The name “Das Moth” may conjure images of German-dubbed “Godzilla” bootlegs or perhaps an industrial death metal trio, but the moniker actually belongs to one decidedly less imposing Timothy Sullivan. “Moth” was the nickname his older sister gave him growing up – as in Timothy – and when it came time for the Australian native adopt an alias for his proper foray into electronic music, he returned to the childhood pet name. As far as the “Das” goes? “The Moth sounds lame,” he explained in an interview a few years back. Fair enough.
Not unlike a few other DJs these days, Sullivan arrived upon producing full-blown dance music after flirting with electro in a previous rock band. That band, Damn Arms, toured with fellow Aussies Cut Copy, and from that time together emerged a friendship that would lead to Sullivan’s spot on Cut Copy’s Cutter Records. To date, Sullivan has officially released just one piece of original music – the “Moon / Wrong” 12″, two stunningly slinky pieces of expansive disco – but when we talked with him this week, he promised more would be on the way. Eventually.
For now, you’ll have to settle for the remixes, disco edits, and lengthy mixes posted on his Soundcloud. Or you can catch him in action at one of his DJ sets, but making that happen may occur less than you’d like though: Sullivan has resided in Japan since 2009. Tonight, however, Das Moth descends upon New York’s Bellwether to play taste mavens Brooklyn Bass’s monthly residency. Did we mention it’s free? You can RSVP here.
Where are you right now?
Sitting with a few friends in Williamsburg, New York.
How much time will get to spend in the States this trip? Do you generally try to extend your stays a few days and avoid the long flight back to Tokyo?
This time I’ve spent a lot longer in the States than I planned. Hanging with friends… Meeting new friends and DJing in new places. I do try to to spend at least a day or two in the place I’m playing. But sometimes it gets hard with time schedules.
We spoke with DJ Kaos last month and he said that Japan’s had a “good, educated dance scene… They know pretty well about the music and do their homework.” Has that been your takeaway from living there?
I can agree with Dennis on that. The Japanese are very good at honing in on a certain subject and becoming super deep into it. I do enjoy going out and hearing a whole night and not knowing any of the songs. It’s refreshing.
How would you describe your relationship with the guys in Cut Copy?
Bro’s. A bunch of legends!
Do they give any feedback on the music you’re producing?
Totally. When I’m in Melbourne, we sit down and work on stuff. They’re good like that. Of course, any input from them is a winner.
Aside from your connection with Cutters, do you still feel any sort of attachment to Melbourne’s music scene?
A lot of my good friends are still there doing amazing things, whether it be music or art or cafe’s. I’ll always have a connection to that city. I see the Animals Dancing and Bamboo Musik guys are constantly doing great things in Melbourne.
You recently headed over to South Korea for a few nights. How was your experience over there?
Seoul was beautiful. I do wish I was there for longer to see more. I did my best and took advantage of my serious jet lag and walked around a lot. The people are extremely friendly and they LOVED to dance. Would love to head back sooner than later.
Do you have a favorite city to DJ?
You’ve put your spin on some disco gems by France Joli and Evelyn “Champagne” King. How did you come across these songs?
Those tracks a pretty classic from that era of music. Coming across them wasn’t that hard. The original format of the tracks were a little hard to “mix in and out” of. So I just made it a little easier.
Do you do a lot of vinyl crate-digging or do you find music over the internet?
Diggin’ diggin’. I do check out the online stores for what to look for in the stores. Most of the music I want to play was never released in a digital format.
What remix or edit of yours are you most proud of?
The remix I did with Kenji Takimi for Cut Copy has a special place for me. It was right around the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. I remember that time well. [Ed. Note: Watch “making of” videos here and here.]
Do you have any original material in the works to follow-up the “Moon/Wrong” 12″?
I do. I need to get it done. There are a bunch of tracks lying around.. some dated years ago. When I return to Japan. That’s my main plan.
How would you describe the direction your music is heading?
That question is hard to answer for me. I never have any plans when it comes to writing music. I guess that’s why most things I do musically are so different.
I saw an interview in April of last year where you mentioned that you hoped to turn Das Moth into a live band. Have you made any progress there?
This is another thing I want to get done when I go back to Japan. I’ve been talking about it for ages now!
What’s the best new song you heard this year?
Pressing question: Is your mustache still alive and well?
Nope. What started off as a joke… That joke grew thin.