Intense rave spirit: AceMoMA are injecting raw energy onto the dancefloor
The new project from AceMo and MoMA Ready is changing the pace of the NYC underground
Adrian Mojica and Wyatt Stevens, aka AceMo and MoMA Ready respectively, are masters at injecting spirit and intensity on the dancefloor. Having recently taken the underground dance music scene by storm, their sound and style are filled with raw and infectious rave energy. Fusing analogue textures with jacking rhythms of house, techno and jungle, AceMo and MoMA Ready's AceMoMA project is leading the charge for the next wave of artists coming out of Brooklyn.
Having come to the Brooklyn underground noticing the lack of diversity in the dance music community, AceMoMA have led with their desire to “make techno black again.” Many newcomers may have a lack of knowledge of the culture's foundation due to today's dance music landscape being largely European. The truth is, dance music is black music. Now, Acemo and MoMA Ready's increased presence is reintroducing others to the queer, PoC roots of the dancefloor.
Separately, AceMo and MoMA Ready have released a great deal of music in the past. In 2014, AceMo released his first album titled, ‘Boarders', which has an entirely different essence than his most recent EP release, ‘Power'. Where ‘Boarders’ is calm, atmospheric, and slightly lo-fi leaning, ‘Power’ is bass-thumping, heart-jumping warehouse material, red lights and all. AceMo was born in Connecticut and began his journey in music in Latin jazz youth ensembles and marching bands. At 16, he began producing, and soon after, he moved to NYC to study. He’s known for his hardware aesthetic, producing his 2017 EP, ‘Black Populous,’ directly on tape without any edits or overdubs.
MoMA Ready comes from a different space. Growing up in the state of New York but coming into the city for school, he didn’t initially put music at the forefront. Stevens attended The School of Visual Arts, studying filmmaking. But, his experience there, made him want to make honest art, both audio and visual. Also making music under the alias, Gallery S, Stevens’ productions incorporate soulful vocals and deep beats, inducing a spiritual experience. Creating art in all forms, Stevens formed Haus of Altr, a lifestyle and music label that originally began as a skateboarding video series and morphed into a label as their peers enveloped themselves in the rave scene.
When the duo comes together as AceMoMA, they fuse their technical talents with expressive, emotional experiences. The mesh of their sound can be heard on a joint self-titled EP released this year. For those unable to personally experience the NYC underground scene, AceMoMA has you covered with their Impact mix. With this mix, they take us onto their manifestation of a dance floor to feel the raw, unnerved edginess of the Brooklyn dance community.
Your two albums this year 'The NYC Dance Project' and 'The Soft, Hard Body' both showcase your driving, yet emotive sound profile. How did this sound develop and what is the message behind your music?
I need to FEEL something when I'm listening and making music, that's my relationship to it. Emotion. Both albums came from trying to get in touch with the feelings and sounds that drew me to electronic music, but from my perspective. accepting my influences without copying any preconceived idea of what I'm supposed to sound like.
You were raised in the Gospel community. How does this energy transfer into the atmosphere at your sets?
Churches are very intense, usually. At least the ones that I grew up in. And the relationship with music, is very physical. That's the source of my energy.
Why did you start Haus of Altr? What do you hope to achieve within the label?
Haus of Altr, originally started as a skateboarding video series, after realizing that all of my friends were going to raves, the sound tracks of the videos started to consist electronic music. It eventually formed into what it is now, which is more akin to a music label.
Are concepts within your music important to you? What do you aim to convey?
Extremely, I aim to send a sonic message for my past and future ancestors that there is salvation in life.
You've played some live sets this year. Do you plan on incorporating more live sets? How does the live aspect reflect your approach to dance music?
Yes, more live sets, incorporated into dj sets, and vice versa. I make music live and usually in one or two or however many takes i think until it's right to me. It would be amazing to get to the point of complete improvisation for performances, going off a feeling and creating a story from there, with machines and instruments and people all working together in harmony.
Your new EP, 'Power' speaks on the issue of the climate crisis and potential end of the Earth. How has your outlook on environmental awareness impacted the sound produced on this release?
It's actually not haha. The message of "Power" is more of a signal and call to arms, more of a social message than an environmental one. I do have a jungle release coming out that's more centered on environmental awareness, specifically forests and jungles and being more one with nature.
How does it feel to be emerging black artists in the current scene? Does the space feel safe for your growth?
It really feels like we're pushing against something, really hard, that hasn't been moved for a long time, and it's finally starting to budge. It honestly isn't safe, but we want it to be for our brothers and sisters, there's still work to be done, and we are just getting started.
Why do you feel so strongly about young people of color having space in the alternative scene? How has your experience affected this outlook?
It feels as though there's an age gap of knowledge about the legacy of electronic music in North America, and that legacy being predominately PoC and Queer PoC. Our aim is to help spread that knowledge to young PoC dancers while also, introducing new ideas to dance music. We've both worked extensively in night life here in Brooklyn and saw the lack of diversity within the dance music these past years and wanted to do our part to change the narrative.
What's different in your styles and how do they mesh together on the dancefloor? What is the ultimate goal in your DJ performances?
Wyatt brings the soul, Ace brings the technicality, and together, we really just try and have fun, but also are trying to purvey a message of life and manifestation to the listener.
How did you approach your Impact Mix?
We wanted to show the world what Brooklyn really sounds like. in the clubs, not on the blogs, not on the websites. but the style, raw feeling and emotions that comes along with living in this crazy place called New York City.
Listen to AceMoMA's Impact mix below.
1. Moblu - Language [Unreleased]
2. MoMA Ready - Almost A Rave Track
3. AceMoMA - Cloud Hopping [Unreleased]
4. MoMA Ready - Future Music [Unreleased]
5. AceMo - Get Down Hun
6. MoMA Ready - Run For Your Life (Feat. Spade)
7. MoMA Ready - Kill Bill Track
8. MoMA Ready - Fatal Organ
9. AceMo - Fuck ur Electro (shit is weak)
10. MoMA Ready - Honey, Sugar, Rose
11. AceMo & Color Plus - In Da Back
12. Kanyon - Angres [Unreleased]
13. Underground Resistance - ???
14. Der Zyklus - Biometric Systems
15. AceMoMA - Time Woven Space
16. Special Request - Emutraxx
17. Kanyon - Trust Fall [Unreleased]
18. Joe Jeffers - Understanding, ETC
19. Moblu - Click Clack
20. AceMo - Black Populous
21. Jeff Mills - Detached
22. D- Complex - Ecstasy
23. Joe Jeffers - Cabbage [Unreleased]
24. Turk Turkelton - Might Be [Unreleased]
25. Swisha & Kush Jones - Can't Move With Me
26. Stick Figure - The Melrose Tune