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  MODA
by Sabrina Sexton Weil

Sabrina Sexton WeilMirage Productions, in association with Shapeshifter Productions, brought Moda and Jazz-e of San Francisco's Trancefusion Records back to Atlanta. Their February 27 performance at the Tabernacle was cut short due to the antics of one attendee, so Mirage hosted a make-up party at the Vault for only $3 on Thursday, April 1.

This interview with Moda took place poolside at the Fontainebleau Hilton at the 1999 Winter Music Conference in Miami. It's about 6 pm on Sunday, March 14, 1999.

Sabrina: How did you like playing in Atlanta [at Mirage on February 27], and how do you feel about the scene in Atlanta?

Moda: I was in Atlanta in '92 for the first time, and we played a venue — I believe it was in Stone Mountain...Back then, techno was big, and the Atlanta crowd, it was primarily — I noticed a lot of college kids...It was...it was quite an experience back in '92. You know, everything was new and fresh. And coming back much later, I expected more — well, I had heard from Scott from Deepsky, and he said that the crowd was just overwhelming...that the kids were exciting to play for.

And Jazz-e and I, we're very personable people, and we love to work with promoters, and I run Trancefusion which is more than just a label. It deals with everything...with life, with music especially. And we were really excited about coming to Atlanta to share the sound, you know, our sound and such. It's not just the stuff that we produce, but also the stuff we play on vinyl.

Jazz-e and Moda at the Tabernacle Atlanta — how can I define Atlanta? In getting the chance to see the different scenes in different states and in different cities and such throughout the U.S. and Canada...and throughout the world, Atlanta's to us...it's sort of new. We can see that the scene is not as old as it is in, you know, our hometown San Francisco, in Los Angeles, in some of the other metropolitan areas. And one thing Jazz-e and I love to do is to come to a venue where the kids haven't experienced what we're all about, and, you know, what Deepsky is all about, and what — everybody...and the interesting thing is that the promoters spend a lot of money and a lot of time and effort in getting the new, you know, the new music, the new sound and bring a lot of groups and dj's that are very costly, and that takes dedication, it really does, and I can see that there's a great love for the scene, but at the same time, there seems to be some bad feelings too as well, but it comes with the scene wherever you go, especially when the scene is born in a city. And I hope that all of this goes away...it usually does, in time.

Moda at Planet 8 Atlanta...it's a beautiful city. We didn't get to see much of it. Of course, when we go back we're gonna go back for four days, so we're going to get to experience more, beyond Planet 8, yeah, from 12 to 2. Radio is something we love to do. We're actually conducting a radio tour now, so that's something big for us. Boy, what else could I say about it? The kids love to dress up, I like that...I like the candy raver sort of thing, it's kinda cool. In particular that Mirage event was going really, really well, you know, and it's just dumbfounded luck that it happened twenty-five minutes into our show. So, we're really looking forward to it. It brings us back out, you know. Maxwell and Kevin [of Mirage] and Ashley have been amazing.

Sabrina: Can you tell us a little bit, for people who may not be that familiar with your music, about what Atlanta can expect from you guys?

Moda: Well, one thing that Jazz-e and I enjoy — not the drug, but the music — is acid music. We love acid music. We like...old analog synth sounds. We're really into that. We're big fans of house music... progressive, trance, and we want to combine...in Trancefusion, we wanted to combine the whole concept of originating, duplicating and appreciating, you know, music...good music.

So, really, what Atlanta is getting from us in terms of our production, the stuff that we produce, is a taste of what it used to be like. Old acid house sound...really, really groovy, funky sound, you know? And at the same time, we also like the tech house sound as well. So, a little bit of the Terry Francis, and pretty much anything and everything incorporated that night at the Mirage party. And, so I think...I know, what Atlanta is going to hear from us, is more of a punch, a high energy, a really good acid basis...anybody who's an appreciater of good acid house music is going to like our show. And that's what's important. That's what we're going to be there for.

Sabrina: Is there anything else you'd like to tell the people of Atlanta?

Moda: What's important about maintaining a scene and making it pure is the music. People tend to forget that the music is the key to success...And when they do forget, the scene goes awry, the scene tends to get shallow. I think what's important, is that the key to Atlanta's success and maintaining the scene, is that the promoters need to work together. They need to work together. There needs to be continuity. It's so important. Also, there are other things that — I'm a producer as well, not just with music, but with promoting and producing events and things like that. I helped start the scene in San Francisco with a thing called Toon Town, back in 1990, and my philosophy has always been to bring color, bring beautiful music to the parties, the events, because there's no way you're going to eliminate the drugs, the substance abuse at parties. There just is no way.

Jazz-e at Planet 8 Right now in San Francisco...and in Vancouver, promoters are coming together to eliminate the dealers — to get rid of them — and to make music the forefront of the whole, you know, the whole purpose of the party. And I've always been a big fan of colorful visuals, colorful music... lineup is so important. If you've got, like, a drum and bass dj in a progressive trance room, and you have a hard house dj playing in a, you know, in a drum and bass room...It's so important to get the lineup right. And if everything flows right, everything just comes together. It's beautiful. You know? And it's amazing! The results of good foundations like that are fewer ambulances, fewer kids going to medical, fewer kids, I mean, dying...there have been quite a few deaths, you know, with the drug thing, so...I don't want to ramble on...but these are all key points for success of the scene.

After spending this time speaking with Moda about his thoughts on the scene, and on Atlanta in its infancy, I — at the risk of sounding really cheesy — was inspired. It is about the music, right? Think about it!

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