30 Sep Moore Kismet: Unicorn of Bass Music [Exclusive Interview]
A teenage bass music prodigy, producer, and DJ Moore Kismet is making waves and history in the EDM scene with their fusion of bubbly melodies and heavy basslines. Creating countless hits, and debuting their first album, UNIVERSE, Moore Kismet is embarking on their first headline tour which is nothing short of impressive.
The first time I saw Moore Kismet was at Pride In Pride and he pointed out my nine-year-old daughter because she was dancing around during their set. He said on the mic, “Look at this little cutie dancing around” and it left a massive impression on her. She still to this day talks about that moment all the time. The second time was at EDC Las Vegas where I stayed up until four o’clock in the morning because I didn’t want to miss their set.
Before my third time seeing Moore Kismet, I got a chance to sit with them before their show at Chop Shop in Chicago. We talked about their journey in music, how they navigate being a teenager with a professional music career, and being a voice to help redefine the industry and inspire other artists to be their true authentic selves.
A true gift from the universe, Moore Kismet is just getting started! I can’t wait to see what else they do!
Who is Moore Kismet?
Moore Kismet is a 17-year-old black non-binary teenager from the fiery pits of Victorville, California. I’ve been living there practically my entire childhood but I am finally moving the fuck out of this deserted hell hole. I have the chance to move to Los Angeles with my mom so I’ll be living there instead.
I am so excited to be closer to my friends. I’ll also be closer to the studios and my label office so many things in my life are going to improve. Plus, I’m also going to have my own space. I get to sleep in my own bed. Getting to have our own space to continue to flourish our respective lives and our creativity is going to be the best thing ever.
How did you come up with your DJ name?
My mom came up with it. We were in church one day, watching a video lecture and one of them mentioned the word kismet. We had our scripture readers research what that word meant.
When we learned the word meant luck, destiny, and fate, we wanted to build something off of that as a kind of affirmation. It would be something to really solidify me into following my destiny and wishing for more luck and success in my career.
For my mom, it had a double meaning. Yes, to be a kind of affirmation, but for her, it was the realization that it was the perfect way to take care of and nourish me into becoming this artist. This creative entity.
Was music part of your life growing up?
There are so many different parts of my family tree that link back to music. My mom used to be a professional singer in a girl group. My dad used to be the manager/founder of that girl group. He also used to be an urban music composer for CBS.
My grandmother was classically trained in church singing. My grandfather was a guitarist. My cousin, Nina, is a classically trained singer and actress. My brothers are rappers.
My mom wanted to keep me away from it for the obvious reasons many people see and experience especially in recent times. I wanted to pursue a different career path before so none of us ever expected that I would dive into music like this.
Who from your family has played the biggest role in your music career?
My Mom! I love her! She’s fucking awesome. Moore Kismet would be nothing without her. She’s literally the entire reason I’m sitting on this couch with you and talking to you right now. She’s the only reason why I push through the industry bullshit to make it to my first tour. She is the reason why I’m not as nervous as I am about embarking on my first tour tonight.
It’s why I’m always on top of my shit and able to create such incredible ideas. He has given me the space to feel what I need to feel and create what I need to create in a way that allows me to express my stories to the fullest degree. My mom is why I continue to pursue this project and do it for myself. I will continue to sing her praises forever and forever.
Now that you’re headlining your first tour, what are your pre-show rituals and how do you prepare?
It’s amazing to be embarking on this journey. I’m grateful that I get to do it. I tend to stretch before I go on because I jump around and act like a bat out of hell when I perform. But overall, I just try to keep my energy up as much as possible and give myself breaks.
Before the show, I chill out in the green room, drink, and eat the stuff on my rider. If people have TVs or screens, I will watch the live feed of the show happening or watch a show. Just as you walked in, I was trying to get HBO Max set up so I could watch The Amazing World of Gumball.
Watching a show helps me take a moment, calm down for a second, and get prepared to go out.
I can only imagine the nerves but you’ve always been phenomenal every time I’ve seen you because the energy you bring is contagious. It makes people want to move.
Thank you! That is good to hear because I feed off people’s energy. I can’t keep going unless I see people going.
Are your sets improvised or do you plan them out prior?
I do a mix of both. Sometimes I will make a playlist featuring songs I’m enjoying at the moment, plus a lot of my most recent songs, especially those songs off my album UNIVERSE, and then curate a set with those.
Generally, however, I improvise my set in an open format and play off the crowd’s energy. If they’re not digging something at the moment or I’ve already played too much of it, I transition into something else. Then I keep growing and keep building from that point on. I’ve got to keep that energy going!
Do you remember shouting out my daughter who was the little redhead dancing around during your set at Pride In Pride?
