make a great label A&R; obsessively digging out new artists, hunting for killer tunes that other DJs have missed, and constantly pushing through new sounds. Combine that with her love of the tactile nature of vinyl, and you get a DJ who is currently thoroughly enamoured with her new role as label boss – especially now she’s seeing the fruits of her labour hitting the shelves of the record shops she loves
I love that community you can have within record stores. It’s what I grew up with
“I’ve always been someone who’s searching for music, getting stuff sent to me and there was so much amazing music I really wanted to release. I don’t have the patience to make music myself, but I really enjoy putting things together, introducing people and making things happen. Until you start hitting over a few thousand records, there’s not really money to be made, so for me it’s definitely a project of love. I’ve been buying records since I was 14, and today a really nice thing happened – I’d gone into Phonica to pick up some records I’d bought and as I was getting them, there was a total stranger who came in at the same time to pick up the new On Loop release. I introduced myself and then we spent the next 30 minutes trading what we’d just bought. I love that exchange of music – I love that community you can have within record stores. It’s what I grew up with, going in and talking to people and having a physical thing you can take home. You’ve spent 7-10 pounds on it and you absolutely love it – there’s the visual element, the physical element and it’s archived and it’s always going to be there in your possession. I’ve met loads of friends going into record stores, and for me having the label was part of that.”
As someone so completely steeped in dance music, it’s almost inevitable that conversation with Moxie turns to Fabric – a venue she’s played in and recorded mixes for. One of London’s last remaining large late licensed clubs, its temporary closure was announced the day beforehand. Born and bred a Londoner, it’s understandably that she’s concerned about the implications that closure has for the cities night life.
“It’s really awful what happened that night and i’m hearing so many more stories like that across the UK - of people not being educated on the strength of the drugs they’re taking. I think education is so key, there needs to be more visible support for this kind of stuff, where people know they can get advise and feel safe. Fabric closing down isn’t going to solve the problem, if anything it will end up pushing the problem further underground. I appreciate the authorities are in a difficult position, but something has to change."
"It breaks my heart to see how many clubs are generally closing down in London, although I like to think there are lots of scenes bubbling away that I don’t even know about. I know in South London there’s a really strong community of promoters putting on parties, especially round Peckham, there’s a lot of free parties in the basements of abandoned buildings. Lots of stuff I hear about to on grapevine which makes me happy. We can only hope our new mayor Sadiq Khan will stand by his word and really try to save London club culture."
you’ll still find distinct scenes when you travel the country from Bristol to Manchester, with pockets of kids keeping it as underground as they ever have.
Fortunately, outside the capital things aren’t looking so grim. Having taken On Loop round the country, Moxie makes a point of always bringing in local DJs to compliment the line-up, noting that “it’s important that if you’re doing a night in a city that isn’t yours you’ve got to pay homage to that, and invite a DJ down there who’s from there. It’s not just about me coming from London and trying to do the same thing everywhere, it’s about embracing the community.” In doing so, she’s witnessed first-hand how scenes are flourishing around England, pointing out that whilst the internet may have brought ideas closer together, you’ll still find distinct scenes when you travel the country from Bristol to Manchester, with pockets of kids keeping it as underground as they ever have.
Talk of Manchester brings us to her forthcoming residency at Warehouse Project, something she approaches with the same excitement she brings to curating her label. Typically, Moxie is as animated about playing a 3 hour warm up set -
“I really enjoy doing sets like this as you have the scope to really build something” - as she is playing peak time. After enthusing over the other DJs she wants to check out (Laurent Garnier and Black Coffee both get a shout), she reveals that if you watch her closely when she plays, you might get an inkling of just how excited she’s getting up there.
“There are a couple of tunes which never leave my record box and without fail always go off, anything by KiNK sounds incredible, I pretty much play one of his tracks within every set. There’s a tune called Cloud Generator that came out a couple of years back on Running Back – that’s one of my secret weapons haha. I love that feeling of knowing you’re about to play a tune which is going to absolutely destroy the dance floor. Those moments when everything comes together, there’s nothing more satisfying”.
And with that she’s gone, her time done as she sets about packing her bags, another plane to catch, more records to play, and many, many more people to make dance.