DJ Mag has had a few issues in recent years with their legendary Top 100 poll. Mainly incredible amounts of voter fraud. I mean levels of voter fraud that would almost constitute the word “comical” being used. But there has been one contest that DJ Mag annually throws that has stayed widely unaffected by voter
Following the release of his acclaimed debut artist album ‘First Landing’ last summer which cracked in our top 5 best house albums of 2017, Pete Dougherty a.k.a Moon Boots returns with soulful album cut ‘Power’ (feat. Black Gatsby). One of my personal favorite tunes from the album, as well as memorably performed live on KCRW’s
Music, dance music especially, operates on emotion and intuition, it exists to generate reactions that writing and rhetoric cannot. Music, again, dance music in particular, is also profoundly contextual. A record that is written for loud clubs and late night dance floors may not exactly click when heard through earbuds on the subway, but, when listened to in its proper context, feels like a masterpiece.
Most of the time, when we at DA are reviewing an album, we listen to it alone, through headphones. sitting at home. Listening to music in this context invites analysis, invites rationalization, and can trick us reviewers into thinking that it is our duty to explain an album. We mention this because First Landing, the debut LP from Ajunadeep star Moon Boots, is an undeniably accomplished piece of music, but a difficult one to write about. It’s an album that isn’t looking to be explained. It’s meant to be danced to.
First Landing, although decidedly its own entity, is rooted deeply in the long disco tradition, and its greatest strength is its ability to deploy the techniques of old school disco, R & B, and soul, without losing its contemporary, current sound. Moon Boots demonstrates a prodigious understanding of tonality on this record, evident everywhere from the lush, complex chord progression that introduce the first song, “Fortune Teller,” to the melodic runs that bridge phrases in the album’s closer, “Red Sky.”
Like all great songwriters, Moon Boots both upholds and subverts our expectations of musical convention to maintain interest and hold our attention. Note the stair-stepping bass line that propels the verses of “Keep the Faith,” its elliptical syncopation, the way it runs through scale tones without ever settling on the note it seems to be leading to. Then, when the chorus hits, it gets right in step with groove, emphasizing chord roots and giving the choruses a richness and fullness that contrasts wonderfully with the counterpoint of the verses.
The album is full of deceptively clever uses of counterpoint, of divergence, that pervade it with a dynamism and complexity that more than make up for the predictable schmaltziness of the written-for-radio lyrics. The cast of guest vocalists all do a fine job, but it doesn’t really matter what they’re saying. Moon Boots treats the vocals as just another instrument in his arrangement, and seems, above all, interested in the timbre of the voices, in their harmonies and phrasing.
In its own way, First Landing is dance music at its most elemental. its interest lies only in its pure sound, and the response that sound evokes in the listener. It’s rhythm and melody, point and counterpoint, not in the service of something greater, but for their own sake.
First Landing is worth a listen, even if it’s through cheap headphones on your commute. But we think that a better way to listen to it would be somewhere you can dance, somewhere with lots of people, and speakers loud enough that you can feel the beat in your core. In that context, it might just sound like a masterpiece.
Over the past several years, Pete Dougherty has built a reputation as one of Anjunadeep’s most intriguing stars. Though he launched his career around the turn of the decade, Moon Boots broke through most resoundingly with his 2015 singles “Utopia” and “Red Sky,” which introduced his brand of complex, entrancing deep house to his broadest audience yet.
Two years later, Dougherty has honored his benchmark hits by featuring both of them in his debut album, First Landing. Released on Friday, August 4, the 10-track LP provides a thorough glimpse into Moon Boots’ stylistic penchants. Throughout the course of the record, a duality is present in Dougherty’s sonic brand.
The mesmerizing composition which defined “Red Sky” is further present in newer album singles such as “First Landing” and “The Life Aquatic.” Moon Boots also delves deeper into the soulful, R&B-inspired sound which pervaded the Janelle Kroll-assisted “Utopia” across the vast assortment of vocal-laden songs which make up the bulk of the LP. In particular, “Never Get to You,” “Keep the Faith,” and “Power” stand out as exemplars for this area of Dougherty’s inspiration – bolstered by lyrical contributions of Antony & Cleopatra, Nic Hanson, and Black Gatsby, respectively.
With a distinctly-crafted signature sound and a full-length Anjuna project to his name, Moon Boots has proven his astute understanding of how to succeed and evolve as an artist in the electronic realm. In the hopes of imparting his hard-earned wisdom onto the current generation of aspiring producers, Dougherty has taken it upon himself to outline his steps to success in this Dancing Astronaut Op-ed.
Don’t get attached to your day job
There are a lot of different beliefs on this and my advice is no better than anyone else’s. Honestly it’s hard enough to find a good career these days, so if you are driven or lucky enough to get one, you might want to keep music as a hobby. But if you can’t or won’t get a good job, don’t hedge your bets. Pay your rent working as little as possible (bartending / serving / temping / tutoring / freelancing / DJ’ing bars & weddings) and spend the rest of your week on music for as long as you can get away with it. You won’t have the bread for a nice apartment or vacations, but you’ll be getting paid to go on vacation when you get booked on the road.
Get some hardware
If you’re just starting out on the laptop, get at least one piece of hardware, whether it’s a synth, sampler, drum machine or something else. If you’ve never spent much time browsing you might be surprised what you can get for <$500, both new & used.
