The French Express crew made a pit stop in Toronto to grace us with their deeply groovy rhythms, before curating their own stage at the mega-festival TomorrowWorld. On September 26th, the label showcased some of their best names at The Hoxton, including Isaac Tichauer, a special guest set from Ben Pearce and fan favourite Moon Boots. THUMP sat down with Pete Dougherty, or Moon Boots before the show and talked a little about how the French Express team found each other.
"We all came with some experience beforehand," said Moon Boots about the formation of the label. "But we all really got started together. When I met Perseus [Leon Oziel], I was playing in a band at the time and we had a gig in Dallas. I had been looking for an outlet for my solo stuff, and we got to talking. The label was kind of just getting off the ground at that point, there had been a couple of showcases but it was very much in the early stages."
The label Moon Boots now lovingly calls home was originally started by Toronto-born Oziel as a personal blog, while he was simultaneously working for the music site Discodust. Oziel was credited with spotlighting then unknown acts like Azari & III, Disclosure and Ellie Goulding. He quickly realized that he could step out from behind the scenes and use his attuned ears to curate his own roster of artists.
The working relationship between the two is resilient. Oziel had said previously that he chooses to work with artists who are original and fearless; often close friends who trust his judgment and tastes. It was Moon Boots who fit the bill. After a period of the two talking almost every day, Moon Boots jumped on French Express without a finished track or a name for himself. It was a gradual process, but Moon Boots soon found inspiration for his nom-de-plume.
"Where does Moon Boots come from? I always want to have a longer or better story—like it be an old nickname or something," he laughs. "The [Facebook] description is misleading."
His stage name origins described on his Facebook biography references Cape Canaveral, Tom Hanks and the '90s moon boots fashion craze all at once. "It's just something from when I came across an old record that one of my bandmates had, and it had this somewhat rare old disco track on it from Orlando Riva Sound called "Moon Boots,"" he explained. "Just really nice, happy vibes, and there was something about that record that I'd listen to it all the time when I started making my own stuff."
Eventually, French Express made the transition from a media platform to a fully functioning record label. Oziel sits as lead in command with Perseus and their special brand of nu-disco funk and bouncy tech house. It seems that The F.E. artists are leading a quiet rebellion against the increasing seriousness within the rest of the dance music scene. While everyone else seems to be producing sounds just a bit darker and just a bit moodier, the French Express team are keeping underground disco on the devoted to dance floors.