Moussa Clarke is an inspirational DJ/producer with a worldwide reputation for igniting dancefloors from London to Moscow to Tokyo and back again. Never far from the madding crowd – apart from when he’s cooking up monster basslines and electrochemical beats in the studio – he’s also founder of the thriving London-based label and DJ agency Oven Ready. Born in Switzerland, half English, half Senegalese, he found his feet in France and Italy, and then travelled the globe before moving to the UK aged 12. His father an immigrant from Dakar, his mother a roving bohemian opera singer, his unique personal history created the perfect storm. Cue Moussa Clarke: a multilingual, musically gifted and stylistically diverse DJ.
Moussa’s passion for emotive dance music hails partly from the classical styles passed down by his mother. He also grew up under the influence of 80s pop music, learning to play both the guitar and keyboards. But more than anything, he was turned on to the magic of loops through pioneers such as Kevin Saunderson, Leftfield and Slam as well as house music luminaries like Marshall Jefferson, Tony Humphries and Frankie Knuckles. Then came the UK’s ‘Summer of Love’. A time when Moussa would relish the nocturnal rumblings of Mr C’s infamous Braintree Barn sessions in Essex, and party hard at the Crazy Club in London. He made the transition from the dancefloor to the decks at the age of 18, and won his first break in 1990 when he moved to Paris. Here he accepted a residency at the momentous Soma parties that erupted on top of the Pompidou Centre, lining up with such revered talents as Andy Weatherall, Darren Emerson and Sasha. Moussa returned to the UK in 1991, but continued to electrify the clubbing community at large with a surge of gigs across Europe.
Moussa unleashed his first track in 1994, working with Jamie White under the moniker Party Faithful. ‘Let There Be House’ initially came out on Oven Ready, a label Moussa set up with an old school friend. The track was soon snapped up by XL Recordings and even made the UK’s Top 50. Moussa and Jamie continued to collaborate - evolving into the PF Project, they produced the massive ‘Choose Life’, which sampled the actor Ewan McGregor’s anti-establishment rant from the cult movie Trainspotting. Starting out as a cool bootleg for the clubs, the track exploded into the Top 10 when Positiva officially released it in 1997, and led the guys to a TV appearance on the legendary Top of the Pops (RIP). Moussa and Jamie returned to the charts soon after as Tzant, with a ubiquitous speaker freaker called ‘Sounds of Wickedness’, then Moussa hooked up with Nick Hanson under the alias Musique to deliver ‘New Year’s Dub’. Their ballistic bootleg was signed to Universal back in 2001 – the year Moussa’s Miami Winter Music Conference took an exceptionally surreal twist when Universal sent the starstruck pair to meet U2 in Florida to film the video for the single.
Equally at home producing underground clubland stormers or chart-bothering dance bombs, Moussa has always enjoyed juxtaposing diverse genres and mashing them up to reveal innovative new sounds. Indeed, it’s one of his specialities. As a producer par excellence, he has built up a mind-blowing body of work over the years and his name is credited on more than 150 tracks and remixes. He has remixed a huge range of artists, including Adamski, Afrika Bambaataa, Monie Love, Nitin Sawhney, Phats & Small and more recently, Simple Minds, Wally Lopez and Jody Wisternoff. In 2007 alone he has produced an alarming array of singles that are set to scorch dancefloors wherever and whenever they are heard. These include ‘Love Key’ featuring Fisher (Slammin Muzik), ‘Fade Away’ featuring Daniel Sherman (Starview), and ‘She Wants Him’ (Armada).
Meanwhile, whether he’s dicing it up at an intimate gig by the Gulf in Dubai or headlining a 5,000-strong indoor rave in Russia, Moussa continues to expand his horizons as a DJ. Reflecting his ever-growing popularity across the CIS, he was recently selected to mix a compilation for FortDance as well as perform on their tour. 2007 also sees Moussa relaunch the Oven Ready label as he turns it up yet another notch… The world may now be flat, but musically he remains way ahead of the curve!
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