Yes, omg! That’s so cute! She was chilling and vibing to house music. I remember seeing her in the audience and thinking oh my god, here is this little cutie living her best life and listening to music. People think LGBTQ people are indoctrinating children when this happens but we’re over here just having a blast and not doing anything wrong.
I’m part of the queer community and it’s nothing but love here. She goes every year with me but this was defiantly her favorite year.
That is honestly super adorable. That’s never happened at any of my shows before. It’s always been adults, so it was a nice change of pace to see a young face there experiencing the music, albeit in the sweltering heat.
Yeah, she loves listening to your album and was mad she couldn’t come with me tonight.
I know the age limit, but I’ll be around for a little while so hopefully, she gets to come to one of my shows again soon.
What was the moment like for you to play Electric Daisy Carnival, one of the biggest festivals in the world, and then go straight to your High School graduation ceremony?
Literally! It was absolutely insane—definitely a mind-blowing experience. I played Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and then came back for the graduation ceremony. The same thing happened when I played the DoLaB stage at Coachella. I played, and then the next day was my prom.
How did it feel going from being a normal teenager to being a professional human playing at these massive festivals?
It was interesting! Going from professional to a chaotic creature dancing in a dress was actually pretty easy. It was a lot of fun. When I look at it, I’m like, I just graduated with two honors that aren’t really going to affect me in the grand scheme of things, so let me just go ahead and play a music festival.
Aside from producing and DJing, what are your other interests outside of music?
I have quite a few interests. I’ve been getting into filmmaking again and relearning screenwriting. I used to dream about being a screenwriter when I was little. Back then, I use to write these super janky scripts that never really went anywhere. They never really served any purpose, but I ended up getting back into it over the pandemic.
I also love visual art, drawing characters, making cover art, and making tour flyers for myself. I’ve also been trying to get back into reading. I enjoy watching TV, playing games on my computer, and talking to my friends on Discord. All teenager stuff.
As a multi-faceted person, how do you find a balance between everything?
I tried to keep some normalcy by keeping Moore Kismet a secret most of my time in High School. I never had a big social life. I have my friends, and none of us did much, either. When we started hanging out, we did a lot of stuff together. Then the pandemic happened, and we talked on Skype every day and over summer break.
Now we’re just trying to get back into it and get together before I move. Once everyone has their licenses and I’ve moved into my new place, it will be easier to see one another and for them to come to stay. However, I get that by choosing this career path. I will not have your ‘typical’ or ‘normal’ childhood per se.
Who are your musical influences who inspire your current sound?
More recently, it’s been Flume, Ricky Sand, and Boombox Cartel. I also get a lot of inspiration from Lizzie McAlpine, Jasmine Sullivan, Chloe x Halle, Beyonce, Adele, and Megan The Stallion. Pocket. OMG, and Laxcity!
Laxcity is one of my biggest inspirations on the planet. He’s also one of my best friends on the planet today. He’s taught me much about the software we use to create music. He taught me so much about collaboration and learning from other people’s creativity and workflows. I just love him a lot! If it wasn’t for him encouraging me to take risks, I don’t know if I would’ve been in the place to discover my current sound.
How would you describe your sound without using genres?
I would describe it as emotional, experimental, and bubbly up-tempo music with the occasional down tempos.
I could defiantly hear that in your debut album UNIVERSE. It was beautiful. loved how it switched from bouncy, to bubbly to heavy bass.
Thank you so much! I wanted to make it a very even blend between the two sounds and to show what I can do! None of my projects have been this versatile or as diverse as UNIVERSE.
How does it feel to have UNIVERSE out?
Happiness! I am so happy, anxious, and excited. I am very grateful and happy that everybody is resonating with this album so much. You know, people feel it, and they understand the stories that I’m trying to tell. I create the music I do because I want people to feel what I’m feeling.
Also, I want people to understand the stories that I’m trying to tell. That’s been the biggest thing for me. I’m just very happy and excited that people finally get a glimpse, a real true glimpse into my life through this album.
How did you choose the name UNIVERSE for the album?
I chose the name UNIVERSE when I was eleven years old. I had finished my mix tape and wanted to dive into making an album. Nothing was sitting with me, so I figured I would return to it when I was older. Fast forward to the age of thirteen. I made the songs “Rumor” and “Call Of The Unicorn”.
Those sat along with a bunch of other tracks that I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with working on anymore. Then we fast forward to age 14/15 when I started writing more songs. And then we fast forward to late 15/ early 16, and we were all stuck in the pandemic. This was when I did the brunt of the work on the whole album.
What was your favorite aspect of creating UNIVERSE during the past few years?
