Moon Boots on Remixing Nile Rodgers: "I Knew I Couldn't Say No"

As his moniker suggests, Moon Boots (earthling name: Pete Dougherty) journeys through the farther cosmic outreaches of dance music. But as a proud native of the house birthplace, Chicago, this hotly tipped DJ-producer is also all about those classic jacking house beats.

French Express, his home label, has emerged as one of the most sensational new purveyors of disco-house on the international scene, championing the sort of exuberant, soul-spiked future funk fare that's had Moon Boots burning up the charts and dance floors in the last couple years.

Ahead of his show at Bardot on Friday, Crossfade caught up with the moon-walker himself to chat about his musical roots, remixing the great Nile Rodgers, and more.

Crossfade: What did you grow up listening to and how did you first get into electronic dance music? Are you inspired by any sounds outside the four-to-the-floor house music mold?

Moon Boots: I grew up listening to a little bit of everything: Herbie Hancock, the Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Nirvana, be-bop, Radiohead, you name it. I loved Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers too, as a kid, but didn't have a clue about underground disco

or house music until about halfway through college, and then I got hooked. Outside of disco and house, jazz and hip-hop have had the biggest influence on the music I make.

So how did you first get into making music? Were you a musician before delving into electronic production?

Playing synths and keyboards is really my first love, and I played for years before I ever even thought about making my own music. I also played synths in an indie-pop band for five years, learning how to produce and DJ along the way.

French Express can do no wrong right now. How did you first hook up with the crew? What do you think defines the quality of the label's output?

I met Perseus, the founder of the label, at a gig I was DJing with one of my bandmates at the time. The label was still just getting off the ground then, but we hit it off, and I could see his passion right away. As for the quality of the label's output, I think we're just all perfectionists, and Perseus, who A&Rs all of the releases, knows us and our music so well that together we make a great team.

How did you end up remixing Nile Rodgers? Did you feel any pressure to "wear gloves" with his original material while in the studio, considering what an eminent dance music legend he is?

I got approached by the label that released the single, "CR2," which is the way remixes usually work. Since it was Nile Rodgers, though, I knew I couldn't say no! It was almost lucky that the original song was relatively unknown, compared to the dozens of huge hits he's made, so I felt I could take some liberties with it.

What do you have going on in the studio at the moment? Any new scorchers we can look forward to?

I'm working on a few tracks right now -- some with original vocals, others with bits of obscure samples. There's nothing I can announce just yet, but lots on the horizon!

Bardot Miami is known for its intimate small-room artist performances. What can we expect when you play there on Friday? How do you approach a DJ set for a small room like this one, with open-minded underground dance music heads, as opposed to, say, big mainstream festivals you've played, like Coachella?

I've played at Bardot a couple times now and it's always been great. Even though I never "play to the cheap seats" at bigger venues or at festivals, it will be nice to be able to mix in material at slower tempos, including my own tracks, along with some classic vocal house in addition to newer club tracks.

Moon Boots. With Maure and Dude Skywalker. Friday, August 8, at Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 10 p.m., and tickets cost $20 plus fees via showclicx.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-576-5570, or visit bardotmiami.com.

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