It’s hard to find any parallels for producer and visual artist Moore Kismet. In every imaginable direction – musically, philosophically, creatively, and personally – they are truly in a league of their own right now.
At the age of 15, Moore – real name Omar – has already amassed a remarkable discography comprising an album and releases on labels such as Never Say Die, Bassrush, and Disciple. Writing music and experimenting with beats since they were just seven years old, Moore has also appeared on the US DJ battle competition the Goldie Awards, is currently working on an animated TV series called Stargazers and they’ve just dropped their most accomplished and most personal EP to date…
Revenge Of The Unicorns is a six-track chronological story of Moore’s turbulent life over the last few years; understanding who they are, what they want to be and what they have to do to make that happen: From coming out to their parents to the pain and anger felt at the abuse they’ve experienced online for being nonbinary to the freedom and fulfillment of achieving their goals and maintaining the zero-fucks status necessary for survival in the 2020s.
Complete with short sonic snippets of themselves with their friends, and a collaboration with their own mother, the EP is unlike anything Never Say Die have released before; a full narrative that’s subversive, melodic and delicate yet still gut-kickingly hard when it needs to be. It also hints at album material and smacks of an artist far older than their years.
But understanding Moore Kismet’s story, you understand just how quickly they’ve had to grow up and fight for themselves in such a straight white male-dominated industry. There are no parallels because very few nonbinary artists have felt particularly welcome in this scene…. But Moore is setting such a strong example, things have to change. Get to know:
How frustrating has lockdown been for you?
Oh, it’s incredibly frustrating. I’m literally working on a friggin television series with all of my best friends from school and we always have in-person meetings every Friday, which we cannot do for God knows how long, until somebody gets this under control.
Tell us about the TV show!
So it’s called Stargazers. It was created by me and developed with my friends. It revolves around eight warriors who fight crime in an intergalactic system of planets and nations. It focuses on them protecting the ruler and the citizens of that system as they find their identities as individuals. Through romance, through their fights, through their hardships as friends.
About 90% of the crew and cast are LGBTQ+ and I’m unbelievably proud of everyone involved. What makes me excited about that is there being very little representation of LGBTQ+ people in media. More often than not, whatever we do get, we get snubbed. We always get treated as the sidekick, the prey to a bully, or the “gay best friend” when we can do so much more than that. So, if no one’s going to give us accurate representation, we might as well just make it our own damn selves!
Absolutely. That must be a whole other level of frustrating!
It is very, very, very frustrating. For example, one reason I don’t watch horror movies is because if there is a black character in it they’re always killed within the first five to six minutes of the goddamn film. But then the second a black person makes a horror film, it will be labeled as politically or racially charged. That’s important to highlight. We can’t just be black, it has to be angry and black. Hell, we’ve been angry this whole time because you’re killing us in the first five minutes of a movie that has a cliched plot!
It doesn’t sound like Stargazers will have anything cliched about it. How far into its creation are you all?
We’ve been working on this for almost a year now, but we’ve wanted to work on a series in general ever since we met each other in middle school. Everyone in the crew has worked their ass off to hone their skills to the point where this show is just about film quality. We’re now working on pitch materials for TV networks. My main fear is having to go back and forth with said networks on what specifically we’re able to write about. I want the show to be as raw and as impactful as possible. And that includes talking about taboo subjects and including mental health awareness topics and romantic scenes between two people of the same gender identity. This is something that my friends and I are insanely proud of. We’re putting every ounce of our hearts into it, and we are not going to let a damn thing change.
And that’s probably how you’re approaching music, too. When did music come into all of this?
I got into music from listening to old trance and progressive house stuff from like Above & Beyond and Calvin Harris and thinking ‘what if I tried doing this?’ From there I started, like making music every single day for the past eight years. I’ve loved honing my craft and developing my sound to the point where there’s no specific formula to how I write anymore. I feel that’s how most producers should be go into creating new music. No templates. Just starting everything off with a clean, blank slate and go into it thinking ‘what should I start with first?’
Brilliant. So you don’t retread old ground or use old drums or things like that. Actually, hang on. You just said you’ve been making music for eight years. You were seven when you started producing!
I was! I just started practicing and navigating my way around the DAW trying to figure out what exactly sounded good. It went from really bare-bones stuff to the works that you hear me putting out now. Fully-fleshed out, fully realized, beautiful, and hard-hitting tracks. But for years it never sounded like that. I needed to fully grasp what I was doing and what I want to say with my music.
Totally. What age were you when you did your first show?
I was 14 when I did my first show. It was back in April of 2019 at a festival in Florida called Asteria Arts & Music Festival. It was one of the best shows I ever went to and everyone there was so sweet. I met a bunch of my idols there to like Virtual Riot and Trivecta. It was such an amazing experience to be a part of and to be able to play. I still have the large crowd photo we took saved to my phone, and it always makes me so happy.
