Nicole Moudaber has earned her spot among the techno elite, and rightfully so. Since delivering her debut album, Believe, for Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label in 2013, the Lebanese producer has become a constant fixture on the international touring circuit and a regular at festivals like Time Warp and Awakenings.
Now Moudaber is gearing up for another release: her five-track Breed EP with Skin, the frontwoman of British band Skunk Anansie. The collaboration sees Moudaber exploring some of her most conceptual work to date. While her signature, murky techno tropes are well intact, the EP takes a more vocal-centric approach with Skin’s bold lyricism at the forefront.
The lead single for the EP is “Someone Like You,” a haunting underground cut with an occult-like energy afforded by Skin’s vocals. Crafting the song presented an interesting challenge for Moudaber: “It took me a while, at least six months, to get ‘Someone Like You’ to a point where I was happy with it and to also get all the DJs to play this full vocal song and not sound cheesy,” she says.
The single arrives with an equally as charged music video shot in all black and white. Weaving between close-ups of the two artists, the video is a natural fit for the intimate aesthetic of the collaboration. Watch it exclusively on Billboard below:
Nicole Moudaber’s Breed EP will be released on her own Mood Recordings on Sept.18. Lead single “Someone Like You” is on Beatport now.
Read Billboard’s full interview with Moudaber below, detailing her collaboration with Skin.
How did the collaboration with Skin come about? Were you a fan of hers from before?
Nicole Moudaber: I was a massive fan of Skunk Anansie. We actually know each other from Ibiza as we both have houses there and we would always bump into each other and say “hi”. But one day we shared a flight from Portugal to London and we sat next to each other for two and a half hours and chatted all the way. That’s where I popped my famous question, “will you sing on one of my records?”
What was the songwriting process like for the EP? Were you guys in the studio together the whole time?
Nicole Moudaber: Yes, the whole time. Obviously at first I sent her the skeletons of the tracks and that was a rough guide of what I thought she could work on. She liked the vibe of two tracks, “Someone Like You” and “Organic Love,” and then she came down to my studio in London and we recorded two songs there and then. The chemistry was incredible, we jelled so well together in the studio, and since we hit it off creatively we decided to do more songs and that’s why it took a little bit longer to get it off of the ground. So now we have five tracks on the EP with two music videos.
The whole process took about a year and a half. Skin put full vocals on the songs and initially I just wanted to use a sentence or two to make it work with house and techno but further down the line I realized that it would be a shame to lose what she had done just because I couldn’t make it work. So it took me a while, at least six months, to get “Someone Like You” to a point where I was happy with it and to also get all the DJs to play this full vocal song and not sound cheesy. In terms of constructing “Someone Like You,” it took me a while to nail it because it wasn’t easy at all but now house and techno DJs can play it without being scared.
How would you describe the new EP in comparison to your past work? Is it more conceptual?
Nicole Moudaber: Without a doubt. My past work is mainly club driven and this EP isn’t as such. There are two club tracks on the EP but the tracks vary from chillout to deep house, tech house, and techno, so it definitely took a bit longer than anything else I’ve done before. And working with an established artist like Skin deserves more attention than a 4/4 house beat that could be knocked out in two days.
What’s the story behind the single “Someone Like You”?
Nicole Moudaber: Well, Skin wrote the song…
Skin: The inspiration for the lyrics for someone like you comes from being in the eagle eye of the DJ booth watching the dancefloor, sensing the vibe, feeling the room when by accident you catch two people seeing each other for the first time. The lyrics are about feeling that initial attraction, maybe you’ve just found ‘the one’ or maybe just the one for a night but there are sparkles in the air and for a while you’re dancing to the same beat. It’s about that first buzz of love or lust; that crazy moment when you think all your problems maybe solved. It’s about hope, connection, desire, and about losing yourself.
What was the inspiration behind the video for “Someone Like You”?
Nicole Moudaber: Well, we’re both in it, and I actually didn’t want to be in it but Skin made me do it. It’s a black and white video with closeup shots of the both of us and mainly centered on Skin’s singing. It’s really well done and very powerful in many ways. The lyrics say a lot and it could be interpreted as a very dark song or it could also be a very euphoric and happy song, it depends on what mood you’re in and how you interpret it.
Have you been playing these tracks out? What’s the response been like to these tracks so far?
Nicole Moudaber: The response has been incredible. Everybody has been playing it, from Chris Liebing to Carl Cox, and every time I play tracks off the EP the room gets lifted, especially with “Someone Like You” and “Don’t Talk To Me I’m Dancin’” since they have very strong lyrics. I’m getting remixes from everybody including Jamie Jones, Scuba, Pan-Pot, Chris Liebing, and Carl Cox, and I’m aiming to put them out sometime in December. Everybody’s on board and I’m really excited about that.