'Honestly, making music in my bedroom and waking up the next day to hear someone from Brazil has listened to a track is more than fulfilling.'
In today’s scene, there is such an incomprehensible number of movements, stylings, and artists, that as a consumer – as a fan – music has become a seemingly impossible space to navigate. Instead of understanding its impossibly complex and varied entirety, its best to define a set of fluid boundaries for one’s taste and explore it, willing to push up against and reform the borders with each new listen. With each toe dipped into the mystère of an unknown sound comes a newly refined set of those boundaries where, particularly across the modern spectrum, styles transcend one another and begin to lose their form altogether, blending in and out of a space where once stood traditional genre and now stand artists independent of labeling or title. That grey area is home to today’s creative youth who in an effort to unearth their own sound, create one anew freeform of albeit built upon style’s stringent past.
Enter Moise, a daringly inventive, humbly natured Minnesotan who finds himself center stage in the modern effort of indefinable transcendence. His music seems to exist without a timeline, as relevant today as it would have been 40 years past. And yet, it breaths of innovation in the current sphere where his balanced sense of musicality shines a light on modernists pursuing a firmly founded approach.
Constantly working on his creative growth, patiently and dedicatedly releasing new music, and assuredly a name and a sound to remember, Moise leaves his mark wherever he is heard.
RNGLDR: First thing’s first, you’re from St. Paul. As such, we find it necessary to ask, as a Minnesota artist, what kind of influence has Prince been on you personally and artistically?
Moise: Wow, this is a good first question. I’m from Minnesota, and I’m proud of that. Prince was an icon here, like he obviously was universally – loved. But, when you really talk love, Prince really was for the city of Minneapolis. He rocked purple just like the Vikes and made songs that captured what it feels like to be a Minnesotan.
The people here are just gifted, in a good way.
RNGLDR: Do you have a favorite Prince song? Album? Moment?
Moise: My favorite Prince song has to be Let’s Go Crazy - that one is an anthem here. They play it at all the major sporting events like Vikings games whenever there is a big play or a touchdown.
As far as favorite album, that has to be 1999 – shout out to my cousin for leaving that one behind at my parent’s house on cassette, now it’s mine. Such an iconic piece of work, the linn lm-1 drum machine was a staple of an era for music.
The biggest moment, has to be when he passed away. Sadly, I really wasn’t a huge prince fan until he was gone. I grew up in a family that only listened to Michael Jackson, and if you listen to Michael at my parent’s age you didn’t really listen to prince. I feel like that is a common thing for their generation. Ya feel?
RNGLDR: The international influence especially of Prince and Atmosphere aside, what kind of deeper music scene is there in Minnesota that the world should be aware of?
Moise: Yeah, I would say another big era in Minnesota music was - the stand4rd - they all were such talented musicians individually, they really started a whole sound and style as far as the build it up group. Then within that you have a bunch of artists that were inspired by those dudes. Honestly, they don’t get the credit they deserve. I’m a big time stan.
RNGLDR: One of the things we like most about the modern scene is the emerging acceptance of considering artists on a purely individual basis. An artist like you, for instance, is nearly impossible to label by any genre or styling of antiquity. So, if you had to define your music under the made-up name of a style, what would you call it? Why?
Moise: If I had to, I would label my music “Mo Rock”. Especially the music I have been making recently, it just has a timeless feel and was inspired by a lot of great rocking music. The reason for the Mo part is that it is my own take/interpretation of what is considered rock music. Change the game, you know?
RNGLDR: There is a certain intrigue that us fans feel towards artists who take their time with releases, and with a SoundCloud page hosting eight tracks (nine if considered your collaboration with Drelli), a release from you is like Christmas Day. Is there a method to the timely rollout, or is it simply a matter of how much time you have to pursue your passions?
Moise: Yes, there definitely is a method to the timely rollout, I take my time with these tracks. Maybe it's because of my crazy life, balancing school and work with my passion for being a musician. But I wouldn’t say those get in the way of my creative pursuits... For me I am my own biggest critic, so I knit-pick and fine tune these tracks to the point that to me they are ready to be heard and enjoyed by anyone else. If I really wanted to, I could put out a track every two weeks, but to me that doesn’t suit the style and the way that I want to be considered as an artist. Quality over quantity is the motive.
RNGLDR: On the subject of releases, you are certainly on a roll as of late. Really since Wildflower, the COLORS collaboration, Bad Attitude, Know Ya, and A Thousand Miles, the past year seems to have been quite the roller coaster. Does it feel as though it’s been a change of pace? If so, what has it been like to amp up the pursuit of your music to such a degree?
