American producer Joshua Tennent aka. Mosko has called Berlin home since 2015, and since moving to the German capital has launched a label alongside longtime house veteran Joyce Muniz.
The label, Black Diamonds, also includes an ambient sub label, where Tennent is about to put out an ambient album which was produced in collaboration with American dancer Victoria McConnell.
We caught up with Joshua to ask him all about the forthcoming album, what the future might hold for Black Diamonds and how he compares Berlin to the US among other things.
Hey Mosko! Let’s start with your new Ambient Inventions LP which comes out later this week, what is the concept behind the album?
Ambient Inventions is an ambient electronic album that grew out of a collaboration with the contemporary dancer, Victoria McConnell. Each ‘invention’ was a result of our experimentation during the development of the piece. We would improvise with different atmospheres, tempos and sound design to create a new kind of sonic world.
The resulting dialog between dancer and musician created some really fascinating tension and dynamics that translated really well into the album.
And as you mentioned, it involved you working alongside American dance talent Victoria McConnell, how did you meet Victoria and what was it like to work alongside her?
I met Victoria through a common friend over rum punch and buss up shot at an amazing Carribean restaurant called Merle’s in Berlin. We both moved to Berlin around the same time and ended up collaborating together on several contemporary dance projects.
We have plans for an audio/visual performance around Ambient Inventions with dancers and live video projections from video artist, Ashley DuPree. Hopefully, venues open up again soon.
It comes on Black Diamonds Ambient, a joint venture between yourself and Joyce Muniz, how has the label been going so far?
Joyce and I founded Black Diamonds Records about a year ago and have so far put out ten releases with more on the way. The ambient sub label is a new project that we are really excited about. There is a lot of interest now in ambient music and we are looking forward to putting out some trippy, chill vibes.
And can you tell us anything about who we might expect to see on the label in the near future?
The label was founded with the intention to highlight music from our close friends making amazing music but not necessarily getting attention from the bigger labels. So, we are branching out into some new genres in 2020 and have quite a few exciting releases coming up.
The next release will be a dub-inspired downtempo EP from our friend Lar3n. There’s a great electronic track from Brazilian producer Lcio, and then some indie synthpop from Lucie & the Robot. And, we are looking forward to Joyce’s first EP release on our label in 2020.
As always, we will continue our tradition of releasing dope remixes along with these tracks. There is a lot going on at Black Diamonds and we are really happy with the progression of the label so far.
In 2015, you made the move from the US to Berlin, how have you found the German capital over the past five years?
There has been a lot of changes to Berlin in the last five years with several big tech companies moving in and the real estate market taking off. Gentrification is a real struggle here and has resulted in the closing of clubs, like Griessmuehle, or sad stories like Bizim Bakkal. It’s similar to the tragic gentrification that has taken over Brooklyn and destroyed the underground culture.
It’s hard to fight against rich developers but Berlin activists have had some success. Like, stopping Google from moving to Kreuzberg, or the five year rent freeze law that recently took effect. This is something that would never happen in the US.
What are the biggest differences you have noticed between Brooklyn and Berlin?
Brooklyn requires a lot of effort just to live your life and there is a certain amount of stress and anxiety that you learn to deal with. It’s easier to just be human in Berlin without the pretense. It’s also a great place to experiment and make mistakes without any fear of being able to pay the bills.
And what advice would you give to anyone considering a career-inspired move to a musical hotspot like Berlin?
That’s a great question. I would say to keep an open mind, meet as many new people as you can, be prepared to do things differently, and most important – enjoy the process.
Are there any plans to release club-focused remixes of the album tracks? If so, who can we expect to see on the list?
It would be an interesting challenge to remix one of these Ambient Inventions tracks. They aren’t really synced to a clock. I guess the short answer is no.
And lastly, before we go, what’s your favourite album from 2020 so far?
New Me, Same Us by Little Dragon is an amazing album. It’s great to blast the happy vibes during these weird coronavirus times.
Mosko’s Ambient Inventions LP is out May 29th on Black Diamonds Ambient.