Margot the classically trained violinist is set for a meteoric rise, thanks in part to her endless talents and charming nature
You may have been one of over two million people who viewed the trailer for the highly anticipated ’50 Shades of Grey’ movie in which case you definitely would have heard the talents of classical trained violinist Catlin Moe, or Margot as she has been for the last few years now. As one half of the due The Dolls, Margot has been involved with some pretty incredible gigs, including a Clinton wedding no less! Having released her debut solo single recently ‘No one’s gonna miss you’, the perfect harmony of electro beats, dramatic strings and her haunting vocals, we grabbed her for a New Noise grilling.
So, who is Margot?
Margot was actually built on a broken heart. I believe that and there are so many faces to woman, and I use Margot as a vehicle to express this dreamlike state that I experience, I think a lot of woman experience, it’s this persona I’ve taken on.
How long have you been performing as Margot?
I’ve just released my first single last month, but my friends have been calling me Margot for the last 2 and half years.
How did you and Mia (Moretti, the other half of The Dolls) meet?
We started The Dolls, 4 or 5 years ago, and we’re still continuing to do stuff, we’re just taking a break whilst I do my solo record. We were both performing at a club in the lower east side, she was DJing and I was doing a performance, and we had mutual friends who introduced us and literally that week I went over to her place and she started playing me all these records, and we just decided to see what would happen if we put violin over all these funk and disco, pop and soul, and Motown records that she was playing. It started out as fun and just kind of grew organically from there, and we just kept getting booked for gigs and it just evolved. We started working on some remixes and then from there we started writing our own original music.
You’ve played some pretty incredible gigs together as The Dolls, including Chelsea Clinton’s wedding right? What was that like?
Yes we did! It was a dream. I remember the event planners, we had worked for them a couple of months before, they rang us and said we have this event we want you to play, but we can’t tell you what it is but your going to want to do this, so please sign the contract. So we thought ‘hmmm I don’t know, but we’ll give it a shot’. We didn’t find out until a few days before who it was for, and it was magical, the whole thing. And actually since then we’ve done a few events for Bill Clintons Foundation and they’ve always been so neat every time we’ve seen them.
How old were you when you first picked up a violin?
I started playing when I was four, and I was classically trained for fifteen years under the same teacher. I’ve dabbled a little playing an electric violin, I played in a few bands and I toured with Trans-Siberian orchestra for a couple of years but I have to say, I prefer the sound of an acoustic violin to an electric; I love the warmth and the vibrations the acoustic gives off, but I have a microphone built into the bridge of the violin I use now, which is able to cut through venues and loud shows.
So when did you start singing? What music were you listening to growing up?
It was a completely natural progression, and I grew up obsessed with the violin, and I always knew I was going to be violinist even when I was a little girl!
I joke that I didn’t start listening to music until I was 20, when I moved to New York and discovered Joni Mitchell, Fiona apple amongst others. When I was younger I remember going to the bookstore where I grew up, and buying the sheet music and the CDs of the pieces I was playing, and they would be ten or twenty minute long concertos, and so I learned through hearing the music also. I lived and breathed classical music for so long, and they say that the violin is the closet to the voice, I think it’s very reminiscent of love or heartbreak or whatever. You know, I really love Joni Mitchell, Stevie Knicks, little dragons and Radiohead; they really turned me on to the electronic sound, I really like the harshness contrasting with the strings. I also really love people like Phillip Glass, who is a classical composer but still very relevant in our contemporary world, so I think that all influences my music.
What’s the writing process like for you, is it melody or lyrics first?
I write mainly with piano, or sometimes one of my friends will send me a beat, but recently I’ve started really getting into writing lyrics more so I’m trying to switch it up; it’s been fun to come up with melodies once I have the lyrics
The ’50 Shades of Grey’ trailer was released last week, and you happen to be playing strings on the ‘Crazy in Love’ track that accompanies it. How did that come about and how has the reaction been, seeing as the internet went crazy for that trailer?
Oh gosh I was just so happy when I saw it! I’d seen everyone talk about it on twitter and I wondered if my strings had made the cut! Boots produced the track, and I had worked with him before, actually on Beyoncé’s record, I played strings on ‘Blue’. In the meantime Boots and I have been writing and producing some songs for my solo record, so we’ve been working really closely for about the past year. When he got the call he knew that a film trailer kind of wouldn’t be complete without some dramatic strings. I literally recorded them a few days before the trailer came out.
You’ve got such a strong look, who influences your style and the way you dress?
Honestly I think my friends! I live in walking distance in the East Village from my four closets friend and we all kind of have one communal closet. Also just from all my travels, I really got into vintage shopping. It’s really cool to collect pieces that remind you of the places that you’ve been, so that it reflects the different countries and cultures you’ve experienced.
When can we expect an album?
I’m hoping to have my record out at the beginning of 2015, and in the meantime, very soon I’m going to be releasing some new singles.
Words: Siobhan Frew