Monday, 8 August 2016

Feature: Brother Moses (08/08/16)

Fayetteville, Arkansas indie rock band, Brother Moses, will release their sophomore EP 'Legends' on 26th August. They began in 2014 when James Lockhart and Moses Gomez came together while studying at university. Their roommate, Michael Seck, was added on the drums shortly after for the recording of Thank You For Your Patience, an EP which received praise. In the spring of 2015, the band teamed up with now full-time members Matthew Heckman (bass) and John-Lewis Anderson (guitar / keys) to record this EP...

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
James: My parents, mainly my dad, who's a very talented pianist, put me in piano lessons when I was seven or eight. I ended up doing that all the way through high school. I started playing tuba in the school band when I was twelve, and I think that's around the time I picked up guitar as well. 
Matthew: My mom and dad met through music; they played in a string quartet together. My dad plays cello, my mom plays violin professionally, and they bought me my first cello off of ebay when I was nine. 
Moses: I played baritone in school band throughout junior high and high school  For my 14th birthday my brother convinced me to ask for a guitar, so I got one started to learn to play. Then for my 15th birthday I got a ukulele and that's when my musical career began. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you’ve ever seen?
James: For me, it was super recent. A very good friend of ours, Corey Kilgannon, was opening for Penny and Sparrow on tour, and they came through Fayetteville (our hometown), which is notorious for having really, really chatty crowds. And Corey is a solo acoustic act, so I was expecting him to get kind of drowned out by the chatter, and for the first half of his set, he kind of did. But then he just kind of confronted the crowd, which I've seen people do before, and it never works, but he didn't really say much, he just kind of started to play his set differently. And he was posing these questions to the crowd through his songs, and everyone had to shut up and listen, because he was really putting himself out there, and no one was going to ignore it. So at the end of the show, he baits us into all singing along to the last song, and in the middle of the most participation he's gotten all night, he just put his guitar down and walked offstage. It was incredible. 
Matthew: When I was ten or eleven Yo Yo Ma came to Fayetteville with his 'Silk Road' quartet and my parents took me to see him. Before then I endured classical music - and to some extent music in general - because I thought it was good for me somehow, but that night I fell in love with performance. Watching the way Yo Yo Ma could make his instrument sing inspired me to really work at becoming a better musician. 
Moses: There used to be this local band called SW/MM/ING around Fayetteville, freshman year of college I saw them play at a local club. They are the reason i'm playing the music we play. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
James: I just recently read Greg Kot's book about Wilco, which is fantastic, and so I've been going back through their catalog, and Uncle Tupelo, and Son Volt, etc. 
Matthew: Funk. 
Moses: A lot of Albert Hammond Jr. and bossa nova music 

3 Qs for Brother Moses:

1. You’re currently out on tour, but which three countries would you most like to tour and why?
James: We've all talked about how stoked we'd be to go to Australia someday, and I think every band dreams of someday getting to play in Europe. I also think it would be dope to do one of the festivals in South America, those look like a ton of fun.
Matthew: Germany - I feel like people get ~crazy~ in Germany. Japan - I've just always wanted to go to Japan. Eastern europe - hostel tour. 
Moses: France, Spain, and Portugal. I've always wanted to go to these places. 

2. What is your usual songwriting process, is there specific roles within the band or is it a collective effort?
James: It's totally collective, but we do kind of specific roles. We all know what we're good at, and what we're bad at, and those are all really different things for each of us. For this EP, it would just start with song ideas that Matthew or I had, and then we'd throw those out in a group setting and be like, "destroy this and turn it into something better", and sometimes that happens, and sometimes you actually had a pretty good idea and it doesn't change much. 
Matthew: There's a song on the record - 'Please Stop' -  that sounded completely different before we recorded it. We weren't super happy with the vibe the original version had, but didn't really know how to change it. The night before we left to record 'Legends', James sent me a voice memo of a simple piano part, which I sent to John-Lewis. John-Lewis and I stayed up all night recording a demo based on that voice memo, which we all then further developed and eventually finished once we got to LA.  
Moses: A song can start from a single guitar part, melody, or lyric. We all bring forth our ideas and each of us tinkers, takes apart, and reform the ideas we have. 

3. From your forthcoming EP ‘Legends’, which is your favourite track and why does it stand out to you?
James: It changes for me a lot, but right now I'm really feeling "Please Stop". It was the last song we finished in the studio, and I guess I've had a lot of nostalgia lately about that time, since we're writing again. It was for sure the most collaborative effort on the EP, and I feel like you can hear all these little pieces of each of us in the song. But the way things go, playing these songs over and over again live, I'll probably have a different favorite, like, next Wednesday. 
Matthew: I'd have to say 'Sandwich Bags'. Playing that song is always emotional, and really fun. It's a song I wrote in the midst of one of the darkest periods of my life where I had just ended a long-term relationship, and was working as a night-shift server and absolutely hated my job. I was in my kitchen counting my tips from the past week and sorting them out into these bags so I could make a deposit later that day. I had a sickening moment where I realized that almost every waking moment from the last seven days of my life was represented by the money contained in the sandwich bags sitting on my kitchen counter. My friendships were suffering, my health was suffering, my grades were suffering; it hit me that the money on my counter was the physical distillation of all of that. This probably sounds weird, but it made me angry at the money. I was angry at physical money sitting in front of me. The song allows me to channel that energy, that essence, every time I play it. It's a constant reminder to myself that I should always be doing more than just surviving. 
Moses: 'Sandwich Bags' to me has the most depth out of all the songs on the EP. Other songs really match the energy, but 'Sandwich Bags' continues to have an ever-lasting effect on me every time we play it. There's definitely something about playing that song live that really brings something out of me.  

Random Q:

Weirdest band story?
James: Once we were in Minnesota, and we were swimming in the river, and Moses, John-Lewis, and Grayson, our touring drummer, all cut their feet open on barnacles or glass or something, so I was doctoring them up in this grocery store parking lot. And out of nowhere, this crazy older guy pulls up to us in his minivan and just starts berating us out of his window, saying a bunch of crazy stuff about how he wants me to kiss their feet and how he works out more than anyone in the world, just an awful stream of aggressive nonsense. And we just laughed at first, but then we kind of told him to leave us alone, and then he got out of the car and started kind of coming up on us, and there was a moment there where we all wondered if we were gonna have to fight this old man in a parking lot in Minnesota, but he ended up just getting in his car and driving away. Super weird. He was really jacked, especially for someone his age. We could've taken him, though. 
Moses: I agree with James, the dude was nuts. 

'Crazy Eyes' Review:
'Crazy Eyes' is probably one of my favourite indie rock songs at the minute. They offer a math rock twist to the track, which is full of infectious riffs and melodies. It's an energetic song that's bound to get stuck in your head, and force you to sing along. The video compliments the song well (and is humorous in a morbid way), if you like bands like Wolf Choir,  Local Natives and Bombay Bicycle Club, you're bound to love this song, the rest of the EP and these guys! Enjoy! 

Brother Moses' Links:

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