Interview by Mannix King
We are here in Tisno/Croatia with one of the big men of the current Afro House movement, Mimmo Falcone aka MoBlack from Italy. What is your connection to Croatia?
I am Italian, that’s right but I’m also Croatian in a way as my wife is from Croatia and I spend 3 months of the year here. Furthermore I’m also African as I spent 10 years of my life living in Africa.
That’s where the influence for your label output and your own productions seems to come from then?!
Yes, by living there you really learn a lot. You learn about all the imporatnt aspects of life and if I’m successful in the music I put out and make, it is mainly because of my time in Africa.
Your label MoBlack reflects exactly that. Please tell us more about it.
The idea of the label in the first place was to give those amazing African talent out there some sort of voice. In fact, there are a lot of young talented producers out there, but sadly there are not quite many opportunities for them to get some exposure. So what I try with the label is to get them releases whether it is Classic Afro House, Afro Tech or more Soulful Afro. I try to select the best and give these young guns some exposure. Meanwhile our catalogue gets played by all the big jocks around the globe, each and every week I get videos from all parts of this planet with the stars of our scene playing some MoBlack Record. That makes me proud and keeps me going.
You have been genre manager for Traxsource for Afro House previously – tell us more about it please!
Because of the great feedback I got for my releases on my label and my output in general, Traxsource noticed that and encouraged me to be genre manager for them as the whole Afro thing got bigger and bigger. So I was able to contribute my knowledge and contacts to not only my own label, but to other successful artists and labels around the world. I did that for three years but eventually stopped it as it got too much work for a part time job. For me the label is still my main work to look at.
You are an artist yourself too: (MoBlack) What is more important to you: being an artist or running the label?
More important to me is running the label with some own productions in between. If I’m successful with the label it is because I’m a DJ in the first place and an artist too. I select demos to release as a DJ selects promos to play. I produce and remix for my label and for others. Actually I am here in Tisno playing for Defected Croatia, which I would not do if I wouldn’t run a successful label and did some own productions. My brand is everything I work on, and that brand gets stronger and stronger each day.
What is your connection to Defected?
We have some sort of collaboration and we started to work on some partnership earlier this year. This is still very fresh but I think it is good working with such a label like Defected, Simon Dunmore is a key figure in House Music scene so that makes me happy working with him.
What is your impression of other labels releasing Afro House Music these days? Is it a good thing or is it a ‘jumping on the wagon’ kinda thing?
In general I always think it’s a good thing if more and more labels push the sound we stand for. Take for example Union Records, the label run by Peppe Citarella. I’m a close friend of him so I’m happy that his label is successful too and he is able to get some cool artists the possibility to release their music. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. Having said that, the user can still see differences in the music different labels put out-some do more soulful stuff in between, some don’t do Afro in general, but release an Afro track here or there. I think MoBlack still stands alone when you see what we put out and that’s a good thing for the brand. Finally, I have to say that if more labels put out this kind of music, the whole genre gets exposed more and more. It wouldn’t have been possible 5 years ago to dance to an Afro House set for many hours on a festival like this, but it is possible now because the whole genre is being taken more and more seriously.
Do you see yourself as a pioneer for Afro House?
MB: If you call me like that I’m happy with it! Seriously, before me, my label and before I got genre manager at Traxsource Afro House was seen as a Cocktail/pre-party kinda music. I think with my job there and with my label I was able to give the whole scene a development into the more techy organic vein, which is now favoured by people who haven’t been into Afro before-more Techno guys.
Finally, what can we expect from MoBlack from the next few months?
I still will try to get out top quality releases within the genre I stand for on a weekly basis and I’m sure Afro will move on as will MoBlack Records!