'Far From the Tree' EP by Bob Moses coaxes out our softer side, confronting us with our heartbreaks past and onward dreams. Brooklyn label Scissor & Thread has yet another gem to proudly sport on their selective and intelligent roster of sound. Highly anticipating this EP, it first caught me off guard with snippets of its sound at the Robot Heart party in May. Now even as I listen to 'Far From the Tree' from the comforts of my home, emotion bleeds from each note and brings me so effortlessly to that wanton dreamlike state that I adore slipping to. It's a vocal-ridden foray into the lower tempos of house music, featuring five tracks that show music is the ultimate vehicle for emotion.
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The track off of the EP that takes the wind out of me and stops me in my tracks each time is 'All I Want.' Music is my temple, my church, as it is for many of us, and while Bob Moses' vocals ebb into reverb, the delicate sounds provide a respite from the day to day. We sit in a church to pray and take solace, and so I walk with the melody of 'All I Want' plugged into me like an IV, delivering nourishment to the neglected soul. The level of elation and desolation this song brings upon me are conveyed through simple but touching lyrics. "This is all I want from you / Yours to give and mine to lose." I feel my heart weigh down, empathizing with its melancholic words, my mind twirling in the rapture of the perfect melding of vocals, beats, and harmonics. In an age where love songs have been lost to a different time, spurned in the lyrics of hip hop and simply demoted in today's cynical crowd, Bob Moses ventures out with their heart on their sleeve with their sensually arresting and refreshing piece. For a job well done, we talked to Bob Moses to acquire a little insight to their process and the makings of the EP.
A lot of artists are working out of studios in Bed-Stuy. do you work from home or rent a studio space?
We love our neighbors, we rent a space.
Do you process your vocals live?
Yes. We run everything in an ableton live set, including vocal processing, and have controllers to manipulate them as we go.
Is relying on technology stressful during a live performance?
Ya, very stressful. We've had a couple times where something has just shut down completely, but usually people are understanding and it just takes a second to reboot. It's all part of it though - even in fully live band shows there are still amplifiers and other bits of "technology" that can shut down or malfunction so its just something you sign up for when playing live. At least ableton doesn't try and sleep with your girlfriend.
Was there a time when production or set up errors prevented you from performing?
Not yet. Knock on wood.
Performing as a live act allows you to only use your own work so far. Do you find that at times limiting? Or do you DJ shows as well?
It's not limiting, really. We both come from live band backgrounds so don't look at it any differently than a band going up and doing a show of their own tunes, maybe a few covers thrown in there. We DJ sometimes, and its fun to switch it up from time to time, but we actually prefer playing live. It helps with creativity in the studio and keeps us focused. It's great to go back into the studio after playing live and try to create tracks that will give you the moments you're looking for in a show. We can try out demos, clips and ideas that we're working on and see how they sound, which are harder to work into a DJ set, and that all helps with creative process.
The Scissor and Thread label is right now one of Brooklyn's hottest exports known for their A&R. Through working with them, have you seen improvement in your work?
Yes, they have really helped us. It's nice to have producers, writers and engineers you really respect to bounce ideas off and to help guide you when you're feeling insecure or unsure of something creatively. When someone you look up to says, "This fucking rocks!" it helps steer you in a certain direction and gives you confidence to try things you might not otherwise. They've set up a great environment for creativity and free thinking, which leaves you really free as an artist.
You're currently based in Brooklyn, do you see yourselves moving elsewhere anytime soon?
No way! Brooklyn is home for us, we've been here for a while now. We moved in and started making records together two years ago. Our label is based here and we call those guys almost everyday. We've made great friends and have an abundance of good food to boot - we'd be idiots to leave now!
Your new album coming out "Far From the Tree," how did you come up with the title? What was the direction behind the album?
"Far From the Tree" is the name of one of the tracks, and that came from the lyric, and who knows where those come from. The artwork for the EP is a little out there so we thought it would be cool to call it "Far From the Tree" as the title kinda goes with the artwork. As far as direction is concerned, we just wrote a whole bunch of tunes and picked the 5 we thought went well together.
We adore your gorgeously emotional track "All I Want" off of the album, which you've been including a lot in your live set. Is there a story behind the track? Where did you draw inspiration for it?
The lyrics were inspired by life, as they all are. If people relate to the lyrics they might have their own meaning, and we think that's the point of lyrics anyways, so to get specific about what they mean to us or the exact situation that spawned them isn't something we really like to do. The production just came from getting inspired by tracks and sounds we were loving at the moment.
How was your summer?
The summer was great! We played some amazing shows at Sonar, Watergate and at Robot Heart in New York which was really special, as well as Burning Man and our first trip over to Peru.
Where are you over the next coming months?
We're heading back to Europe to play in London, Paris and the Ukraine in November before going back to Miami for Art Basel. In December we're going to be playing a homecoming show in Vancouver and then on to BPM Festival in January which we're super excited about.
Lastly, for those of us unfamiliar with the story, who is Bob Moses?
Bob Moses was a Canadian hairstylist living in New York during the late 70's and early 80's. He was the man behind the styles for the likes of Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Keith Haring, Jean Michelle Basquiat and a lot of that crowd who would frequently haunt places like the paradise garage or other notorious NYC establishments of the time.