Legendary Detroit record producer Moodymann has always refused to play the press and promo game. So it was a rare privilege when he turned up for a lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy in London.
Dressed in an oversized jacket and clutching a brown paper bag in his hand, Moodymann – aka Kenny Dixon Jr – entered the stage. He was accompanied by an entourage that were kept busy braiding his hair and making sure that the cognac had just enough ice for the Moody one to remain cool throughout his time on the Academy couch.
Famous for his rough and soulful productions based on simple soul-loops, which he releases under a variety of monikers, he likes to retain an air of mystery. Most images of him show only his iconic Afro and during performances he stays hidden behind a curtain.
Here’s what the enigmatic Mr Dixon had to say:
We have a rollerskating rink on every corner in Detroit. I had been skating a lot, but stopped until seven years ago. I totally forgot how beautiful the girls are there and it seems like I had been hanging out in the wrong place. We now do a rollerskating jam every two years, so not very often.
There is nobody in this town that does not make music or work for the car industry. Everybody wants to move out, it is a dying city and I am going to die with it. If it wasn't for Detroit, I wouldn't be what I am today.
I will always stick to vinyl. I still have my father’s record collection. Do you know how 60-year-old vinyl smells? No, you’ve got your iPod. But we are moving on and I am the only ignorant one staying stuck in 1904.
On The Electrifying Mojo
He was the most influential DJ for me. You’d be in your car at a red light and the car next to you has the same song playing. Then Mojo on the radio tells you to flick your lights and you notice the whole street flicking their lights. That’s the Mojo effect. He was always there, even though most of the people never got to see him. Back then radio was so diverse. They played everything from Kraftwerk through to Marvin Gaye and Led Zeppelin.
Its not what you have, its how you do it. I don't care if you are selling dope, do it well. You have to be comfortable with yourself and what you do. You can take a tape-deck and a record and make a better track than those guys with their million dollar studios making shit that your hear on the radio. I’ve still got the same setup as when I started. I’ve got a laptop now, but I don't know what to do with it.
I never had big success really. I never pressed up 10,000 records or anything like that. I always did my 2,500 copies. That gets me enough money for me and to help some people in my neighbourhood. That’s important to me. When I first got the call to get me to come to Europe, I hung up on them. I thought it was a joke or a scam and had no idea that anyone over there would like my music.
Check out Moodymann's Red Bull Music Academy lecture in full here:
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