Nov 21, 2014
interview
Moon Boots

Dreamy nu disco producer Moon Boots is wrapping up a hugely successful year full of new music and an impressive list of festival appearances. We got the chance to hear about the importance of his label French Express, what he has in store for fans next year, and his thoughts on space-themed footwear.

Moon Boots - There's No Love (Original Mix)
LessThan3: Did you ever get moon boots as a present when you were a kid?
Peter: I had really corny snow shoes, but never had actual moon boots.
LessThan3: Do you own any currently?
Peter: Yeah, a couple. Different varieties. I call them show shoes, though some of them are more moon boot-inspired. But I don’t have any of the official brand Moon Boots. They’d be too hot to wear on stage.
LessThan3: All jokes about space footwear aside, how does your chosen name reflect in your sound and vice-versa?
Peter: I came across the name almost by accident. It came from a song I’d been listening to a lot at the time, and I think it reflects a lot in the sound because even if people have never heard of my music before, they just kind of smile and they’re like, “okay cool, I get it.” It’s something welcoming but also funky and otherworldly.
LessThan3: You said you heard the name in a song–what song was that?
Peter: Moon Boots by Orlando Riva Sound.
LessThan3: How has your label French Express been involved with your development and overall creative vision?
Peter: It’s been pretty instrumental. French Express is really four of us working together, but it’s always been run by Perseus, and Perseus has been a mentor to me for a long time. He helps me out a lot with each release, even ones that didn’t come out on the label. Everything I write, I run through him. He really is the label; there’s no behind-the-scenes industry machinery going on there. It’s just him and a laptop.
LessThan3: When did you start making music, and who were your inspirations at that time?
Peter: I’ve been playing piano since I was five years old, but I started producing about ten years ago. Destroy Rock N Roll by Mylo had just come out, and I remember that being one of the first albums that people said “wow, this was all made on a laptop.” That was a really new thing at that time, and I thought, “well holy sh*t, I can try this out.” I was influenced by artists like Felix Da Housecat, definitely a lot of French House, and of course Discovery by Daft Punk. The Upper Cuts was this compilation of tracks by Alan Braxe and Fred Falke–it was very French House. I can’t even tell you how many times I listened to that. Paul Johnson, LCD Soundsystem, and PeteStrumentals by Pete Rock were all big influences.
LessThan3: Do you feel like playing keyboard at such a young age made it easier to get into producing?
Peter: It was actually tough for me for awhile because I was so used to playing that I never wanted to record. I just wanted to play and improvise and write things, whereas when you’re producing you really just need to hone in on the sound of things to make it sound perfect, to figure out how to make drums sound just right and make a certain loop sound just right. You need to focus on different types of things. But I do think that playing is a huge part of me as a musician. It’s helped me have my own voice and write in a different style than other people might.
LessThan3: You seem to draw a lot of your vocal samples from ’90s R&B tracks. What about that genre appeals to you?
Peter: There’s something about hearing those vocals that’s kind of fresh. I want to do them justice. As a producer you have to work with the tools you have in front of you, and I haven’t had access to real studios and microphones and professional vocalists who are capable of doing those things. I think that’s the reason why me and a lot of producers use acappellas. You try to find emotion in them. You have to work with the accapellas that are available, which tend to be in ’90s R&B. There are certain rare disco and gospel diva tracks, and I really like that stuff too.
LessThan3: How do you go about choosing samples? Do you go into production with a specific track in mind or wait for something to inspire you?
Peter: I almost always wait for something to inspire me. And that involves listening to a lot of them. Sometimes it just clicks.
LessThan3: You played at some big festivals this year, including Coachella and TomorrowWorld. Can you tell us a little bit about those experiences?
Peter: I played so many festivals this year. I’d never done anything like that before. I only did a handful the year before. It’s interesting because you get to reach a whole new audience. Most of the kids that go to big festivals are there for the headline acts, so it’s nice to be able to snag some of them and get them on your side. I don’t play a festival set per se; I play what I feel like playing, but of course I’m paying attention to what people are reacting to. I don’t water down my set to make it more festival-friendly, though. It’s nice to get good reactions from people and make a bunch of new fans who might not have had any clue who you were before. I try to go into the experience with as little ego as possible and just play the best set I can.
LessThan3: Did you have a favorite festival you played this year?
Peter: Definitely Movement or Electric Forest. There’s something in the water up in Michigan. Movement shows so much love for Detroit and the international artists it brings who owe so much of their sound to Detroit and the Midwest in general.
LessThan3: How does playing at festivals differ from playing in smaller, more intimate venues? Do you prefer one over the other?
Peter: I generally prefer playing venues. For all the benefits I listed before, the drawback of festivals is that at the end of the day you realize people aren’t there to see you–they’re there for the experience. It’s nice to play in clubs for people who are there for a night out of dancing and not for all the other things that festivals have to offer.
LessThan3: What can your fans expect from you in 2015?
Peter: A whole lot of new music. I’ve been on the road so much the past few weeks, but I’ve set aside December and part of January for pure studio time for all these things I have half finished or ideas that are germinating.
LessThan3: If you could pick three other DJs to tour with, who would they be and why?
Peter: I really like Lancelot–he’s an Australian who just moved to London. He’s got a lot of great stuff coming out and he’s just an incredible guy. I’d also name one of San Francisco’s finest, Mr. Nick Monaco, who actually played my last club show in SF. I did a show a couple weeks ago with Karma Kid in the UK, and he’s another person I’d love to do more shows with.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Peter: Arabesque No. 1 by Debussy.
Airplay enabled