Bumbershoot: Interview with Mocean Worker

photo by Allie Pasquier

Immediately after the band’s groovin’ set in the Music Lounge, Adam Dorn of Mocean Worker agreed to sit down for a few questions before hustling off to performance number two at the Wells Fargo Stage.

E: How has the tour been going so far?

MW: It’s been going great. We’ve been mostly playing in New York, at a club called Nublu where Brazilian Girls and Kudu got their start, and we’ve just been doing gigs there every other Tuesday. We did a gig at the 9:30 Club in D.C., and now we’ve obviously done a partial gig at Bumbershoot since we just did the hidden secret stage. So it’s been fun. We’ve also done some little radio shows and festivals, but Bumbershoot was really key for us — its a great festival.

E: The gig at Nublu is a residency, correct? How long does that last?

MW: Indefinitely. Yeah, we’re really excited about that.

E: This is the first time you’ve gone out with a live band. What do you see this experience leading to?

MW: The whole concept of this has always been to eventually have a live band and have a consistent live touring band. It will probably change the way I make the records as I try to incorporate even more live musicians. Two of the musicians in the band, Oli Rockberger (Piano) and Cochemea Gastulem (Alto Sax), are on the album. I’ve just never really had the ability to do anything but solo shows, but now, luckily, I can take a band on the road with me. Hopefully what it really leads to is a consistent live band that’s fun to come see and that changes a little every time. The musicianship is really high so we get to really play these songs. At the end of the day these songs sound like samples, but they’re not. The goal is to have it be played, and now we’re getting to do that so I’m really happy about it.

photo by Allie Pasquier

E: So, can the crowd tonight expect anything different than what we just saw? Granted people will actually be able to shake their boogie tonight.

MW: Outside of me juggling and only speaking French? No, I mean people will definitely shake their boogie. They couldn’t shake it in the private secret stage because they were sitting on their boogies, but yes, I will absolutely insist that they do that. Once you get in front of people and you get that energy going back and forth, you know, in the electronic music world people aren’t used to these real performances. I’ve been put in that world because of my records, but the reality is we’re all musicians and I wanted to put together a band that your grandmother would enjoy and your kid would enjoy. I don’t want it to be hipsters who are like, you’re the band du jour. I got Herb Alpert to play on the song Changes for that reason. Herb Alpert’s music appealed to everyone. My goal has always been not to exclude anyone. I come from that Drum ‘n’ Bass world where my first couple records were exclusionary; it’s about one tempo, one vibe, one spirit, it’s aggressive and I just grew out of it. Now, for me, it’s all about having a party. It’s a blessing to come play festivals like this that have such diversity. I might find out that the person who digs my show the most is a 63-year-old grandmother of five.

E: So speaking of diverse crowds, I hear you’ve branched out into the TV realm.

MW: Yeah, you know, currently Lincoln-Mercury uses a song from the last album as their theme song. Luckily, people have been asking for that sort of thing, and I totally dig that because everything I do is self-run. The label is run by me and my buddy, all the publishing, every aspect is DIY. It’s not like I’m signed to Dave Matthew’s label and have a big marketing budget; I have nothing. It’s a privilege to come to a festival like this where John Legend is a headliner and I get to fly my band out here too. It’s all just really cool.

photo by Allie Pasquier

E: OK, so it looks like we only have time for one more here. Your last two albums are more similar to one another than any others in your discography. What have you discovered in recent years that has led to that?

MW: It really started with the first record; I’ve always been doing the Jazz/Funk thing. The misnomer is that those were purely Drum ‘n’ Bass albums, but they weren’t; they’re more split between Down Tempo and Drum ‘n’ Bass. But through the first three records each one had something that was heading towards Enter the MoWo! with the Chick a Boom Boom Boom kind of vibe and all that. As a result, that record just kind of came together and I toured a lot for that record, the music got used for TV shows and compilations and stuff like that, and I just realized that it struck a chord with people and that the sound fit with where I was artistically.

Our interview came to an end there as Adam Dorn had to rush off to set up for his next performance. In case you missed it, check out last week’s feature of Mocean Worker’s Son of Sanford as part of our Song of the Day podcast. Stay tuned as we continue to compile information from this amazing Bumbershoot weekend.

photo by Allie Pasquier

You can go back and listen to Mocean Worker’s performance on our fourteen day Streaming Archive by clicking here.

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