Moise: Definitely. It’s been a great run so far, keeps me hungry and motivated to step up my game with every release. I think I’ve finally discovered my sound and style, which for the longest time I was searching to get to this point. Now that I have that down I have been able to really come into my own, which is why I have been able to share not only these tracks but visuals as well. I think it’s just the growth of being an artist. Building confidence is also a big reason why I’ve been on a roll as of late, it took a while to get to this point, and trust me it’s still continuing (far from over).
RNGLDR: Speaking of COLORS, what was your experience working with them?
Moise: That was a wonderful experience. To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was walking into. When they reached out, I had no idea who or what they were about. Fast forward a couple months later, myself and Will (guitarist and producer) flew out to Berlin and did a couple takes of us jamming to Wildflower in their studio. They are a great group of people who really are in it for the artists and giving them an outlet to showcase what they got. Right now, they are the best doing it, in my opinion, so it was a blessing for sure.
RNGLDR: In our opinion as well, COLORS have become one of the most important and innovative music sources – especially for up-and-coming artists. Was there any noticeable change in your following after your COLORS episode?
Moise: Right when they uploaded it onto YouTube and their Socials, I was flooded with reaction. People reaching out from every corner of the world, which was so cool to see and experience. There are definitely more eyes on me now more than ever. I am super grateful for that. Honestly, making music in my bedroom and waking up the next day to hear someone from Brazil has listened to a track is more than fulfilling.
RNGLDR: On perhaps even a more defining note in your life, you recently graduated from University of St. Thomas. So first off, congratulations, and second off, what is it like balancing a burgeoning music career with a university education?
Moise: Thank you so much. It definitely had its ups and downs as far as being able to balance my music life with school. There were countless times when I didn’t get enough sleep the night before class because I was up late jamming, or was sitting in the classroom daydreaming of a song in my head. I studied finance, so it was not an easy major at all, but I also have a passion for business, so it was good to be living a life where I was working both sides of my brain each day. I think that kept me balanced in a way. Also, college allowed me to make some of my best friends and meet fellow creatives who were in the same boat as me. All I have to say is it is possible to balance school with any pursuits that an individual has, just have to learn some good time management.
RNGLDR: For those reading this interview discovering your music for the first time, an interesting route that we recommend is a listen to your canon in chronological order. There is an interesting growth, particularly in your vocal approach, that escalates throughout. So, starting from the beginning, Hold On and Waves saw a more mellow, undertone use of your vocals. At the beginning, were you more focused on the production side of things, were you not fully committed and comfortable with your voice, or were you simply trying to unearth a balance between the two?
Moise: You are exactly right. I wasn’t fully committed and comfortable with my voice at all. I didn’t grow up taking vocal lessons. My only exposure to singing was in the school choir and church choir on the holidays. So, I didn’t really know what I was doing, which is why I put a ton of reverb and a little bit of autotune on my early work. I also didn’t know much about vocal layering or other vocal techniques that I do now. It’s just all a part of the growing.
RNGLDR: As far as instrumentation is concerned and your consistent use of guitar especially, do you play? Or is it always in production and collaborations with fellow artists and friends like your COLORS partner, Will Levison?
Moise: I do play, I’m not that good yet though. I’ve been learning to play for the past two years now. I use an app called Yousician to learn, and YouTube videos as well. Will has played on a lot of the tracks (Wildflower and A Thousand Miles), everything from the guitars to the drums, he’s a wildly talented dude. It’s scary.
RNGLDR: For us, i won’t is a sort of creative breakthrough that can be pointed to signify the spark of the more consistent subsequent approach heard in your tracks since where a focus on your voice seems to shine through overtop guitar and key-driven production. Is there a point where you feel that you really found your sound? Or is it something you, as an artist, are always searching for?
Moise: Yes, i won’t was a step in the direction that I am at now. I think that was the track that I really felt confident with how my voice sounded with the instrumental, just a simple guitar and me. But even now my sound is still changing and evolving. Not only am I using guitars, but I am also using synths, live drums, bass. The main consistency is my use of guitar, and that’s just because I love it, the sound, the look. I really started falling in love with it within the past two years. Now I’m not only playing it on tracks, but live too.
RNGLDR: So, you recently flew out to London for a two-day performance lineup on June 12 – 13. Is this your first live tour, so to speak?
Moise: It was my first live tour, so to say. I wouldn’t call it a tour but more of shows to get in front of some new faces. Also, I had plans to try and head out to the UK this summer to explore and make tracks with Will, so it was super cool to have this opportunity to come up and play a couple shows.
RNGLDR: How was the overall experience?
Moise: The experience was great! It was my first time ever playing outside of Minnesota, so to do it in London was a dream come true. People really do love good music over there; the crowds were more than fun to play in-front of. They sang, they laughed, and they were in the moment, that’s all I really ask for. It was also a learning experience for me in how to run a successful tour in the future.