Beautiful. You’ve done a track with your mum haven’t you? Flair on the new EP. I’m wondering if there was an influence from your parents or if you were brought up in a musical household?
I was! My dad is also a musician. He used to be a music composer for CBS and produced tracks for girl groups and rappers. My mom also used to be a professional singer, which stems from both my grandma and my great-grandma having come from the same background. I remember my mom telling me that she used to be in a girl group, but when she found out that she was pregnant with me, she gave up everything so that she could take care of me.
I’ve always felt like she’s missed out on the opportunity to pursue a music career taking care of me. And I’ve always really felt bad about that. But now that I’m playing all of these shows and I’m able to take her to these events so she can watch me play live, it’s kind of like sharing that moment with her through a different lens.
Ah that’s got to be a beautiful feeling!
It is! And the minute I tell anyone, whether it be friends, the promoter or any fans, they all go crazy and are like, ‘oh my god it’s your mom!’ and want to take photos. The last big festival show I played at was Get Freaky 2019 for V2. It was in Salt Lake City and the stage I played was this huge tent off to the side of the main venue. My mom wasn’t offside the stage without my management or anything. No, no, she was in the middle of the freaking crowd filming my set on Facebook Live. I played a skeleton version of Flair and said on the mic that I wrote this song with my mom and that she was in the audience. Immediately, the vast majority of the audience turn to see her holding up her little selfie stick filming me and just swarmed her with love. It was like, ‘Guys, we have to protect her. We need to make sure she’s okay!’ It made me super happy. They were so goddamn sweet.
Lush! So how did Flair come about? Did you decide to sit down and write together? Does she always give you feedback?
Yep, that’s exactly how we’ve done it. I’ve always written new stuff and sent it to her early in the morning when I’ve finished it so she can listen to it on her way to work and let me know what she thinks about it. We do a lot of car tests for my WIPs and near-final works together when we’re on road trips. When we listen to a lot of my new music together, it always makes me happy to see her enjoying every second and taking it all in.
That’s amazing. So tell us more about Revenge Of The Unicorns because this is probably this is your most probably accomplished EP and it’s all about finding yourself, isn’t it?
Definitely. The stories behind the actual tracks, and how they all form and flow together, is a representation of a timeline of the most significant moments of my life. It’s a chronological representation of some of the most significant moments in my life. From when I first came out as nonbinary to when I finally realized that I should stop being afraid to express myself and finding true love. Then concluding with getting or making a phone call that will ultimately change your life and its progression.
You’ve probably had quite a few of those phone calls by now….
I think I might be getting them a little bit more now than I probably used to. But yeah, that’s actually the reason why I wrote the EP and the whole meaning behind it. But I have to say, I hated the first EP I did for Never Say Die. I absolutely abhor it. So as I was creating Revenge Of The Unicorns, I thought about how I could outdo myself, but also stay true to myself and stay cohesive throughout the entire thing. That was important for me. After that first EP, I got tons of homophobic, transphobic, ageist, and racist remarks. I got harassed a lot. I got sent death threats. It was just a mess. So this EP is essentially serving as a major ‘fuck you’ to anyone who has hurt me in the past. Fortunately enough—thank god—I’ve been so blessed to have received such immense love and support within the past few years. It’s because of that that I’ve been able to look past it and continue to grow as an artist and as a person. And part of that is being able to fully process my emotions and showcase that through my music and storytelling. That’s how I want it to be for all of my work. I want to be able to create things that allow people to resonate with each track and discover some form of emotional attachment to it, as have I.
On the flip side of that you must have had amazing positive interaction or people in the same situation as you but haven’t found a voice and are still working out who they are…
Oh my god, yes. I get messages about this way more often than I ever expect. It completely shocks me because I would have never expected my music to have that much of an impact on people that I’ve never spoken to. It’s a true testament to the effect that music has on people. I never really wrote my music with the intention of solely being able to please fans. I write with the intention of it coming from my heart. To have people messaging me constantly explaining the positive impact I’ve had on their lives means so much to me. My goal is to give people a breath of fresh air for five seconds. Just sit back, relax, and listen to this and let it be your escape for that brief moment in time.
There’s the reset button, isn’t it? That revitalizing force of music.
What comes next then? Besides the TV series, do you have more productions en route?
Oh, I’ve got tons. I have my second album coming out next year and I’ll be releasing stuff throughout the rest of this year. Remixes and singles and stuff. But the second 2021 hits, I’m showing no mercy. I’m so unbelievably excited to start showing people some of my most personal works. I’ve been working on these tunes for years and I am getting detrimentally close to the finishing stages of it all.
Revenge Of The Unicorns was a taste of what’s to come!
Sorta, yeah. For me, ROTU is a much-needed placeholder for the album. It’s essentially the project that says, ‘Hey, I need a bit more time to work on the album to make sure it’s perfect. Have this EP for now so I can come back with the best possible things I can create. Thank you!’
I’m so glad that people are enjoying the EP. Genuinely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone so far. There really is plenty more to come….