When it comes to music an important question arises for artists. What are you really in it for? Us as hardcore fans of all things real we question the authenticity and agenda of artists, especially when they are blowing up. Is it all about the money and the fame? Is it about connecting with your fans through expressive lyrics and live shows? Is it about expressing yourself through vulnerable truth-telling and storytelling? Listen to Moats, the four piece band from Biggleswade, and it will tell you that these guys are about the latter and we love it.
Their earlier songs like Toothache, Show, and Absorb were steered by the addictive riffs and potent lyrics. A sign that these boys were tapping into something quite personal and vulnerable and more importantly are serious about the music they are making. Matthew Duncan’s lead vocals are something spectacular. His emotion is raw and energy is magnetic as he leaves nothing unhinged in each song. The same passion, purity, and powerfully honest lyrics can be heard on their newest single “Hungry.” The video which was premiered last week is an interesting take on the theme of uncontrollably craving something and doing everything to fuel that hunger.
We sat down with MOATS and got deep and meaningful.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
We try to have as broad a musical taste as possible but obviously there are certain artist we prefer and are more influenced by than others. We each have our own inspirations but some mutual ones that we tend to be inspired by are Jeff buckley and Radiohead (particularly In Rainbows). We’re big fans of the sounds of the 80s as well, drawing influences from bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure.
Apart from music what else inspires your sound?
Real life situations and, sometimes through these experiences, uncontrollable emotions that are felt towards something or someone inspire our sound, especially lyrically. Relationships with family, friends and worldly situations tend to affect how we write as well, again, particularly lyrically.
The emotions in Hungry are gripping- we love it. What other emotions do you want to portray in more songs?
We want to portray emotions that people don’t like to talk about; we want to make people more aware of what makes them tick. We like to keep things subtle as well and have an underlying message that makes people think. We don’t always set out to portray any certain emotion, but as a song is being written/performed we begin to realise how we want to make people feel.
How important is for the sentiments of the song to carry on through the visuals?
It depends what you want to put across in both the song and the visuals. If you have an certain message, emotion or opinion that you want to show to your audience, then it’s important to try to demonstrate that in both the song and any visual aid that accompanies it. If, however, you want to leave the audience in the dark, second guessing or let them draw their own conclusions, then the visual aid isn’t as important as the lyrics or music.
What else were you trying to evoke in the video for Hungry?
We wanted to relate the video to the song and also to gross people out a bit with the insects in the dolls house. It seems to have worked.
Lyrically the song is very honest. Are all of your songs based from personal experiences?
Yeah they are. Or at least they revolve around them and are written so people could base their personal experiences around it. Again, though, sometimes you have to read a bit more in between the lines with the lyrics, as there can be some hidden messages.
Is it hard to get emotionally honest on songs or does it just pour out?
It’s not hard anymore. It completely pours out and is uncontrollable. It’s the best way I can express myself. When performing live the emotion completely over takes me and I let it. The more emotion you’ve invested in a song then the more it can completely overwhelm you and take over, particularly live.
How would you say your sound has changed since you guys got together?
It’s just become more honest and heartfelt. We don’t think there’s enough of that these days. There are still people that do it incredibly well but sadly it’s not what we hear every day on the radio. Musically it’s become darker and more gloomy whilst also maintaining the happy side of things (if that makes sense haha).
How has your writing and recording worked as a team?
We write in different ways. Sometimes I’ll write the rhythm guitar and vocals and bring it to the guys and sometimes we’ll jam at practice and I’d write lyrics around it. There isn’t a certain way of writing that we like to stick to, changing the environment and way we style we write in can bring out some different elements within songs, for example we’ve recently been doing more writing acoustically, before bringing it to the practice room – it helps us get the musicality of the song more on point. Recording is an enjoyable experience as we always learn a lot about the song and each other’s parts more intricately.
What’s your vision for 2016?
We’re focusing on writing as much as we can at the moment so keep an eye out for more releases and videos. We’re playing a few festivals over summer as well – if you see us come and say hi!