Self-Portrait: Hieroglyphic Being

Jamal Moss, better known as Hieroglyphic Being, hails his path into music as a calling; a byproduct of his roots in Chicago, a city where house music’s rich history began.

Musically his productions nod to EBM, industrial and noise as well as house, particularly the likes of Adonis and Ron Hardy who played a key role in the city’s musical underground during the 80s and 90s. This fusion of sounds has seen his releases straddle both house and leftfield imprints from Spectral Sound and Planet Mu to Soul Jazz Records and Technicolour, solidifying him as a key player in what’s been coined as ‘Outsider House’.

His impressive and lengthy back catalogue also seems him regularly contributing to his own Mathematics Recordings, under his own name and through his various collaborative projects like Africans With Mainframes and Faces Of Drums.

Alongside a live recording of original music from a performance at a night called Cassette in Minneapolis, Minnesota, we chat to him about his creative approach.

Hieroglyphic Being will play at Fat Fat Fat Festival (3 Aug – 4 Aug 2019). 

Let’s start with an ice breaker, what’s your earliest musical memory?

Mahalia Jackson.

Did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

Just what ever I was exposed to. Nature verses Nurture.

What led you into music production?

I wasn’t lead, it was a calling. Being black born in a city that created House music was all that was needed.

Are there any producers or artists who have inspired your production?

All the Scott Joplin and Thelonious Monk and HERBIE HANCOCK. The Fourth World Producers.

Are there any particular rituals you go through before you head into the studio?


Do you come in with a destination in mind before starting a jam?


Are you the type of producer to work on a track until it’s perfect, or are you more of an impulsive creator, happy with first takes and sketches?

When It’s just for my outlet the latter. When it’s for other outlets like Soul Jazz Records or On The Corner or Major Label production then it’s about perfection.

Can you talk us through how you might construct a track?

No some stuff just gotta be sacred knowledge cause certain entities don’t respect the process they just wanna steal and cheat and profit off it.

How much of your material is sample based and how much is original?

All Hieroglyphic Being material is original I don’t need to steal other artists music, it’s not my style, that’s for weak minded people.

What’s the most important bits of kit that makes a Hieroglyphic Being track?

Me. Humans surrender and submit to machines and technology to quickly.

When you first started playing live, what were the main difficulties in taking your productions from studio to live?

There was none. I just brought two drum machines with and gave you the ancient modern tribal method
primitive art at its rawest.

Last year your live show was translated into an LP for Hivern Discs, Journey Through The Outer

Darkness From The Inner Light. How did this relationship come about?
They seen it online from four years previous to that concert and asked to license it that’s all.

This mix is comprised of 100% original Hieroglyphic Being material recorded live. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?

It was recorded live in Minneapolis Minnesota for a night called cassette. I had two horn players improv with me from a bunch of stems I created, and live keyboard performance by me. Nothing stands out. It’s about the process and communion, nothing else.

Anything on the horizon for you? Any releases we should know about?

You will know when you are allowed to know. I am not that thirsty to put my blessings forth like I used to. Anybody reading this you should be moving in the same ways.

Hieroglyphic Being will play at Fat Fat Fat Festival (3 Aug – 4 Aug 2019). Head to his Bandcamp to grab your copy of his latest release – Black Hands Vol 2.  

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