23-year-old Moiez Babar is ready to finish school and give music 100 percent. For a young new artist, he’s already managed to collaborate with Mysto and Pizzi, get support from Armin Van Buuren (among other big names), and produce almost enough original songs to release an entire album. For Moiez, this is just the beginning.
During a video chat from his home outside Vancouver, he told us about his journey so far and what’s in store for him next.
20something: Do you remember how you first got into electronic music? Was there a specific artist?
Moiez: There were two artists specifically that got me into dance music: Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto. It was the first time I heard their music, back when they were just the top 2, competing for the number one spot. It was really at that point that I discovered that really high energy, progressive house music. I applied my knowledge from producing hip-hop, actually as a duo at the time, and then started my own thing from there and the Moiez brand.
You’re 23 and still in school. How’s juggling that and pursuing this career?
Moiez: It’s incredibly stressful, it can be, and I’ve been juggling it. That’s the most appropriate word to use. I’m pretty much done, I have an Economics Degree and now I’m pursuing a Business Marketing degree with two semesters left. So having that out of the way, almost, is kind of a blessing. I’m really excited to give music the full 100 percent that it truly deserves. Right now it’s essentially half-assed. It’s been really tough to sit down sometimes, but once school’s done I think I’m going to be giving my fans and supporters a lot more music and writing a lot more original music at the same time.
What made you stick it out with the degree?
Moiez: Well, it’s been a bit of family influences, but at the same time I think it’s really important for any person to have an educational background. It sets you apart from your peers. So if you’re choosing to go into the music industry, having an education is a big strong point for any individual. It really teaches you, well what I’m doing, teaches you the business end of things. At the end of the day you need to survive and you have to make money. You got to know how to do it and it’s definitely a cut throat industry so knowing that is a huge advantage.
What goes into deciding which songs you’re going to remix? Is it simply what you’re feeling in the moment or is it more technical than that?
Moiez: It’s a bit of everything. I treat myself as a listener at first. If this song inspires me and makes me feel happy and I can really connect to it. Or if I find that you know the song just isn’t completed as well. Like if you have really amazing vocals but the drop, breakdown, musical elements just aren’t there, I find an opportunity. But if the song is really amazing and gives you goosebumps and you can relate to it, gives you that nostalgic feeling, then I find motivation to do something with the song and it goes from there.
How did you go from creating remixes to original tracks?
Moiez: It may have been a mix of my friends, family and my manager telling me you need to come up with more original music. I think original music is something I really want to focus on. Writing original music has always been about starting from scratch and writing something that truly represents me and identifies with who I am as a person, where I come from and most of the experiences I’ve had. Most people love to hear original music.
Tell me about some of the vocals on your songs — Anoop Desai, Alina Ranae — how did you go about getting those?
Moiez: It’s a matter of having a network of people, but at the same time reaching out to them personally and letting them know that you’re a fan of their music and you really enjoy their work and love the music they’re putting out. Anoop Desai, my manager, connected with his manager and let me know about him doing American Idol, which was really cool to see. He’s a great singer so it was really easy to work with him. Alina Ranae, I did a remix for my friends Milk and Cookies for their song Mastedon and I really liked the vocals. I basically did an internet search on Facebook and noticed we had musical friends, reached out to her and just started working from there.
How do you know Milk and Cookies?
Moiez: They reached out to me a long time ago, like almost two and a half years ago, and they were like hey, we like you’re music. At the time I was just getting started and I was like, it would be cool to work with a Chicago based duo. They’re also twins and I’m actually a twin as well. From then on it’s been a friendship. We met in Chicago, played the same festival, played a couple shows together and developed from there.
What does your twin (brother/sister) think about the whole DJ thing?
Moiez: I’m a fraternal twin so I have a sister. We’re not identical in any way (laughing). I’m definitely taller than her. But yea, she’s on board. She has her own enjoyments and perks from it too. She’s been really supportive about it. She’s been ahead of the game too. I’m always trying to find music that’s fresh and new and she always has the latest songs even before me. So it’s been kind of a competitive thing.
You did some collaborations with Mysto and Pizzi – tell me about that.
Moiez: I played a mini tour in New York and the last show they were headlining at. It was really funny – I’m actually a huge fan of them before the show. So I went up to them and introduced myself. I think it was Mysto, he was like, ‘Hey, I like you’re remix that I had just put out at the time — Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey.’ Then he invited me over to his studio in the area. It was a really cool studio, probably the nicest studio I’ve been to. We just clicked and ever since then we’ve been releasing a lot of music. Their work flow is very focused and very professional and I was really impressed by that. We have something in the works right now, can’t really say much about it yet, but hopefully in the near future it will be out.
Recently you were featured on ASOT, what was that like for you? When was the first time you heard a big artist play one of your remixes or original songs?
Moiez: Being on ASOT it was a personal short-term milestone for myself. My friends and I had a kick, you know when we were going to concerts. If any of us can actually get on ASOT we have to definitely party. So that was actually really cool. Armin has been at the top inspirations-wise. An artist that supported me that I was also really happy about is Andrew Rayel. The remix I made with Alina Ranae — and Illusions I made with Larcy — that was a surreal moment. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself, like is this actually happening? Having their support means a lot, it’s a big motivation for myself to continue working on new music and putting out new stuff.
What would be that point in your career for you when you know you’ve made it?
Moiez: Setting up a continuous yearly tour schedule would be really sweet. Getting up to about 150 shows a year, that’s when I’ll realize you know, ok I can do this for a living. And then having the ability to work with artists that I really enjoy listening to.
What’s your dream collabo?
Moiez: Oh, there’s too many. I’m really into Alesso and his pop take on dance music. Martin Garrix is really up there. He’s bringing out so many songs it’s unbelievable. Then you also have ex-Swedish House Mafia members like Axwell and Ingrosso. Working with those artists would be really cool. Avicii has been on top of that list, but he’s sort of switching his music tastes a bit. Might now be the same as mine, but I can definitely appreciate his music.
Your first festival was Spring Awakening in Chicago. What’s your dream festival?
Moiez: Tomorrowland. Definitely Tomorrowland or Ultra.
So, what’s next? Any shows coming up? Are you coming to the US anytime soon?
Moiez: Yes, I’m coming to the U.S. soon. I’m in the process of finalizing shows and getting a tour schedule going. Short term is really just to get school out of the way. I have quite a few original songs in the works that are almost done so definitely expect a lot of new music or previews this summer.