Praise You: A Moodymann Tribute Mix by Prequel

Shrouded in a veil of mystery that only lifts during his playful on stage antics and scarce interviews, Detroit ambassador, Moodymann’s unwavering ingenuity has not only challenged preconceived notions of house music but also provided an education into the sound and history of Detroit’s music scene. 

Moodymann began his musical eduction working at his grandfather’s jazz club as a child, later landing a job at Detroit’s legendary record store, Buy-Rite. The knowledge he gained in both these jobs filtered into his own productions, as well as the creation of his now infamous labels: KDJ and Mahogani Music.

Drawing from the realms of soul, jazz, funk and disco and marrying these influences with themes of Blacksploitation, Moodymann crafted distinct, sample-laden, instrument-heavy productions with identity — productions steeped in soul, emotion and authenticity.

This sense of emotion and experimentation with live elements has been a pivotal source of inspiration for Melbourne-based artist Prequel. You can hear it in his productions and his DJ sets: his EPs and recent album for Rhythm Section, Love Or (I Heard You Like Heartbreak), are ripe with sultry, jazz flecked house while, as a DJ, he shares a deep love of Detroit house music and a strong will to challenge audiences. 

For his Praise You mix, Prequel lays down a vinyl only selection of his favourite Moodymann cuts, past and present, interspersed with snippets from the enigmatic producer’s rare interviews.

Prequel’s new album Love Or (I Heard You Like Heartbreak) is out now on Rhythm Section.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download all mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid. Read more about our decision here.

Why does Moodymann mean so much to you?

For me, his music never misses; I don’t think he’s made a single track I don’t like. They all have such soul and always elicit such powerful emotions and feelings in me every time I hear them. It’s inspiring to see the way he gives others a platform and always reps Detroit to the fullest. He’s honest, real and the way he has/does incorporate the musical and spiritual elements of Jazz, Soul, Funk and Disco into his own music is something I am constantly drawing inspiration from and admiring at the highest possible level.

What makes a Moodymann record so unique?

For me, it’s the feeling. Every record he makes always has such a strong feeling to it. It’s always so (musically and emotionally) raw and honest. It’s also the way he flips really well known songs but then can also flip lesser known stuff. Whether it’s the combination of his use of live instrumentation or how he’ll chop a sample within an inch of it’s life yet still manages for it to not sound overdone or overthought. 

When did you first hear Moodymann music and what impact did it have on you?

I first heard his music when some friends of mine, Daanen and PD, started introducing me to certain kinds of house music, probably around 2009/2010. One song or album doesn’t really specifically stand out but what certainly does was the feeling I got from hearing it for the first time. I’d never really heard anything like that before. The combination of jazz, joul, funk and disco into house music with a kind of hip-hop aesthetic really spoke to me. It certainly changed what I thought about house music (at that point in my life) and it had a profound impact on me as a producer, DJ and performer.

Obviously the way I make music is HIGHLY influenced by what he does and will forever continue to be. I’ve got most of his records, watched/read what little video/print interviews he’s done, listened to most of his mixes I can find online and I’ve bought some of the merch etc. Fan boy to the fullest. Whenever he puts out something I drop whatever it is I’m doing and give it my full attention.

What’s your most sacred Moodymann record and why?

Hmmmm, that’s a hard one. I was lucky enough to buy a lot of the OG albums and 12’s from my friend PD as he was selling some stuff to move overseas, so they are obviously pretty special. I guess it’s like picking a favorite kid if you asked a parent that question. I’ve got a lot of the 3 Chairs stuff and some random bootlegs too. They all hold a very special place in my heart. 

Any standout memories from dropping a Moodymann track in a set? 

None really come to mind on my end but I do remember being at The Berghain for the first time and Late Nite Tuff Guy was playing in Panorama Bar. Edd Fisher and I were dancing right up the front and the way he brought in “Shades of Jae” and the blinds briefly opened (then closed) when the drums finally dropped was a pretty amazing experience.

How has Moodymann impacted you as a producer?

Honestly, I could write a whole book about the ways he’s impacted me as a producer. I draw HUGE inspiration from his use of live instrumentation, the obvious and slightly lesser-known records he samples and how he flips them or how and which parts he chooses to loop. The fact that he did and still does believe in the album format for “dance music” is something that’s very important to me as well. How he makes his albums have a consistent mood & feeling and even though songs can be seemingly different, it all flows seamlessly. The chances he takes, slowing things down in the middle of a song, the way he takes his time to build a song (even it its for 5-6 minutes). His use of movie dialogue and even his juxtaposition of much slower (almost ballad like) songs between faster paced music.

His reverence for what has come before him musically, the foundations, and the love he shows for newer artists and new music. He continues to evolve with his sound and the technology he uses but still balances that with the kind of music he WANTS to make. The way in which he often builds on a very small loop and really makes it become almost like a meditative thing with a sonic “chant” or “mantra”, like on ‘Misled‘, but then he can also chop a sample within an inch of its life and completely reinterpret the source material without making it an overt flex or brag of his skill in doing so, like ‘Why Do U Feel‘.

I could go on and on and on…

How did you approach this mix? What did you want it to say about Moodymann and his music?

It was always going to be a challenge to cover him with only one hour. I don’t have everything he’s ever done and although I’m a huge fan, I’m certainly not an expert. I know people who know A LOT more about him and his catalogue. I just wanted to try and cover some ground from the past and present, some personal favourites and make it as cohesive as possible. I actually waited on a record I bought to arrive just so I could include it in this mix. I thought adding some snippets from interviews he’s done would add a nice little touch too, very much in the vein of what he does in his productions. I recorded it using wax only too. I know he’s been using CDJs for a while now but thought it would be fitting to keep the music recording aspect as a one-take wax-only situation. But that’s really of minor importance. What is of major importance, is the music and the opportunity to give someone who’s had such a profound impact on me as a DJ and producer, some kind of a tribute (no pun intended) while they are still here. 

What would you say is Moodymann’s biggest legacy on music?

That’s a very difficult question for me to answer. I think it may be a combination of his complete unwavering individuality, his consistency and longevity, his reverence for the music of the past and him being such a champion of Detroit.

Prequel’s new album Love Or (I Heard You Like Heartbreak) is out now on Rhythm Section.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download all mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid. Read more about our decision here.

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