Drumming and singing have shaped David Moss’ musical life. First his father’s drums, then Bertoia sound sculptures and duets with dancer Steve Paxton, later singing with the Berlin Philharmonic, and at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Salzburg Festival.
In 2018, he received the German Music Authors Award for experimental voice and performed in Olga Neuwirth’s opera Lost Highway and Frank Zappa’s Yellow Shark at the Venice Biennale, among others. In 2019, he premiered as baritone soloist in Xenakis’ ÄIS at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. He has been the vocal soloist in Heiner Goebbels’ orchestral work, Surrogate Cities, for more than 50 performances around the world. He works with sound artist Boris Hegenbart. Moss has received the Guggenheim and DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellowships and directs the Institute for Living Voice. He has performed works by Johann and Richard Strauss, Bach, Coltrane, and Gershwin, as well as Luciano Berio, Carla Bley, Uri Caine, and Helmut Oehring. He currently sings with the groove trio Denseland and performs the solo program Vox Paradiso.
1: It doesn’t get any better than this
2: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins revolutionized the opera world in an alternate dimension
3: Just because we’re alive now doesn’t mean things are as good or bad as they’ll ever be
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
1000 penguins singing
2. How and when did you get into making music?
My brothers and I found my father’s 1929 Ludwig drum set in the basement in 1962, and that was all it took.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
John Coltrane, Live at the VIllage Vanguard Again
J.S. Bach, the Goldberg Variations
Monks of the Gyuto Monastary
Sly Stone, Fresh
Fausto Romitelli, Professor Bad Trip
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
open minds, direct words, dogs
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
my low-tech recording studio in the closet
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Grow tomatoes and carve wood
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
The best of Bob Marley and the Wailers
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
A Regisseur who wants to do a performance piece, with me making the music, for thousands of singing fans in a sports arena.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
–best gig as performer: improv duos with dancer Contact Improvisation creator Steve Paxton
–as spectator: watching Parliament Funkedelics live
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Technology: a mutating bug always buzzing my brain, threatening my concentration — that suddenly crashes open my process/habits to unimagined ideas (and then I try to swat it)
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Two younger brothers — we all started as drummers (see #2), one rock, one jazz, and me in the avant-wasteland.
We’ve always supported each other and gotten pleasure from the music/careers we’ve each made.