IN one of my last interviews...
I have been talking with Moodbay about their new single, Listen Up, and how it came together. They tell me how they got together and how songs come together for them; the sort of music they listen to and which approaching artists we need to check out.
I ask if they get time to relax away from music, whether there are tour dates coming up and which albums Anna and Alfie love – they end the interview by selecting a couple of pretty cool and epic tracks.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. Good, thanks! And, yeah, it was great. We’ve been filming in London for one of our singles which was pretty fun. Hard work, though. Our director was so keen to capture as much as possible that we ended up shooting in her hotel room till 3 a.m. Her partner ended up having to sleep out in the corridor on the hard floor.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We’re an Electronic girl/boy duo who met in BIMM Manchester. We both play piano; Anna sings and Alfie produces.
How did Moodbay get together? Was it an instant connection?
No. At first, we thought we were both lame-os and avoided each other. Then, later, we realised that we both had a passion for Electronic music, synths and melody. That’s when we formed Moodbay.
Do you both share similar tastes in music – or is there a sense of difference and individual spirit that makes your own music so strong?
Alfie: We share similar tastes in music t.b.f. Personally, I think that musicians with totally different tastes end up fighting for different vibes - which can lead to actual fighting because there’s nothing more personal and insulting than someone saying your riff is s*it.
You have a new track out. What can you tell me about it and how it came together?
Anna: This is our first single. It was originally called Wrong Wave, which refers to not being on the same wavelength as someone – “You’re riding on the wrong wave” and “Hiding on the wrong page”. I’m saying: ‘Look, I’ve had enough of you; we’re too different to be compatible’.
The melodies came to me in the shower and I ran downstairs, sung them to Alfie and he started making a beat on the spot to match. We were listening to future bass at the time so it has a bit of that vibe going on.
How do songs come together for you? Do you have a set process or does it change between releases?
We don’t have a set process, but this one came about through a common process of Anna writing verses at the piano and then bringing it to Alfie, who then thinks of chorus melodies and riffs and stuff. Sometimes, Alfie will produce the track without melodies and then we both work on the melodies afterwards. Sometimes, Anna has the whole thing and we just add a beat.
In terms of the stuff you listen to away from your own stuff, what sort of thing might we find in your collections?
Everyone from EST (Jazz triplet) to Justin Bieber (say what you want about him but he has an insanely good recording voice!).
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Yeah. When we played at the O2 Ritz in Manchester, we only had a day to practice for the gig and it was a full room, but it turned out to be our best performance yet.
Which albums from all of music mean the most to you guys (and why)?
Alfie: For me, it’s a toss-up between Abbey Road (The Beatles) and The Bends (Radiohead). There’s nothing Electronic in those albums but they both contain some of the most striking melodies ever made and, for me, that’s what music is all about.
Anne: Gorillaz - Demon Days. Because every song is as good as the next. The album has such a strong identity you can almost taste it.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Alfie: There are so many acts that I would love to support but, again, I’d have to say my childhood heroes Radiohead. I’d ask for watermelons neatly sliced, not too thin. Seedless jam on toast with plenty of margarine; hand warmers and three grams of your strongest beta blockers to calm my nerves.
For Anna, it would be Chvrches (Alfie’s second choice). The best coffee money can buy. Dark chocolate, coconut oil and a super-reliable phone charger.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Quit your job.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Alfie: Not yet. We will be performing live after the album has been released as we have a lot of writing and producing still to do for various projects. Gone are the days of performing to five people in a pub with s*it acoustics and a clinically depressed mix engineer - I just can’t hack it anymore.
What is a typical gig like for you guys? What might we expect if we come and see you perform?
Alfie: When we perform, you can expect a lot of swapping of instruments DURING songs, a lot of synths; some extended choruses for improv solos and plenty of awkward silences after one of us says something. We were thinking of hiring out tumbleweed.ltd to help us add character to these moments but, after doing extensive data analysis, we arrived at the conclusion that they were not cost-effective enough.
And piano-only versions of songs to show off Anna’s voice.
IN THIS PHOTO: Litany/PHOTO CREDIT: Marieke Macklon Photography
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
We went to France for a week recently. But, other than that, we don’t chill because we have so much we feel we need to do - and we love it so much and we have no money.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Anna: Georgia - Started Out
Alfie: Y Môr - Anelog