Don’t download every software crack you can get your hands on
Learn the stuff you have. Get good at it. Find the sounds that a person casually diving through presets never would. Then think about getting other stuff.
Make music everyday
This is so important, especially when you’re starting out. Don’t let producing be like the guitar that gets pulled out of the closet a couple times a year. You won’t get anywhere unless you make music every day. For a few years. Be patient.
If you already know an instrument, use it
It always mystifies me when I hear producers say they play guitar or trumpet or violin or sing choir but don’t incorporate that into their electronic music. It will set you apart from your peers and will probably make it more fun.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself; listen to all kinds of music
Don’t listen to new club tracks in your chosen genre all the time. It will make your music boring and one-dimensional. Find whatever speaks to you, whether it’s disco, old school hip hop, old trance / progressive tracks, quiet storm, dub reggae, classic rock, classical or all of the above. Or none of the above. Take ideas from those styles — snippets of lyrics, bass lines, melodies, chord progressions, drum fills, production tricks, etc.. — and put them to use in your music.
Find a crew
Some artists seem to spring up fully-formed with no help. This is almost never true. If you don’t have a crew, find one. If you can’t find one in your local scene, look beyond it. This even goes for music capitals like London, New York, Chicago, Paris, Los Angeles, Berlin etc. When it comes to getting your music on the springboard it will need to get discovered, you may need to look beyond your city. Or you might be so freakishly talented you get signed to your dream label on your first track (but you probably won’t.) In any case, try and find a crew of people who love music just as much as you do.
Don’t be a total shut-in, but also don’t be a social butterfly
If you aren’t too young or too geographically isolated to go out to clubs, don’t spend all your waking hours in your studio. I can think of a bunch of tracks I never would have written if I hadn’t been out on a certain night. Support your friends when they’re playing and check out the superstars and legends whose ranks you will one day be joining if you keep at it. That said, no one’s gonna judge you (or care) if you stay home and work. Some people have a harder time staying in than others, but without a good work ethic, you’re probably not going to get anywhere.
When things really get cooking, you’re gonna find yourself oscillating between two extremes. On the one hand, you’ll need to be comfortable in big crowds and crazy late night parties. On the other, you’ll have days and weeks in front of your monitors without much social interaction. It’s a schizophrenic lifestyle. You’ll be a mess sometimes but remember that you signed up for this!
Don’t read too many articles like this
It’s easy to get writer’s block and think that someone else has the answers. Maybe you’ll be able to write that great track after you finish those e-books / complete that online course / learn music theory / start practicing yoga and meditation. Some of these are good uses of your time of course, but often you’re just putting more obstacles in your place.
Stay humble, don’t get complacent or bitter, learn new skills, enjoy the ride.
Moon Boots’ debut album is available for purchase here.
Start your Friday off with some serene sounds from rising star, Moon Boots, as he premieres the next single of his forthcoming album, First Landing. This fresh track features stunning and sultry lyrics from Australian vocalist, Fiora. The track builds up effortlessly, as energy cunningly soars from start to finish. Moon Boots joins a roster
Released on Anjunabeats, Moon Boots has brought the heat with a fiery new original titled, “I Want Your Attention.” The deep house masterpiece features dreamy vocals by Fiora as well as a catchy, glowing melody over a lively, rolling bass line. The American producer creates a laid back, yet groovy vibe in his piece, reminiscent of exclusive nightclubs and rooftop views.
Moon Boots spices up every release by experimenting with different sounds and vocalists, yet remains true to his style which showcases rich undertones and an overall relaxed feel. His last release, “Keep The Faith,” featuring Nic Hanson, highlights an R&B mood while maintaining deep, vibrant beats. Moon Boots’ latest, “I Want Your Attention,” is another testament to his artistry, yet another production that keeps listeners on their toes.
CRSSD’s development has unfolded at an exponential rate. With four widely successful editions under its belt at San Diego’s picturesque Waterfront Park, the bi-annual affair heads into its third year with one of its most finely-curated lineups to date. Its first wave of artists embodied the festivals standards of booking the most forward-thinking acts across the not-so-commercialized dance music spectrum, from future bass pioneer Flume headlining the main stage, to deep house legend Lane 8, to techno tastemaker Rødhåd.
With two months remaining, CRSSD has added to their already stellar lineup with an enticing Phase 2 roster, which includes a slew of enticing names from the house, techno, and future bass communities. Heavy talents Claude VonStroke and Mija top the list, and are joined by Moon Boots, Cassy, Detlef, Heidi, and Point Point. British tech house star Latmun will also be joining the fray. Given the powerhouses set to perform for this edition, San Diego is undoubtedly the place to be on March 4-5.
The month of December is here, Christmas and New Years is right around the corner, and we want to give our readers their presents early this year… in the form of a MASSIVE ticket giveaway for our midwest friends. As always we have teamed up with React Presents to give you a total of 12 different chances to win some tickets for shows all over Chicago and even one in Detroit this time!
It’s easy to enter, just check out the list below and enter any of the giveaways you are interested in. That could be as little as one or as many as all of them, thats all up to you. Just keep in mind that you’ll have the ability to share on both Facebook and Twitter daily to gain more entries. Winners will be chosen 24-48 hours before the show (Except for three; Moon Boots, Sander Van Doorn, & Get Real will all be chosen on the 20th), just keep an eye out here and on your email!
Every single prize will be a four (4) pack of tickets!
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1) Don Diablo at The MID – Thursday, December 8th (21+)