I’ve been working with my friends and getting to do collaborations with people that I never in a million years expected I would get a chance to do a song with. It was so much fun and a unique experience getting a chance to make these stories and share these experiences with them.
Having collaborated with so many people, which moment has really stuck out to you the most?
It was working with Chuck Sutton & Cookie on our song, “Ultraviolet.” “Ultraviolet” started when Chuck was working on a live stream for Brownies and Lemonade. He sent the song to me and said my music inspired it. I was blown away that my music had inspired someone like that! As time went on, we kept talking about it, and I finally said to him, “I don’t know if you have any other plans with this, but after you play this on the stream, would it be cool if I worked on this with you?”
We started working together on it and kept going back and forth on ideas. We talked about every new development we made, everything we wanted to add and wanted to expand on. It went from this beautiful r&b, pop baby sound into this insane experimental trap-based banger that goes into r&b in the last verse.
It was the most memorable moment because he told me it revitalized his love for collaboration. True collaboration. He had never felt more comfortable doing a track with somebody than he did working with me. That made me feel so amazing. I felt so good because I love him to pieces, and getting to work on “Ultraviolet” with him and Cookie was an absolute blast.
Who are a few other artists you’d love to collaborate with?
I’d love to collaborate with Beyonce, Adele, Halsey, Megan The Stallion, Flume, Porter Robinson, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Jasmine Sullivan, Chloe Bailey, Selena Gomez, Charlie Pluth, and Lizzo. Bonobo would be sick. Lastly, Anomaly who I love so much. That would be amazing!
Were you intentional in releasing UNIVERSE during Pride month? If so, why?
Yes, it was! I wanted people to know it was a deliberately queer album with super vibrant rainbow artwork. Truly, I want to hear people singing gender-neutral songs about love, heartbreak, and angst. Also, I want people from any background, experience, or walk of life to be able to relate to these songs as much as I did when I was writing them.
Lastly, I wanted to make sure you could tell what these were about without using the basic pop tropes like, “He didn’t like me, so I keyed his car. Yeah!” Those aren’t the type of songs I want to create. I don’t want just to be an artist for ladies, fellows, or people like me.
I want to make songs about having my heart broken into a million pieces. I never want to feel this way again, but now I’m rising from the ashes. This is a universal experience regardless of who you are. I want to be for anybody that has ever felt like this.
Yes! We need those voices to redefine the industry. What kind of change would you like to see in the industry over the next few years?
I’d love to see more queer and black people on lineups and genuine change being made. I know people will say we shouldn’t be booking people on race rather, we should be booking them based on talent. However, when you look at the lineups, they are predominantly white with the same people playing the same songs that somebody else just played or has played 2-3-4 shows in a row.
Next, I want to see more artists pushing the curve with what they perform like Wreckno! Wreckno inspires me so much because this bitch is out here playing some of the weirdest stuff on the planet. On top of that, some of the gayest shit on the planet. Then you have backup dancers with braids and halter tops dancing their fucking asses off with Wreckno. I love them so much!
Also, I want to see more people embrace their identities. I want to see more people embracing the weirdness in music. Additionally, I want to see people being kind to and protecting one another from shitty situations. I want to see a shift in love, acceptance, and tolerance in this community. You know, I hear people talk about wanting to see something different but not being part of the change.
Discover new artists. Push for them to be on lineups. Do the work!
Did you think your music would have this kind of impact so quickly on people and do you hope your music helps open doors for others in the community?
Oh, god, no! I have never expected my music to take off like this but I’m very grateful that it has. I truly hope my music does open doors for others in the community. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will know that my music is helping open doors for others unless somebody tells me. Regardless, I feel very good about what I’m doing.
You’ve accomplished so much and have been making huge waves in the EDM community since 2018 being the youngest DJ to play Electric Daisy Carnival, Lollapalooza, Red Rocks, and Tomorrowland. What do you want to do next?
I want to put out more music I firmly believe is a genuine shift in the right direction for me and who I am as an artist. Also, I want to make music videos and a Moore Kismet film. I also want to start including more live performance aspects like singing and dances that I choreographed myself, all while DJing.
However, I don’t have any specific goals at this given time. I want to see where the wind blows me.
What is something unique about you that might surprise fans?
On my left hand, there is this very small skin tag on my pinky finger. I have essentially signified it as my birthmark. It is unique because my mom has the same skin tag on her left hand too in the exact same place. This is how we know that we are meant for each other.
Also, I like to weird people out and say, “Oh bitch, I grew six fingers” like my middle finger isn’t my middle finger. It’s actually my ring finger. Just pull a 2015 karate kid and just hit him with the Chinese middle finger *queue uncontrolled laughter*.