Bob Moses Interview at Lollapalooza 2016
Although they went to high school together in Vancouver, Canada, it took fate to reunite them walking through the streets of Brooklyn. Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance combined their individual music endeavors in 2012 to become Bob Moses. Together, their sound is electronic and funky with a touch of darkness. They released their first full album, All in All in 2015 and soon plan to announce a North American tour.
Emily: You’re from Vancouver (Canada), right?
Jimmy: We are indeed.
E: And you live in Brooklyn (New York) right now?
J: Yes, out of a suitcase at the moment.
T: We used to live in Brooklyn.
E: And you’re on tour right now.
J: Big time.
E: Big time. How’s it going? How’s the tour and everything going?
J: Fantastic. I think we’ve circumnavigated the globe twice this year. So we’re just going for it.
E: Going for it – has it actually been a world tour or have you just been around North America?
J: Oh, yeah. Australia, all of Europe, we’ve been to Lebanon, we’ve been to places like I’d never thought we’d ever go. We went to Bali, Indonesia – we’ve been everywhere.
E: What was your favorite so far? Do you have one?
E: Lollapalooza! True.
J: Actually, today was amazing; the show was great. We’re not done yet because we’ve got to play another show at the Samsung (stage) – we’re doing a DJ thing. And then, we got to go play Spybar tonight.
E: You’re so busy.
J: We’re just packing them in. Three days, three times in one day. We don’t care!
E: When are you guys leaving?
E: … More tours after that?
J: Oh yeah. We’re going to L.A. (Los Angeles, California), we’re taking L.A. on Sunday. Then, we go back over to Europe for a while. Then we come back, and we’re doing a whole bus tour of North America in the fall.
E: That will be interesting. What’s the difference between Europe and America touring?
J: Both are great. I would say we’re a little bit bigger in America at the moment, like North America.
T: The flights are shorter in Europe.
E: Yeah, that’s true. They’re closer together. Very true.
E: How is it different playing festivals than it is playing your own solo gigs?
J: … Sometimes festivals are gauged towards certain sounds, so you don’t know if when you’re going there if it’s what you do – you don’t know. Sometimes we’ll do hip-hop festivals, sometimes we’ll go to rock festivals, some festivals like this one cater to everything. And so you just got to kind of go up and do your thing. … Festivals are like a flex the muscle thing. Play your known songs. Have fun. It’s short, so you’re not playing as long as you would. No dilly-dallying; it’s straight to the point. Rock out, in and out like a Navy Seal.
E: And did you say you already performed today?
J: We did.
T: Yeah, we just did.
E: How was it?
J: Sick. It rained, and everybody stayed, and everybody came. … The way the stage is is like, there’s obviously an area for the crowd, then there’s a bunch of trees. So we had a whole ton of people, then we had a lot of people in the trees, too.
T: That was the picture.
J: For the viewers that can’t see right now, basically this is like if you saw this, your eyes would explode because it’s awesome.
E: I would agree, it’s awesome. It looks great.
E: What was your guys’s favorite song to perform live, or what was your favorite moment?
J: In this set? “Like It Or Not” was pretty great when that came in.
T: Changes all the time, though.
J: We do these mixes between songs. So there’s this part where the drums are going in and stops, and piano just comes in, and there’s like a nice moment where people hear the piano line they recognize. The nice thing about our set is it’s kind of like a DJ set, how it flows. So we tease or like throw in the recognizable bits in parts where people might not expect them to come.
E: Of your own music or other people’s?
J: Our music. So like the people that know it, and then if there’s enough people that know our music in the crowd, then the five people around them are like, “Aw, this is a moment!” Infectious things, so it’s great.
E: That’s great. So I know that you guys went to high school together – right? – in Vancouver?
J: We did.
E: And you met in Brooklyn kind of by chance?
E: Can you talk a little bit about how you brought those two different sounds together and how the process has kind of changed over time?
J: I don’t think we really, I mean, that sounds like maybe we said that in the past, but really when you think about it – we both listened to the same music growing up, so it wasn’t such a departure in the sense of Tom was only listening to this and playing this, and I was only listening to that and playing that, and that it was like, “How are we going to do this?” No, we were like really on the same page, and it came together really naturally. He basically agrees to everything that I say all the time. Our relationship is really boring.
E: The creative process is good then between you, right?
T: It’s good. … We finish each other’s sentences musically and this really helps.
J: It’s good to have somebody that brings, that you can bounce off. It’s great.
E: You guys released a new remix a couple days ago, right? Why did you decide to do that?
J: … Our record’s getting repackaged, so we decided to ask like our friends in the electronic scene, Tale of Us, and A-Track approached us, and we were like, “Let’s just put out the repackages, some remixes from our friends, some live versions of our songs and original tracks.” Yesterday was interesting because we put it up on SoundCloud, and it like blocked it in every country but the U.S. So we had to like go and fix that, but the cool thing was to see the reaction of people like wanting to listen to it and not being able to.
E: And getting mad about it. I saw it on Spotify, so it’s on there, if you were wondering.
J: There you go.
E: And Tom, what do you think about the reception to it? Have you heard anything about it?
T: Yeah, I mean, everybody seems to like it. It’s good. I mean we chose remixers that we wanted to sort of like touch on all the different parts of where we are, and where we’ve been and where we want to go, and stuff like that. So it was nice to have them all take part, and everybody seems to like it so far.
E: What was it like working with Tale of Us?
T: It was good. I mean, they really did it all. We just kind of, we gave them the tracks, and we had a few messages back and forth with Matteo (Milleri) just about direction, and he did a few versions, and he was very open to feedback. They work very well, and they’re very open to feedback. They wanted to do a good job, and they did do a good job. With every artist that we chose to do a remix, we wanted them to do “them”. We wanted a Tale of Us remix; it’s a very specific sound. … We wanted an A-Track remix; it’s a very specific sound. With that, they all did an amazing job.
J: It was great, so we’re super stoked.
E: You guys seem easy to work with – you’re like, “Do you!”
J: Yeah, do you!
E: If you’re releasing new remixes, are you working on new music, too?
J: At the moment, no. I mean, you’re always working on stuff, but for us, I define working on stuff: having a studio, going in every day and putting in the 9-5 studio time where you’re actually getting concrete things down. Whereas in the hotel rooms, that’s a bit more like slap-dash.
T: When that process starts, that Jimmy just described, we’ll go in with a bunch of ideas that we sort of collected and made. We’re touring hard at the moment. Obviously it’s like, the creative thing is something you can’t really stop. It just comes whenever. Last night I was trying to get to sleep, and I woke up, or I was asleep, and I woke up from a dream, and I had a song idea I had to sing into my phone. You know, it just happens. But that is very different than being in the studio, working on music – it’s like a different thing. We’re really looking forward to getting back to that, which we will get a little bit at the end of this year, and starting next year we’ll dive back into that.
E: Great, that sounds good. Anything that fans should be looking out for, or is it going to be a little bit?
J: Just come see us on the road.
T: We’re going to do a new show in the fall in North America.
J: We’re about to announce our North American tour.
T: We’ll have a new setup, lots of new cool stuff that nobody’s ever seen before. We’re really excited about that.
E: Is there anything else that you guys want to talk about at all?
J: Make sure you go out and vote. Whoever you vote for is up to you but make sure you go out and do it.