RNGLDR: As far as being brought out to London for a performance - something that would make most young artists envious - how did this opportunity arise?
Moise: It all came together very organically, I have a friend out there by the name of Richard and he is pretty heavily involved in the music scene out there. He reached out to me about a couple shows he was asked to curate together, and fortunently when putting together the lineup he thought about me. He’s a fan of the music and thought it would be a great opportunity to come out here and play for a crowd in a different environment. He was right, it was a wonderful opportunity, and I can’t wait to get back out there in the near future.
RNGLDR: It really seems like the crowd is invested from the beginning. As the artist, how was the reaction? And how has it differed from other shows you have done?
Moise: Honestly, it made me appreciate all the work myself and my team have been putting into this. When I create these songs or even practice them for a live setting, it’s only myself or very few people in the room with me. So to step out there on stage and see the reaction of a whole crowd of people to these songs just feels wonderful. It goes to show how powerful music is, it spreads beyond culture, race, or religion, it can speak to everybody.
RNGLDR: Was there a direct decision behind opening the show with No Scrubs? Something to get the people'e energy going, and get your audience on the same page with a track everyone knows and loves?
Moise: I didn’t actually open with No Scrubs, but for the purposes of this live audio version - the set sounded better when I opened up with No Scrubs. At the time of the show I opened with Bad Attitude (the first song always is the shakiest) so I cut that one out.
RNGLDR: What is your level of comfort like in a setting like the London show? Obviously you're an artist and are comfortable making music, but are there always nerves when performing? Especially when performing somewhere new?
Moise: The nerves were real, but that didn’t hit until I was actually on-stage. Leading up to the show myself and Will (guitarist) practiced weeks ahead of the show, so that helped calm us down and feel prepared once it was showtime! I tried to keep it pretty loose and focused at the same time, sing the songs and let there be some interaction with the crowd in between that’s how I roll.
RNGLDR: What is it about the texture of a live cut, like the one you're releasing, that made you want to do so in the first place?
Moise: It’s so raw and honest. The idea came to me when I was listening to one of John Mayer’s Live album he has on spotify, I think it’s the ‘Live in Los Angeles’ one. While listening to the audio of his show it made me feel like I was there in the crowd, all I had to do was shut my eyes and listen. In a digital era where everyone’s capturing events on video and photo I thought it’d be cool to turn back the clock and just put out an audio version. I hope that when people listen, they give it the full 10 minutes and close their eyes or work on some homework, just enjoy the music.
RNGLDR: On the subject of live performances, we run a narrative series titled Dream Venue that aims to take the reader on a journey culminating in the perfect live event. So, if you could have one Dream Venue experience, how would your journey unfold and who would you end up seeing perform?
Moise: My dream venue would probably be a festival I curate on some island somewhere. I’d have Oasis get back together, Frank Ocean, and Colbie Caillat come out. It would be a mix of great rock, R&B, and soul music with a taste of pop as well. Something that people of all generations would at least have one act that they would love to see live. I think festivals are cool when you get such diverse crowds.
RNGLDR: How about in the opposite direction – what would be your Dream Venue as the artist performing?
Moise: Coachella or Glastonbury would be sick. Or any major festival to be honest. To be thrown on a huge stage and perform in front of crowds of 50,000 people just looks insane. Then after your set be able to see some amazing acts. It would be a very fun day. Just hanging out, being immersed in music. That’s the dream.
RNGLDR: We also publish a series called Collab Elation where we explore hypothetical collaborative projects that we want to see in the music industry. If you could have two artists work together, who would they be and why?
Moise: If I could I would have Ed Sheeran and The Internet collab. Ed Sheeran is a phenomenal songwriter and guitarist. The Internet are a great band and all super talented individuals. I think if you sat them all together in a studio you would get some of the best sounding music we’ve heard this decade. Hits on hits on hits. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that.
RNGLDR: And as for you, who would be the artist – living or dead – that you would most want to work with? Why?
Moise: I would love to work with Lenny Kravitz someday. His music and persona inspire me so much. I have some lush vocal melodies that I would love to hear him take a shot at. Also, I would love to just hear all the knowledge he has and some stories. I am sure he has had one of the more interesting lives of anyone still alive.
RNGLDR: What’s next for Moise?
Moise: Next from me? Oh man, there is so much. In the near future: I am putting final touches on my debut project (it’s sounding really good so far), editing some videos, and prepping for a couple live shows I have this summer. It’s a good time right now and I am trying to hold on to this and make it grow for as long as I can. No complaints just got to focus.